I’m actually watching this show for the plot, thank you very much.
Maybe I’ll end up as one of the ten people who tried to take Harukana Receive seriously but I am genuinely liking it for reasons beyond “the girls are hot”.
The fanservice is undeniably there. In fact, Episode 2 is a little more indulgent in that kind of material than the premiere was. A couple of scenes were very keen in making you aware of Haruka’s physique. Some of the dialogue are also just hilarious taken out of context (Kanata, you just had to admit to finding your cousin’s butt “absolutely adorable”). Maybe I’m desensitized by hundreds of beach episodes but I don’t know, I still don’t think it’s horribly gratuitous. A lot of the eyecandy are reasonably diegetic and and while I am seeing jiggles, I have seen it done way worse in anime.
More importantly, I just think the story of Harukana Receive is actually shaping up quite nicely. This episode offers two major events: Kanata and Haruka training for their rematch with Narumi and Asaya and the actual match itself. I would’ve loved it if this episode included a 90s style sports montage but watching the two main characters train together was downright charming. I just adore Haruka’s tenacity and gleefulness towards volleyball, be it her impatience to practice with the ball or doing goofy poses with the techniques her cousin is teaching her to do. The chances of beating high school champions aren’t high but Haruka admirably doesn’t let that deter her.
The rematch itself is pretty entertaining as well. I will admit that the animation is not the best but it does pull through during certain serves and spikes executed by the characters. What really helps is some of the context surrounding it. You can tell that Haruka has improved drastically; she no longer trips on the sand and she pulls off both a cut and a dump during the match (the latter of which was entirely improvised). It was also fun seeing the characters try to one up each other such as when Haruka tries to use the cut to surprise Asaya only to discover that Narumi saw through her scheme.
The key moment though is when Haruka encourages Kanata to receive the ball during the match point. It’s a risk for the team as Kanata has considered herself unfit for the task due to her short height. Had it not been for her cousin’s encouragement, she probably would’ve backed out of it entirely. The scene does pay off and it is a very satisfying moment in of itself but the bigger takeaway is how it speaks to Haruka as a team player. It seems that she really did take Narumi’s talk about there being no ace in volleyball to heart. Despite Kanata’s severe self-doubt, Haruka puts complete faith in her and commits to being her partner. Conversely, this does put Narumi in poor light, forcing her to wonder if she wasn’t supportive enough for Kanata. I don’t think Narumi is a terrible person but it’s clear that she’s regretting how she did things and this will likely be a moment of growth for her.
In the meantime, Haruka and Kanata has enjoyed their first ever victory though this is hardly the end of their adventure. This episode teases some new opponents for them to face and unsurprisingly, Haruka is more determined than ever to play beach volleyball. There’s plenty in store for these two and I look forward to seeing where their adventure takes them next.
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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