Hanebado! Episode 1 – It’s Hibike! Euphonium, but with Badminton

Starting off the new anime season strong with a sports anime I am very excited for this season, Hanebado!

The episode starts off very strong, with a an intense badminton match. The animation in this scene is fast and fluid, and you can feel the impact of both players’ feet hitting the ground and rackets hitting shuttlecocks, thanks to the stellar shot composition and sound design.

What adds to that, besides all that I’ve already mentioned, is the sweatiness of the entire scene. These two players are playing hard, and you can see every bead of sweat fly off from them in mists, but in a realistic way.

I mean look, they even show her thigh muscles clenching in preparation fot a shot!

God is real, and I thank him for this scene

Of course, the beautiful visuals and sound are not limited to the matches.

Take a look at this shot after the match has ended, there’s so much detail, down to the soles of the shoes!

The backgrounds and setpieces are all normal places but incredibly gorgeous and beautifully lit.

Take a look at the rest of the beautiful cinematography of these shots in this imgur album, they are all wallpaper material!

The reason for these intensely visceral exchanges, and the impactful sound design, is the shot composer for the series is one Kishimoto Taku, the shot composer of works such as Gintama, Erased, and most importantly, Haikyuu!!, a sports anime with similar themes and matches.

His influence on the animation and scene composition is great, and I hope this quality continues even further into the anime.

The sound director, Wakabayashi Kazuhiro, has also done a lot of great sound design on action-packed anime such as Aoi no Exorcist, Bungou Stray Dogs, and Higashi no Eden.

In any case, we can expect the anime to look and sound gorgeous.

The overarching theme so far plot-wise seems to be Talent vs. Hard Work. Both our central characters, Nagisa and Ayano, the two players in the very first match, are wrestling with their own demons in regards to the sport that they are good at. Nagisa, after her loss, is so shaken and humiliated at herself that she trains non-stop, and has even extended that tyranny on others in her club as captain.

Ayano, we don’t know too much about, but we know enough that she has bad memories associated with badminton. Ayano seems to care very little for badminton, and Nagisa cares about it a bit too much. In a way, it’s like the personalities of Ken and Ryu were reversed. Ayano is quiet and stoic, but also gifted with natural talent and physical attributes of a great player. Nagisa is a loud and fiery girl, but makes up for her lack of talent with lots of practice and by pushing herself further everyday.

The club melodrama is already very reminiscent of Hibike! Euphonium’s struggles with their club, and since I love Hibike, I’m perfectly willing to resist the melodrama if it leads to good things later on. The plot hinges on wether or not it successfully gives us a good reason to be conflicted about who we want to “win” between the two main characters, and if it manages to give us a unique perspective on the Talent vs. Hard Work debate.

Overall, it’s a solid first episode. It introduces us to the characters during a rough patch in their lives, which can make for interesting interactions if done correctly. I won’t lie, if it weren’t for the incredibly high production value, I might have skipped over this (similar to how I felt about Violet Evergarden at first) , but with how good the show looks and sounds, I hope the series is focused on the matches just as much as it does on the players. The character drama aspect, if done right, could really elevate this from the typical sports anime, and I hope that’s the case here.

6 thoughts on “Hanebado! Episode 1 – It’s Hibike! Euphonium, but with Badminton

      1. Very cool. I may have to check it out whenever I have some time away from work, music, and fiction projects. I haven’t been able to watch a lot of things recently because of a lot of life stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

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