Hanebado! breaks all the rules when doing a sports series. It’s all girls, for one thing. It doesn’t force a certain goal for the characters, rather it just shows them trying to get better and trying to enjoy the sport. And in the end, the main character actually wins – a rarity in sports anime if I’ve ever seen it.
The best part of this show is the final two episodes, when Aragaki and Hanesaki go at it in an epic three-set match where each character is pushed to the limit. Aragaki is the most likable character of the bunch. She may look exactly like Tatsuki Arisawa from Bleach – with the exception of a beauty spot on her face – but she’s the type of character you end up cheering for after following her story.
Sadly, one of the most interesting characters from the show, a character named Connie Christensen, doesn’t get all that much screen time. She is great because she’s arrogant and energetic. If she was given more time to shine, I would have found this show a lot more interesting during its duller middle episodes. That being said, the show finishes up on a high note.
The story is more of a coming-of-age, what-do-you-play-for type of story. By the end of the show, you’re cheering for all the characters (though I’m personally cheering for Aragaki). If you’re looking for something that is more sports-heavy, you’re probably better off with a show like Yowamushi Pedal. But this show lets you grow along with the characters and find more of a reason to cheer for them other than just “win the championship.” Oh, and there’s badminton, too. You see, when the last thing I mention is the sport itself, it obviously found a way to entertain me.
Series rating: 7 out of 10