With the summer sun shining, and the weather being way too hot for me at the time of writing, I figured I would cover an anime that could only air during the summer season. That anime is Harukana Receive, and it is about beach volleyball.
So with that said, let’s take a look at the first episode.
After a brief glimpse of some beach volleyball action – don’t worry, we’ll get to more of that soon enough – we start with Haruka Oozora arriving in Okinawa. Since she is quite tall, some of the people she passes by thinks she may be a model. Haruka gets self conscious about that, bending over to try and hide how tall she actually is.
A girl goes up to Haruka, and Haruka thinks she is a lost child at first. However, she is actually Haruka’s cousin, Kanata Higa. Seems she hasn’t done much growing since they last saw each other.
They travel home by car, and it is quite an awkward ride. Kanata is shy, and Haruka struggles to talk with her. That’s all forgotten about when they arrive and Haruka sees the ocean.
Haruka just starts stripping on the beach – she came prepared and was wearing a swim suit under clothes. Whilst Haruka plays around, Kanata decides to quickly return home and grab a swim suit of her own.
Moving on, we are introduced to two more characters: Ayasa Tachibana and Narumi Tooi. They have decided to practice some beach volleyball. Haruka soon stumbles across them, and decides to stay and watch. After watching for a little while, Haruka asks to join in.
Haruka gets caught in the sand a little, but she still performs a half-decent jump in order to return the ball. She jokes about becoming an ace, and this angers Narumi. She says that beach volleyball has no need for aces.
Around that point, Kanata catches up to Haruka. Haruka is surprised to learn that Narumi knows Kanata, though they don’t exactly seem to be on the best of terms.
Narumi suggests that they play a match, and Haruka eagerly accepts. Narumi proposes a seven point match, and says that Haruka and Kanata only need to score a single point to win.
First serve goes to Haruka, and she messes it up. Kanata offers her some advice about the wind, and this makes Haruka happy.
Haruka is happy that Kanata isn’t being as shy as she was earlier, though Narumi insists that they hurry up and begin their match.
Narumi holds nothing back, and the match is incredibly one-sided. When it comes down to match point, Haruka is able to come up with a way to respond to Narumi’s attack.
Haruka is able to work together with Kanata to return the ball, but ultimately Narumi proves to be too strong. However, thanks to this experience, Haruka was able to learn that it takes two to play volleyball: hence there not being any aces.
Despite the sound defeat, Haruka suggests a revenge match; after all, she was having fun playing beach volleyball. Narumi agrees, though on the condition that Haruka spends a week learning the rules and practicing.
After that, Haruka and Kanata return home. Kanata tells her that Narumi and Ayasa are the high school champions – Haruka is shocked, but that wouldn’t have changed anything in the end.
As the episode ends, it is suggested that Narumi did what she did in order to try and get Kanata back into beach volleyball. It seems that some tragic circumstance in her past took her away from it, and she never really went back.
Haruka and Kanata’s grandmother seems to be hoping for something similar, as she is very happy that Haruka has come to stay with them.
That wraps up the first episode of Harukana Receive, and I have to say I had fun with it. The beginning isn’t exactly anything new – a newcomer beginning to change a veteran’s view of their sport – but it held my interest throughout the first episode.
It probably helps that Haruka is a fun character – I’m already liking her a lot. She has a great personality, and yeah, since this is a road we’ll inevitably be going down for this particular show, her figure is nice as well. In fact, Haruka stands as my favourite of the four characters we’ve met so far.
Presumably it will be Haruka’s energy and positivity that help the people she meets overcome whatever obstacles it is they have holding them back.
A fun start to what might as well be a quintessential summer anime.