I think it’s safe to say that Harukana Receive is ending its cour with a bang. The match between Harukana and Ecclair has been surprisingly exhilarating, certainly in a way prior matches did not. Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat when the two teams were just competing for the first point in the final set. That’s how intense it can get. For an anime that has leaned considerably towards moe and fanservice, it sure can play out more like a legitimate sports anime when it wants to. On top of that, whether or not there ends up being another season, this anime sure picked an appropriate season finale.
To be honest, I really have to wonder what this story, anime or manga, even has in store, for the potential match between Harukana and Narumi/Ayase. The match we’re watching right now is pulling out all the stops. Everyone, even Kanata and Emily, have gotten pretty aggressive here, refusing to let any potential point elude them. The gap in points is consistently close too. Harukana win the second set and both teams are currently on a deuce. Haruka particularly gets bold in this episode, pulling off topsins for the first time in her volleyball career and even attempting a block feint on Claire. At one point, she even steals Kanata’s thunder and performs a pokey. If that isn’t bold, I don’t know what is. It’s strange to say but I’m actually struggling to imagine a future match as intense and varied as this one. Then again, we’re at the end of this cour so perhaps my concern is moot. Besides, I am still pleased that Harukana Receive decided to go all out here.
While action takes center stage here, there is still some character development going on in this episode. Whereas Emily’s arc is sorted out last episode, you get to see a bit more about Claire. She mentions she has wanted to beat Kanata on her own terms and it shows here. At certain points, she looks frustrated at how difficult her opponents are making this fight be but during the last timeout, you find out that she wishes this match could go on forever. Deep down, this is exactly what she wants: a rival just like the one she once fought and a match that is pushing her to her limits. No wonder she wants this to last forever (even though she and Emily are looking very tired), it’s giving a feeling she doesn’t always get to enjoy.
During that same timeout, there’s a really great scene between Haruka and Kanata in which the former displays a rare, vulnerable side of her character. There’s a pretty good reason for it as before the timeout, Haruka’s fatigue gets the best of her and causes the ball to hit the net. Thus, Eclair reaches match point and puts Harukana at the risk of losing. The lead up to her visually expressing regret is staged well as you see Haruka grab a face towel, only to reveal that it’s actually to cover up the tears welling in her eyes. To me, this scene plays out as a reversal on Haruka and Kanata’s relationship. Before, it’s generally been Haruka helping Kanata look past her insecurities but here, we see the opposite play out. This time, it’s Kanata calming Haruka down and remind her that the match isn’t over just yet. It’s a simple shakeup to the narrative but one that serves as nice finishing touch on the show’s titular relationship and it speaks well to the main theme of mutual trust and faith with one’s partner.
Even this far in, my money is still on Harukana. Not that I’d be pissed if Eclair won (hold on, let me tuck this pitchfork away) but in terms of the overarching plot, it just makes sense for them to win. Plus, them winning would simply be very satisfying since they have come a long way since the start of this story. Regardless of who becomes the victor, this match has been a great one and I’m really glad Harukana Receive decided to make its final stretch really count.
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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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