Is Harukana Receive worthy on being an “ace?!” *Review – Contains Spoilers*

READ ONLY IF YOU WATCHED THE FIRST THREE EPISODES!!

Harukana Receive is a sport related anime about Haruka Ozora who is living her grandmother in Okinawa along with her cousin Kanata Higa. The series starts off with Haruka seeing her cousin again after so many years apart. There, she discovers that Kanata used to play beach volleyball after meeting and befriending Ayasa Tachibana, who is partnered with Narumi Toi. Haruka learns from Ayasa that Narumi used to be Kanata’s partner before Kanata walked away from the sport following her parents’ untimely death and the fact that her height put her at a disadvantage against the taller players. Because of this, she saw herself as a hinderance to her then partner, Narumi Toi. Haruka does the best she can to help her cousin gain back the confidence she lost and enjoy the sport she loved.

Kanata wants to be the player she used to be but she has to get over her psychological trauma

It should be noted that Harukana Receive is a slice of life anime, meaning that there will be relatable scenarios that the characters must deal with. True, it features cute girls in swimsuits but it is by no means fan service. For instance, Kanata is dealing with her self-confidence and her strained relationship with Narumi, who hasn’t forgiven her for walking away from beach volleyball. While Narumi continued to grow, Kanata remained the same size she was four years ago and felt that she would hurt Narumi in the sport more so than help her. Since then, she has been afraid to return to the court, from fear of letting down another partner. When challenged by Narumi to a volleyball match, Haruka takes her cousin on as a partner, hoping to it will help rebuild her confidence. This illustrates the idea of helping someone build their self-esteem. Haruka is taught the ins and outs of beach volleyball by her cousin. While Haruka is learning the basics, Kanata slowly comes out her shell after shutting people out for so long. Haruka picks up this and decides to give Kanata the push she needs to get back into the game. In their match against Narumi and Ayasa, Haruka tries to get Kanata to find the confidence she has buried deep in herself. She knows that Kanata still loves and wants to play volleyball but her self-loathing is holding her back. With convincing from Haruka, Kanata does the very thing she couldn’t to do for Narumi – she receives a serve. Haruka’s encouragement helped her get over the hurtle she put in front of herself and show Kanata that she is still a good volleyball player.

Narumi Tooi is Kanata’s former partner turned rival who resents Kanata for walking away from volleyball and their friendship

However, that was just step one. There are still some issues that Kanata has to deal with along the way. She wants to be the player she used to be, but she feels that she cannot be that player because of her height. In order to meet this goal, she will have make adjustments to her style to compliment her stature. An example of this is when she and Haruka encounter the Thomas sisters, Emily and Claire. The sisters challenge Haruka and Kanata to a volleyball match and gain an overwhelming lead. Emily is upset with Kanata because she won’t use a pokey spike. Kanata refuses to use the technique, wanting to retain her usual style. This could be an example of her stubbornness. She knows the technique will be useful but she has become too accustomed to her own style. It was after seeing Haruka, who is still a novice, use the pokey spike to get the point that Kanata decided to employ the tactic herself. To her elation, she finally was able to get the ball pass the block of a taller player. The joy on her face shows that she is slowly coming around.

Harukana Receive is a good wholesome anime that I recommend for anyone who has dealt with self-esteem issues or knows someone that is. Plus, it’s a good sport anime that shows how people can be connected through their love of beach volleyball. The series will also deal with social issues as Kanata is described as shy and quiet. Constant interaction with her peers will help her overcome her awkwardness as well as build new friendships while repairing old ones. And she will likely meet this goal with Haruka’s encouragement and help from beach volleyball players who can still see Kanata for the amazing athlete she is. By the series’ end, we can also finally see Kanata become the ace player she is meant to be.

Harukana Receive is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and simulcast on Funimation in English dub. Seven Seas Entertainment is publishing the manga series.

Harukana Receive Opening featuring the song “FLY two BLUE” by Kana Yuuki and Saki Miyashita