I find it quite fresh and enjoyable how the series is starting off a very different, yet sober note compared to a lot of other sports anime that comes to mind. Last week we were unexpectedly given a solid episode on Nagisa., and this week we got the chance to learn a lot about Ayano through Elena’s perspective. I like this approach a lot, because it’s enabling us to learn more about the characters sooner than expected. The truth is, even though Elena has been friends with Ayano since childhood, it wasn’t until today she learned what drove Ayano to quit badminton in the first place.
Learning the reasons why Ayano quit broke my heart. Badminton was something Ayano was passionate about for as long as she can remember, but after she lost to Kaoruko (who forced her to get sick in order to compete on “equal” terms (WTF IS WRONG WITH THIS GIRL!?!? SHE IS GOD DAMN CRAZY!), her mother told her to quit the sport, left her and never returned since. (WTF?!?!! THAT’S TOO CRUEL!) For a time, Ayano believed that if she kept winning, her mother would come back. But after learning she has been being defeated by a prodigy she raised herself, and her mother has moved on, Ayano didn’t feel like there was a reason for her to play anymore.
And it sucks when something you love becomes poison to you all due to negative association. As Elena told Ayano, what her mother did shouldn’t stop her from enjoying badminton, those are two separate matters. But it is difficult to overcome that, especially when Badminton has always been something they shared together. For Ayano, she has always been passionate about the sport, but ever since her loss, it has become something that hurts her instead of being able to have fun with it.
Ayano is lucky to have a friend like Elena. The girl has always been by her side through thick and thin, and envies her for having something to be passionate about. And it is because of that, she is fights for Ayano’s love for the sport, and truly believes that Ayano should be playing badminton. It doesn’t matter how good she is, it is because she loves it. So she sought out help from Nagisa, who she believed could help reach out to Ayano, as she too is equally as passionate about the sport. (I would also like to note, I respect how Nagisa told Ayano she doesn’t care if she quits, but she would like to be able to at least have one last set with her).
After three episodes, as much as I am loving the show, this is a bit tricky for me to to write about. So whether or not continue the coverage will depend on next week’s episode, but other than that, I will sure be watching the rest of the show. I would also like to say, even if you don’t like badminton, Hanebado! is still a show you should consider watching this season. It has a great set of characters, and I am looking forward to seeing how everyone in the club will evolve as the underdogs, going up against the power-houses like Konan High School.