Harukana Receive

November 17, 2018

Finally! Finally they made an anime about beach volleyball! Not that I was dying to watch an anime of this genre but I guess over the years they figured out that there are quite a few popular sports missing from the claws of animation adaptation. One of them being badminton and the other being beach volleyball (both sports themed anime series curiously aired in the same season). With Harukana Receive, anime fans now can rejoice that they can see all the glorious spiking and volleying action on the beach court. It’s perhaps the same reason why fans bought and played Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball because there are no other good beach volleyball video games in (sexy) HD! Yeah, probably the other sleazy mini games have its own attractive appeal… Hence it is the same for anime viewers. Because Haikyuu was probably too gay sh*t for some. What do you mean we are here to only watch sexy babes in bikinis sweating it out under the hot sun and sand covering every inch of their body as they dive to block and return shots?! You don’t expect beach volleyball players to play in fur coats, DO YOU???!!!

Episode 1
Haruka Oozora arrives in Okinawa and is picked up by her petite cousin, Kanata Higa. Haruka tries to be nice but Kanata just seems distant. Did she say something wrong? This show doesn’t waste time for the babes to drop their dresses to go into their bikinis since Haruka loves the beach. She meets a couple of beach volleyball players practising, Ayasa Tachibana and Narumi Tooi. She tries out and kinda likes it. However when Haruka thinks she could be the ace player, this irks Narumi. She claims beach volleyball is a team game and hence an ace doesn’t exist. Wow. She just turned sour. More drama ramping up when Kanata arrives. Narumi knows her but it seems she is somewhat upset Kanata never came back. Whatever beef they had, Narumi suggests a game. But if Haruka can score a point before they reach 7, she wins. So we see the Haruka-Kanata pair a bit clumsy and lacking coordination but Haruka manages to adapt and do well although ultimately they still lost. Cue for Narumi to b*tch about team play and hence no such thing as ace. Can a team have both aces then? Just saying. But this only motivates Haruka as she suggests a revenge match. They agree to it but give her a week to practice the rules and such. Since Kanata has beach volleyball experience, Haruka is looking forward to it. But why isn’t Kanata too happy? Later Haruka learns Ayasa and Narumi are high school beach volleyball champions and from the Kyoto powerhouse! It’s a small world. Of course this doesn’t bug Haruka a bit as she looks forward to the revenge match. Back home, Haruka asks grandma about Kanata playing beach volleyball once but she quit. Grandma doesn’t say much as there were issues then but is glad Haruka came. Cliché moment for Kanata praying at the altar of her dead parents. Also, cue for introduction of this series’ pet mascot. Folks, meet Kamekichi, Kanata’s pet turtle. Haruka tries to touch it but it quickly hides in its shell.

Episode 2
Kanata trains Haruka on the basics like running and getting used to the sand. She also makes some adjustments to her swimsuit so that sand won’t go in while playing. Then they discuss some techniques to beat their opponents. Especially the diagonally spiking cut shot that they won’t expect a beginner to do. But despite things going smoothly, Kanata still reels from a trauma of ‘running away’. She was a pair with Narumi and she froze when a ball was spiked at her. Narumi tried to cover for her but failed. When Ayasa comes to check on the practice progress, she talks to Haruka about Narumi being Kanata’s ex-partner. Because opponents target the weaker one, Kanata is often so due to her height. Kanata ran away and hence Narumi became the ace. She fears if Kanata comes back, Narumi might want her back. Of course Ayasa doesn’t want that and Haruka believes in Kanata. What are the chances that little girl heard that? Revenge match is here and the rules are still the same. The newbies are faring better although they still lose to the pros. They tried the cut shot trick but Narumi saw through them and expected this. Haruka thinks there is still a way to surprise them and that is for Kanata to receive. This shocks Kanata as she believes she cannot do it. Don’t worry. Haruka believes in you. First time she froze and failed. Oh, now it is match point. Since Haruka still believes in her, this has Kanata move forward and receive the serve. This in turn shocks Narumi. With her ‘paralyzed’, Ayasa tries to cover for her but Haruka wins it with a trick dump shot. Narumi still shell shocked. Never expected Kanata to receive still. She runs away. Looks like losers buying everyone ice cream will have to wait. Later Kanata tells Haruka her side of the story of how she didn’t grow and became a burden to Narumi, hence running away. She thought it was the best. Haruka also deduced Narumi’s serve wasn’t aimed at her but to avoid Kanata. Narumi feels bad that she might have hurt Kanata all this time. She blames herself for unable to make her move unlike Haruka. Ayasa comforts her that her kindness wasn’t wrong. Haruka was just a little smarter, that’s all.

Episode 3
Just when Haruka finishes her school transfer papers, she sees Kanata being taken away. Confronting them, Haruka panics to realize she is a foreigner. I speaking no English! Don’t worry. Claire Thomas speaks good Japanese. Heh. Plus, this is a misunderstanding. She is from the school’s beach volleyball club. Introducing to her twin sister, Emily, you bet the duo are going to join the club. But Kanata looking a bit reluctant. Right off the bat they start practising. Actually they play a game with each other. I guess it’s the best way to practice. The twins own the duo well as Haruka learns the use of this spike move called pokey. However Emily is upset that Kanata will not use it. Oh no. Not again. Mood soured. Kanata has some trauma about it. Vague snippets. So as Haruka-Kanata pair trashed, finally Haruka uses this pokey move. Why everybody shocked? You mean they did not expect her to do this? So this returns Kanata’s confidence as she finally does the pokey. She narrates she wasn’t obsessed with spiking as she was a power player. But now things have changed. After the match, the twins show them a junior tournament. You bet they’re going to enter, right? Emily apologizes to Kanata for her behaviour. Kanata is confident of regaining her former self. Later Kanata tells Haruka about how she and Narumi became a pair. Narumi was a transfer student in her elementary school. Hard to approach, somehow beach volleyball was suggested. Reluctant at first, Narumi gave it a try and before you know it, they’re a good combo. They even bested the twins. Their friendship grew and so did their skills. They made a promise to be the best in Japan but after that, Kanata ran away and failed to keep that promise and she felt left behind when everyone changed. She only realized that she was the one who changed. Haruka offers to be her official partner.

Episode 4
Haruka is in the same class with Kanata. She introduces herself. No response. Not friendly, huh? I guess this means we don’t have to bother with those b*tches and focus on the beach volleyball side. During practice, Claire talks to Haruka about their defence area. Because Kanata covers a wider area, this only means that she doesn’t count on her to block. With Haruka jumping around too much, Claire points out that her nether regions were ‘flashing’ so embarrassed Haruka has Kanata do some adjustments. Hence they decide to get matching swimsuits. It took some time before Haruka decided to buy the pair she wants but it seems a couple of girls had snagged them. They are Ai Tanahara and Mai Sunagawa from the volleyball club. They lost a recent tournament and will be participating in this junior tournament to let go some steam. Haruka lost to Mai in the rock-scissors-paper game. My question is, why can’t they both just get the same swimsuit? Don’t tell me the store does not stock more than a pair? Thanks to this, they get another ‘better looking’ pair. Back home, Haruka does a little amendment to their official swimsuit by incorporating some traditional Okinawan pattern. While it means eternity, she didn’t realize the other connotation that it is a confession of love when being presented to one’s partner. Haruka doesn’t care as she loves Kanata. Is this a lesbian show in guise of a beach volleyball theme?! But it’s too much for Kanata to handle as she passes out. Later Emily tells Kanata the truth of what Narumi said before she left for Kyoto. She still intends to keep her promise and if Kanata ever returns to play and found someone new, she hopes Emily would support that person. Of course Narumi would prefer to always partner Kanata but eventually she too will end up with a new partner. Kanata sees Haruka secretly practising. You know she’s practising real hard when you see bandages on her fingers. This is to earn her trust and that she can receive the ball without worrying. I hope this blows whatever blues that has been holding back Kanata. So is this the start of a beautiful lesbian relationship?

Episode 5
The junior tournament is here. Guess who Haruka-Kanata team is going to face in the first round? Ai-Mai team! The rivalry is going to get intense. I guess that swimsuit grudge is hard to let go. We see Haruka-Kanata doing well as Mai made a few mistakes. Of course a flashback shows how Ai invited Mai to join the volleyball club despite she is short because she told her it’s a sport where they can defeat tall people! And when they lost, Mai was inconsolable and hence Ai felt bad for lying. In the end, Haruka-Kanata team takes the first set. We take a detour to see the twins in their match. Lots of people watching it because didn’t Kanata tell you? The twins were ranked second in the Nationals! Now back to our second set match. It seems Mai has learnt some feint trick that Kanata does with her pokey. She intercepts it all the time. Hence Ai-Mai team takes the lead. The twins finished their straight sets so they get to go watch our heroines play and even comment on it. Like how Emily notices Kanata’s pokey not being a good attack because she hits the ball from a low point of impact and it flies high enough and in the air long enough to give her opponents time. But why does she keep doing it then? Hmm…

Episode 6
The logic of Kanata doing such pokeys is that since they are predictable, Mai has to go receive them. In the long run she will exhaust herself. It is evident at this point as Mai is getting tired and doing mistakes. This allows Haruka-Kanata pair to catch up and Haruka getting the hang of the jump timing. They even get the help from the wind to throw off their opponents to earn match point. And yes, the final point goes them and they win it. In the aftermath, we see Ai-Mai pair somewhat reconciling. Some tears, some you have improved, some try your best again, you know the usual stuff that will have them move on and be better the next time. In the end, Haruka and Kanata lost the next round and this entire junior tournament is won by the twins. I guess we don’t need to see them play unknowns. Kanata would love to play them but you know, there is the Nationals tournament known as Valkyrie Cup. And we don’t have to worry that they have to face off with each other in the preliminaries so that one will go to the main tournament because since the twins won twice in a row, Okinawa will get 2 representatives. Yup, no need to worry there. Beach volleyball isn’t all about the sexy physical stuffs. Secret hand signals are a must too and looks like Haruka is having a tough time learning them. She better learn quick or else no dinner. The irony that Kamekichi knows it better than her.

Episode 7
Has this changed into an idol show?! Despite seeing Akari Ooshiro prance around on stage (via bad CGI), this is only her delusion. In reality, she seems desperate asking Kanata to join the beach volleyball club. Her goal is to become a beach volleyball idol and be famous. Kanata has a feeling she has seen her somewhere before but couldn’t put her finger on it. Akari is brought to see the twins and she is eager to pair up with them. However the twins don’t intend to pair with anyone else and this dashes her plans. But when ask to join the club first, she doesn’t want to anymore. Haruka and Kanata try to go find her at class but is told she has no friends as she is a celebrity. Kanata now remembers that drink commercial she used to act in. My, so cute. The duo manage to find her eating lunch by herself. She wants to be left alone but Haruka tells her they’ll do so if they beat them in beach volleyball. And hence Akari does so but she’s like doing them a favour, complaining and the likes. She teams up with Emily to square off against Kanata alone. The rest are referees. Being an amateur, Kanata could easily predict her moves and of course Akari herself is riled up. In the end, Akari failed to score a point. And then some life lessons how sports brings people closer and make friends, blah, blah, blah. With that, Akari joins the club (still acting like she’s doing them a favour) but is embarrassed when Claire starts replaying that commercial again. Later Akari reveals she really wanted to make friends but being an idol would be the best way. Thanks to them, now she understands. Though, she still has a score to settle with the twins and think she’ll be famous if she beats the. Dream on. The gang is surprised when Marissa, the twins’ mom and coach has returned.

Episode 8
Marissa is back to train them. So mom came all the way back from America just for this? I guess Claire put in the ‘request’ so mommy can’t deny her cute daughter. Marissa’s spiking is already so powerful and she says this isn’t her best? Wow. I guess she could have put a hole in the wall if she was in her heydays. So to cut short Haruka and Kanata’s lesson from her, basically they need teamwork and cooperation. Like, duh? Yeah, teamwork and cooperation like a married couple. With training can only give you so much, the rest is up to experience. Hence a little flashback when the twins battled Kanata-Narumi for the title and lost. They became best friends, best rivals. With the summer vacation coming up, the girls hit the shrine. Let’s hope Akari being the only with bad luck won’t bring the team down. Heh. Haruka gets a call from Ayasa. Apparently they are in Okinawa but is waiting for a flight back. So I suppose it’s an excuse for everything to go see her even if they shove it to make it look like it is just Kanata who wants to see her. Don’t worry. Marissa is here to take them to the airport. Haruka is unsure why Emily is clenching herself. You’ll soon find out. Damn, she’s a hell driver!!! Hold on tight to your seats. Thankfully with the traffic jam, no more life risking. Damn, it’ll be a shame if these young girls died in an accident due to ‘reckless driving’. With the traffic jam, this adds drama for the girls to run there on foot. They reach just in time before their plane’s departure. Kanata calling out to Narumi but is given the cold shoulder. So she ran all the way only for this? Nah. Just trolling. Narumi shows their international friendship sign so you can say all is well. Everybody’s so happy for the future.

Episode 9
The qualifiers are here. But first, Akari seems to be so troubled that she calls Ayasa for advice. Whatever it is, just express your feelings. She relays the news that since there weren’t enough team in the qualifiers, only 1 team from Okinawa can go through. WTF. That doesn’t make sense. It’s not like there’s 100 teams here, right?! Hence Akari’s worry stems from the girls will be facing off each other in the finals for that spot. So she fears the club will be destroyed? Huh? Where did she get that idea? Yeah, she’s talking how much she loves the club like as though she’s been here for a long time. Oh, here are some scrunchies she made as token of their friendship and good luck charm. Now can we stay positive and win this thing? Before the match starts, our girls stumble into Ai and Mai who aren’t participating but helping out as staffs. Both our favourite girls win their first round matches. Then there is the Aragaki sisters, Youna and Kanna. They want a revenge match against the twins from 3 years ago but first they have to face off with Haruka-Kanata pair. Yeah, they’re confident of beating them for their revenge match but Haruka isn’t going take that lying down. During the game, the sisters realize Haruka’s play resembles so much like Claire. Because they underestimate them, Kanna hints of using some technique they’re still testing. Too bad they continue to lose and Haruka-Kanata pair takes the first set by a mile. I’m not sure about this topspin technique Kanna is trying to do to increase speed and then suddenly change its trajectory, but it isn’t working too (since Haruka is able to return them) in the second set as Haruka-Kanata pair takes the second set also by a mile. I guess they’ll have to wait another year for their revenge. And now it’s the finals. Haruka-Kanata vs Emily-Claire.

Episode 10
Master versus student. Basically the twins dominate the match and showing no mercy. It’s like they’ve never received this part of the training or in practice before. Yeah, we always have this spare trump card just in case. The match is so intense but why is Akari looking so sad? Yeah, either way she is going to be just sad because somebody has to lose, right? In the end, she thought of cheering things up by singing that commercial song of hers. I believe it’s just to calm her own nerves down. Anyway, Haruka and Kanata have planned it out before that they want to target Claire. Just to let us viewers know why they’re doing such strategy. And coincidentally what do you know? Claire also knows they’re targeting her so bring it on. The twins in the end take the first set. The next set starts and to drag out the drama, hence some flashback to tell us why they are no longer the same people back then. Yup, they have improved many times fold. We get it. Can we get along with the game already? No surprises here as the twins continue to dominate and lead. Until Kanata does one tricky move to score a point. So you didn’t expect her to do that? You’re getting super serious now? Weren’t you the whole time? This is the serious Kanata you want to play? You’re saying Kanata wasn’t this serious all the while?

Episode 11
Oh dear. Do we need more of those flashbacks? The first time Claire lost and was so sad and eventually the twins become frequent sparring partners with Kanata and Narumi. And then one day Claire became upset because Kanata wasn’t playing the way she used to. Her goal was gone. Now that she’s back, it’s time to get the game going. I suppose for drama effect and to drag it out, Haruka-Kanata pair wins the second set. You frustrated, Claire? I blame those unnecessary flashbacks. For the final set, Haruka and Kanata win the coin toss to pick which side they want to start. It is important because they realize they need to use the wind in their favour. Although they manage to score a few points and take the lead, the twins have their experience and finally strut their stuff. At this point, both sides are exhausted and they are running on how strong their will is. It is now match point in favour of the twins. Haruka feels a bit bad for losing a few points but with Kanata proving how determined they are not to let it end here, a couple of lucky blocks and volleys, they force this set into a deuce. Yeah. Such a miracle comeback. No wonder we have to drag this on to the final episode.

Episode 12
Wow. So dramatic. Because Akari calls Narumi to tell who won… But before we get to that, let’s see more drama on the court in this final set. More spiking. More volleying. More pokey. Slo-mo dramatic action. Girls diving. Sand in their face. Deuce to prolong the action-cum-drama. Oh wow. Truly a final do or die match. In the end, it is the amazing block by Haruka that enables her team to win! Hooray! But why Haruka and Kanata not happy post-match? It’s like they’ve lost? Ah well. Here comes Akari to relay them the good news. A positive message from Narumi. Yeah. Be happy with their victory. Also, we see the twins trying to put a happy face but we know they’re sad inside. They don’t regret teaching those 2 who have now seemed to surpass them. Now for some celebration as the quintet have a BBQ beach party! I guess they need more reassurance with Ayasa and Narumi calling again to wish them luck. Won’t lose. See you at the Nationals. Time to remember Akari’s ‘usefulness’ to the team because without her scrunchies, they would have been lost. Yeah, thank you. Haruka tells Claire that final block she did, she learnt it from her. Can I say it’s one of those moments where something comes back to bite you? Claire then gives their scrunchies to Haruka. Take this and win it for them. Oh, the burden just doubled. So I guess now it is back to more practice. Fancy watching another final matchup? Funny how Haruka narrates some team sports you can only play with 2 team members. And that sport is beach volleyball. But what about tennis doubles, badminton doubles, squash doubles, ping pong doubles, kayaking doubles, curling doubles, bobsleigh doubles… Oh, the last one reminds me and feels so gay…

Serve Up Those Asses!
Sighs… I guess that’s it. Thanks for the asses this season. I mean, beach volleyball action. I am not sure if those 2D asses were the reason why I didn’t fall asleep nor why I didn’t find it boring. I know. Surprising, right?! With this series lacking anything exciting, it seems hard to find a valid excuse that the only things that are keeping one falling asleep while watching such shows are the babes in bikinis and the cameramen having the best field day of capturing those up and close zoom-ins of those ass shots. Keep up the good work, everybody! Players and spectators!

Well, I didn’t really expect for this series to have any sort of storyline and the so called friendship drama thingy was somewhat predictable. Even I could guess who should win before the finals started. Hah! I had a 50% chance and got it right. I mean, this is a sports genre and how much more story and drama can you put in? It is even more limited when you consider that there is realism and not fantasy. What do I mean? If you have watched Prince Of Tennis, you will notice that all the tennis moves are just impossible to pull off in the real world. Super exaggerative. Hence you don’t see our girls here pulling off hard slamming spiking moves with exaggerated special effects of the volleyball turning into some speeding meteor and slamming into the opponent’s court for some awesome explosive point. Yeah…

Therefore watching the Kanata drama of why she stopped playing volleyball and then returned to the game because of Haruka, well, personally it isn’t something that isn’t exactly exciting. Maybe it is in volleyball sense but I could hardly feel any heartstrings being tugged (if there was any) and instead want them to right away get to the volleyball action so that I could see some asses. Oops! I mean see the girls being acrobatic and flexible on the sandy court. So the supposed friendship drama to me mostly feels like something that is shoehorned in so that this series won’t look like an obvious fanservice driven anime. Not that we all should know better when we decide to watch this, right? :).

But speaking of the fanservice… Well, I think Dead Or Alive Xtreme Volleyball provides way much better eye candy than this. This is just decent. I mean, it is to be expected, right? Girls wearing bikinis playing under the hot sun and sand. So unless you’re an amateur who just started watching anime or you have been so deprived, the butt shots and sexy shots are just passable. Uh huh. Excuse for having a lot of butt shots is so that a player can send hand signals to her teammate behind. Sorry, I wasn’t paying to whatever hand signals they were doing. Oops…

The characters aren’t anything much themselves. As mentioned, the wafer thin drama plot feels like an excuse to have a volleyball anime and it is just treading the passable line. What is a sports themed anime without its share of character drama? Hence the biggest one swirls around Kanata. They make it such a big deal about her trauma of running away from volleyball. But I guess when you are in her shoes, it seemed like a scary experience. But not us viewers. And then with the arrival of newbie honest-to-goodness Haruka, she is like the excuse Kanata needs to come back to beach volleyball seeing her strained relationship with Narumi feels like I’m-too-afraid-to-ask-to-be-friends-again-at-this-point. So all is forgiven that Kanata is back on track as her former self?

Predictably the final match and arc of the season had to be Haruka-Kanata and the Thomas twins. It is the only reason why we get to see some brief flashbacks on the twins and what strives them to get better. Pretty standard and nothing extraordinary, if I should say. I know everybody hates losing and Claire being a virgin loser really bawled her heart out then. I suppose you could say she has learnt and mature in many ways. Claire feels like the more interesting twin than Emily because of her myriad of emotions. She can be your best laidback pal one moment and in tournaments she can show you that scary serious face. Emily on the other hand feels like she is stuck with that same face and emotion throughout the day.

Akari feels like the odd one out in the club. Whatever her reasons to join the club, I feel like she got the short end of the straw. The club now has 5 members. She doesn’t get to pair up with another one of them since she is an amateur for now. When the twins graduated and leave, they’ll be down to 3 members. Unless they get more members, Akari will always be lonely. I think she’ll garner more fans as a beach volleyball idol. Gravure swimsuit shots all year round! Oh yeah! So as not to make her totally be as the useless one, hence she is the team’s glue because nothing makes the team feel stronger with togetherness if somebody makes the same scrunchie for everybody. Yes, seriously. Effort very much appreciated even if she still can’t play for real.

Marissa feels a bit redundant. She just returned for a while so as to train our main characters for their all-important match and that’s it? It’s an excuse so that we can see them play well and on par with the Thomas twins. Thank goodness they are prodigies in beach volleyball especially Haruka who learns fast and now she can play like a pro. Well, almost. Kamekichi as the series’ mascot feels forgotten after its initial introduction. Because when you have sexy babes in bikinis playing on the sand, not even the cuteness of the land turtle can steal away those perverted glances.

Other minor characters like Ai-Mai as well as the Aragaki sisters feel like they are there so as to show that this series revolves around more than just the school’s beach volleyball club members. Imagine how boring it is if every other opponents are nameless teams who we will never care since they will be defeated anyway. So having these few characters provide and prolong the little drama and in the future, perhaps turning into some cliché shonen moment, the opponents they defeat will become their allies in the future. Technically, the more people who root for you (especially from the defeated opponents), the higher your chances of winning, right?

On a trivial note, it is stated that Emily and Claire as a team, they are nicknamed Éclair. Nice. Therefore I wanted to nickname Haruka and Kanata’s team as Naruto. Wait. What? Why? Because Haruka Kanata is the name of the first opening theme of the first Naruto season. Haha! Woah. That feels like a long time ago. Oh well. So, uhm, Naruto doesn’t feel appropriate? I guess we’ll stick with Harukana then. Boring…

Art and drawing feel pretty standard. The characters look cute and sometimes if you think too much, you wonder if it is possible to practice and play beach volleyball so much and retain such smooth and silky skin. Just take a look at Haruka and the Thomas twins’ skin! Damn, these girls could be models and give Akari a run for her money! Since the setting is in Okinawa, the sceneries are bright enough and that it sometimes makes you want to wear sunglasses. Okay, I just exaggerated the last bit but yes, it is quite bright. Sun, sand, sea, beaches, I think these backgrounds are nice to look at if your eyes are not too focused on asses. The other thing ‘nice’ is (no, not the asses, mind you) is the special effects of the sand when the girls dive. Even if it is just okay, I guess it is pretty cool to me. And the odd thing is no matter how many times the girls dive and get sand all over, their bodies look clean as ever. The most you see them is sweating. I want to have that kind of beautiful sand proof skin! This anime is animated C2C who did Yurumates 3D, Aquarion Logos and Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu Ka.

Nothing special about the voice acting. Didn’t recognize anybody. Probably too busy looking at somewhere else… The casts are Kana Yuuki as Haruka (Noelle in Black Clover), Saki Miyashita as Kanata (debut role), Atsumi Tanezaki as Claire (Mizore in Hibike! Euphonium), Rie Suegara as Emily (Shizuka in Marchen Madchen), Chisa Kimura as Akari (Scarlet in Uma Musume Pretty Derby), Miyuri Shimabukuro as Narumi (Nagisa in Hanebado), Kanae Itou as Ayasa (Sanae in Shinryaku! Ika Musume), Akari Kitou as Ai (Siluca in Grancrest Senki), Riko Koike as Mai (debut role), Minami Takahashi as Kanna (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma), Satomi Akesaka as Youna (Arsene/Henrietta in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes series) and Umeka Shouji as Marissa (Kumagai in World Trigger).

The opening theme is Fly Two Blue by the duo behind Haruka and Kanata. Sounds generic and nothing special but I suppose it is pretty okay for this sports themed anime. The same feel goes to the ending theme, Wish Me Luck sung by the aforementioned duo but now joined by Claire and Emily to form a quartet. The interesting bit of this ending credits animation is the sketch-like animation. The girls sketching and then the zooming in to reveal another girl doing her sketch. Eternal loop. A special opening theme by Akari when she makes her debut, the very idol-like Mae Wo Muite at first gave me the impression she hijacked the show and it will no longer be a beach volleyball series. Yeah…

Overall, this series is average at best. There is only one thing why viewers watch this series whether it is true or not but everybody else will quickly judge and jump to the conclusion of why this series was made to be watched in the first place. Even if this is a normal beach volleyball anime. If this is enough to provoke any kind of controversy, wait till you watch that other ‘extreme’ water sport anime series, Keijo. Oh yeah. Remember that one? Would you rather have butts shoved in your face or sand in your face? Oh wait. I think it is pretty obvious… I highly doubt this series would get another season because what else are they going to play up? All of us would be expecting more glorious ass shots and ‘exotic curves’. So once this is all over, I think we’ll go back to just shamelessly play Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Ganbatte, Marie-chan!!!!!!!

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