Tsurune from Kyoto Animation has returned five years after the first season's debut and is just as visually stunning as before. For those who are unaware, Tsurune is a sports anime that focuses on kyudo, a form of Japanese archery. All episodes of the first season, which debuted in the fall of 2018, are streamable on HIDIVE and Crunchyroll.
Tsurune - The First Shot is a movie that came out before the events of this season, but it is sadly not available to stream on any English-speaking services, despite the fact that HIDIVE has said it will eventually release the movie in theaters. Thankfully, this episode's premiere is welcoming to viewers who haven't yet been able to see the movie.
Why Is the Premiere of Tsurune: The Linking Shot Such a Calm Experience?
The first episode of Tsurune: The Linking Shot reintroduces viewers to Kazemai High School as the students get ready for the upcoming sporting event. By reacquainting the audience with the main cast through movements, casual dialogue, and overall atmosphere, the show effectively applies the principle of "show, don't tell." The episode progresses at its own pace, giving each of the boys a chance to shine as the sports festival moves forward in a calm and unhurried premiere.
The boys wager on who will win the sports festival MVP award, but there are no real stakes at play, and the characters are (mostly) cordial with one another the entire time. After school, the winner is treated to a meal, and all the club members, even the girls, take the time to eat and chat for a bit. However, eventually, the boys grow antsy after being away from club activities for so long.
They choose to seek out Masaki, their patient mentor, and are given permission to shoot at the range as long as they don't stay out too late. The audience can really sense how much the boys love and are passionate about the sport when they are shooting. They don't even need to say it out loud; their actions speak for themselves. Nevertheless, there is still a very specific objective in place—to aim for the Nationals—as with most sports anime.
Despite their victory over their rival school, Kirisaki, last season, it has been revealed that a rematch between the schools is still possible. However, Kirisaki isn't the only rival team Minato and his friends must contend with this season. As the credits roll on Episode 1, a potential new rival is revealed, and he appears to be upset about Kirsaki's loss to Minato's club. Despite this potential threat, the show maintains its more laid-back tone as the camera shifts back to Minato happily laughing with his friends, blissfully unaware of what's to come.
Beautiful Visuals and Outstanding Sound Design from Kyoto Animation Returns
Tsurune: The Linking Shot has stunning visuals, as one would expect from Kyoto Animation. The movement of each character is carefully considered, and as the episode's characters point out, everyone pulls their bows in a different way. This is a level of detail that is uncommon in most anime, and viewers, particularly those who practice kyudo in real life, are sure to appreciate it. Beautiful images and creative color use are also present in the opening theme.
The sound design of the series is another admirable aspect, especially the sound the arrows make when they are drawn and strike their target. In the first scene of the episode, Minato hits a mark, and his clubmates hear the sound it makes. It has such a satisfying sound, which makes it even more believable that so many characters in the show would be captivated by it. The fact that the show's title roughly translates to "sound of bowstring" in English makes it rather appropriate that the sound design of the program is given such careful consideration.
Tsurune: The Linking Shot combines the sports and slice-of-life genres very well, and this premiere is a reminder of how well that combination works. Coupled with Kyoto Animation's artistic touch, Tsurune: The Linking Shot is off to a solid start. For those looking for something more slow-paced this winter, both seasons of Tsurune are definitely worth looking into, with Tsurune: The Linking Shot currently streaming on HIDIVE.