*Warning: This may contain minor spoilers*
Synopsis: This story follows Hanesaki, a badminton genius, who has given up on the sport. That is until she comes face-to-face with a player that’s the complete opposite of her: Aragaki, who practices badminton at all waking hours.
Story/Plot: So, on the surface, it seemed to me like this 13 episode adaptation was going to be a genius vs hard-worker anime. I’m not opposed to those types of stories by any means, but I can be a bit wary of them because they can sometimes be delivered very badly. This is one of those times.
Let me start off with what I liked. I loved the matches; everything about them was great. They were beautifully animated and put together very nicely.
The story, not so much. As amazingly animated as this show may be, it almost hurt to watch. The plot was all over the place, with certain points/events being more convenient than actually making sense. There was just way too much drama going on for the amount of actual playing that we got to see.
Apart from Hanesaki and her mommy issues, nothing else is explored. Everything and everyone is kind of just there; they were just included to fill up space. I was hoping that the characters themselves could make up for all of this, but I was let down once again.
Characters: The art-style for the characters were very pleasing to the eye, but unfortunately, a bit inconsistent at times. I found myself noticing certain things constantly changing. For example, sometimes the characters would look older than they were, or would magically have longer hair in random scenes. That bothered me.
The characters themselves were very confusing. I think the mangaka couldn’t decide on what personality they were each supposed to have. None of them seemed to stay true to who they were, and were consistently flopping back and forth between their mentalities and what they were aiming for. It was a bit annoying because most of the time, their sudden “mood/mental” changes had absolutely no purpose. Maybe the mangaka was trying to make them seem more ‘badass’ or whatever, but it was just poorly handled.
Although, I must admit that the friendship between Nagisa [Aragaki] and Izumi was pure, and it made me feel warm at times; so that’s somewhat of a plus.
The thing that irritated me the most, however, was that none of their skills actually improved whatsoever. I watch sports anime because it’s fun to see the characters’ journeys from perhaps being average or mediocre at the sport, to practicing so hard that they become the best in their division/region. It’s thrilling! But, in this one, every single character was stagnant. Honestly, the only deciding factor in official matches was their emotions: Who’s attachment to the sport makes them want it more?
Favorite Character: For a sports anime, I didn’t really care much for any of the characters. Like I mentioned above, some of them did intrigue me, but there was barely any room for development or even for them to appear on screen since it all had to be about Ayano’s issues. Well, for the little bit that I saw of her, I did enjoy Serigaya Kaoruko. There’s always that one arrogant athlete that thinks he or she is above everyone else. Well, she’s that person in the story. One thing about me is that I love egotistical characters when they have a reason to be; meaning, if they’re actually good, or the best, at whatever it is that they’re proud of. She’s very good at badminton and considerably confident about it and, although it may not seem like it, appreciates her teammates for having pushed her so far.
Overall Score: I was really looking forward to this one in particular, as I enjoy the sport of badminton in real life, but I’m sad to say that I was very disappointed. I had told myself to stay away from sports anime that revolve around a women’s team and I couldn’t quite recall why; now I remember. The story did have potential, and I didn’t exactly hate the characters either. So, I think I’ll give it a score of 5/10.
Do I Recommend This?: Nope. If you’re looking for a good sports anime, there are dozens of others to choose from. If you’re looking for a good drama, again, there are so many different shows to recommend apart from this one.
I don’t regret watching it, I suppose, but this won’t be one that I’ll be reading the manga of in the future or even re-watching.