The fourth episode of HANEBADO! finds Ayano becoming part of a team – and facing a mysterious new challenger.
Overview (Spoilers Below):
While on their way to a training camp, the Kitakomachi badminton club discovers the camp has been double-booked. Because of this, they end up playing the Fredericia Girls badminton club. Ayano is excited about playing with her team for the first time, but the excitement quickly switches to confusion when she has to follow a poorly-drawn map to a convenience store.
She meets a new friend on the way – or is she a friend? Nope, she’s just a crazed badminton player from Denmark with the sole objective of defeating Ayano in combat. And what’s more, she might also be her sister?
This was a strange episode. I was enjoying the whole country atmosphere and the break from the school gym, and then Connie entered the picture and changed everything with her mad skills and crazy confessions. But let’s take a step back to start. I’m Lost Right Now, Too opens with a team-building hair routine segment that shows how everyone at the Kitakomachi badminton club is becoming more comfortable together – both on and off the courts. Yu is definitely one of my favorite characters and seeing her utilize her magical hair powers was fun.
Once the group arrives at their training camp location, things take a turn for the weirder. Ayano is sent on an errand to a local convenience store, despite having no clue about the surrounding area. (She gets a hand-drawn map, but it is no help whatsoever.) Luckily, she runs into a friendly girl with a funny accent who knows her way around. The two of them hit it off, and Ayano opens up a bit about her experience with the badminton club. I’m still not loving the whole ‘make Ayano join the club against her wishes’ thing. The reason she references for staying in the team environment that she enjoys, but she could find that at any club. Why does it have to be with the one club she repeatedly turned down joining and the one sport that has traumatic mommy memories wrapped up in it?
Connie herself is probably the wackiest character on the show so far. A badminton prodigy from Denmark, she apparently transferred to Japan simply to win a match against Ayano. Once the doubles game officially begins, she refuses to play unless her teammate lets her go it alone. When the girl says she can’t win the game by herself, Connie smirks, “I can – wanna trade?” If you think this sounds a bit overboard just for a game of badminton, you’re probably right. But this is HANEBADO! we’re talking about! This series doesn’t shy away from overwrought, nearly melodramatic backstory. And speaking of backstory: Connie might be Ayano’s sister? I really don’t have much to say about this until we know more. Could Ayano’s mom have run off to Denmark and had another kid soon after abandoning Ayano?
Visually, this was a fine episode. Though it lacked the superb attention to detail that was present in the first couple episodes during the badminton action sequences, the animation was still solid. I also really enjoyed the gorgeous countryside views as Ayano and Connie walked together. The dub was great, with every line sounding pitch-perfect and matching the mouth flaps to a tee. Yu had some of the best lines this time around, like: “I am the painter, and you are my canvas.” and “I took your name and shortened it – making it cuter!”
HANEBADO! continues to deliver bombastic badminton matches with a healthy dose of melodrama tossed in. This episode was a nice way to show how Ayano has grown to like being with her team, but the introduction of Connie leaves a lot of unanswered questions. We’ll have to wait and see how the series will answer them.