OP: 「ふたりの羽根」 () by YURiKA
「スッゴい才能！」 (Suggoi Sainou!)
Having previewed this show, I had some reservations coming into it. Fortunately, I think it managed to strike a more positive note than what I expected.
For a first episode, I think Hanebado did a lot of things pretty well for a sports show. It introduced us to the characters, clearly defined what the current set of problems are, and even threw in a plot-establishing flashback that (for the most part) explains why Nagisa and Ayano behave the way that they do.
However, and what probably bugged me just as much as it did in the manga, was just how angsty Nagisa is. As a talented player who devoted herself to the sport, it drives me bonkers to see her behave the way she did throughout this first episode. Belligerent, rude, and downright nasty aren’t typically the words you’d use to describe one of your main characters but Nagisa was all that (and more) to a tee. Luckily, the anime has definitely changed up a few things and I’m really hoping that all of that teenage angst goes away quickly since it’s a real big turn off for me. Switching gears to Ayano, boy is she a mixed bag of problems too. Unlike Nagisa though, Ayano at least comes off pretty personable and unless something involving Badminton comes up, she seems to be a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of girl.
All that said, what I think I’m looking forward to most is how the story handles the stark differences between Ayano and Nagisa. Specifically, the whole question of whether or not someone without raw talent can make up for the difference through hard work and determination. Elements that we’ve seen tackled in shows before, but never highlighted to such an extreme as they are in Hanebado. Something that I think could honestly set this show apart from other offerings this season if its able to successfully pull it off.
All in all though, I think Hanebado had a decent start that will hopefully transition into an even better show once the gears start turning. Luckily I don’t think this first episode was that bad and one saving grace is that the animation quality while people are playing badminton looks pretty damn good. Here’s to seeing a great next episode since there’s a prime opportunity here to take a weak start and turn it into something great!