“Harukana Receive” is based on manga with the same name, and this anime is a great series to watch on dark and gloomy days. Why? Because “Harukana Receive” is a light sports/slice of life comedy drama exclusively set in Okinawa during the summer (and there’s a whole lot of cute and sexy girls to be found in the anime as well).
When Haruka arrives in Okinawa to stay with her aunt, she is reunited with her rather small cousin, Kanata, who is somewhat embarrassed about her height and has given up playing beach volleyball for reasons that become clear through the series. Stopping off on the way to her new home, Haruka, finds two girls practicing beach volleyball, one of whom is Kanata’s previous partner.
Eager to have a game against these two girls, and partnering with Kanata, the two are thoroughly beaten in a near-grudge match, and Haruka given a telling off for thinking that the game can be played individually. However, this only drives her to start learning how to play the game properly so that she can eventually have a revenge match.
Throughout the series, you follow Haruka as she begins to start learning about beach volleyball and all the rules and techniques that go with it. Whilst the series doesn’t go into too much depth (you aren’t told much about the hand-signals given to their partners, although you do see Haruka trying to memorize the signals and their meanings), “Harukana Receive” does indeed mention various techniques like pokeys, blocking and dumps.
In addition, there are details of why teams switch sides every so often and how indoor and outdoor volleyball differs. However, these are always given as part of the story, which makes learning about the game interesting. With the exception of the initial meeting between Kanata and her former partner Narumi, and the end match, there is little in the way of real tension.
I mean, the closest being one game where they take on an over-confident team, and whom Haruka and Kanata beat pretty easily – the series is more comedy than drama – with most of that being left to the games. Haruka is generally the comedy foil – her reaction to being compared to an idol is amusing, as is her enthusiasm towards volleyball, despite being roundly beaten.
One other funny part is where the girls are trying to find suitable swimsuits and Haruka’s chosen one has already been taken by another girl. Character wise, all the girls are very sympathetic – Haruka’s over-eagerness is reminiscent of Nadeshiko from Yuru Camp, whilst Kanata’s and Narumi’s techy relationship is explained and later on more or less resolved (although perhaps more could have been made of this).
The series is generally very nicely animated throughout, with good use of CGI during the matches, which are always extremely exciting and fast paced. Unlike in some anime, like Seki for example, matches aren’t shown as being super-flashy and no-one has super powers either…
Details aren’t skipped here either – you see the judges judging every so often, the banners around the match area (complete with sponsors) and the simple rest areas. You also get to see how continually playing under the sun affects the players.
A lot of the volleyball gameplay is shown in “Harukana Receive”, probably more than other areas (although you do have some school shots, along with a shopping arcade and Haruka’s new home). Pacing is also done well, with Haruka initially still losing, but using the experience to get the hang of the game and its tactics, all the whilst getting Kanata back to playing the sport, making new friends and joining the school’s beach volleyball club.
The background scenery is really lovely and rather realistic. As it does make you think you are there, on the beach and in the heat…And of course, it has to be mentioned that the girls all look very nice too – they spend most of the series in their beach clothes (with one episode involving the obligatory swim wear choosing section), allowing for some rather interesting views (topnotch fan service awaits you!) – and of course, the usual innuendo.
There is also some slightly underlying sexual tension between characters, although apparently it’s downplayed compared to the manga – Claire Thomas, in particular, has a tendency to get rather touchy towards her sister and has no problem doing the same to other characters too. In addition, it is sometimes mentioned that the pairs are like married couples.
They are all animated and detailed very nicely as well, with all the correct parts jiggling around when needed…And, of course, there is the usual wise old aunt – who actually doesn’t really give out that much advice – and is usually just around to show how happy she is to have both Kanata playing again, and being able to enjoy herself again.
In overall, “Harukana Receive” is a very nice anime that generally shows the beach volleyball scene in a good light, with all the training and practice needed to play the game well. It also doesn’t shy away from people using natural elements to get one over the opponent. No doubt it will increase in the sport (well, for those with a suitable climate anyway), much like “Ryuuou no Oshigoto” did for Shogi.
The only slight problem with the series is that the title and ending music is rather boring. You see, it could be a bit relaxing to effectively define a sports program. The end animation (when it’s shown) also seems a bit out place too, being set in a classroom…So hopefully it will do well enough to get further series.
Nevertheless, I would still recommend fans of volleyball, anime and fan service to check out “Harukana Receive”. As the anime consists of a great mix of volleyball, cute girls and fan service. Furthermore, Harukana Receive’s visuals and animations are absolutely stunning as well.
+ Does make you feel that you are there
+ The girls are very nice (in more ways than one)
+ The visuals and animations are absolutely stunning
+ Matches are exciting and shown without enhancements
+ Good use of CGI
– Little in the way of tension
– Might be a bit too light for somee. As there is no ongoing drama…And what there is, is resolved by the end of the series
– The title and ending music is rather boring
Voice Actors : 4/5
Sound and music: 3/5
Viewing value : 4/5
Harukana Receive’s story may be a bit too light (a bit more tension is needed really, although the last match in the series is exciting) for some anime fans. Even so, “Harukana Receive” is still funny, interesting and occasionally dramatic. So if that isn’t exciting and entertaining enough for you, then gawping at nicely drawn semi-naked girls should do the trick for sure.
Title: Harukana Receive
Genre : Anime slice of life/ecchi/sports
Based On : Manga – Harukana Receive
Written By : Nyoijizai
First shown : 2018-07-06
Run Time : 30 minutes per episode
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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