I actually enjoyed this finale a fair amount though maybe that’s because this anime has run out of ways to botch its storyline. I mean, it’d have to actively try like it’s Darling in the FranXX to screw the pooch now. And really, how much plot is left anyway? Nagisa and Ayano are in the third set of badminton, someone needs to win, everyone needs to be happy, roll the credits. That’s really about it.
This episode is very indicative of how much potential got wasted in this series. This is the first episode in a while where Nagisa and Ayano actually interact in a meaningful way and I have to admit that it does work quite well. I do really like seeing them come to an understanding through badminton, Nagisa’s win is really well deserved, and Ayano finally feels like a likable character again. The final two scenes between them are even better with how Ayano taps into her evil side for fun, Nagisa plays along, and the two practice together as friends. It’s moments such as these that make me kind of glad that I sat through Hanebado! and annoy me to no end that this anime wasted so much time to get to them.
The part where Ayano tells Uchika that she hated her is a little satisfying. At least someone finally told the mom that she sucks. What bugs me though is that after rejecting the offer to go to Denmark, Ayano says that she and Uchika should play badminton sometime. I just have a hard time believing that Ayano would reconcile with her mother that quickly, even with the magic of extras cheering her on and playing against a worthy opponent. If I was in her shoes, I’d give it some more time before I open communications. Plus, I’m amazed Uchika is still going to leave Japan after her daughter rejected her offer. Maybe, oh I don’t know, stay and reconnect with your goddamn daughter? It’s too late to win Mother of the Year but you owe your daughter that much.
You know an anime has invested in a cast far too big for its own good when its finale’s ED actually shows how everyone is doing. And I do mean, everyone including the most minor characters in existence. The logic eludes me. I get becoming attached to say, Elena or Riko, and wanting to see how they’re now doing but who fucking cares about Noriko or that tennis captain from Episode 1? Who was actually that curious about them?
And I think that moment exemplifies what’s the biggest problem with Hanebado!. This was a really pretentious anime. It tried way too hard to come across as deep; focusing on various characters and arcs to enlarge its scope and subverting expectations at a rate that’d give The Last Jedi a run for its money. All of this for what though? In the end, this anime just feels unfocused, biting more than it can chew. The people making this should’ve focused more on Ayano and Nagisa’s rivalry and done away with all the filler involving C-list characters like Yu or the Bad Club boys. If you really want to focus on, say, Riko for example, then don’t put her arc in a spot where it would put the main plot to a screeching halt. If you’re going to promote an event such as Elena confronting Uchika over bad parenting, actually do something with it. Don’t waste my time is all I’m saying. I can’t decide if this anime was in dire need of an editor or simply a better writer but it certainly needed someone who could trim out the fat and just focus on the essentials.
That said, I don’t know if I’d go as far as say this anime is awful. It’s a mess but I am leaning more towards the side of mediocrity than pure garbage. It does have the right ideas with its story and I’ve willingly admitted to liking some moments and aspects. The animation is undeniably the best part, making every game of badminton worth seeing even if on a purely sensory level. There’s definitely been way worse anime to have come out this year but I’d also argue that have been much better anime than this one. If you liked or even loved Hanebado!, that’s awesome! More power to you. This anime simply didn’t click for me.
Thanks for reading!