Tsurune: The Linking Shot Episode 1 Review: “Summer Calls”

The little archery anime that gave me all the feels back in 2019 is back with its second outing. Tsurune: The Linking Shot‘s first episode, “Summer Calls”, is the perfect bridge between the first season’s arc and the upcoming one.

When Season 2 was originally announced in August 2022, I couldn’t help but wonder what the story would be. The first season of Tsurune was such a perfectly contained story, about a boy regaining his passion for something he’d once loved. But honestly, I shouldn’t have wondered. Tsurune is, essentially, a sports anime. Naturally the second season would focus on the Kazemai kyudo club going to Nationals.

It seems there will be some important matches before that, though! As Seiya reminds his teammates multiple times, they have Regionals before Nationals. (I am once again flabbergasted by the way high school sports are played in Japan. In the United States, you would have to win Regionals to go to Nationals. But here, they’re completely separate events.) And Kirisaki will be at Regionals, hungry to avenge their loss in Season 1. They will also presumably have to go up against Tsujimine, the team we see briefly at the end of this first episode.

“Summer Calls”, however, puts all thoughts of Nationals aside as the team members participate in their school’s sports festival. Well, at least they try to put all thoughts of Nationals aside. Minato in particular can’t seem to focus on anything else. I love how they started the episode, with everyone hearing Minato shooting before revealing that’s what’s going on. The first couple of times, I wondered if they just had a sixth sense for it, since I didn’t immediately hear the tell-tale “thwock” of an arrow hitting the target.

This first episode of Season 2 also manages to keep some of the tension between the characters that existed in season 1 while also showing that they have grown together as a team – and individuals. I love how happy Minato was talking to Shu at the end of the episode. I’m very excited to see more of their relationship this season.

I can’t fathom that they don’t intend to show Nationals, with all the emphasis that they put on it in this episode. But even with Regionals coming first, I think that starting this season slowly is a good idea. “Summer Calls” is the perfect reintroduction to these characters and the sport.

If anything, “Summer Calls” provides a nice contrast between kyudo and other sports – the frenetic pace of sports like soccer, basketball, or volleyball and the slow pace of kyudo. It’s actually a big part of the episode. Every member of the team is skilled in another sport – we even find out that Ryōhei was ranked in kendo – but they all choose kyudo. And they choose it for different reasons.

This episode made me a little emotional in more ways than one. It’s just so wondering to see a Kyoto Animation title again. I love Kyoto Animation series because of how beautiful they are, and Tsurune: The Linking Shot is no exception. You can just tell the love and care that went into creating this episode, from the animation down to the score. There is something really peaceful about this series. The shooting scenes are slow and given time to breathe. Even the ED was so calm and lovely.

I’m so happy that this series is back. I didn’t think it would get a second season, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for these characters.

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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