Kanata and Haruka take the momentum as their big match against Emily and Claire continues.
Overview (Spoilers Below):
Claire and Emily Thomas won the first set last week, but this time, things are different. Kanata and Haruka have decided to try using topspin, and they leverage this tactic to their advantage on the beach, taking the second set for themselves.
After switching sides for the third and final set, Kanata and Haruka have the wind on their side. Utilizing this advantage and all their skills, they run the tie-breaking match to a tie at game point. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess who will end up on top.
“At This Point, We’re Basically Playing Head-to-Head” drops us into the middle of Kanata and Haruka’s 2nd set versus the Thomas sisters. Emily is glad to see that the old Kanata is back, and her eyes have got plenty of fire. She thinks back to the first time she played Kanata. It was, apparently, the first time she had ever lost a game? Which seems strange, but okay! The point is that though she lost the game that day, she gained a pair of rivals. As her mom tells her, having someone on the same skill level can help make you stronger. These girls are bonded by competition and friendship.
The game itself wasn’t that enjoyable to me. Sure, it might seem exciting at first, with all the back and forth of the score. But that’s exactly how I expected things to play out since the show is milking this game for everything it’s worth. (I mean, this is the final arc, so it has a perfect right to do so.) To nobody’s surprise, Haruka and Kanata win the second set, sending the match to a final tiebreaking 15-point set. They win the coin toss, which gives them the advantage of picking sides. This seems a little unfair, but lots of sports do this in overtime, so what can ya do? The wind is on their side now, and they plan to use it to their advantage. It comes down to the wire. Even after a mistake from Haruka, Kanata is able to come through and tie the set at 14. With only one point standing between both teams and victory, things are about to go down. And that’s when the episode ends. Yeah, this game is being stretched out to play over three episodes.
From an animation standpoint, the show looks fine, if a bit underwhelming for a finale arc. There’s only so many ways you can depict and direct a game of volleyball, but the show staff is clearly doing their best to make things look interesting and remain visually engaging even after 10 previous episodes of similar action.
This episode really reminded me of how much work the English actors are putting in during action-packed sports episodes like this one. There’s a lot of subtle grunts and breaths in normal anime, but to make it sound like you’re in the middle of a heated match of volleyball? That takes work, so serious props to everyone involved with this week’s episode.
The eleventh episode of Harukana Receive included some nice moments and exciting tension as the big game between Kanata and Haruka and Emily and Claire continued, but it ended up feeling like somewhat of a filler episode. I don’t get the sense that I learned anything new about the characters that haven’t been shown before. A single game that runs nearly an hour in screentime is just asking for trouble. Still, I was holding my breath near the end there, and am eager to see how things turn out for our two teams! And Akari cheering for both sides at match point got me laughing… what an awkward situation for her to navigate.