It is not entirely impossible that I spent half the episode trying to come up with some type of archery pun for the title. I failed. I’m sorry. It hurts me considerably more than it hurts you…

And you know, at first I was scolding myself for not paying attention. Figuring the episode must be boring and yet, before I knew it, it was all over. This show is a bit tricky, let me elaborate.

Tsurune episode 4
bring on the hot boys

There is a certain stillness to Tsurune. The show is clam and for all it’s pretty trappings it simply doesn’t tend towards artifis. Concerns are manageable and stakes fairly low. Not that much happens and arguably what does happen simply doesn’t matter all that much either, even within the context of the story. I wouldn’t blame you for finding this a little boring. If you’re not in the mood for it, it can definitely drag. In many ways, it reminds me of a slightly more down to earth Yuru Camp, but with archery in place of day camping. The twi have rather similar strengths and weaknesses. Thankfully, I’ve had a heavy week and some quiet unwinding is exactly what I was in the mood for. I’m also finding archery more and more interesting each week.

Tsurune episode 4
don’t worry, it gets better

The entire episode basically boiled down to a mock tournament between the boys and girls of the kyudo club. The girls won! In the closing moments they set up next episode’s training camp. I continue to be impressed by the girls’ involvement in the storyline, They are actually letting them play! School set anime is often very segregated, especially sports themed ones. Not only are they letting the female members of the club continue to have an active part as equal standing athletes (not just managers that do the laundry and bring cookies…) but they even let them participate in the training camp without anyone fainting at the suggestion.

Tsurune episode 4
very responsible!

It’s telling that even this fairly superficial showing of both gender representation is enough to impress me!

Another particularity of Tsurune is that it concentrates just as much, if not more, on the pleasure of being a spectator as being a competitor. Archery, as a sport, lends itself much better to this type of treatment than most. We see a celebration of the artistry rather than the victory. Since the very first episode, the characters comment on the awe of watching someone else handle a bow and arrow rather than doing it themselves.

On the one had this makes us a bit closer to the characters. We are all audience. It does however add to the sense of calm and reverence the series favours over excitement and action. Once again, we were privy to all the ritual and gravitas of the sport as the boys went through the motions of a mock tournament. Each step carefully calculated, almost like a dance.  So far Tsurune has been a real vocabulary lesson and my word of the episode is “omae”. This is the name of the first archer in a 5 man competition.

Tsurune episode 4
ad now I’ve learned a second word

I have to admit, even though I couldn’t exactly tell you why or when, at some point this week’s Tsurune simply lulled me into a comfortable feeling of serenity. I watched slightly mindlessly but generally happily and the episode left me feeling just a little blissful. This said, I’m also in no hurry to watch the next one. There’s a rhythm here. A unfettered, casual sense of simply letting it wash over you without the need for too much fuss.

Still, there were a few details that stood out. For one, I really loved the girls’ protective chest plates. I’m not sure why but I thought they looked amazing and now I want to wear one to work… Also, I noticed that Kachan’s text avatar was a picture of his cat. That is the most relatable thing I’ve ever seen. Of course all my avi is a picture of Buddy. In fact I change all my contacts’ pics to ones of Buddy as well so my text app is just a row of little Buddy pics.

Tsurune episode 4
I wish I had Buddy stickers

It’s great! Wait..yeah, I liked the episode! Here are some reasons why:


14 thoughts

  1. I don’t know. I’m not that fond of how Tsurune uses the girls. They sort of feel more like some sort of commentary chorus than characters to me. This episode had actually a scene the showed up perfectly what I mean: Owlboy is the new trainer. Boys introduce themselves one after the other; the girls don’t. Why? Isn’t that impolite? Or is Kyuudo so traditional that women should be seen, not heard?

    I think it’s this: after all the main characters have introduced themselves, it would be some sort of anit-climax for side-characters to introduce themselves. That doesn’t follow any sort of dramatic progression. I’m not sure how the scene ended up in the show, and I’m not sure which would bother me more: if they didn’t catch it, or if they thought it wasn’t a big deal.

    The gender thing is actually a tangent here: the scene would bother me, if they were boys, too, or if both groups were mixed. I do think making it a gendered distinction, even if maybe as unintended consequences more, makes the seen a little more troublesome for me.

    So far, episode 2 is the highlight for me.

    1. I really disagree here. They are supporting characters clearly but so far the narrative seems to treat them as equals. I remember reading an article about how Haikyuu was exceptional because it integrated female characters so well… I find Tsurune does it much better.

      1. I figured you’d disagree with me here; I did read your article. It’s just that I can’t see it. Now that I think about it, the show might actually treat them all equally: I don’t feel the main cast either. The more I think about it, the more I think I should just dorp the show.

        But… but… it’s an archery show, and I always wanted one!

        1. You always sounded like you disliked the show to be honest. I get that it’s slow and probably not for everyone. This said it was in the middle of your anime of the season so there must be shows you are enjoying less…

          1. There are definitely shows I enjoy less, but there are few shows that annoy me more; it’s a two-edged sword. I wouldn’t say I dislike the show, but I don’t like it as much as I want to, and it’s on a downwards trend. (I don’t think it’s that slow, though.)

  2. Breast plates make a lot of sense. Especially since the Amazons were said to have their breasts removed on their strong side to better shoot the bow. That’s pretty hard core.

    1. I know they’re standrad archery equipment but it’s the first time I see then in an anime. It looked really great!

  3. I agree that this one is kind of perfect for unwinding. It is very slow and measured and not a lot is happening but there’s enough going on with the characters emotionally and there’s still a sense of moving forward so I haven’t felt bored while watching yet. Okay, the pretty archery is probably really helping here. It is one of the few sports I don’t mind actually spectating.

    1. And there’s so much history seeped into kyudo in particular. Archery in Canada is very different. In fact it’s different in europe as well…

        1. Here there’s a lot of first nations (native American) traditions. It’s quite interesting in it’s own way. No one ever takes a sleeve off. It gets cold up here.

  4. Is it just me, or is Tsurune deliberately slower in order to build tension and keep the viewer in the moment while the show is moving forward? The focus on characters has me intrigued, and the archery is fun to watch, but there’s something more to it I can’t really articulate and explain.

    1. I’m not sure they’re building pressure or simply taking time to smell the roses. Either way, I’m enjoying it

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