Well, three episodes in now. I wouldn’t say I’m head over heels for Hanebado! but it’s still one of the more interesting anime to come out of Summer 2018. I’ll at least stick with it until the halfway point.
Episode 3 turned out to be an Elena-focused episode as we see our impromptu manager convince Ayano to stay on the club. Considering my past comments, I will admit that I initially approached this episode with a fair amount of skepticism.
I have not liked how Elena has been forcing Ayano into joining the bad club, be it dragging her to gym or becoming the manager to compel her to stay. Maybe it’s because I used to be an extremely anxious person but I get really uncomfortable seeing characters force their friends into doing something they clearly don’t want to do for very personal reasons. It’s less that I think Elena is an inherently awful person — Ayano should find a new reason to play badminton — I just think she sucks in how she’s going about things.
This episode does provide flashbacks where you get to see Ayano and Elena’s long lasting friendship and it does make me understand Elena a little bit more. It would’ve nice to have that context earlier though. When all you see is Elena forcing Ayano into joining and just sitting on a chair doing make-up, the implication is that she has a poor read on her friend and she thinks the problem will just magically solve itself. How was I supposed to root for this character?
And I don’t know, the continuity is a bit odd to me. Let’s go back to Episode 1 at the scene where Elena is stunned at how good Ayano is with a tennis racket. Why was she even stunned? She’s known Ayano since kindergarten and the recent flashbacks confirmed that she knows her friend has been playing badminton all her life and got pretty darn good at it too. By that same token, why is Elena only now learning about the stuff involving Ayano’s mom? She clearly got a hint prior to the start of the series. You’d think, as a friend, she’d investigate more. I get the sense that it was to ensure that the viewer would eventually be privy to this information but with how it’s executed, it makes one of its supportive characters look awfully dumb.
There’s also some dialogue that rubbed me the wrong way. I hated how Elena thinks Ayano’s mommy issues was not a good reason for Ayano to quit badminton. Uh, yeah it is, especially considering that Ayano failing to meet her mother’s standards led the latter to leave and causing her train until she snapped. Also irksome is Elena talking about how she always envied her friend for being so passionate about badminton, hence why she wants to help. I’m not saying people shouldn’t feel happy when their friends are happy but the script makes Elena sound like she did this because she wants to feel like she’s fulfilling something. That can come across as selfish and inconsiderate.
Now, give credit where it’s due, having Ayano play a mock match with Nagisa was at least the one good idea Elena had. If anyone could make someone love badminton again, it was going to be Nagisa. Better do that than sit on a freaking chair to look at a tiny mirror and no I’m not letting that go.
And hey, this show has offered other characters for me to dislike. We’re admittedly not given all the details surrounding Ayano’s mother but that lady is definitely not getting “Mom of the Year” anytime soon. I don’t care what her motivation was, she’s a scumbag for leaving her daughter like that. There’s also Ayano’s old pink-haired rival, Kaouruko, whose haughty personality could be amusing but for now, you have to resist the urge to punch her for cheating and screwing up Ayano’s life.
I’ll admit it: this was my least favorite episode of Hanebado! out of the three so far. It really just comes down to me not liking Elena. Look, her heart is in the right place, I just think the writing has not painted this character in the best light that it could. We do at least have Ayano starting to move on from her trauma and while I wish the resolution was better, I hope things will go up from here.
Thanks for reading!