Tsurune: The Linking Shot Episode 2 Review: “All in the Mind”

After “Summer Calls” set up the plot and general tone for this second season of Tsurune, “All in the Mind” continues to build on the momentum. The teams head into Regionals determined to do their best and support each other as everyone tries to achieve their goals.

The first season was getting the team together, team spirit rah, while the second season looks like it will be focusing more on character development – particularly the other characters. Minato was very much the focus of season 1 for obvious reasons, and to a lesser extent Masaki. But season 2 is giving us hints that we’ll look into the lives of some of the other characters, like Kaito and Ryōhei. We’ll be exploring Shu’s home life as well, even introducing his younger sister in this episode.

One thing I have always loved about sports anime is how much they emphasize the importance of respect, teamwork, and love of the game. Rivalries exist, and in some series like Kuroko’s Basketball there are legitimate villains who need to be taken down a peg. But most of the time, the opposing teams are full of complex characters just like the main protagonists. Everyone just wants to do their best. 

I like how it seems they’ll be strengthening the relationships between Kazemai and Kirisaki, anchored around the re-establishment of Minato and Shu’s friendship. Minato doesn’t even think twice about going to Shu for help, and Shu doesn’t even hesitate to help out, even though their schools are competing against each other. Shu holds no ill will towards the results of the previous tournament. So it makes sense that we’re introducing a new antagonist with ties to both schools.

I was worried when we were starting the episode with the twins, who while maybe not evil were definitely annoying and my least favorite characters in season 1. However, I do appreciate that they’re revisiting the target panic issue Manji had at the end of the season. He showed incredible maturity by deciding to take a step back from the team and focus on getting back to his roots and continuing to improve his shooting. I also like that they’re taking the time to separate the twins; I feel like that doesn’t happen that often in anime.

Something I’m really appreciating about this season is the continued attention to detail. I feel like that’s just par for the course in a Kyoto Animation title, but the focus on the sounds, seeing shooting from every angle, and the breaths that each shot is allowed to take are almost like a love letter to the sport itself. And season 2 looks like it will delve a little more into the personal struggles of a sport like kyudo. Manji and his recovery from target panic, Masaki noticing that Minato let up his grip, the focus on getting the right length of arrows for Ryōhei.

That’s something else that I like about sports anime, or really any anime where the focus is on an activity. They really get into the hows and whys. How every little thing can throw off your shot. Why people get into it in the first place. You can really learn a lot about characters when you put them in situations like that.

So I’m eager to see where the characters go from here. Will running into members of his old team affect Kaito at all? (I worried it might in the first round, but it doesn’t seem to have.) What kind of person is Nikaido, and what is his team like? (They’re introduced and even kind of drawn like villains, so it will be interesting to see.)

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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