Haruka, Kanata and the rest of the crew are all now in Ehime Prefecture, ready to prepare for the national championships. They first have to go through the preliminaries, which means all of their training must get them through some tough competition before they can face Narumi and Ayasa again. With time to prep, they begin surveying the sand, and then they run into two girls arguing vehemently.
Soon enough they’ll learn those two girls — Sakura Takatsu and Tae Miyayama — just so happen to be the top talents on Mika’s volleyball list.
That means a bit more introspection is necessary, since Sakura’s and Tae’s talent and desire to win overwhelms their clear animosity for each other’s playstyle. Naturally, we learn from a third party, Chiaki, who was Sakura’s former partner, the reasons why the pair are successful despite their friction. That said, it’s Sakura herself who still believes in Chiaki, who’s kind of given up on herself. While it was a practice match between Harukana, Chiaki really believes she was weighing Sakura down. Will watching Sakura and Tae face Team Harukana in the tournament change her thoughts?
The entire bulk of this volume was, as you’d suspect, nothing but beach volleyball. There’s the character development of two new characters, but the continued relationship between sisters Natsuki and Mika was only briefly discussed as Natsuki and her partner win their match. It’s not anything new between the two, but whatever the case, Mika still remains concerned Natsuki is playing exactly like her, which makes you wonder what essentially took Mika out from playing volleyball like that again, and if Natsuki will come to understand that in this tournament.
In addition to brief character development, the tactical aspects of beach volleyball were few in volume 8. You can say at this point though you understand what occurs thanks to prior volumes, so any additional strategies can only come through the flow of the game. Yes, that essentially happens when Haruka and Kanata face Sakura and Tae. It’s always a case where you must prep before a game, but in-game adjustments can occur. And through continued matches, Kanata identifies a potential weak point between Sakura and Tae. That leads to one big change that allows the pair to take control for a time.
So the volleyball match was fun, except I will have to note, the climax to the volume was clumsy. The pages definitely felt out of order at the end, and it seems based on this review on Amazon it’s certainly likely. Not sure what happened there, but it was unfortunate. It knocks this volume down a bit and I hope future volumes can be corrected, but this was still another nice read of Harukana Receive.