Believe in me who believes in you!
— Last week, I complained that the show was lacking in drama and excitement. Well, the tournament is finally here, so there’s nowhere for the anime to hide. It’s going to have to deliver on the goods, right?
— …maybe not. When Kanata pokes Haruka, she has this over-the-top, orgasmic reaction.
— Our girls learn that their first round opponents are those same girls that they met last week. Y’know, the ones that managed to buy Haruka’s favorite swimsuit. Kanata and Ai are getting along, but for some reason, Mai has it out for Haruka and vice versa. Judging by Mai’s height and how she likes to call our heroine a giantess, she probably has a chip on her shoulder.
— I feel like there’s something off about how they drew Haruka here. Maybe her legs are too long.
— God, the action in Harukana Receive. It takes nearly a full minute to go from Kanata serving the ball to our duo scoring the first point of the match. The show just loves its slo-mo way too much.
— Then after they’ve managed to score one whole point, our duo stops to discuss their strategy going forward. Ay yai yai, this is almost as slow as a game between the Red Sox and Yankees.
— I also don’t understand why these girls have to call out each other’s names during the match. There’s only two of you. If you’re setting the ball, who else would be spiking it?
— Kanata surprises the other team when she first pulls out her newfangled pokey. The problem is that the girl keeps using it over and over and over and over… Look, it’s not a feint if it’s your primary move. Likewise, a change-up isn’t a change-up if it’s the only goddamn pitch you throw.
— Ai and Mai finally decide to change things up. First, they’re going to stop going for blocks since Kanata’s just going to use the pokey over and over. Second, they’re gonna go after Haruka more often, because the newbie just can’t seem to get the timing on her blocks down. But hey, it’s her first official match, and she’s going up against two indoor players. I’m actually surprised that Haruka and Kanata are winning. In fact, I half-expected them to bomb out of this tournament, take their lumps, train even harder, then come back victorious in the second half of the series.
— Despite all this action, we’ve only played three points. At least the soundtrack is kinda fun to listen to. It almost makes me wanna play Tropico. I bet you El Presidente loves beach volleyball. How can you not when you live on a tropical island paradise?
— In the middle of the match, we suddenly get a flashback involving Ai and Mai. Ai, the taller girl, recruited Mai by telling her that volleyball was all about David toppling Goliath. Unfortunately, that didn’t exactly happen.
— Oh my god, this volleyball sequence is so fast-paced! Why can’t they all be like that? Sidenote: the girl spiking the ball can sure fly.
— Also, don’t you lowkey think that the indoor outfits are cuter than the swimsuits? I dunno, leaves more to the imagination…
— Anyways, Ai and Mai’s team lost, because the other team was just taller. This made Ai feel like she had lied to her new friend. As a result, she feels as though they must win this match against Haruka and Kanata at all costs. For Mai, she exclaims!
— That’s all fine and dandy, but take a gander at Kanata. She’s not very tall, is she? In fact, I think she’s a bit shorter than Mai, so… yeah…
— Oh c’mon, you wouldn’t scream out, “Senpai, onegaishimasu~” in the middle of a point, would you?!
— At one point, Mai tells Kanata that it’s pointless to target her on every point, because she’ll chase every ball down… until Kanata breaks! It’s too comical.
— But before you know — and before I know it — our girls have somehow won the first set. I didn’t even know they were on set point. It’s so goddamn weird. The episode makes such a big, goddamn deal out of the first few points, but then set point comes and goes without any fanfare. Hm.
— Even Emily and Claire can’t believe how long this match is taking. We’re already 75% through the first episode. Meanwhile, they’re just blowing through their first round match, because they’re heavily favored to begin with. The Eclair duo finished second at nationals, apparently. Okay then. Haruka gets a bit of a pick-me-up when she realizes that she’s been learning from such a potent team.
— During the break between sets, Kanata laments that her pokeys aren’t working anymore. Yeah, that’s ’cause you keep using it. I don’t remember Emily telling the girl to go to it every single time. You’d think someone who loves volleyball as much as she does would switch it up. Okay, she’s too small to be a power player, but that doesn’t mean every hit has to be a pokey.
— Haha, these fucking Dutch angles…
— Anyways, the second set begins, and we’re suddenly moving very quickly. Before you know it, it’s already 10-7 in Ai and Mai’s favor. Haruka starts worrying even though they’re only down three points. Three points is kinda nothing. If you tell me that the other team is suddenly playing much better, I expect the difference to be a little more than three points.
— Also, the episode keeps cutting to this new girl over and over. We don’t any clue who she is, though. Plus, beach volleyball teams come in two. At the moment, she doesn’t appear to have a partner.
— Emily and Claire have won their match, so they get to spectate the rest of HaruKana’s match. Emily starts picking apart Kanata’s game, namely how her pokey technique isn’t even ideal. But even though Kanata admitted earlier that the “feint” wasn’t working anymore, she keeps going back to it. I don’t get it. And there’s really nothing for me to get, because just like that, the episode is over. We’ll have to wait until next week’s episode to learn why Kanata is being so stubbornly one-dimensional. Maybe she’s trying to lure her opponents into a false sense of security, so when they least suspect it, she’ll suddenly go back to hitting the ball hard or something. Eh.
— Sure, I guess this week’s episode was a step up from last week’s snoozefest.
I think her strategy is to run Mai all around the court until she runs out of steam, i.e. until she breaks, and towards the end, Mai does seem to be getting a bit fatigued