Tsurune – Anime Preview
Synopsis: When Narumiya Minato joins Prefectural Kazemai High School, he is quickly invited to join the archery club by the club’s advisor, Tommy-sensei. His childhood friends Takehaya Seiya and Yamanouchi Ryohei swiftly agree to join, but Minato is hesitant at first. Because Minato is the rare student with experience in archery, Tommy-sensei orders him to give a demonstration, which Minato does… except his arrow doesn’t hit the target. It is revealed that Minato has developed a terrible dysfunction regarding archery.(Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: The first few minutes of Tsurune might lead you to anticipate yet another predictable sports anime as we open on our young protagonist, Narumiya Minato, falling in love with archery. However, we do a time skip and the tone becomes more sombre and restrained, devoid of the passionate screaming and dreaming that sports anime tend to have. We learn of our protagonist’s daily life, which isn’t super tragic or melodramatic. He is clearly plagued by early tragedy but the episode never plays it up. It makes Tsurune stand out for avoiding extreme drama, something sports anime tends to lean into, but this means anyone expecting that staple high energy and drama might feel disappointed.
Tom: It’s that slow start and restrained tone that keep Tsurune from adhering to one of the typical extremes sports anime tend to suffer from. Sports anime usually fall into only a couple different categories. Either it’s all about a lead who’s got incredible potential and is constantly evolving through sheer talent alone, or a mega genius who excels at whatever sport we’re focused on. Periodically we also have series with leads traumatized by events from their past, and while Tsurune falls into that a little bit, it keeps those elements subdued, leaving our lead Narumiya Minato with just enough inner turmoil to keep him interesting without delving into typical melodramatics.
Linny: Tsurune feels like a perfect fit for someone seeking a more down to earth sports anime, one that isn’t brimming with super unbelievable sports geniuses or characters displaying extremely dramatic reactions to traumatic pasts. The plot and Minato’s big hang up with archery is dispensed at a tempered pace, doing its best to avoid high octane, rushed drama. That said, Tsurune struggles to be innovative in other ways. The cast is paper thin, thanks to minimal character exploration outside of Minato and there’s a clear vibe that its cast of pretty boys will earn an audience with their looks and one note personality traits. If pretty boy casts are a big pro for you when it comes to picking your anime and you find the sound of a more restrained sports anime appealing, then Tsurune may be one of the shows for you this season.
Tom: Tsurune isn’t perfect. As Linny said the rest of its cast feels dangerously tropey, with a parade of pretty boys whose personalities are merely skin deep, each character feeling more like an archetype that a unique persona. But even if a tad thin, the visuals carry the show across the finish line, offering one of the better looking first episodes in a season riddled with poor visual starts. Tsurune isn’t a masterful title, and probably not even my choice for the absolute top crop of the season. But Tsurune seems like a step-ahead of the curve for sports based anime, and perfect for those looking for something that’s a little better than the genre’s more mediocre offerings.
Tsurune is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.