Hanebado! OP

Hanebado! OP

Introduction

Hanebado! is a badminton anime currently airing during the Summer 2018 anime season, but today’s post isn’t a review of the series as a whole, but rather a breakdown of the anime’s opening animation (OP). So far, this is the best OP of 2018, and may have even broken into my top 5 of all time.

The OP features the song “Futari no Hane” by YURiKA, which on its own is already a reason for this to be considered a good OP. However, this song combined with the unique art style and smooth animation is what really sets this OP above the rest.

LIDENFILMS is the animation studio behind the series as well as the OP (as far as I can find). The only other anime I’ve seen by them is Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, which was pretty good, but they’re also one of the producing studio’s for the recent Berserk adaptations so take that as you will.

Hanebado! anime title card from the OP (opening)
Hanebado! Title Card

Breakdown

The OP begins with some crisp, smooth, splash animations which bring in the credits. At this point, the art style already has me hooked. I’m a sucker for anything high contrast and simplified like this, but the OP just gets better from here.

We then move on to some quick shots of what appears to be Ayano Hanesaki and Nagisa Aragaki doing some spikes in silhouette. From there, a shuttlecock is hit away from the screen and splashes into the background to bring up the anime’s title card (pictured above).

The next sequence is one of my two favorite parts of the OP, and serves to set up my other favorite part of the OP. Here we get a bunch of quick, high contrast, animations of the various characters playing badminton.

In this sequence, each short scene ends at the point of motion with the maximum amount of potential energy (for all you physics-lovers out there). This is going to be key later on in the OP. One example of a scene like this is the shuttlecock making contact with the racket pictured below.

Badminton Racket (racquet) and Shuttlecock (birdie) from the OP of the anime Hanebado!
Badminton Racket and Shuttlecock

Before moving on to the next sequence, we get a grey-scale scene of what appears to be Uchika Hanesaki, Ayano’s mother and primary antagonist of the series. The next sequence simply shows some stills of various characters before panning towards the sky and moving on to the “middle” of the OP.

At this point, we’re no longer in high contrast, and instead the art style is straight out of the rest of the anime, so you might expect there’s not much going on here. Well, you’d be wrong as even the credit text for this sequence has the same breathtaking animation we saw at the start of the OP.

In the top half of the screen we get both stills and animated scenes quickly being wiped away as new ones are wiped into place. The background color also changes with each scene. On the bottom of the screen, the credits have the same splash animations they did from the start.

Although this is probably the most “standard” part of the OP, as I mentioned, it still looks amazing compared to most of the anime I see. An example of one of these scenes is pictured below.

Hanebado! anime OP (opening) scene featuring Ayano Hanesaki
Hanebado! OP Scene Featuring Ayano Hanesaki


After being quickly introduced to a variety of characters in the previous sequence, we move on to the slow point of the OP where things get a little more dark and serious. To further this feeling, the song slows down as well.

This point of the OP is symbolizing Ayano’s initial distaste for the sport of badminton due to her troubled past with it. We then see Nagisa, the first “antagonist” of the series who turns out to be the one who gets Ayano back into the sport, looking at her with a worried expression.

When Ayano picks up her racket and looks at Nagisa, we see her cold, dead eyes as she reaches toward the screen (and Nagisa). From here we switch over to Ayano’s perspective and Nagisa is replaced by an ever-changing composite of other badminton players and rivals of Ayano (pictured below).

Composite of Ayano Hanesaki's rivals from the Hanebado! anime OP (opening)
Composite of Ayano Hanesaki’s Rivals

Before moving on to the “end” of the OP, we see the darkness get cleared away and Ayano and Nagisa stand facing each other as teammates instead of enemies. Then, the scene changes to once again show Ayano’s mother, Uchika, the primary antagonist.

And now, it’s time for my favorite part of the OP, the continuation of the “beginning.” We go back to the high contrast art style from the start of the OP and pick up the sequence of potential energy scenes exactly where they left off before.

However, now the potential energy of these scenes is released in explosive fashion, showing just how exciting this anime, and the sport of badminton, can be. I really wouldn’t have minded if the entire OP was in this art/animation style simply because it’s so aesthetically pleasing.

High contrast sneaker frame from a kinetic shot in the Hanebado! anime OP (opening)
High Contrast Sneaker

To finish off the OP, we end with some basically-line-art animation of both Ayano and Nagisa simply enjoying the sport of badminton as they each get swept away to make room for each other. From there, a shuttlecock is hit into the sky and turns into a white bird which flies overhead as Ayano watches.

While the animation for this scene isn’t really any different from the rest of the OP, the lack of most of the color seems to emphasize the animation itself, making it look just that much more impressive.

Animated line art of Ayano Hanesaki from the Hanebado! anime OP (opening)
Ayano Hanesaki

I’d like to see a better OP than this one later in the year, but I think the chances of that are extremely low. It’s a good thing this series didn’t premier during the Winter season, because then every other OP for the rest of the year would have looked bland and boring by comparison.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts on the Hanebado! OP? Is it your favorite of 2018 or is there an even better one I somehow missed out on? Let me know in the comments, and while you’re down there, give the little heart button a click if you liked this post.

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