- Genre: Drama; Sports; School
- Studio: Kyoto Animation
For the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a fairly large number of commercial for high tech shooting bows playing on YouTube. Considering my personal internet habits, I can only assume that the ridiculous number of Tsurune screencaps I’ve uploaded has tricked google into thinking I’m some kind of shooting enthusiast. Do you see what you’ve done to me Tsurune? Do you??
It’s Saturday right now. I’ve been putting off watching the last episode of Tsurune for almost an entire week. I just wasn’t ready. Looking back on the season, I can’t say this was a perfect show, not remotely even. It’s not my favourite of the season or the one I most look forward to right now. But it did bring me something special. A soft sense of slightly hurt calm that gently folded me into gloriously sunny afternoons. I found the stress of the week slowly melt away as I watched these boys fret and worry over something that ultimately doesn’t matter that much.
It is one of my personal fetishes when it comes to sports anime. This serious treatment of low stakes which allows you to get engaged and get your adrenaline flowing without asking you to put the fate of the universe on the line. Whatever else it may have been, Tsurune was a pretty good sports anime. And I know this, because it did the one thing good sports anime should do. It made me want to try the sport! Of course, it didn’t hurt that Kyudo is so fascinating to begin with!
For all intents and purposes, the narrative wrapped up last week. Minato had a revelation and the emotional apex of the series finally reached its peak. The boys buried their personal demons and figured out how to work as a team, while Masaki finally left his in the rearview mirror. All that was left to do was finish the tournament. But this was a simple formality. The outcome didn’t really matter as the lesson had already been learned. It’s simply a bookend, an epilogue, a little dessert of eye candy for the fateful viewers.
And dessert is a fitting term. Oh boy did they pour on the sugar here. This was a fantastically happy and sappy ending. And you know what, I didn’t mind one bit. And yeah – I teared up when the boys won. Oh Spoilers, they win!
It was a Disney ending it treatment but in cold hard fact, Kazemai simply beat out another high school in a local children’s tournament by one point. Most of the kids at the tournament don’t even know who last year’s winners were. It’s hardly some great victory, but in the moment, it feels like it! And Tsurune did a great job making us feel it too. You et wrapped up in these little success. You cheer just as loudly.
Even though I respect bummer endings, on a personal level, I’m in a place where I enjoy seeing people happy. And when it’s just for the sake of closer, then why not making just a little dreamy. This was a sweet end to a surprisingly solid show. Character development was uneven and pacing could be a bit unnervingly slow for some but the technical mastery and calm unrushed storytelling made it a relaxing and meditative experience.
Beyond that though, there is a deep love and respect for Kyudo that can be felt through the story. For the first time in a long time, I felt as if the author was truly a fan of the sport and they wanted to share that passion with us. This story couldn’t have been told without Kydo and archery couldn’t have simply been replaced by another sport. It was an integral and fundamental part of the plot.
And what a truly beautiful sport to choose. I wouldn’t mind if they came out with a few more archery based sports anime. In fact, I would quite enjoy a second season of Tsurune. We got a surprising amount of 11th hour character development this episode which made the Kirasaki club considerably more interesting, their story may be worth a look at.
For my money though, I was to know more about Nao, Yuna and Seo. I was happy to see that the ladies got a consistent share of screen time and even though they were relegated to audience members, more or less the typical manager roles, these past few episodes, the show has always shown them in a very flattering and respectful light. I wouldn’t mind seeing a season dedicated to their experiences with Kyudo. K-yudo?
I know it’s going to end up being Sound!Euphonium with arrows but is that such a bad thing? It’s not. Let’s do it!
So in conclusion, Tsurune was a truly beautiful show with some obvious weaknesses that could be fixed with a but of extra time. It is a pleasant series that continues my love affair with the studio.
For the last time, here is essentially the entire episode in screencap form… I’m going to get so many weird commercials!