This is mine and Irina’s (from I Drink And Watch Anime!) continuing collaboration on Harukana Receive! If you missed the previous reviews there are links at the bottom of the page, I am represented by the bold text.
Here we are the penultimate episode–things are quickly coming to a head and with the exception of a brief flashback at the start and some sideline pep talks this was mostly an episode strictly about beach volleyball! That’s kind of a big deal? One big thing I did notice or rather one lack of big thing is, Haruka was so flat in the opening tag before the OP. For a second there I was super worried for you! She perked up in the next scene thankfully. I didn’t notice, man my head isn’t in the game today! You know things are bad when Irina’s on ‘oppai watch’ *slaps face* LET’S DO THIS THING!
What did you think of that cute little flashback at the start? I think it helped solidify how important a good rival can be for development (but then I’m just presuming, I know nothing about sports after all). I liked it. I quite like Claire in general so any development of her character is welcome. I also enjoyed Marissa’s input there. She managed to seem both like a great coach and a great mom. What’s not to like.
So “Eclair” loses the second set–predictable–forcing them into a third, shortened 15-point set, is that normal to have a shortened third set? Am I asking questions you have no idea about? I’m not sure about 2 vs 2. Normal volleyball is 3 out of 5 with 25 point games but it use to be 2 out of 3 with 15 point games so maybe that’s where it comes from.
Speaking of development–kinda interesting how Haruka managed to pick how to use “topspin” after having just learnt about it from a previous match, eh? Does that strain disbelief for you? I’ve written on my blog before about how my very favourite element of sports anime is how it generally glorifies hard work and effort above all else, even winning. I live in a society that really overvalues natural born talent (they make it seem so effortless!!!) and undervalues work, which can lead to a general sense of apathy which I dislike. Sports anime usually run counter to that, showing the importance and value of effort. Even antagonists work themselves to the bone. I find that admirable and comforting.
I felt like the last half of the episode was ~particularly~ tense, not much talking on the court (is it called a court when it’s made of sand?) and lots of focus on fast(er) action. I thought for probably the first time this whole series the sport was decently represented–at least in terms of it being compelling and heart-pumping! Right, Irina? Right?… Right… I didn’t like it at all. The animation got a little better but it resorted to so many still shots that it completely broke the flow of the action. At one point it looked like one team was literally teleporting around the court while the other team was taking a nap, looking surprised that the ball got returned…during a game… It was just meh as far as matches go.
Did you at least enjoy that post-’deuce’ breather that the girls had to compose themselves as the credits ran over it, I thought it was very well done, the usage of colour in the scene with the Eclair pair being highlighted in cool, sharp greens and Harauka and Kanata being lit in warm–almost flushed orange felt like a dynamic visual contrast. Hey look at me talking about colour-theory in an anime about cute girls in bikinis! I’ll be honest, I didn’t notice the colour palette shift but the way you describe it sounds really cool.
And the episode predictably ends on a cliffhanger! Doh!
I don’t know if I’m imagining things but Haruka and Kanata’s grandmother kept making awkward smiles at Akari… have we been shipping the wrong girls this whole time?! Is that why the grandfather has been ‘missing’ this whole time! (Oh no, you’re unique brand of crazy seems to be rubbing off on me…) I got the same thing. It’s in my notes…I thought I was imagining things! But no – weird canon but I’m here for it. Best part of the episode too!
Anyway that aside, do you still think Eclair should win? Or have the other two proven themselves to be capable (at least in terms of the narrative) of being worthy and believable winners? I have no preference. As for proving themselves worthy of winning…If the twins can be defeated by complete newcomers with no experience, no practice and no history of sports in their first tournament… yeah they probably never deserved to win anything in the first place I guess. Not that winning is the point of these stories. It’s not about who won or lost it’s the friends we gained along the way–or some shit like that, yeah?
So I liked this episode–a lot, as it turns out but Irina, well… take it away! In short, I found that the episode really concentrated on the stuff I *personally* find boring or subpar and didn’t take advantage at all of the things it does really well. It’s partly because I’ve seen so many sports shows with bigger animation budgets where the movement is mesmerising so the small production shortcuts are particularly glaring for me. However, this episode solidified my (again personal) belief that the show would be better without the volleyball.
You heard it here first folks! Irina wants less sports and more teenage bikini related fan-service! And you guys call me a pervert… Tch! Join us next week for the season finale of Harukana Receive on Irina’s site!
Previous Harukana Receive Reviews:
The Nicest Receive – Episode 1 Review
Sundrenched Tears – Episode 2 Review
Slow Balling – Episode 3 Review
Wardrobe Malfunction – Episode 4 Review
Little Resistance – Episode 5 Review
I Was Wrong – Episode 6 Review
Idling Idol – Episode 7 Review
The Wrong Finger – Episode 8 Review
Dirty Tactics – Episode 9 Review
What Happened To Grandpa? – Episode 10 Review
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