In 2016 an anime aired that forever changed my life. I am of course referring to KEIJO!!!!!!!! While not for everyone it brought great joy to my life. So much so I deemed it one of my favorite anime of all time. Unfortunately due to reasons beyond the mangaka’s control (which we won’t discuss here) the manga was cancelled, meaning no potential 2nd season. Luckily the sadness I felt would be short lived when a beach volleyball anime was announced. The one thing I hoped for was that this show would fill the gap left behind from KEIJO!!!!!!!!’s cancellation. Did it do the trick? Let us find out as we take a look at Harukana Receive.
Genres: Sports, Tournament
Themes: Beach Volleyball, Yuri
Number of episodes: 12
Plot Summary: Haruka is a girl who has a complex about how she is very tall, and Kanata is about to give up beach volleyball because she is too short. With Haruka’s height and Kanata’s experience, the two girls form a pair to play beach volleyball in Okinawa.
Harukana Receive is the tale of a spunky newcomer and veteran who lost her mojo teaming up and work their sexy butts off to become the best women’s beach volleyball players in Japan. That and other personal reasons. Along with the lead duo there are other sexy teams playing the sport and giving it all they have on the sandy court. They too have their personal reasons for playing. Their is a nickname I gave this show but I will get to that later. Put simply Harukana Receive is a show about sexy girls playing beach volleyball and overcoming some personal issues along the way. Both of which it does very well.
First of all let us talk about the volleyball. As is the case with most anime/manga about a specific subject, be it a sport, historical time period or weapons, expect to be educated on it in some capacity. Like with most of these shows I learned a thing or two about the rules of beach volleyball that I previously did not know. When it comes to the volleyball itself it took the sport as seriously as viewers hoped.
Of course viewers will get plenty of fantastic shots of the beach beauties’ assets (gunns, booties and sweaty muscles) of both large and small variety (especially when it comes to hand signals). The attention to detail is impressive. Not quite at the level of Hanebado! but still quite good. However, do not think for a minute that the sexiness takes away from the action (unless the viewer dislikes anime sexiness in general, then clearly this show is not for them). One example are the many booty shots where we also get to see hand signals from the girl in front to guide her partner on their strategy. The sexiness and intensity of the sport go hand in hand in perfect unity. Most of the matches, especially tournament bouts are as steamy as they are exciting to watch. The intensity of every smash, spike and even “pokey” can be felt from the monitor/screen to the living room or wherever the viewer is watching the show. Trust me when I say the show delivers what one would expect from a sports anime.
Next up are the personal issues. It is what one would expect but thankfully nowhere near super dramatic. They are straightforward obstacles each girl must overcome to grow stronger. The plot summary mentions both Haruka and Kanata having issues with their respective heights. Well those are settled very quickly. In fact, Kanata’s personal issues are not as simple as her short stature. There is more to it than that yet it is easy to follow and understand. The same goes for the other girls’ obstacles. I much prefer the drama in sports anime being simple and not overblown.
On to the presentation. As described in the above paragraph the animation is quite good. From the detail in the girls’ bodies to the fluid motion on the sandy court it is all visually appealing. Also the eyes looked unique to me. The soundtrack is good, especially during matches. The OP and ED are excellent though the standout song is the full version of a certain commercial.
Remember when I talked having a nickname for the show? That nickname is “That Gay Beach Volleyball Show”. A friend of mine on Twitter, @joeschmo1of3, described the yuri on the show as “being natural“. There were no overreactions, no “but we’re both girls“, no “It’s not like that” or other examples of denying the obvious. It just is. The show treats all the pairs as married couples and one time were described as such. Of course the girls did not hold back. Be it Haruka X Kanata, Claire X Emily, Ai X Mai and Narumi X Ayasa. All of them were gay as can be for their respective partners. Heck, the main drama on the show is yuri related. Heard it is even gayer in the manga. GOOD GOLLYNESS MOLLY! Oh and as for the “But Haruka and Kanata are cousins.” thing…SonoHana, Koufuku Graffiti and other series with lesbian cousin pairings/couples exist. Same can be said for the twins. Basically the yuri is pretty much “in yo face” and it is GLORIOUS.
Overall, Harukana Receive filled that void left by KEIJO!!!!!!!!’s cancellation and then some. The volleyball action is fun, the girls are sexy and wonderful, the presentation is very good and the yuri is down to Earth with no strings attached. It is a perfect blend of sexiness and excitement. It stands proudly alongside KEIJO!!!!!!!! along with other shows I hold dear as one of my favorite anime of all time. Highly recommended to viewers who enjoy sexy girls and lighthearted yuri. Here is hoping for a second season. Not recommended to people who dislike beach/swimsuit episodes because EVERY EPISODE IS A BEACH/SWIMSUIT EPISODE.