Harukana Receive, Vol. 1

By Nyoijizai. Released in Japan by Houbunsha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Manga Time Kirara Forward. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by David Musto and Amanda Haley. Adapted by Claudie Summers.

Sometimes when you see a new title, you’re never quite sure what it’s going to be. Harukana Receive in particular could slot into any number of categories. First and foremost, it’s a sports manga, with lots of beach volleyball advice and analysis, and the typical sports manga tropes, such as the newcomer with promising talent and the person who quit and has to be coaxed back. There’s also a healthy amount of fanservice, which honestly is to be expected in a title about beach volleyball, thoguh the service does not appear to be very skeezy. Most importantly, though, it’s a Kirara title, so we see a group of two girls meet up with another group of two girls, and they have discusssions and do things. In this case, the thing they do is beach volleyball. Which, of course, gets back to: this is a sports manga.

Haruka is a tall girl who’s recently moved to Okinawa to live with her cousin Kanata, who is… not tall. They are, as you may have gathered, the ‘Harukana’ of the title. Okinawa has beaches, and beaches means beach volleyball. Haruka immediately runs into two players, Narumi and Ayasa, and finds herself fascinated by the game. That said, beach volleyball is not regular colleyball. What’s more, Kanata seems strangely torn about participating in a game, and seems to have a past with Narumi. Can Haruka’s bright sunny attitude and innate talent (and height) help to bring everyone together? If you don’t know the answer to this, you haven’t been reading manga very much. Then, when Haruka finally goes to her new school, she runs into two sisters who also play the sport, despite the fact that, by definition, beach volleyball means running around in bathing suits. How embarrassing!

You can definitely tell that Harukana Receive is on the sports end of the seesaw rather than the service end because of the large amount of advice and instruction given about beach volleyball within its pages. From learning that the court is smaller to the ball not being fully inflated, Haruka has to take in a lot in a short period. Kanata, meanwhile, is dealing with an issue that might be familiar to Haikyu!! readers: she’s not tall enough, which is what led to her breakup with Narumi and her dropping of volleyball in the first place. Fortunately, she and Haruka seem to mesh well together. (I say breakup, but honestly if there is yuri in this title it’s so subtle as to be near nonexistent.)

This is a cute title, and it has an anime coming out in a week or so. I’d say fans of shonen sports manga would get the most out of it – if these were guys, it would fit right into Weekly shonen Jump. But since it’s a group of girls, it pretty much fits right into Manga Time Kirara. I’m definitely interested in more.

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