Fun in the Sun
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Sports, Slice of Life
- Airing Date : July 2018 - September 2018
- Studios : C2C
Harukana Receive Introduction
Harukana Receive tells the story of two girls as they’ve become inseparable after finding meaning of their characters, and how they’ve come into terms with their past through beach volleyball, rivalry and friendship. The story begins with Oozora Haruka moving in with her cousin Higa Kanata and grandmother in the white sand beaches of Okinawa. Upon arriving at her grandma’s place, the excited Haruka goes to the beach to have some fun. At the beach, Haruka encounters Tachibana Ayasa and Tooi Narumi, a pair of professional beach volleyball players practicing their ball spikes on a vacant sand court. Fascinated by the sport, Haruka watches the two and asks a few questions on the basics of beach volleyball. Then Ayasa invites Haruka to try out spiking the ball and was impressed by her jumping height, and Haruka has a potential talent for the sport.
Things turns awkward when Haruka’s cousin Kanata shows up. Ayase’s partner Narumi is shocked to see Kanata on the beach and at a quick glance, it seems the two have a history together. Haruka remains confused and the silence is broken when Narumi challenges Haruka and Kanata for a quick practice volleyball match—if team Haruka and Kanata lands a point, they win. As the match starts, Haruka quickly notices Kanata has some experience with beach volleyball like how you can use the wind to your advantage, and how the scoring system works. It turns out Kanata and Ayase’s partner Narumi were once a formidable beach volleyball team back in middle school. At the same time, Haruka indeed has talent for beach volleyball and the practice match only sparked her interest to take on the sport. This concludes episode one.
The rest of the episodes follow Haruka and Kanata practicing beach volleyball and learning various techniques and strategy to win matches. The two then meet a cast of supporting characters who teaches them, especially Haruka, on how to play against players in a professional setting, and the ultimate end goal of Team Harukana is fight their way through tournaments and eventually play against Narumi and Ayasa.
1. Good pacing to keep viewers interested
Harukana Receive moves at a brisk pace that balances out character development, lengthy volleyball matches, and the needed downtime moments in between so viewers could catch their breath. The first two episodes handled the introduction of Haruka and Kanata’s main rival, and an episode is included that teaches the characters and the viewers the basics of beach volleyball. The next two episodes introduces two new characters Thomas twins Claire and Emily who are professional players like Narumi and Ayasa. They teach the main characters, especially Haruka, some more advanced skills. The following episodes involve Team Harukana entering the Okinawa Beach Volleyball Junior Tournament and climb their way up to the ranks. A new set of characters are then introduced later on and the anime ends with Team Harukana facing off their mentors who taught them in the early episodes.
2. Well-rounded characters
With the slight exception of supporting character Ooshiro Akari, the characters in Harukana Receive were all fleshed out with certain episodes dedicated to one or two of them. Haruka loves playing beach volleyball, likes how the sport gives her a new perspective in life and likes how it helps her gain good friends along the way, especially her partner Kanata. Under various circumstances of her past, Kanata has finally come into terms to what has been haunting her since middle school, and part of it thanks to Haruka who invigorated her passion for beach volleyball.
1. A good chunk of chapters were skipped, resulting in a jarring time skip nearing the end of the anime
Due to the limited time a 12 episode anime could give, a portion of the story found in the manga were skipped in the anime, and it skipped a lot of moments developing the new character Ooshiro Akari. The effect resulted in a supposed scene where Akari has grown attached to her new friends, growing concern that Team Harukana will eventually face off their mentors Claire and Emily that felt rushed, or it could’ve handled better if the anime ran at 13 episodes instead of 12. And due to the limited time, the climax battle between Haruka and Kanata against Narumi and Ayasa never fully materialized and the teaser of that dream match from episode one was just a teaser of an event that may or may not come. As of this writing, there are no rumors or official news regarding Harukana Receive getting a second season down the line. One can be very hopeful.
The high production values, good pacing and character development make Harukana Receive an enjoyable sports anime to watch from start to finish. It’s almost customary for any anime that features swimsuits to have some fanservice moments, and they’re not all distracting and are brief enough to not ruin the overall experience. Harukana Receive isn’t perfect by any means and chapters getting omitted is something unavoidable in anime adaptations which can be alleviated by following the manga until season two is (hopefully) announced, but as a whole, Harukana Receive is a fun, sometimes tense, and emotional ride any fan should check out.