Down and almost out, would Harukana be able to rally a comeback in time or was their first ever tournament going to end in the first round?
Here’s my review!
Maybe the title gives it away a bit but this was the comeback ep. After a dominating first game, Haruka and Kanata found themselves getting outplayed by the feisty duo of Ai and Mai. After all their training and anticipation for this tournament, would it end this early? Not on Kanata’s watch.
Last week ended with Kanata determined as ever to not let victory slip away from them, so now it was time to see her grand plan she came up with put into action. I actually had something different in mind as for what her plan might end up being, but I’m guessing they’ll save that for later in the show when the stakes are much higher, like that match we saw in the opening prelude against Narumi and Ayasa.
Anyways, Kanata’s plan was subtly being put into action by means of tiring out Mai. You see all those pokeys Kanata had been doing were super easy to read so you could always go to where the ball was going to land, but in doing so you’re spending all that time chasing the ball around the court expending energy in the process. Now into the back half of this game and playing in the direct sun, all that running around to defend against the pokeys was going to start having a negative effect, something Kanata knew would happen sooner or later. So now Mai is getting really tired out and because of that she’s not playing as well.
It’s a brilliant plan on her part, one that Emily saw right away too, and it was working well for our two ladies. But what also helped spur their comeback was the fact that Haruka was slowly getting better at blocking too. In the first game and the second one too, Haruka was having trouble reading Ai’s shots, thus making blocking them hard for her. She wanted to be more like Claire, who ruthlessly blocked nearly every shot but while that’s not going to happen in a single match, Haruka showed signs of greatness as her blocking was improving as the match went on. She was getting her timing better and was able to read incoming shots so she could time her jumps. So couple that with Kanata’s plan and you’ve got a winning formula here.
With Rasmus Faber’s OST going strong, our two girls fought back and tied up the game. Kanata’s plan was working and Haruka’s blocking was getting better each volley, now it was time to finish the match and secure the victory. With the game on the line Haruka finally understood the key to blocking well, instead of just holding your hands up to stop it, it was to drop the ball by means of angling your hands to make the ball go straight to the sand instead of hitting it back into the court. Haruka finally understood this and make the big play when she needed to the most. And with that, the comeback was complete. Haruka and Kanata had won.
But as amazing as it is to win there is always the other side of the coin, the losing side. I won’t lie when I say I felt bad for Ai and Mai, even if I was cheering for our two leading ladies the whole time, but seeing how frustrated Mai was after playing so hard in that game was a tough moment to watch. She’s trying to be strong and not cry in front of her teammate, but the sting of defeat is too powerful to hold back, so the tears start flowing. I mean for a duo that got a very short back story last week, it’s hard not to feel sad for them. Their story of how they got to this point had so much that wasn’t told, all the highs and lows they must had experienced, all the training they must had done to play on sand instead of a gym floor, all the hard work each of them put in and the obstacles they overcame to play just one game in the first round of this tournament, there is so much left unsaid but you can be sure they experienced it all to reach this point.
But it’s not over for them, now they may have lost today but tomorrow is another day with another shot at winning again. Ai feels just as bad because she made volleyball sound like something amazing, but all Mai has experienced is loss after loss. It’s been a hard road for her but I really loved her motivation at the end of that tearful scene, she was positive and looking ahead to another game with another shot at winning. It’s not the end for these girls, their journey is far from over. Even though today’s loss really hurt them, they’re not letting that hold them back. Next time, next game, next tournament they’ll get that win, and part of me hopes they do too.
We close out the ep back with our two girls celebrating their first round victory. While they’d go on to lose in the second round, the whole experience was a positive one, especially for Haruka who had never played in a beach volleyball tournament before. Sure a participation ribbon is never what you want to receive at the end of the day, it was still something Haruka really cherished as it was her first win in a tournament. Kanata looked really happy with their one win too, even though I’m sure she wanted to go much further. Oh and if you’re wondering about Emily and Claire, well they won the tournament. As expected from The Hype Twins.
With this tournament out-of-the-way, The Hype Twins bring up the next big event, the Valkyrie Cup which would decide who goes to the Nationals. And just as an added bonus, this year both the winner and runner-up have the chance to move on and play in the Nationals, so ideally Harukana and Eclair would like to go 1 and 2 so they could move on and play in the Nationals together. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but it would be pretty cool if it did.
And before I close this out, a few short scenes to mention, one featuring Marissa Thomas and another with Narumi and Ayasa. Was great to see Marissa once again, I hope we see more of her in the coming eps, and it’s always a welcome sight to see Narumi and Ayasa being close. Next time though it looks like we’ll finally be diving into the mystery of who exactly is this girl we’ve seen in the past few eps. Should be a good one, hope you can join me for that.
So that’s it for this ep! Another great one as this show continues to sizzle this summer. I’m having such a blast watching it and I really hope you guys are too. As always feel free to leave a comment before with your thoughts on this ep, or feel free to hit me up on Twitter and we can chat about it there too. I’ll make sure to reply in a timely fashion.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!
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