anime - March 30, 2023

Episode 13 – Tsurune: The Linking Shot

©2023 Kotoko Ayano, Kyoto Animation/Tsurune 2 Committee

This episode confirmed what I suspected last week: the final ending of Tsurune: The Linking Shot has happened in Episode 12. While last week’s episode wraps up the storyline, the “loud releases” are all extras, the kind of low-key exchanges between characters you might see on a drama CD, not to mention a plethora of reworked shots that let us Thinking of those events reminds the seasons. Nothing major happens, but seeing the characters hang out after the dust has settled is as reassuring as reading the epilogue of a story. This is the last victory lap showcasingKyoto Animation masterful animation and sound design.

When Tsurune: The Linking Shot starts, summer has just begun. In the finale, the characters begin by saying that summer is almost over, an observation marked by the chirping of cicadas. The story doesn’t change much this week: first they hang out at the bow track, then they hang out at the festival that Masa convinces them all to attend. But amidst all these fortuitous interactions, there’s time to revisit, neatly summarize, and loop through each important story beat. By the end of the episode, I had no questions about any unanswered questions.

While it feels like everyone’s afterwords are methodically handled, that doesn’t mean they all fall short of any emotional heights. One of my favorite characters is Ryohei finally showing his sister’s face – and smiling. It used to be a hot topic when old rivals were cleared up, such as Manji (the younger brother of Kirisaki’s red-haired twins) and Minato bonded over target panic. Ji, Seiya, and Minato once again share soda, only this time Ji and Seiya resolve their territorial issues with Minato. As they exchanged takoyaki in front of Minato’s relieved face, it was clear that even our helpless boy noticed.

Just relax in the faded summer, with each character reeling from their current troubles. As the meme proverb goes, even Eisuke Nikaido is undisturbed, hydrated and happy. Lifting his spirits with a timely message from his uncle, he agrees to consider training Tsujimine’s kyudo team. And just like that, the toxicity of his inability to trust others begins to wear off, and his genuine smile counteracts the negative words he utters effortlessly behind his back. At the festival, Minato commented to Seiya that the tree looks more like himself at the moment (especially since his family issues are all conveniently resolved off-camera). But really, everyone is more like their best selves in this epilogue. It’s like an epilogue to a story, revisiting each character and assuring you that they all have happy endings.

The climax of the episode, if you can even call it that, is when the Winddance Boys dress up as Super Sentai in color-coded robes and matching bow ties. When he picks up his bow, everyone says something cool to show how much he’s grown as a person throughout the show. It’s not just a little cheesy, because it’s as unabashedly real as the teens in the drama, rather than how teens actually act. Their movements feel more real: They prepare for shots in a choreographed way, but the animations contain slight inconsistencies that make them feel so real. As each character looks back on the season and refreshes our memories with re-used imagery, each tsurune’s voice carries the scene, like so many others throughout the show.

At the end, it felt like saying goodbye to the audience when the team bowed in front of the camera, supposedly to Masa, and said thank you. It’s almost like a dramatic curtain to crown the long farewell. Will there be more crane sounds? If not, that’s a pretty good conclusion. Since the first episode, the circle has returned to its original point. Minato and Masa meet again at the shrine (even Fuu the owl makes a brief cameo). Crane reminds Minato of his mission once again. Overall, this season has a much more upbeat tone and a faster pace than last season, although I did find the ending a bit slow. At the end of the day, it’s not what happened, but who made it possible: “Practicing kyudo has allowed me to meet a lot of people,” Minato told Masa. Now is the time to say goodbye and I know I will miss these people terribly.


Tsurune: The Linking Shot is currently playing

Lauren writes about model kits under Gunpla 101. She spends her days teaching her two little new humans to bring peace to the space colonies.