For a second week, Matt and I share very different views about the latest ecchi sports anime entry. I will be in bold this week. I have carefully chosen and captured all these screencaps in honour of my very esteemed collaborator!

Harukana Receive Episode 2 review
and we’re off

Last week, I gave you guys a riddle to solve.. Did you guess who picked this show, yet? How ‘bout that fan-service though?! Can it be called fan-service if bikini’s are part of the sport? Yes, if it’s Harukana Receive it can be…

We are back and better than ever! And so is Harukana…well it is back! Hooray! I was looking forward to this all week!

Second episodes are usually kind of rough. The production team usually invest a lot in the opening episode, making it look particularly beautiful and putting all the most interesting and fun bits it can fit in without needing the audience to be familiar with the story yet, so that it can get as many people as possible to invest in the full season. I know there’s the whole three episode rule trope but a heck of a lot of folks will drop a show at ep1 if they don’t see anything that interests them. I thought this episode looked better than the first, but then again maybe I was distracted…

Harukana Receive Episode 2 review
by what?

As a result, second episodes are often lackluster and stuck with the thankless job of setting up the plot. Harukana seems to be trying to counter that by throwing in a whole bunch of light ecchi fanservice. Yes lots of fan-service in this episode, this is the more the show I was expecting it to be when I first heard about it!

I don’t actually know what qualifies as ecchi…. This one was pretty fanservice heavy.

I thought it was too bad all the fanservice was form the same girl. It was a little lopsided (get it…) Oh I don’t know about that, still got some nice ‘cheeks’ from the other girls–though I guess since Harukana is the lead they want to exploit showcase her the most?

Harukana Receive Episode 2 review
couldn’t manage to get the other girl

They are still doing the super slow animation and a lot of “bullet time” and action obscuring close ups during matches. I hope that changes – I love dynamic gameplay animation. Then you’d love Hanebado! But we shouldn’t really be talking about another currently airing anime in this review, the show might get jealous!

Everyone says Hanebado! is where it’s at. From the screencaps they seem to have to have a leg up on the fanservice as well. Do you think Harukana will suffer from airing at the same time as another ecchi all young girls sports show? First of all, no Hanabedo! will be the show people remember, also there’s no way I’d even call Hanebado! even remotely fan-servicey, let alone ecchi, trust me when I say you don’t even notice it when it’s in motion.

Harukana Receive Episode 2 review
you notice it in this show…

As a whole I have to say I much prefer the art in Harukana Receive, to the animation. The cute girl designs are probably some of my favorites in recent history. They are a little similar looking but I think they are quite pretty and I enjoy that chromatic eye effect. They are particularly gorgeous girls, I was thinking how nice they would look on my wall–as a poster! Geez, don’t get the wrong idea!

The black haired girl is pretty hot. If you’d made me pick which girl I thought you’d like the look of the most it would be her, you have a type. Yup: Hot…Hot is my type. When she grows up she will be an attractive woman I bet!

On the other hand, the animation is clunky and a little lazy. When the girls move around, only one part of their body moves, maybe you get a booby jiggle for fanservice or some hair waving in the wind but otherwise it looks like their muscles aren’t related to each other and their clothes exist independently. I didn’t notice it that much in the movement, but I did notice they did the whole ‘long shot talking scene while chibi faces in bubbles did the talking’ rather than bothering to animate close up conversations. I think that qualifies as lazy?

Harakuna Receive Episode 2 review
c’mon – they could have cleaned that up a little

The CG is still horrible but they used less. I’ll probably get use to it. I hardly saw it anymore by the end of Grancrest. If it’s just stuff for particle effects it honestly doesn’t bother me at all…The ball is CG as well which makes the matches less visually cohesive to me. I feel like I’ll have to watch it again because I didn’t even realise the balls were CG… guess I was focusing on some other big round things too much…

I’ll be honest, I’m still looking for something that would make me want to watch more of this. I haven’t quite found that one thing that piqued my interest yet. See, I was the opposite this episode got me in the right place (and too the irlwaifu, I heard her ‘awwwing’ from beside me) it was during the scene before the “big” match, when Haruka was speaking to Ayasa about Kanata, the fact that Haruka is so committed to Kanata was heart-warming! My partner’s reaction was considerably less positive with a lot of “really?? This is what you want to invest time in??” only not this polite

Harukana Receive Episode 2 review
I’m improving my mind!

For me the volleyball explanation is just way too basic to be interesting and the animation is a huge drawback there. There is no comedy to speak of. And I’m not yet attached enough to these characters to resonate with the drama. Again I disagree, I thought the scenes early on with Kanata trying to adjust Haruka’s bikini were adorable, her reactions totally got a giggle out of me. Also Haruka’s “cut shot pose”! Sexualization is sort of hit or miss and really depends on the viewers personal tastes. I really tend to prefer it in adult characters so I’m pretty indifferent to it in this show.

One of the reasons is that they have somewhat upended their personalities in this episode. The derpy goofy big girl turns out to be a genius strategist that not only instantly grasped the finer points of the game but also was able to play mind tricks on her opponent. Her quiet and reliable cousin is a ball of insecurity and yuriservice. The harsh tsundere is apparently in the middle of some sort of nervous breakdown and the fun sociable one is a possessive jealous girlfriend. Haruka was still a derpy goofball, there’s no reason she can’t be both, she said she played normal Volleyball last episode so it’s not like having an eye for strategy is completely out of character. As for Ayasa I don’t think she was being jealous and possessive for the sake of it, I sense she’s got trust issues maybe revolving around having a sports partner leave her before–I don’t know if I’m just inferring something that isn’t there but I’d be surprised if they left the characterisation that two-dimensional. The only reason I say that though is because the manga it’s based on is definitely considered under the Sports genre and the magazine it appears in isn’t some shallow ecchi heavy publication but has a few vaguely serious series’.

Harakuna Receive Episode 2 review
why can’t we be friends…

Don’t get all defensive, none of this is a bad thing. Adding gap moe now simply hasn’t allowed me to see these girls as people I recognize from real life so I can’t form bonds or instinctively relate yet, is all. I guess that’s where we differ in that I don’t recognise anyone from anime in real life because I’ve got like 2 irl friends, so pretty much everyone in anime is a potential friend… man that sounds really sad that I’ve said that out loud…

I really have no problem with any of these or with switching personalities around, it’s just that so far, I can’t say I know any of these girls. There’s still time for that. I think it’s telling that it’s been two whole episode without an OP or an ED, almost like these two episodes have been the prologue before the real ‘Sports!’ show starts!

This said, it’s not like I dislike the show either, more like I’m still trying to figure it out. We can figure it out together! I don’t think it’s anything remarkable yet (though the fan-service is pretty damn good) but I can see the potential in this series!

Just for fun let’s give a round to last year’s world champions. Congratulations Brazil!


Obviously I used all the fanservice pics in the post…right?!?

34 thoughts

  1. Ha ha!! Don’t ease us in, just get all those boobs out of the way (guess I should have said out in the open. 😉😂) right out of the gates… Or out of the bikinis??… I don’t even know what I’m talking about. Boobs.

  2. Brazil sure knows how to rock those bikinis!

    And those real athletic bikini tops have a lot more to them than the tops in the anime do. It would be impossible to play volleyball like that. In fact, you could play all day with no bottoms at all and you’d still want a sports bra for the top. Just from that alone, it would be impossible for me to take this seriously as a sports anime.

    1. oh I don’t think it’s even trying to be a serious sports anime. I mean 2 days of training is apparently enough to get you competition ready.

  3. Hmm. I’m interested in hearing more of your opinion on female fanservice Irina. It’s obvious how I feel about it from my perspective on how it’s suppose to appeal to me, so…you know…

    1. Well I touched on it a bit in my lines in the sands post. Occasionally there are female charas i find very attractive and I assume my reaction to fanservice from those is similar to yours but they’re pretty much always adults… Otherwise, there have been times in my life where a guy has refused to take no for an answer which can be really scary if you’re going home alone after an evening out, or times when teachers have suggested i could get some extracurricular credit or bosses have asked me to pick up stuff up the floor for them. These were very unpleasant times. So when the fanservice gets really invasive and seems to be at the expense of the character, I occasionally associate it with those times and it’s not really super fun to watch for me. I’m not saying this will be the case for every woman and it’s not that frequent either.
      In the present case it doesn’t bother me but also dosen’t turn me on. I guess it would be like watching 15 minutes of detailed shots of the volleyball net, unless that’s your thing, in which case we need tobe friends!

      1. Oh, hope this wasn’t too invasive and I’m sorry that you’ve had some bad figures pushing you into doing things that you shouldn’t have done otherwise. 🙁

        Thank you for answering!

        1. Hate to break it to you but most women go through a few of these. Many go through worse. It’s not a big deal.

  4. I’ve gotten through both episodes so far and haven’t had too much of an issue with the fan-service, but maybe that’s because I’ve got it in my head that it’s beach volleyball, so they’re supposed to be wearing what we’ve been shown. It is still there, though, so if it works it works! However, I have noticed that there’s more comedy and antics than there is drama, and even the drama is more melodramatic than it should be. I’m really not sure where the show is headed, as it seems like they’ve tried to build a backstory to two characters without giving us much reason to care. My favorite character thus far is Kamekichi 🙂

    1. I don’t remember any of the characters names…
      I’m really not the target audience for this show. But it’s pleasant enough. I hope it gets funnier, I prefer comedy to melodrama.

      1. Kamekichi is the adorable turtle. It’s a good enough show so far, but like you I hope it gets funnier, the drama can be saved for Hanebado.

        1. How could i forget!!! Of course best turtle! I even put him in my header…man this is embarassing

  5. I don’t see that kind of bikini on the Brasilian team. They must not be very fashion conscious. (Or could it be, perhaps, possible that clipping a top so the cleavage gets a tad more narrow isn’t all that effective?) Seriously, I’m no expert, but preventing as much bounce as possible seems a good way to avoid excess pain if you move around a lot. (Hanebado had the same problem in ep1; I didn’t notice it in the other episodes, but that might be my auto-filter kicking. I tend to notice things and then just accept it’s there and forget about it, underestimate the sexualisation, and run into problems with accidental co-watchers. Other than a lack of sports bras, Hanebado doesn’t seem to have much fanservice, though I’d probably have to re-watch for camera angles and stuff, to be sure.)

    If you want drama, Hanebado is the better show. If you want good characters Hanebado is the better show. If you want ecchi, Harukana Receive is the better show. If you want humour, then Harukana Receive is also the better show (Hanebado isn’t just serious, it’s Serious – it’s not like there’s no humour, but the tone is never light.) Artstyles are too different to compare. Character designs are more distinct in Hanebado and the animation is also more dynamic in Hanebado. Finally, both shows have names that start with “Ha”, so they’re close together in alphabetically sorted seasonal lists.

    If I had to drop one and keep the other, Harukana Receive would go, no question. But they’re too different in tone for me to really compare them.

    As for the girls, Narumi is easily my favourite.

    1. Seems we have the same type.

      Also not an expert but having played and also having a chest – preventing bounce is primordial. It can be surprisingly painful otherwise… I wouldn’t call Haukana vey funny so far – it’s more cutesy than anything else in my opinion but it’s very early in the season. It could still turn out to be a laugh fest. At this point though – I liked the ponies more.

      1. Nah, I doubt it’s going to be a laugh fest. Actually, I think Hanebado‘s actually more likely to make me laugh. But Hanebado places its jokes stategically to lighten the mood, so what you’ll remember is rarely the humour. Meanwhile, the humour in Harukana comes often and easy (and the jokes aren’t really funny to me), but if one were to land, it’s what you’d remember first about the scene.

        Oh, and I liked Umamusume a lot better so far (and it’s unliekely to change).

        As for playing volleyball: In school only, without breasts, and without moving around much (I wasn’t a popular teammember). It’s all theory, but it seems obvious that any bounce would end in a tug, and that eventually there’s be a cumulative effect. Anime girls so often suffer to attract stranger’s eyes where they don’t want them. It’s not fair.

  6. I like that the women have hips. So far it seems like a sport anime with jiggle. I imagine it is very difficult to draw realistic muscles, especially when all anime have a budget, and if realistic muscles are your thing, watching real beach volleyball in HD/4K is probably for you, not anime about volleyball.

    1. I don’t know. I found the scritching ping png girls really fun and dunaimc to watch. Their bodies moved as a whole and clothing responded fairly realistically and it’s not like that show looked half as good as this one. I’m thinking it has more to do with budget distribution and animation techniques rather than actual sum.

      1. That Scorching Ping Pong Girls show was good. I liked that one a lot. So was Bakuon with girls learning to ride motorcycles. They had Japanese Female Stig, whom the guys in their 50’s called “sensei” or sempai. Much better than Rolling Girls, which had about as much motorcycling as Glasslip had glass blowing (about 15 seconds per episode).
        The show about girls learning to ride touring bicycles was decent too, though the cg of their legs while riding was surreal and nauseating. The animators probably didn’t have the budget to get the proper sway of a bicycle from side to side, so being totally upright looked so creepy. No countersteer on corners either. There’s a lot of details which are either hard to get right, or there’s no money for it and they gamble that viewers will watch anyway. They’re usually right.

  7. Hanebado has good “fanservice” because the show isn’t actively sexualizing them and showing them off. They are athletic ladies with great figures who are constantly in action, and man oh man, that makes people hot and bothered.

    1. Hanebado is a show that I think a lot of people are having a hard time figuring out because they’re so rare… Heavy fanservice in a show that *also* has a serviceable plot and decent characterization. (Neither are great mind you, but they are present.)

      1. Once again I haven’t seen it but I have seen a lot of great and well realized shows that also had both fanservice and character sexualization.
        Even the classics like Bebop and Eva had quite a bit but it’s not like they didn’t have a plot also.

    2. I cant comment because I haven’t seen the show yet.
      This said I’ve not against overlt esxualized fanservice (in this show included) but since my own taste don’t really go to teenage girls I need the show to provide something else as well.

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