Home Entertainment Kyoani’s Most Heartwarming Sports Anime Flew Completely Under Most Fans’ Radar

Kyoani’s Most Heartwarming Sports Anime Flew Completely Under Most Fans’ Radar

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Summary

  • Tsurune features exquisite attention to detail in the characters’ techniques and equipment.
  • Characters prioritize different objectives in kyudo, adding depth to the story.
  • The anime blends sports elements with slice-of-life arcs, offering a unique viewing experience.

On paper, Tsurune is just another sports anime with high-school boys as protagonists, but in reality, this anime is a love letter to technique and beauty. Its first season came out in 2018, and a second one in 2023, but neither of them reached mainstream popularity. The anime is actually based off a series of light novels written by Kotoko Ayano. Out of the three available novel volumes so far, only two of them have been adapted into animation, so the probability of a third season is very high.

The story follows Minato Narumiya, who had decided he was going to quit kyudo after a distressing performance in a past competition. Though the basic storyline might be a bit predictable for anyone who’s watched enough sports anime, the true magic of this series is all in the details. It’s about how each of the characters has a unique input into the story, and how they’ve all got their own struggles in their lives, some much darker than others.

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Tsurune Is So Warming & Beautiful That It Evokes Fascination

Produced by Kyoto Animation

Tsurune Kazemai kyudo club characters

The name ‘Tsurune’ comes from the sound the sting in the bow makes when the arrow is released. Such romanticization of small details is constantly present throughout the whole series. KyoAni is a studio famous for crafting aesthetically pleasing animation, and with Tsurune they had the perfect canvas to create breathtaking shots. Kyudo is such a slow, elegant sport, that it devises the ideal context for showing off both striking visual and sound design.

Technique is specially highlighted in the series. The way each character holds their bow, and how they prepare to shoot the arrow differs from one another, and it’s made apparent thanks to the exquisite attention to detail. All the ceremonial process of putting on their indumentary, and arranging the equipment to shoot one after the other is approached and executed with such care it makes each episode so satisfying to watch. Seeing how the material, shape, and color of each character’s yumi (bow) and yas (arrows) are different is enchanting.

Each Of Tsurune’s Characters Prioritizes A Different Objective

Some Of Them Are More Into Kyudo Than Others

It’s common that in these kinds of stories all members of a team strive to be “the best” at the sport they’re doing, or to achieve some goal related to it. This is not exactly the case in Tsurune. They all start with, or find a passion for kyudo as the story progresses, but that’s not all there is to it. The journey of seeing which characters take kyudo very seriously, and who think of it as just a hobby — or even less — is a very interesting one to take.

The events in the anime slightly differ from the light novels, which haven’t been officially translated into English yet.

There’s a good number of slice-of-life ingredients in Tsurune. Some characters have non-kyudo related arcs and issues they’ve got to tackle, and it’s extremely refreshing to watch. Minato lost his mom in a car accident. Ryohei has a shut-in sister that he adores, but is never seen. Shuu has a complex because of his physical appearance. The story manages to balance and intertwine the sports elements with all these other plot lines in a very natural and coherent way. It’s all happening simultaneously, and not just one thing after the other.

This slow-paced gem of an anime is all about describing the passion that is felt for something or someone. It’s not about passion per se, but more about how to discover, transform, and adapt these strong emotions. It might not be full of adrenaline like other sports anime, but instead it offers the viewer an earnestly crafted taste of Japanese culture. Tsurune is definitely one of KyoAni’s best, and it’s slowly gaining the recognition it deserves.

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