Harukana Receive – Ep. 12 (END)

I never thought I’d say this but I really am going to miss Harukana Receive a lot. Admittedly, Summer 2018 has a been a pretty middling season but even then, I truly ended up having a lot of fun with this particular anime.

What bums me out the most about this show coming to its conclusion is that it really gives you the impression that it was only just now showing its truest of its colors. In the end, I think the biggest flaw Harukana Receive suffered from was simply the fact that it was obligated to adapt all the introductory arcs. I ended up enjoying the whole thing a lot but I can’t deny that Haruka being a beginner and Kanata being rusty obviously limit things. Not only can you not have them act so fancy on the court but you also need opposition appropriately challenging as they improve their skills. It’s only at the end, do I realize how heart pumping this anime can get and while it makes for a great finale, it does leave me wishing there was at least another cour. Haruka says it best at the end. We’ve only just begun with this story.

But like I said, this was a high note to end things on. It’s been great sitting through this match for the past three weeks; even as it comes to a close, it remains exhilarating. Obviously, being a deuce means both Harukana and Eclair are on edge but dragging out the final point for as long as it was appropriate to do so also drove up the tension.

What I like most about the match though is its final look at Harukana’s bond. Kanata notes that she seems to be the least exhausted on the court and she uses all her remaining stamina to her advantage. She covers any missteps Haruka’s fatigue causes and at match point, she performs one hell of a save at the risk of a slow recovery. In the end however, it’s up to Haruka to secure victory and she does so by successfully blocking Claire’s strike. Even in its last moments, this match still exercise its theme about partnership and teamwork. Kanata may think she should take more of the pressure for Haruka because she’s less exhausted but in the end, it’s still the mutual trust those girls have with each other that lets them win.

The aftermath is also worth taking notes on. As to be expected, the results leave everyone conflicted. Haruka and Kanata win but they’re pretty bittersweet about their victory at first out of concern for Claire. While Emily immediately accepts her loss, Claire clearly needed to vent. There’s a mix of emotions there — sadness over losing, regret over training Harukana, and yet, she is happy to find such a strong opposing team and proud of her friends for getting this far.

That Claire hands over her and Emily’s scrunchies to Haruka during the celebration is a pretty interesting gesture. It obviously isn’t the Thomas twins abandoning the friendship they’ve gained but rather, it’s to symbolize how much they trust and encourage Haruka to take her and Kanata to victory at Nationals. It’s a very heartwarming scene to see Claire act so encouraging and supportive. The only issue I have with this scene is how much of a hoarder Haruka looks because of it. Come on, you’re going to wear all three? At least give one to Kanata!

In a way, Akari’s inclusion to the group proved to be integral. I think Emily and Kanata are right in saying that a rift would’ve happened by now. Under normal circumstances, who would honestly want to go to a celebration that potentially awkward? But being that odd fifth wheel really did give Akari a role to play — a nice middle ground who would support everyone regardless of the situation and a clear conscience. Obviously, I do think this would have a more profound effect if Akari was in the show longer but all in all, it still works. Come to think about it, it’s kind of ironic that this is the role Akari ultimately settled on. When she was introduced, she really wanted to be a big celebrity of some kind but her most valuable contribution turned out to be on the sidelines, managing and cheering her friends on.

Narumi also has a hand in preventing a rift from happening, relaying a message to Harukana through Akari to just be happy about their victory, both for their sake and Eclair’s. I’m curious if there’s more to what Narumi is feeling. Obviously, she’s happy Kanata will be at Nationals but much like with Eclair, she ought to be wary now that she knows playing against her friend is more likely. For now, I think she is taking her own advice to heart and is just happy with the results for her friends’ sake. It’s just a shame for me that this is where the anime is ending things for her. There’s clearly more to her arc and damn it, when will she pay for that stinking ice cream she owes Haruka? This is going to be Misty’s bike all over again, isn’t it?

Right now, I’m really happy with how Harukana Receive turned out. For an anime ripe with fanservice, it surprisingly executed its story quite well. Some parts are a bit clumsy but I really like the message it has about teamwork and the whole cast of characters is so darn charming. Plus, the volleyball is fun to watch, especially towards the end. I am going to miss this show but if there ever ends up being a second season, I will gladly watch it.

Other Thoughts:

  • Even in the finale, Haruka and Kanata’s grandpa is eternally denied his screentime. What a funny running gag that proved to be. I love it even more because Kamekichi ended up being the one prominent male character and he’s a turtle.
  • So has the manga gotten to that bit about Kanata’s parents being dead or….?
  • Narumi having Akari’s Shequasar commercial jingle as her ringtone was priceless. I swear, just when I think I got over it, the song creeps back into my head.
  • I wasn’t super keen about some of the butt slapping in this anime but Claire finally getting one and realizing how awkward it makes her feel did get a chuckle out of me.
  • I almost forgot to say this but I really dig the soundtrack. I can’t quite put it but it really compliments the beach setting. Also, are those insert songs available on iTunes?
  • One last time, Season 2 when?

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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