As preparations for the sports festival are taking place, the unmistakable sound of a shooting bow—the tsurune—is heard around the school. The trained ears of four students who are our old friends by now recognize it, and they all run to the archery club, which is officially closed for the day. Such a restriction is too much for our protagonist, though, and there he is, practicing. Only a stern reproach by the team captain breaks the spell. Then the games of the festival remind us of how different Minato, Seiya, Ryōhei, Nanao and Onogi are. During the subsequent celebration, Ryōhei mentions how he has been having difficulties landing his shots, and they all go to a shrine to get advice from Masaki Takigawa. According to him, they will soon learn that is important to take breaks. Nobody is in the mood for that, though. They are lost in the world of bows, arrows, aims, postures, and personal motivation. After all, the national tournament is about to begin, and old and new rivals are appearing on the horizon.
If you have watched the first season of Tsurune, then you already know that you’re in for peak KyoAni visuals and music: this show is nothing short of breathtaking. This episode proves that they are still in full command of their magic for the small moments, visual metaphors, and reflections on the meaning of life. The attention to kyudo, traditional Japanese archery, also shines through. The conflicts (Minato’s obsession in particular) are intriguing, and the rivals look interesting. But, just as in the first season, Tsurune feels a bit emotionally distant, and there is something oddly self-absorbed about each of our five teenagers. The show seems to know this: “I think it’s just called being narcissistic,” Seo says after the characters discuss the meaning of kyudo. The first season, beautiful as it was, made me think that she is somehow right. Hopefully, our band of five will prove me wrong this time around.
Tsurune – The Linking Shot S2 can be streamed at HiDIVE.