I’m a bit behind on my reviews from the episodes that aired last week, but I’m taking my time watching them and making notes for myself, so if you could bear with me a bit that’d be awesome.
Harukana Receive episode 3 seems to actually have given us some semblance of plot with the official introduction of two more characters, but also got stuck in an odd character development stage…
In this episode we’re introduced to Emily and Claire Thomas, who right off the bat freak Haruka out. Kanata is “taken” by a “foreigner” in Haruka’s eyes, and we get the development of Haruka that we’ve seen through the first two episodes. She’s wild, excitable, and over-reacts. “No English!” is what we get out of Haruka when she meets one of the sisters for the first time, which is pure Haruka up to this point.
I actually enjoyed this small sequence because we’re given Haruka’s natural reaction, which is almost always over-the-top, and Kanata’s calm response–which is what we should now expect from her, I guess.
Anyway, we’re officially introduced to Emily and Claire Thomas as members of the beach volleyball branch of the high school they’re attending! Emily and Claire, also known as: Eclair (I can’t actually type that correctly, sorry). Yep, we got a bad joke by Haruka, and a picture of an eclair to top it off. YAWN. The only good part about that bad joke is it fits Haruka’s personality…so less yawn?
From the get-go I could tell these sisters were twins. And the way they play off each other actually makes for an interesting and very true dynamic. I’m a twin myself, so yes, we do act like that on certain occasions. The personalities are also pretty well done if I do say so myself.
Emily–the twin with the glasses: Calm, collected, rational (ME. BUT, she’s the younger twin…not me)
Claire–the twin without glasses: Wild, excitable, super easily hyped (MY BROTHER. BUT, she’s the older twin…not my brother)
Now, with the introduction we also get some fan service of Claire, which is understandable considering her personality thus far, but I honestly believe it was completely unnecessary. We don’t need to see her in a swimsuit, posing with a colorful, well-lit background. It’s taking away from the narrative we sort of have going.
Anyway, the four girls decide, with the overly-excited Claire and Haruka, to play a set of volleyball. Great! We’re actually getting some volleyball in! This is good! The story can progress now based on what happens on the court, right? RIGHT!
A thing called a “pokey” is introduced, which is really just a tip over the blockers instead of trying to spike through them. It’s a poke, hence pokey.
We also get a depressive Kanata character as her spikes continually get shut down, which confused me for a little, honestly. Kanata knows she’s short, and spiking through blockers is harder for shorter characters, so it’s pretty weird that she’s getting so upset during a practice match.
But, we do get something out of this sequence of Kanata continually getting blocked. Emily is concerned for Kanata. We get her thoughts. “Just use it, dammit.” And then we get a flashback to understand why Kanata is so upset. Kanata used to spike like a monster when she was younger and playing with Narumi. She was super good!
“If I can’t make a spike then I’m not playing like myself.”–Kanata
Oh, okay, there it is. She’s so concerned with spiking for points, and doing what she always did, that she thinks that’s the only way she can play. It’s her style, so she can’t change that. Well, we got something out of a flashback! But, more importantly, we got something out of an interaction with other characters coupled with a flashback to make us understand our cast.
I will say I enjoy this, but it isn’t giving us much of a plot. What it’s doing three episodes in is still building on characters we’ve known since episode one. While I can get behind that in a certain extent, Harukana Receive is failing to grasp the audience with a distinct plot and instead slowly giving us characters and slight developments without much difference in how they’re continuing the season.
The match progresses, yeah, like it should. But, Haruka uses a pokey. Okay, like I said, we’re getting character development through interactions. After the pokey, Haruka tells Kanata, “A point is still a point.”
So, no matter how you get the point, it’s good to get the point. Awesome, but what does that mean for our plot? Nothing. It’s giving us character development again, and we see Kanata use a pokey. She’s growing! She’s coming out of that shell that we’ve seen her in when it comes to volleyball and other characters.
While I like this, the character development is a bit slow, tedious, and relies solely on small interactions with other characters without any plot development.
Toward the end, though, I think we finally get some semblance of plot, when the twins bring up the Okinawa tournament and beach volleyball club sign ups. Haruka gets super pumped for that and really wants to join. Yes! Plot advancement! There’s a goal! The tournament! Thank you!
However, this advancement is over-shadowed by another flashback by Kanata, going all the way back to grade school. Kanata meets Narumi. The two become friends. Kanata asks about beach volleyball. They begin practicing…..
Bad placement. The placement of this flashback, even though it’s actually built into the story by a conversation between Kanata and Haruka, takes away from what we could have been eager for: the club and tournament. With that, we get some talk about club sign ups, and Haruka getting upset with Kanata for filling her form out as soon as they got home…
And Haruka officially asks Kanata to be her partner!
Bleh. While this episode did give us some plot development, I think it’s still stuck in the rut of character development through tiny interactions and a bit of fan service. While the fan service was toned down in episode three, there wasn’t really enough other aspects of the episode that stood out.
What we got from this was the introduction of Emily and Claire Thomas, a slight development in Kanata through Emily’s badgering, a club sign up, and the prospect of a tournament. We didn’t get much else. The flashbacks took away from what could have been a decent forward motion of the plot and instead focused almost solely on developing characters through the same device we had previously–volleyball matches.
Now, I get that it’s a volleyball show, but the plot should over-shadow the development a bit and have characters develop alongside the plot, while taking a bit of a background role. Overall, Harukana Receive’s third episode failed to do much other than give a small bit of hope going into episode four with the introduction of a tournament and two characters that seem to play nicely off each other while sharing characteristics with our two main characters Haruka and Kanata.
Underwhelming, but slightly hopeful progress looms I think.
Kamekichi the Turtle sightings: 1… but it was adorable as grandma was holding him 🙂