The tournament has begun and seeing as how anime characters live in a world even smaller than ours, Team Harukana is facing against Ai and Mai first. I figured that was inevitable though I somehow didn’t think it happen so soon.
Personally, I wouldn’t call myself the biggest fan of Ai and Mai. Their chemistry is decent and their origins does serve as a foil to Harukana’s. Detrimental though is that Mai is just plain annoying. The vast majority of her dialogue is talking smack at her opponents and it’s not even good smack at that. She just keeps telling Kanata to give up. It’s a little odd given that they both share a complex over their heights. You’d think Mai would relate to some extent here. Even with that backstory though, I honestly kept rolling my eyes whenever Mai was on screen. Can I have Narumi back?
Still, the match was pretty entertaining. There’s a couple of interesting factors at play here. For one, Ai and Mai are actually indoor volleyball players. Why they’re taking things to the beach is beyond me but they’re nevertheless experienced and Kanata makes the mistake of underestimating their skills (especially Mai’s). Barring some comical mistakes by Ai and Haruka, the match does get pretty close from time to time. Regardless of who’s losing, the difference in points isn’t that wide of a gap. It doesn’t seem as though Ai and Mai have any glaring flaws while Harukana has one big one in regards to blocking. Haruka got pretty good at blocking thanks to Claire’s training but she’s apparently too used to timing Claire’s spikes so now she’s left to do a lot of trial and error in her first real match.
That weakness seems to depress Haruka though Kanata isn’t bothered by it and she instead encourages her cousin to keep trying. Having seen a few occasions of Haruka encouraging Kanata during a match, it’s refreshing to see the reverse happen. Of course, the feeling is still mutual as you see Haruka help Kanata get back on her feet when Mai’s insults start to get to her. It’s always nice to see these two characters’ partnership going strong.
A curious thing that happens during the match is Kanata’s constant use of pokeys. It’s initially a good trick but Ai and Mai get so used to it that you’re baffled as to why Kanata still bothers. Once Emily and Claire come to observe, the latter suggests that it’s intentional. Judging by how exhausted Ai and Mai seem to be getting, perhaps Kanata is playing a war of attrition here. Keep doing the same move over and over again so that they’re too fatigued when you pull a comeback. That may be especially helpful for Haruka since she’ll be able to time her blocks and spikes more efficiently that way. I do have to wonder how Harukana aren’t getting tired during all this but maybe I’m just nitpicking here. It sounds like a good strategy at least.
To be honest, I’m more curious as to who that mysterious girl is. She’s in the OP so clearly, she has a role to play.
Thanks for reading!
For all of my Harukana Receive Episode Reviews, check out the show’s archive page!
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