Hanebado! Ep. 4: One bully after another

Poor Ayano. She seems like a sweet girl, but everyone’s just bullying her for one reason or another. It doesn’t look like she’s done anything to anyone, though.

The team is off to summer training camp, which looks like fun for them but I personally wouldn’t want to give up my summer. Oh well, that’s why I never stuck with team sports. Having said that, this is an important step for Ayano. She just needs to have fun with badminton again. Unfortunately, her rivals seemingly wants to make it unfun for her.

— I like how the two boys on the team don’t really contribute much to the story. They’re just kinda there.

— On a somewhat unrelated note, how big of an advantage do guys have over girls in badminton anyways? In tennis, Serena Williams can’t even compete against a nobody from the men’s side. I think she lost an exhibition match against a guy who was ranked 203rd at the time. Sure, Bobby Riggs lost to Billie Jean King, but he was like 55 at the time. Badminton is obviously played very differently, so that’s why I’m asking.

— Really? Another twin-tailed girl? At first, I actually thought I was looking at Kaoruko again, but that girl has pink hair. This one is a blondie.

— Fredericia, one of the rival schools at the training camp, has a loud cheering section. In fact, they practically dwarf our plucky underdogs from Kitakomachi. But despite that, one of their players desperately wants to compete against Ayano. Hm.

— The Fredericia girls re all business, too. And they have slick jackets.

— There are a lot of things that I don’t quite understand in this week’s episode. I guess I can chalk it up to myself not paying close attention to what’s happening onscreen. For example, there appears to be some sort of low-key drama between Ayano and Sora, but I honestly can’t remember anything about the latter. I know she’s on the team, but… what has she done? More importantly, what has Ayano done to draw all this ire.

— Speaking of our girl, she volunteers to buy some stuff from the convenience store. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know her way around the countryside, and her map is no help. This, however, gives her the perfect opportunity to run into Connie, the twin-tailed girl from earlier.

— So many foreigners. They always speak perfect Japanese, too. And just for good measure, she also likes to carry around multiple oversized lollipops on her at all times. I guess that’s a thing.

— Not only does the new girl hail all the way from Denmark, she came to Japan just to play a match against you-know-who. Judging by our heroine’s perplexed reaction, she has no clue whom the tall girl might be referring to. I mean, the anime tries to be coy about it, but we all know Ayano has a target on her back for some odd reason.

— Y’know, I half-expect these girls to hold a beef, because they were beaten badly by Ayano in the past, but I’m not sure if she’s ever met Connie before. Not in person, anyways.

— At the conbini, Connie finally realizes who she’s been hanging out with this entire time. As a result, the gloves are off. First, she blushes and holds her chest as if she’s meeting her badminton idol. Her mood, however, quickly becomes antagonistic. She acts as if Ayano should already knows who she is. But again, our girl is clueless.

— Like I said at the start of the post, people keep picking on her even though she hasn’t done anything to anyone. Okay, the Nagisa thing wasn’t so bad, because they quickly became teammates. Plus, her team captain really only wanted to win a match and prove herself. But Kaoruko and now Connie? She just wants to enjoy badminton, but all of these characters act like it’s WW3. Gimme a break, you guys.

— I also don’t really understand why Connie couldn’t recognize Ayano at first. If you came to Japan just to beat one person, you should probably know what they look like. Just sayin’.

— Just to add further insult to injury, Sora gives Ayano the cold shoulder. What gives? Again, what did I miss?

— What a diva.

Sora and Yu lose their leg of the match, so now Fredericia and Kitakomachi are tied. That means Nagisa won her match, but we didn’t get to see any of it. Hm. Also, Sora is not happy again. I know they need conflict to drive the story, but I’m so lost right now. Maybe she’s jealous of Ayano or something, but I feel like the anime hasn’t done enough to set this story up.

— Yu also overhears an conversation between Hayama and Sora. It sounds like they’re blaming the loss on Yu, but I’m not confident on that… I just didn’t know there was so much drama between the supporting cast. Since the story has focused so much on Ayano, this feels like it’s coming outta left field.

— The final match begins, and it’s Ayano and Riko versus just Connie. No, really. Connie has a designated partner, but she absolutely refuses to play with the girl. She insists that she can beat both of her opponents by herself. The sad part is that she’s right.

— At first, Connie petulantly pouts in the corner as her partner loses 10-2 against Ayano and Riko. Fredericia’s coach eventually drops by, but he’s not going to do anything about it. Maybe he doesn’t care. Maybe he’ll discipline her later. Or maybe Connie is so good that she can get away with anything. Either way, he looks like a shit coach, ’cause this has to be pretty goddamn bad for team morale.

— When Connie’s partner finally gives up, the Dane proceeds to win points after points on her own. She’s got it all. Great strength, speed, reflexes, and jumping ability. Even the boys are like, “Whoa, we can’t return her shots.” She’s absolutely crushing Ayano and Riko. But again, is this really possible? Can one person be so good that they can beat two of their peers by themselves? Maybe if the skill difference is that big. I only know tennis, and there’s no way Roger Federer could beat a professional doubles team on his own. There’s just no way. Now if he was playing against two high school players, maybe… but then Connie shouldn’t be playing against high schoolers. She should be going pro if she’s this good. Granted, Kitakomachi are still underdogs, but still…

— Kentarou finally realizes that Connie is none other than the Danish prodigy. Uh huh.

— After the blonde girl has truly made her point, she proceeds to tie her hair ribbon in a very specific and familiar way. She then refers to Ayano as her big sis. Interesting. So what’s the beef? Did Uchika abandon Connie as well? Did she also tell the that Ayano is superior to her? That woman has some explainin’ to do. God only knows where she’s at, though.

— It’s funny. On the one hand, Harukana Receive is a little too chill, but on the other hand, Hanebado! needs to chill the fuck out. I wish I could just mash the two sports anime together to create something pretty damn good. I still like Hanebado!, but its execution is just a little heavy-handed.

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