Harukana Receive has made it to the tournament stage!!! Hurray! We’re getting some action today! After learning about the tournament in episode 3 with the Thomas twins, having practice and whatever else in episode 4, we’ve made it! There’s still a lot of character depth in this episode, too, so another long review from me. Let’s get into this!
The 22nd Okinawa Beach Volleyball Junior Tournament at Nishihara Marine Park (which is an actual place believe it or not).
Our episode starts with Harukana checking out the bracket of the tournament…and who does our pair get to face in round one? Ai and Mai of episode 4!! That’s um…well personally I don’t agree with this move at all, because we were just introduced to these two characters, and now it seems like their culmination is coming to an end–be it in two episodes or three, depending on how long the match goes. Honestly this feels forced and rushed, but getting our main characters to play two others we’ve met seems like a production move in all honesty.
While doing this adds tension to the relationships we saw them make in the previous episode, I don’t think it works very well here in all honesty. Like I said, it feels forced to do this to the viewers despite Haruka and Mai’s playful spats and whatnot over the swimsuits in episode 4. However, we do get that battle before the match starts…
With this show, though, we’re still given some sort of slash away from the seriousness. Kanata pokes Haruka’s side and the obvious sexual sound that shouldn’t be there happens. Haruka looks like she’s all turned on and it’s mostly one of those “seriously? wait, okay yeah…duh that would happen” moments.
Anyway, after that we’re shown another character, one we haven’t been introduced to yet, staring at the bracket so intensely it’s almost disturbing. She’s got a yellow hair scrunchie and one huge ponytail looking thing. Who is she? Why are we getting her now–five episodes into the show?
Anway, after that our match starts! We get Kanata to serve first, okay, great, we’ll be able to see if Haruka can block since that’s what she was learning in the previous episode. Wow this show really does keep snowballing in a good way. Haruka times the block….
It goes into the net!!! Okay, awesome the match has started in full. Now, there’s actually some comparisons I’d like to make here based on characterization. While this takes away from the review in a way, I think it actually gives the show more weight and shows our characters for who they are and what we’ve come to know about them.
- Haruka freaks out about the spike
- She didn’t block it, but having a spike hit the net like that so close to your face is scary (believe me, I’ve experienced it firsthand)
- Kanata is super focused and taking mental notes about the match as it progresses
- THIS IS TSUKKI FROM HAIKYUU!! Literally the way Kanata talks about narrowing the path of the spike is what Tsukki did during the season 3 match against Shiratorizawa for Nishinoya (my favorite anime character of all time)
Okay, so as that’s happening, Ai and Mai noticed Haruka’s timing is off. The characters are actually thinking in this show and I love it; they’re noticing weaknesses, their trying to exploit the others, and they’re doing what they can with the information they have. It’s all so character based, yet the plot is moving (the plot here only being the match).
After this we get those quick-cut scenes so the match doesn’t drag on forever. The score: 3-1 Harukana lead. Mai misses a serve: 4-1 Harukana lead. Haruka’s serve sails long because of the wind: 4-2 Harukana lead. Point, point, point, change sides…short scenes, the score: 17-20 Harukana lead. Ai/Mai score: 18-20 Harukana lead.
I actually enjoy this sequence of events because it shows the characters’ intensity, it raises the stakes of the set, and we’re not sure how things are actually turning out. One could scream “WHAT’S THE SCORE!!” like I did….
Cut to a flashback of Ai and Mai playing indoor volleyball…it’s short, but we learn about Ai and Mai, and who they are as characters in this–which I enjoyed to be honest.
While the flashback ends with Ai and Mai losing their match, and something about tall people, we get characterization out of it, and we sort of dive into how each of their mindsets are because of what they’ve experienced playing indoor volleyball.
Our episode takes a quick exit here, though, with not a lot happening. Kanata has been using her pokeys, which is cool and all because they’re sneaky, but they aren’t working. Because of this, Kanata begins to get upset. This is a drastic change from where she was at the start of the episode and match–when she was calculating, and thinking all the time, and had a strategy in mind.
HARUKA PICKS KANATA UP!!! That high five thing and trust talk from episode 4 is still in play, because Haruka tells Kanata that they’ll get the next point and she smiles. It’s little things like this that make Harukana Receive enjoyable to watch. It’s not the volleyball, really, it’s the character interactions and how they’ve developed within their interactions.
Harukana pair wins the first set!!!!! Woohoo!! SO AWESOME!!!
Cut to the Thomas Twins! They handle their first match super quickly. Yep. Not much to say here, really. Except, we learn during the break from Kanata that Eclair placed 2ND AT NATIONALS!!!
Okay, Harukana Receive is doing it again. They’re giving us information through conversation, while progressing characters and the plot, and making it all seem natural. Haruka freaks out? Kanata says something to calm her down and they get better together. Kanata says something depressive? Haruka is right there with her “go-get-’em” attitude to pick Kanata back up and fight right alongside her.
The two characters are perfect for each other and compliment each other so well it’s actually scary. And it doesn’t seem forced or unnatural at all…it all seems normal.
Okay, we get that new character again, too. She says something after the Thomas twins win their match, but we still have no idea who she is or why she’s present. I’m guessing she’s going to be a coach, but I could be wrong. I don’t know. It’s all mysterious and intriguing at the same time.
Our episode ends when we’re back to Harukana’s match. Kanata is still hitting pokeys… Why? Is there a reason? Is she doing it on purpose? Does she not trust herself to hit a spike? Why is she only doing the pokey thing? The ball is sailing and easy to pick up because she’s short, but she’s still doing it. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but then again she was calculating and had a plan…so maybe she’s doing it on purpose for some reason.
And that’s the end. We got character development, we had a new character enter the show, we got to see flashes of Eclair dominate their match, and we saw how Harukana is willing to keep each other going despite how the other one is feeling. When one is down, the other lifts her up. It’s cute, it’s amazing, it’s thought out. The show is driving character progression which drives the plot.
I love it!
Oh, and the swimsuits are wonderful!! I like them! The fan service is built right into the show!! And it’s not thrown in our faces like “LOOK AT THE BOOBS!! LOOK AT THE BUTT!!” No, it’s actually well done and sneaky…
SAD PART!!! Kamekichi the Turtle Sightings: ZERO! ZERO! NONE! NOT ONE!!!
Thanks for reading!