The basic premise begins with a girl named Haruka, who happens to move to the heavily beached, ocean-sided Okinawa to live with her cousin, Kanata, and their grandparents. It is where Haruka discovers beach volleyball for the very first time and ends up falling in love with it. Her desire to learn, work, play, and have fun with it drives Kanata to get back into playing herself, even through all of her tribulations and self-doubts. Eventually, she ends up teaching Haruka the game along side a few fellow players in Twin Thomas sisters, Claire and Emily. Together, they form the “unofficial” Beach Volleyball Club at their high school. The entire goal is for the girls to compete in the Japanese High School Beach Volleyball Nationals in order to become the very best!
The story score for this is tougher than it seems. On one hand, it’s about girls playing beach volleyball and having fun doing so. That’s not exactly anything original. Plus, C2C definitely uses Ecchi when it comes to the girls’ figures and their beach bathing suits. On the other hand, the anime has some surprisingly deeper elements to it that were completely unexpected! It is nothing riveting by far, but there is more development of the overall main storyline and its characters. The back stories of nearly each character and how it relates to the anime’s plot is well done, overall. It is to a point that I found myself looking forward to watching the next episode because of those additional elements, and not because of the ecchi.
Speaking of ecchi, it is used often but not in a distasteful manner. After all, they are high school girls playing beach volleyball. What would you expect them to wear? I certainly wouldn’t think they’d go play in the hot, blazing sun on sand wearing long sleeve shirts, pants, winter coats, and sneakers or boots. The point being, the ecchi is rather appropriate for this particular anime and it is not done to an exaggerated or obsessive amount by studio C2C. I appreciate that as it allows the viewer to focus on the aforementioned storyline and characters and both of their respective developments.
C2C did a solid job on both the art and animation for Harukana Receive. While the art style is nothing unique or spectacular, it’s very consistent in quality, even when characters are shown in distance. That is bit of shock considering the studio has a small number of projects in their portfolio with none of them appearing to be anything outstanding. Additionally, the color scheme and range are both above average and look really nice in high definition.
The animation has very little scenes where lots of still frames are used and where characters are walking and talking without actually moving. Sadly, that tends to be a far too common issue with way too many anime. However, that’s not the case as much with C2C’s adaptation of the manga. In fact, what makes this visually appealing is the fact the volleyball scenes are heavily done with constant animation and motion of the characters and the actual game itself. Again, this is another tough one to rate in terms actual score.
One final note as it relates to the sound section of this review as well; I actually enjoy the lack-of echo animation in the anime’s ED theme music.
The OP is mediocre, but the ED is above average, partially due to the music blending with the actual ED visuals. They compliment each other very well.
Both the music and the sound effects during the tournament matches and the dramatic elements is spot on. Both further enhance all aspects of the anime.
The unexpected and detailed character development is one of the many surprises in Harukana Receive. Nearly each character is treated with some type of decent (or greater) background story, which in turn helps to highlight their personalities and how they’ve arrived to where they are in the anime’s present day. Haruka is voiced by English dub voice actor, Tia Ballard, who does an excellent job of bringing out her Eternally Optimistic, bubbly, determined personality. Haruka is not a hands-down “best” character, but that is only because the rest of the cast is splendid in their own individual ways. Kanata initially seems on the shy side, but rather quite the opposite once you get into the third or forth episode. She’s just soft spoken. That doesn’t stop her from taking center stage when it comes to the game of volleyball and her trust in her teammate (and cousin), Haruka.
Then there are the Thomas sisters, Claire and Emily. Claire is a feisty, highly energetic, sister butt-slapping volleyball player who, like her sister, is a really skilled. However, that’s about all these two have in common. Their playing style and personalities are quite different. Emily is controlled and focused both on and off the sand court. She opposites Claire’s aggressive style of play with her excellent support and clear-cut focus. If Claire faulters, she picks elevates her game and changes it up assertively, as needed.
The only other characters I’m going to briefly write about are teammates, Ayasa and Narumi. They are the team to beat on the beach! They are Japan’s #1 ranked High School beach volleyballers, and deservedly so. Ironically, if not for Kanata then Narumi would never have come to find volleyball, which in turn benefits her teammate Ayasa all that much more. And not to be misunderstood, Ayasa is one heck of a player as well. It’s too bad that they do not have a little more screen time in their character development, especially Ayasa. It’s there just lacking behind Haruka, Kanata, Claire, and Emily.
Finally, the entire cast of characters are very good, from Sora (Haruka and Kanata’s grandma) to Akari, the celebrity and fifth and final member of the Beach Volleyball Club, to the two indoor players in Ai and Mai, to the Thomas sisters mother, Marissa, who happens to a former top player and now professional coach.
Overall, that is another positive…not an overabundance of characters is introduced into the 12 episodes, which allows C2C to go into detail about the characters that are introduced in the series.
Trust, determination, friendship, competitive spirit, sportsmanship; these are what Harukana Receive is all about at its core. Even as I finish writing my final thoughts I am questioning if my scores are high enough for each and every category. I want to be constructively critical without losing sight of just how underrated this anime is in my honest opinion, and of how much I truly enjoyed it.
Its appeal is so much broader than one might think at first glance. Ecchi, Comedy, Drama, Sports, and even School Club and a bit o’ Slice of Life that can be found here. Add those with its core elements and its story and character development, and you’ve got one heck of a good anime.
The only major concern I have is whether the series will continue or not. At the time of this review, it is nearly two years since it debuted. The anime ends, but with a clear open-ended potential to continue the over arcing main storyline to the very end. Even with that being said, it is hard not to recommend this to casual and non-casual anime fans who are looking for a surprisingly above average amount of certain qualities that can make up a good anime. Here's to hoping for a second season!
Entertainment Score: 9/10
Achievement Score: +4 to Overall
My expectations were Moderate, and it delivered Above those expectations.
2️⃣Weighted Average System Score: (18 + 7 + 7 + 21 + +18 + 4 = 75/100 points)
Age Rating: TV-10+ (Ecchi and slight implied sexualization)
■■■ Story & Characters ■■■
I actually really enjoyed this anime. It's not just a beach episode lasting for a whole anime, it's about two teams playing volleyball, friendship, and relations between the two teams. While it's all nothing revolutionary, I think the story was enjoyable enough, and really did enjoy the characters, especially the bright but easygoing Haruka. I don't think the Ecchi tag is justified; there's not THAT much forced fanservice here, only girls walking in bikini's all the time. I do think the ending was kinda weak, they could have gotten more out of it, and the character relationship building could have been a bit better.
■■■ Art & Animation ■■■
Pretty good. I liked the bright and sunny style most of the time, like I said, it's kinda like beach-episode-the-anime. The artstyle of the characters was pretty cute, and the volleyball scenes were pretty fun to look at.
■■■ Music, Voice and SFX ■■■
I actually REALLY liked the soundtrack of this anime; it's a weird mix between Jazz fusion, upbeat drums-n-bass with tropical elements. I think it really added to the atmosphere and some tense situations. The voice acting is very good, and I have nothing bad to say about the SFX either.
■■■ X factor/ Atmosphere ■■■
I really liked it. The atmosphere is bright and tropical, but has just the right amount of tension as well. Nothing particularly special, but just a fun little anime.
I started this show because of the desire to purposefully watch a bad anime. (It is my impression, in order to rate anime good you must know how to rate anime bad.) However, I was so very wrong. This show is great from start to finish. The character development throughout the show is fantastic, you'll see the characters change right in front of your eyes. There is some fan service, but it pales in comparison to the plot and characters.
I'll be honest, I started watching this because I thought it was going to be some fun ecchi shenanigans without any male characters (which usually means a harem anime - a big no-no for me) and while the show delivered on that front it had a LOT more to offer.
The biggest surprise was the extremely unexpectedly very well written characters with varying personalities. They worked so well with each other during interactions and the plot was actually very engaging. I think I'd stopped watching for the fanservice by the second episode and was heavily engaged with the story and characters. Honestly, I don't think there is a weakly written character here. I was so invested in all of them, I wanted more and eventually turned to the manga after finishing the anime. I sincerely hope I can get the entire translated manga which has apparently concluded and there is a second season of this heavily underappreciated gem.
This show is also pretty well animated which was another surprise. Usually sports anime would show stills most of the time because complex motion is admittedly very hard to do especially in team sports but they didn't do that here. Most of the action was well animated and crisp. The art was beautiful in terms of character designs and backgrounds (the manga has even better art in my opinion). The sound was fine as well with very good voice acting and decent OP and ED.
I would highly recommend this show. The ecchi stuff is totally justified in this case and is just a bonus for those who enjoy that really because everything else is just way too good.
Let's just say this was 'interesting' also this is my first review so let me know if I mess up.
Essentially, Haruka, a tall girl moves in with Kanata and her Grandparents, she then becomes fond of playing beach volleyball after meeting the National Champion pair at the beach. From there, Kanata a former player herself pairs up with Haruka and their aim is to reach Nationals. Not gonna lie, it doesn't sound that interesting, but it was executed fairly well.
Ok, the animation was quite nice and very bright, if it had poor animation then I probably wouldn't have bothered watching it. Also, I liked the character design... for no particular reason.
Sound suited the anime and the OP was ok, but nothing special, it's not something I would download to listen to.
To sum it up, Haruka is way too hyperactive but she got nice tiddies a nice cheerful character who is really motivated, the friendship between Haruka and Kanata is quite special and you always want to side with them, regardless to who they are playing. Claire and Emily were hot were really good support characters that helped push the two on their journey.
If you like serious sports anime then don't watch this, just don't. But if you are like me and just happen to enjoy girls playing beach volleyball in bikini more lighthearted ecchi sports anime, then this is for you.