The Nicest Receive – ‘Harukana Receive’ Episode 1 Review with Irina & Matt

So here we are with another seasonal long collab review with me, Cactus Matt and Irina of I Drink And Watch Anime! Say hi, Irina!

Hi all, guess who picks our anime reviews – go on…guess… There’s an “a” in the name.

Last season we reviewed all of Uma Musume, a kind of but not really sports anime–I mean it was more of a slice of life with ~elements~ of sports, but what was it you said that it lacked that sense of teamwork?

Anyway, we’re not here to talk about horse girls, we’re here to talk about an “actual” sports* anime(?), I mean it’s at least about a sport that exists! I’m talking about Beach Volleyball and the anime is Harukana Receive! For those of you out there reading this who don’t know, Irina is a BIG sports anime fan, whereas I… well not so much…

In fact Irina absolutely adores Haikyuu!! cause she’s basic AF. So at the very least I have a pretty solid understanding of volleyball basics and an actual interest in the game (unlike horse racing). So this is already an upgrade from last season, right!?!

I was looking forward to this anime probably more than any other this year, so naturally my expectations were sky high, you however not so high, I mean would you have even watched this show were it not for our collab?

SPOILERS: I would have watched the first episode…well half. I think the sand CG might have convinced me to call it a day. As you know I really liked scorching ping pong girls and I was hoping for something like that. Who knows, it may pick up…

She’s got good ball skills.

What did you think of our protagonist? I thought she was cute and nice… I have a feeling you’ll have some ~things~ to say about those traits…

Nope I also have zero other thoughts than cute and nice. Oh wait I think someone said she’s also tall.

I love that she is insecure about how tall she is–although it only came up like once or twice, I assume they’ll continue with that once she actually gets to school. I guess that’s the problem with starting an anime in ‘Summer Vacation’ it’s difficult to know what kind of show it’s going to be going forward.

Right she’s tall.

These girls are cute, wonder if they’ll feature again or were just here to establish our protagonist is “tall”.

I think I like the other girls more, her cousin Kanata has a lot of depth to her character–or so it will revealed in later episodes if that scene in front of the family shrine is anything to go by.

Man, mothers of moe sports anime leads do NOT fare well. I mean anime mothers in general have it pretty rough but it seems if you have a young daughter whose particularly athletically skilled, you might as well start smoking and drinking like a fish cause you should at least have some fun while you can.

I also like Narumi, she’s serious business and I can appreciate that plus the complexities of her presumably being Kanata’s ex-Volleyball partner.

Narumi has her game face on!

To be honest they all sort of seem like cute girl stereotypes to me. Interchangeable with all the other cute girl casts. I thought the pretty derby girls where at least a bit more striking at first sight. Of course this is just the first episode, it’s normal that they haven’t been established yet. I look forward to seeing how that complexity develops.

I know nothing about beach volleyball, I’m glad they went into a little detail about how things are different from regular volleyball (which I also know little about–except what I learnt from one season of Haikyuu!)

See above… I also did play a little years ago. It’s a very difficult sport. I’m not sure whether it was to emphasize the dampening effect of the sand but the actual gameplay animation was super slow. If it’s on purpose it’s an interesting device but a little unfair. Believe me, volleyball, beach or otherwise, is a lot more dynamic than that and you can’t get away with just moving your arms a little to return the ball.

What brand is the ball? I can’t quite make it out…

It’s interesting that we’re starting at almost square one with Haruka, like she says she’s sporty and she’s obviously got some inbuilt talent (plus being tall helps) but other than that there’s a long road ahead if this is going to be an anime about becoming “the best” which I assume it is–isn’t that the goal of all sports animes? You’re the expert after all!

Most shows that need to establish a complex universe with rules (like a specific sport for instance) usually have a newbie as a prominent member of the cast to serve as an audience surrogate. Basically, aside from Haikyuu!!, KnB And Pretty Derby, all the main charas I can think of are new to the sport or at least to the competitive aspect of it.

Otherwise you usually have a fan, close friend, manager that needs to have the game explained to them.

GG.

As for being “the best”, sure being your personal best is a common theme but a lot of sports anime are actually more team based so it’s about winning that tournament or getting that trophy as a team. Helping out your friends and achieving something together that’s more than you could by yourself…

Whether it was my elevated expectations or perhaps it was just a slower episode as we’re still getting to know these characters and setting and what not I wasn’t blown away by the episode. I still enjoyed it plenty, but I think the show’s going to have to show off either some serious beach volleyball action, some serious rivalry or some serious character development/depth if it wants to position itself as a contender to male-oriented sports anime. Or maybe it doesn’t want to do that? Maybe it just wants to be cute girls in bikinis doing sporty and sweaty things on the beach, maybe it’ll leave the heavy lifting to Hanebado!?

Is this another mobile game commercial? It feels like it’s selling something to me. There wasn’t anything wrong with the episode but there also just wasn’t that much going on. Like you said, it’s just a first episode so we really can’t judge much.

It’s based on a manga! A manga I intend to purchase as soon as it’s released in English!

All she wants to do is give it a head pat!

All I can say about it is that this was pretty much what I expected but not as funny. This is really a bit more on the dramatic side of the spectrum so far.

And that’s Episode 1 done and dusted, seems like we’re pretty much on the same page with regards to the episode, I’m probably a little more positive on it in general but that’s probably got something to do with all those cute girls in bikinis… Join us next week on Irina’s site for Episode 2 and it will alternate back and forth for the rest of the season!


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10 comments

  1. It felt like this episode was kind of stilted. Narumi seems like a character that’s just being difficult to be difficult which annoyed the heck out of me. Actually pretty much everything about Narumi annoyed the heck out of me. And there ARE aces in beach volleyball, both in the case of scoring directly from an untouched serve and in players that are supremely good, no matter who their partner is. I’m hoping that it stays away from the “getting better because I worked harder!” trope, because that’s just old and tired. But other than that I like Haruka’s character.

    Liked by 1 person

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