Harukana Receive – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

Instead of just one episode set in the beach, how about a whole anime?

I was planning to write a joke about how I’m enjoying Harukana Receive for the “plot” (as I’m sure some other people already have) but I’ll be serious for a bit: this show’s first episode is actually pretty good.

Not going to lie, I really grew to like the main character, Haruka, a lot by the time the episode was over. She’s the kind of protagonist fit for this kind of story: passionate, motivated but also not toxically competitive, and able to find a takeaway from a match even she loses. It was just entertaining to see her play beach volleyball despite being fairly new to the sport and losing the game.

It’ll be interesting to see how Haruka fits in the story that Harukana Receive establishes. Upon arriving in Okinawa, Haruka discovers that her cousin, Kanata, is a lot more reserved than she remembers. A few hints thrown around are the deaths of Kana’s parents, her background as a volleyball player, and her apparent rough history with the high school champions she and Haruka face this episode. Whatever the case may be, it seems like it’ll be up to Haruka to help her cousin regain her love for beach volleyball. It’s hard to imagine anyone else more fit for the job; the two characters’ personalities contract each other nicely.

The two opponents that Haruka and Kanata face, Narumi and Asaya, make a pretty good first impression as well. Asaya seems to be the more laid back of the two while Narumi takes the sport so seriously that she takes offense to Haruka’s naivete. Despite that rough start though, Narumi does begin to take Haruka seriously as the latter quickly improves during the match. Most surprisingly, Narumi even agrees to do a rematch with Haruka if the latter trains. Asaya assumes it’s to force Kana back in volleyball and that is entirely possible though I think Narumi is also just interested in what happens when Haruka trains in earnest.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a blog post on Harukana Receive without commenting on the fanservice. I’m sure it’ll draw tons of snickers from anime fans but honestly, I didn’t mind it at all. This show centers around beach volleyball so it has the perfect excuse to show girls in bikinis. To its credit, a lot of the eyecandy tends to just happen because of how action shots need to be framed and drawn. There’s also no unrealistic boob jiggling either so brownie points for not straying into super gratuitous territory.

Since I have my self-imposed rule of watching at least one CGDCT anime per season, I was more or less going to watch Harukana Receive. Before the season started, it was pretty much the only CGDCT show that seemed even remotely interesting to me. Thank goodness that it seems to be entertaining beyond eyecandy though; I look forward to seeing more of this show.

Thanks for reading!

Harukana Receive is officially available on Crunchyroll & Funimation.

For all of my Harukana Receive Episode Reviews, check out the show’s archive page!

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