Tsurune: The Linking Shot Episode 3 Review: “Winds of a Brewing Storm”

The strands are starting to unravel in “Winds of a Brewing Storm”. The first two episodes were getting us back into the swing of things, reestablishing the characters and the dynamics, setting the mood. But now we’re getting into the meat of the conflict and getting a sense of what our characters will be dealing with in this second season.

Tsurune, like many sports anime, is all about emphasizing the importance of teamwork. The first season involved the Kazemai boys coming together as a team, learning how to coalesce in a sport that is a weird amalgamation of individualistic and team-oriented. “Winds of a Brewing Storm” shows that, despite winning a spot in Nationals thanks to their results in the prefectural tournament, they are still adjusting.

Minato seems to be spiraling into a pretty toxic mindset. His focus was all out of whack. All he could think about was wanting to shoot as much as he could, of being able to rival Shu and Nikaido. He wasn’t concentrating on the match at all. He blinked and their match against Tsujimine was over. Minato was so lost in his own performance that he didn’t even realize how the rest of the team was doing until it was over.

Moreover, he doesn’t recognize at all what he did. He didn’t do it maliciously or even consciously, but it was obvious from Kaito’s reaction that something about Minato’s shooting changed. It threw the rest of the team off of their rhythm. I feel like this was illustrated well with Minato’s headband coming loose. The headband is a symbol of the team; Minato’s coming undone indicates that he is not part of the team.

Kyudo is an individualized sport, yes, but it’s also about how the individual is able to meld with the team. Kazemai is used to a certain shooting style and a specific rhythm. Minato changed his up enough that it shook their concentration. They were already a little out of sorts because of Tsujimine’s unusual style. This just cemented things.

This was contrasted nicely by Nikaido before the match. Nikaido is able to concentrate thoroughly on what he is doing with his form and his performance. But he is also fully aware of how his teammates perform, enough to be able to guide them and remind them of their issues the way a coach would. 

Tsujimine as a team are very unusual. Kyudo, as has been emphasized repeatedly, is about rhythm. They even mention that the first two shooters are so close together that they run the risk of getting a penalty. Meanwhile, their fourth shooter is much slower, and his arrows go in an arc, not straight the way most of the others do. This is a team where each of the shooters has their own unique style, yet they’ve still managed to come together in a cohesive team. They have adapted to this odd rhythm.

On that note, I’m extremely surprised that Nikaido came out and told Shu that he was there to take him and the others down. That’s more antagonistic than I expected from Tsurune, given the tone of the series up until now. Yes, they’ve had opponents, but a lot of the conflict of the first season revolved around internal pressures (Minato’s target panic) or personality clashes within the team.

Also, I’ve really got to start paying more attention to the sound design on this show. I already know that the focus on the details is second to none. But I’ve seen people in discussions talking about the sound of the shooting and I’m just not hearing what they are. Apparently, you need to watch Tsurune with headphones to get the full effect. I may try that next week.

I’m very interested to see if Minato can figure out what his issues are without intervention. An important part of any sport or activity is being able to identify your own shortcomings so that you can work on improving them. I’m also eager to see more of the relationship Nikaido had with Minato, Seiya, and Shu. He seemed pretty warm when greeting Minato and definitely colder when he spoke to Shu and Seiya alone.

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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