Hanebado! – Ep. 6

You’re focusing on the wrong character, Hanebado!.

I mean sure. Go ahead. Focus on Riko of all people. It’s not like your titular protagonist has snapped or anything. Shove that off to the wayside. That’s clearly not important.

Just to be fair, I will say that if you’re a fan of Riko then this episode is 100% made for you. Being nowhere near as good as Nagisa and Ayano and having to deal with an apparently powerful opponent, there’s a decent underdog angle to Nagisa’s arc. I’m sure someone will be frustrated at how long it takes for Riko to muster her perseverance up but the message that she still had fun and didn’t give up is still a nice one. Her relationship with her opponent, Nozomi (Arisa Sakuraba), is also pretty good. It’s a rivalry through and through but a very civil one at that with little to no traces of malice detected. It’s a little refreshing to see after seeing so many hate crushes towards Ayano. On their own, I don’t think Riko and Nozomi are that terribly interesting but with where they functioned in this episode, they fulfill their given roles just fine.

It also helps that the animation is still fantastic. That is the one department Hanebado! has yet to fail in. Whatever budget this anime has, Liden Films has yet to cut serious corners. You really feel the power and finesse to every stroke Riko and Nozomi perform in their match. Even in less action-heavy scenes, Hanebado! looks so stunning.

That all said, I really can’t shrug off the timing of this episode. I’m sorry but when you leave your main protagonist in such a worrisome state, I expect a very direct follow-up to happen. Heading straight to the prelims is presumptuous already but Hanebado! could still address Ayano’s mental state during the tournament. I’m fine if she still faces an extra but at least have her go into her old Zombie mode again. Have someone notice she doesn’t look well, get everyone else’s attention, and make the whole team worried for her. Just do something! Anything!

But no, it seems like the only one who even picks up the signs is Elena who naturally does absolutely nothing. Real great friend we have here. Oh, and don’t even get Nagisa involved because that implies she’ll actually be relevant again. Just focus on Riko instead. I’m so glad this anime got its priorities straight!

And yes, I’m well aware that Hanebado! could very well do what I’m asking once Ayano play against Kauroko. I’ll admit, I do want to see the latter get her comeuppance. Still, I’m amazed at how undisciplined Hanebado! is as a story. It has the right ideas but it’s really bad at pulling them up at the right time. And as this flaw persists, I find myself less interested in watching more of this anime.

Thanks for reading!

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9 thoughts on “Hanebado! – Ep. 6

  1. Personally, I think you’re viewing this the wrong way. This series is very much like Hibike! Euphonium, where there may be two main leads, episodes tend to focus on every member of the club in some capacity. I’m honestly not bothered by this, because thus episode is my favorite thus far besides the one that focuses on Elena.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, if you liked it, that’s awesome! I can 100% see someone not bothered by this episode.

      I think Riko’s episode works fine in a vacuum and Hanebado being a character-driven story isn’t inherently a problem. I do, however, find it really bothersome that this anime does not readily treat its most important arc with urgency especially considering that it involves abusive parenting and an unhealthy obsession. Suddenly jumping to a traditional underdog story feels out of the blue and it gives me the impression that the anime isn’t giving its heavier content enough weight.

      If Riko’s episode happened later, I’d be less bothered. And again, self-contained, I thought this episode had a nice message and introducing Nozomi has been the best thing that happened to Riko’s arc. On paper, I like that there’s a rival outside of Ayano’s.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Riko!!!! ❤ ❤ While I can agree that the focus on Riko is a little odd considering what's happening with Ayano, it was nice to get a look at Riko, see her play, and have her emotions take over. Hanebado isn't pulling anything away from the supporting cast with episodes like this, and it likely pulls us away from our leads, but I enjoyed it. Just a personal opinion, though.

    I do, however, want to see what's going to happen with Ayano….she seemed to be going crazy which interests me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me, a supporting cast is just as important as the main one so I’m not against the episode entirely. Not following up on Ayano immediately though bothers me a great deal. But like I said in my review, I can see Riko fans liking this a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s great actually. I like seeing when a story with an ensemble cast actually follows multiple characters. Riko will be super minor from here on out, but it was great seeing her get the spotlight in a very bittersweet fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My big grievance with this episode aside, I would hate to see Riko get benched after this. I wouldn’t mind seeing her arc explored further. That is, as long as it’s not hogging the spotlight away from Ayano’s clear need for help.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yikes, I almost forgot it was single cour. Still, I’d rather have another episode about Riko than, say, Yu or Sora.

          I’ll give Riko that much, she’s a far more interesting character than anyone in the Bad Club besides Ayanon and Nagisa.

          Liked by 1 person

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