To the rivals who push us to be better – and to our friends!
Overview (Spoilers Below):
After playing two grueling sets, the final game is decided in overtime. Haruka and Kanata are at match point and Haruka hits a jump topspin serve! This bold move wins them the match.
Later, the beach volleyball club has a beach barbeque to celebrate their time together. Haruka and Kanata reflect on the past months and vow to keep playing as a team in the future. Emily and Claire let them know that since they’ve beaten the second best team in Japan, there’s no excuse for letting up now!
Well, what may have been the world’s longest beach volleyball match has finally come to a close. After episodes worth of back and forth, Haruka and Kanata have taken the crown as the best volleyball team in Japan. But it wouldn’t have been possible without all the teaching and guidance from their mentors.
And That’s Why We Choose Our Irreplaceable Partners begins with the game at match point. Running out of steam from the long competition, the Thomas sisters encourage one another by reminding each other that they’re the best in Japan. Meanwhile, Haruka reflects on how she and Kanata joined the beach volleyball club together and learned and grew as equal partners on the team. There’s no way for everyone to win even if they all deserve to, so Haruka and Kanata eventually triumph when Haruka comes up big with an unexpected return. I wasn’t really rooting for either team in particular, but it makes sense from a storytelling perspective for the relative newbies to take the crown from their teachers.
After the hard fought battle has ended, Emily and Claire try to shake off their loss, telling their friends to be happy and enjoy their victory. I was glad to see they took the ending in stride, relying on each other and their friends to support them even without a win. Evidence of the unbreakable friendship between the girls is found in plenty at the club barbeque they decide to hold later on. What better way to bid goodbye to the beach volleyball club than a cookout on the beach? Haruka and Claire get some good scenes together. I especially liked how Haruka’s last-second block was first taught to her by Claire. Akari even gets a little moment to shine, as her bracelet gifts are shown to be a constant reminder to her friends of their loyalty to one another. They finish off their party with a cheer for the future – Haruka and Kanata are going to kick butt in their next game!
This week’s dub was good, with no awkwardly timed lines or out of place colloquialisms. Let’s all give a big hand to VA’s Sarah Wiedenheft (Kanata), Tia Ballard (Haruka), Amber Lee Connors (Claire), and Bryn Apprill (Emily). It’s no easy feat to consistently portray young girls in the midst of beach volleyball matches, and the actors did a great job putting in their best performances every week.
The final episode of Harukana Receive was a nice way to end the series. We got an exciting conclusion to Haruka and Kanata’s rivalry with Emily and Claire, as well as some sweet bonding moments in the last half of the episode. No matter who beats who, these girls will always remain friends. It just goes to show that in beach volleyball, you gotta choose the right partners.