Hanebad!: First Impressions – An Emotionally Evocative Favourite for the Season (Summer Anime 2018)

Hanebad! (はねバド!) is a seinen, sports anime that revolves around badminton. It was originally a manga written by Kōsuke Hamada. Liden Films is producing the adaptation, with direction from Shinpei Ezaki. After watching the first episode, I can safely say that this series is going to be one fantastic hit for the Summer line-up!

Hanebad! is a story about a group of teenagers who play competitively in a badminton club through their local high school. The main focus of the narrative is on the two girls, Aragaki Nagisa and Hanesaki Ayano, for whom badminton is much more than a mere sport; two girls who also happen to be rivals with one another.

My very first impression of the series, about four to five minutes into the first episode, was, “Holy shit, this is much more intense and serious than I thought it’d be!” We watch Nagisa as she is in a supremely heated match with Ayano, struggling to reel in a win. Everything that follows in the wake of this engagement, sets up the tone and foundation for things to come, which will be laced with emotionally evocative interactions, beautiful visuals, and heavy character-focused storytelling.


That intensity that slams into you in a handful of moments of starting the show is one that will veil Hanebad! as it progresses for the next eleven to twelve weeks. It keeps you tense and at the edge of your seat as you are introduced to the characters of the club. Most of them have their reasons for joining, which far supersede a passing interest in a physical activity.

Nagisa is a fantastic example of this. Through the 24-minutes we see as she battles some inner strife on just what it means to be a competitor with the sport. She is desperate to win so she can seek some sort of personal validation. The ambiguity of what her true motives are, of whatever dilemma she is trying to resolve, immediately creates a connection between her and the watcher. I became so curious as to what is eating her up that I know I will be back next week and the week after that and again after that until it is finally revealed.

This level of depth isn’t reserved for Nagisa either. We have Ayano, who while being remarkably talented, even innately so, has a level of loathing for the sport. A sense of tragedy or despairing emotional association is heavily implied, nevertheless, it has a level of vagueness that hooks your interest and draws you further into the story.

Character focused anime, especially ones with narratives that are driven by their plights, choices, and difficulties, tend to be my favourite types of anime to watch because they are so multi-faceted, and ultimately have qualities that many people can relate to on an intimate level. I strongly believe that Hanebad! will not be an exception to the rule at all. I am going to get rather attached to specific characters and that attachment, coupled with their individual tales, is what makes it so damn emotionally evocative as well. There will be tears and sadness, I can feel it in my heart, and I look forward to being so utterly captivated by these people.

A plethora of multi-dimensional cast members aside, the animation quality for Hanebad! is spectacular, especially during the badminton matches. There is emphasis on minor details—such as the sweat on a person’s body while they compete, the gleam of their eyes as they get angry or sorrowful, the lush colours of a sunset, and the flowy wisps of cherry blossom petals—complements the tone, mood, and atmosphere, crafting a fully interactive storytelling process. Everything is also very neat, crisp, and meticulously drawn, with a balanced infusion of 3D graphics that help to enhance rather than overwhelm. It’s stunning.

The last element I want to discuss briefly is the music. The musical score for the anime is perfect when you take everything else into account. The composition consists of classical-inspired notes from the violin and piano, with a gentle harmony of the bass or wind instrument where necessary, adding to the expressive intensity of some of the scenes. I would honestly watch the series just for the music, even if I didn’t like anything else.

All in all, Hanebado! is the pivotal anime to be watching this Summer season. If you are not really a sports anime type of otaku, like me, then I still recommend you watch it for the characters. They will be the masterpiece for the anime as a whole.

You can catch Hanebado! on CrunchyRoll on Sunday mornings.

Thank you for taking the time to visit me today! Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing! 💙

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8 thoughts on “Hanebad!: First Impressions – An Emotionally Evocative Favourite for the Season (Summer Anime 2018)

  1. Pingback: Must-read Monthly Monday (May 2019 ed.) – The Animanga Spellbook

  2. I love when someone can take something no one would expect to make a great story. And just blows expectations out of the water with it. This sounds intense and well written and definitely something not to pass on.

    • Yeah, I almost didn’t even watch this because it’s sports, but when I saw fellow bloggers raving about it, I thought I should try it out. Glad that I did. 🙂

  3. wow…I passed on this one, since it is a sports anime, and I just don’t like sports at all. (Not in real life, but also not in any other entertainment media such as movies, tv series and anime). But after reading your very enthusiastic and quite frankly brilliant post on this one you have totally convinced me to at least give this one a try. Terrific post! 😊

    • The only sports anime I ever loved was Initial D ‘cause of my history as a racer & Free! because it’s just so beautiful aesthetically. So, this was not on my list. But it turned into one heck of a surprise! 🙂

      • It’s always nice when a series turns into a complete suprise. I had that with Yuri on Ice. I never thought that I would enjoy that one, but it turned out to be totally amazing. So…who knows…I think I will give this a shot (pun intended 😂), to see if I will enjoy it as well 😊

  4. It pleases me to see that so many other bloggers are following this series this season. I hope that’s representative of the rest of the anime-veiwing population, and I hope this series can deliver what we all seemingly expect from it.

    • I also hope it can deliver and I feel like it will. I’m going to stay hopeful for this one for sure. 🙂

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