- Genre: Drama; Sports; School
- Studio: Kyoto Animation
Waiting is always the hardest part, isn’t it? Those moments of uncertainty where meager hope keeps the pain nice and sharp and healing has no chance to begin. When you’re in the moment your vision dwindles down to the smallest pinpoint. Your senses dull and you walk around in a daze until it passes. Unless something can forcibly drag you back in the moment.
Five boys, excited and nervous at their first Kyudo team tournament. The result of months of hard work and years of ambition. Already in a precarious state. And now they just found out that their beloved coach is in the hospital after a car crash. Nothing else. They have no idea whether he’ll be able to coach them again or if the accident caused permanent damage. they don’t even know if he’s alive. It’s more than enough to throw anyone off their game.
Thank goodness the girls were there to shame some sense back into the Kazemai team. They might still be standing there in the entrance gaping at their phones like goldfish otherwise, desperately trying to get some information about Masaki’s accident. It was a nice moment. Noa berating them for selfishly focusing on their own troubles instead of doing what they had to. Snatching their phones and saying she would carry their worries for the time being. You had to be there but trust me, it was good.
And the girls certainly did their part, they rallied those boys and got them to take their first steps but the journey doesn’t end there. It’s never that easy. Their minds might have recovered some reason but their hearts were still troubled. Their senses dull. To busy seeing the ghosts of their coach to make out the target. Trying to hard to grasp memories to feel the bow.
It’s subtle. From the outside, you really can’t see the difference. But the consequences are felt nonetheless. No matter how hard they try, how perfect their form and correct their technique, the arrows just don’t seem to be finding their mark.
Everyone tried really hard. Coach Masa finally decided to face the weaker, uglier parts of himself no matter how unpleasant the task so he could finally become the mentor his team deserved. The effort cost him the opportunity to be their when that same team needed him most. The girls accepted their limits and single handedly held their team together when no one else could, only to be pushed to the stands, unable to help as Kazemai slowly unravelled.
Kaito pressed down all that teenage anger and frustration to find his center and really focus and he almost hit the target. Ryouhei buckled down and put everything he had learned to the test while Nanao made the supreme sacrifice of checking his ego. Reliable Seiya stepped on both his pride and jealousy recalling his coaches words and Minato finally felt connected to the sport like he hadn’t in years. In the end none of it mattered. They performed worse than average and didn’t make it.
I don’t mind some bitter in my sweet. I respect stories that just don’t work out. It was a fitting end. After all Tsurune has been heavily tinged in disappointment and regret since the beginning. Sometimes you have to learn to appreciate the journey because the destination is forever out of reach.
And sometimes, you get lucky.
It seemed another team had underperformed and Kazemai had one last chance in a sudden death round. Not that it was much of a chance when you considered their earlier performance. And that’s when the pieces fell into place. When a terrified and guilt ridden little Minato realized that the most important thing Masaki had thought them, was the thing he never said.
Kyudo is a solitary sport. A lone archer with his target…. But that doesn’t mean you’re alone… The ochi is the last position on the team. The last one to shoot. It’s scary. There’s no one behind you to set things right if you screw up. It’s also the only spot where you can watch everyone else shoot. Where you can breath in and listen to those strings. Kyudo is a solitary sport but it doesn’t mean you are alone. And burdens are much easier to carry as a group.
Then they made it past the first round and Coach Masa is probably going to be ok! YAY!!!
I goof but let me assure you, I was almost as relieved as those boys to hear his voice. I’m not sure what they’ll do with the last episode and it doesn’t really matter. I just want to spend on more lazy afternoon on those gorgeous shooting ranges quietly enjoying the moment. When you realize what matters to you, it just gets easier.
The screencap issue is not getting any better…