SHOW ME THE PASSION! – Hanebado! Ep.6 Did It Right?!

SHOW ME THE PASSION! – Hanebado! Ep.6 Did It Right?!

I have been having this conversation with the crew since probably episode 2-3. There was just something about Hanebado! that didn’t do it for me. I thought maybe it was because I was spoiled by other sports anime like Haikyuu!!, Kuroko No Basket, and Diamond No Ace. I started thinking maybe the type of drama was off or the characters weren’t flavorful enough. Then it finally clicked when I watched episode 6. This whole time, they were lacking passion for the sport.

Disclaimer: This article is entirely of my own opinion based on my own views and preferences towards sports anime. Thank you <3

I know what some of you might say, “Aragaki shows lots of passion!”. Well, I think there are two sides to her passion. We did get to see a glimpse of the fact that she really does love badminton, so much that she strives to prove that she isn’t just good because of her height. Her passion was presented to us in a negative context though, so viewers can only perceive her emotions resembling a form of salty revenge. Now that she’s evolved into a better version of herself, her passion really shows more often. On the receiving end of the other side of her passion, is Riko who has stuck with her through everything and it really shows in this episode how much she cares about her.

“Alright, well how about Hanesaki?!” – Ah the “main character”…that no one should care about. Boo-hoo her mom doesn’t acknowledge her skills and left her all alone. She had zero passion from the beginning of the series. It is only until Erena and Aragaki kick her in the butt for being emo that they tell us about how much she loves playing badminton. She only loved it in the first place because of her mother and they played together constantly. I get it, passion for the sport comes from legendary pro mom, after mom leaves so does the passion. The real passion for the sport comes from the soul, not the person that influenced you.

“But what about all the rivals that wanted to fight Hanesaki??” – Yes, the classic rival passion that exists in all sports anime. I don’t think many people realize that Hanebado! creates and presents the rivals in a horrible way. I feel like it almost forces you to hate them. They literally did it three times in a row with Aragaki, Kaoruko, and Connie. They’ve since changed Aragaki for the better but the other two just scream absolute bitch material and it’s awful. The real rivalries come from characters that have their own special personality but also respect their opponents’ abilities. Our rivals literally shit on Hanesaki 24/7 because she isn’t as good as she was supposed to be by now. It’s most likely because they know who her mother is and it’s not easy being the child of a legendary athlete.

Now we arrive at what really grinds my gears about this anime, the convoluted bullshit drama surrounding Hanesaki. I thought the whole flashback to the middle school national match with Hanesaki and Aragaki was fine. I thought it would create a good rivalry and spark some good competition. The exact opposite happened, Aragaki became a hardass to her clubmates and Hanesaki started to loathe playing badminton because of PTSD. The whole picture thing with her mom and Connie was absolutely terrible. I don’t know about you guys, but I 100% thought her mom left to get married, to who we now know is Connie, in America, or any other non-asian country. Everything just seems to sprout from nothing leaving all these questions and confusion. A sports anime doesn’t need this kind of drama or backstory.

I don’t want to compare it to the best sports anime ever, Haikyuu!!, but I feel like I have to because it started a bit similarly. The two main characters face off during middle school nationals tournament and end up meeting again at the same high school, as teammates. Of course, they’re salty about seeing each other again after one beat the other but they overlook it because they become proper rivals/teammates and learn to respect one another. I don’t see the need for having a “dark history” it doesn’t create good cohesion and the roadmap for the series becomes blurred.

Now that most of the salt has been thrown on the table, the reason episode 6 was so good was that the passion for badminton finally arrived. And it came from Riko no less, arguably the best girl at this point in the series. The whole thing had such good focus on her abilities, this being her last year to compete, facing her middle school friend, and then overcoming the anxiety of all that. Of course, they made her lose though because they don’t want to give Riko the cinderella story of beating last year’s top four finalist and possibly getting further. But you know what that’s okay because they handled her lost almost perfectly, they showed her strong mental side with the coach and then her vulnerable side with Aragaki afterward. This is what sports anime is and always will be, you fight for your life and at the end of the day, there’s one winner and one loser.

Give me Riko’s eyes in this over Hanesaki’s animated eyes every time.

This episode was f***ing beautiful and this is exactly what they should have come out of the gate with. Not necessarily focusing on Riko but either of the two, Hanesaki or Aragaki. Put me in their shoes before their match in episode one and show me the passion they have to win no matter what because badminton is their life. Why have flashbacks of the match? Why give these girls PTSD from badminton?! Why make this pink haired bitch so bitchy?? I don’t mind the shit talk but it’s so savage and disrespectful, no one likes that kind of shit in sports. Especially when you use dirty tricks such as making your opponent sick so that you can say “I beat you when we’re both on equal terms”. Bitch, it’s your fault for getting sick in the first place, if you’re really that good then suck it up and play your best under those conditions.

*Exhale* I want more of what episode 6 gave us. I want every single element of it to appear in every episode for the rest of the series. You’re gonna finish the series with the end of this tournament and it’s gonna feel like a proper sports anime. Hanesaki is going beat this bitch into the ground and she’ll never show up again. Hanesaki is going to grow more mature and not crumble after finding out her mother is watching. Aragaki is going to find a great opponent/rival during the tournament that will take her past her limits and make her grow as a player. Above all else, these players will show respect, passion, and determination to win. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, no one wants this anime to fall back to what it was before.

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