I actually reviewed the first season of Tsurune a little over 4 years ago when it aired. I was, and am, a big fan of Sports anime and one about archery seemed particularly attractive to me in concept. I ended up liking the show quite a bit. I had forgotten just how beautiful it can be and indeed how beautiful Kyoto Animation shows can be in general. Indeed my screencaps from the first season remain some of my most popular pins on Pinterest even after all these years.
After all this time, I’m not sure who will be watching the second season of the show. If you’ve never watched it at all before, maybe my posts can inspire you. However, since it’s on HiDive and not Crunchyroll, I figure it already starts with a more limited reach. And so, in honor of one of the first anime I reviewed episodically, I’m going to do something new. I’m going to try to write posts that could still work for people who aren’t watching the show. I’m not sure I will succeed.
Also, my post-naming game was on point back in the day. I’ve gotten so lazy over the years
The opening tag was just a little appetizer to get us back in the mood for some Tsurune. And it worked for me. Those colours were gorgeous! I hope we get more scenes like these.
In short, the first season tells us the story of Minato, a reserved high school boy who used to practice archery when he was in middle school but basically hit a wall and quit. He’s a little despondent and his friends worry about him so they decide to try to convince him to join the kyudo (archery) club at school but he’s still holding on to some low-key trauma from his past and refuses. Over the episodes they manage to convince him and slowly start to build the kyudo club at school, getting new members and a new teacher. Minato also reunites with an old friend who used to practice kyudo with him as a child and is now a champion, but they have drifted apart and their relationship is strained and awkward.
After a season, an OVA and a movie, the Kazemai High School Kyūdō Club has won its first competition and is looking forward to regionals. I always think of the Community episode that parodies Glee when I hear the word Regionals!
Minao is the one with the short black hair, by the way, he’s holding a bow in the above picture.
Tsurune might be a touch more dramatic than I usually like in sports anime but for some reason, I just really enjoyed watching the first season. Maybe because it never got too dramatic or maybe because it’s (or it was) a very slow-paced show where often not much happened. I have a soft spot for shows where not much happens.
I’m just going to sit here and pretend all the very pretty pictures have nothing to do with it. Whistles inconspicuously.
It appears that the school is holding its Sports! festival and all club activities are suspended until it’s over. That means no practicing Kyudo on school grounds much to everyone’s chagrin. On the flip side, they all get to play other sports for the festival and it seems most of them have athletic talent to goes beyond just Kyudo.
Some of you (like those that read the first paragraph) may know that I am a fan of Sports! anime. So having this one episode of Tsurune offer up not only Kyudo but also volleyball, a little basketball, some fustal, and even kendo, was a special treat for me. Personally, I would have liked to see a bit more of the kendo match.
Ryouhei (the tall dark blonde guy) is one of those nice types. He’s very sweet, generally cheerful and just wants everyone to be happy. He’s also the worst at kyudo. He likes it and is happy on the team but he often shines through his moral support rather than his athletic contributions. So it was really fun to see him with the Sports Tournament MVP. And in a cool sport like kendo on top of that. It made for a nice little moment of contrast.
We often saw the team eating at an okonomiyaki restaurant in season 1. I’m not sure if it’s the same restaurant. I love that stuff and rarely eat it so I’m always jealous of these scenes!
This slightly suspicious-looking man is their coach and a senior shrine priest at their local shrine. I’m not entirely sure if he’s still their coach or if they just go visit him at the shrine now. We’ll have to see in future episodes. His backstory is a little complicated.
As you might have noticed there was a little tension with the club captain, Seiya. Seiya gets oddly competitive at times, especially with coach Masaki. He’s also way too overprotective of Minato. I’m not sure if they are throwing that in as fanservice but it is occasionally just plain weird.
Fuu the Owl on the other hand is awesome and I hope we get to see him a lot.
They all practice shooting for a bit and try out shouting their shots. I thought it would be a bit like calling a shot in pool. You say exactly where the arrow will go before shooting. But no, it was literally screaming while shooting. It looked kind of fun.
Tsurune has always attached a lot of importance to sound. Sound design is often imposing either isolating certain sounds, muting out the soundtrack swelling noise and quieting down again. Ater all the word Tsurune itself is a sound:
Tsurune (弦音?) – A sound made when the bowstring hits the bow when shooting an arrow. It is susceptible to the weather and the psychological state of the archer, so even if the same person uses the same bow, the same sound is not always created. (kyudo glossary)
They actually gave us this definition in the first episode and it’s one of the reasons I got enthralled with the show. Having a word for the specific sound of the bowstring hitting the bow just seemed so poetic to me and the anime has put a lot of effort in bringing out the ambient sound of kyudo. That’s something I really appreciate and you clearly won’t get from the light novels.
Oh and it looks like Minato and his childhood friend Shu are slowly getting back to a more normal friendship. That’s nice.
It was such an optimistic first episode. Everyone was happy, everyone got the chance to say a few words and the future is wide open. Bring on episode 2!
- Tsurune Episodes 1 & 2 – Slings and Arrows
- Tsurune Episode 3 – A Shot in the Arm
- Tsurune Episode 4 – Good Form
- Tsurune Episode 5 – Yawatashi
- Tsurune Episode 6 – The restrained beauty of propriety
- Tsurune Episode 7 – Adding a string to your bow
- Tsurune Episode 8 – Straight as an Arrow
- Tsurune Episode 9 – On A Dark and Stormy Day
- Tsurune Episode 10 – Giving it Another Shot
- Tsurune Episode 11 – Little Earthquakes
- Tsurune Episode 12 – The Importance of Being Ochi
- Tsurune Episode 13 – Bullseye