We are 8 episodes into the second season of Tsurune so I feel like I can say this pretty confidently now, I really like this season. As in I think it’s considerably better than the first. But I can see it also be a little alienating.
Season 1 was a little like KyoAni’s other big “Sports” anime: Free. In that, it was mostly a dramatic slice of life with gorgeous animation. The sport in question was mostly a backdrop for the character to interact within. Tsurune season 1 even followed some of the same dramatic beats as Free season 1 and I can see how fans of one series would enjoy the other. But it wasn’t what I have come to associate with classic sports anime in ways of narrative structure, pacing and characters. However, season 2 of Tsurun is slowly course-correcting into a full-blown mostly optimistic Sports anime with a strong focus on the sport itself and the team as a whole. Great for me as I really prefer that but it might be offputting for fans of the first season that were specifically looking for that dramatic slice-of-life feel.
Then again. maybe everyone is enjoying the more upbeat mood.
After having worked on their teamwork and mostly coming together, Kazemai are ready for some serious practice again. And what better way to get back into the swing of things than to go up against their greatest rivals! They are having a practice match with Kirisaki at their pitch and getting a chance to meet the whole team.
And it’s just really nice… The Kirisaki students are friendly and welcoming, the school is great, and even the girls have their own little fan club since they did that competition a few episodes ago. Every single character got a chance to shine a bit and all of them came off as a little goofy and happy. What more can you want?
I’m not making this sound like a very exciting episode, am I? And I guess if you get straight down to it, it wasn’t really exciting per see, but it was fun to watch. Ryouhei’s ongoing easy friendship with Shuu stuns everyone but both guys just seem happy to get to shoot together again. Easy fun times.
The Kirisaki team insisted that Masa take a ceremonial shot since they hadn’t seen him shoot. I remember we saw him practice fairly frequently in season 1, but this time around, Masa hasn’t been doing much of the shooting himself. Or much of the coaching if you ask me but that’s another issue… For a second, I thought he might miss or things might go awry in some way. But no, he did the fanservicy half-shirt-off thing and got the most perfect bullseye ever. People seemed impressed without having any big exclamations or anything. Just a guy who’s pretty good at archery, that’s all.
It’s this sort of ease that permeates the season which I really appreciate. Honestly, season 1 would have been much better if it had adopted that mood instead of the intense emotional nonsense it was going for.
Of course, the black horse of the season is Eisuke or rather the Tsujimine team. They are still clouded in mystery for the most part even though we know a lot about them. Maybe it’s just how untraditional the team is that makes them seem somehow mysterious.
As an aside, if you ever want to see how much character design adaptation can affect visuals, you should go see the manga version of Eisuke. Technically, he has all the same traits yet he looks dramatically different and somehow I immediately saw him as a different character in personality as well. Just from his image. Maybe I judge too much based on looks… As a second aside, look at the dandelion growing next to the pavement. I kept that image in my screenshots because for a second I thought they might have snuck an actual photograph into the episode. Why does that weed have to be soo realistic?
I can’t say we learned anything new about Tsujimine this week. Except that Eisuke was thought by his uncle and it’s heavily implied that the “sick” man who serves as their virtual coach is probably that uncle in question. It might explain why Eisuke seems to have such a personal and emotional relationship to Kyoudo in the first place.
It’s really rare to see this. Kyoudo is a competitive sport and Kirisaki and Kazemai were having a practice match and yet we didn’t really find out who won. There were no scenes of the frustrated losers vowing to do better next time or pensively trying to assess what they can learn from the situation. No big celebrations on the winners’ side either. It was almost as if both sides won. I guess that is what makes good practice but it was such a chill match situation that it almost got a bit uncanny.
Oh and Kirisaki voted to put the second Wesley back on the tournament team so that’s that!
Before the episodes wrapped up we got an absolutely adorable sequence of the Kazemai team visiting Kirisaki’s campus. It was your slice-of-life stuff with funny moments. The girls got swept away by all the Kirisaki girls and had their little moment in the sun as well. I do love how the season is keeping much closer track of them than in the past.
All in all it was just a nice little palate cleanser at the end of the episode. And really the whole thing could be considered that way. I’m digging it!
- 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