Tsurune: A little-known anime with a big role in Kyoto Animation’s history

Tsurune main characters of the archery anime
The main characters of the Tsurune archery anime. Pic credit: Kyoto animation

Tsurune: A little-known anime made by Kyoto animation is much more than just an anime.

Tsurune, although being one of Kyoto Animation’s lesser-known productions, has played an essential role in the studio’s history. This is why.

Tsurune is a sports anime developed by Kyoto Animation for the Fall 2018 season. It aired for 13 episodes and will be followed by a feature picture in August 2022. Tsurune is based on a series of books written by Kotoko Ayano and drawn by Chinatsu Morimoto, and it features a male cast with a female target audience.

Despite being produced by the much-loved Kyoto Animation, Tsurune failed to acquire momentum, especially compared to the studio’s other recent projects. Despite being a bit of a hidden treasure, it plays a crucial part in the studio’s history, one that will certainly cause others to reconsider their opinions on it.

Tsurune: A final tribute to the fallen heroes

Kyoto Animation is one of Japan’s most well-known animation companies, with credits like Violet Evergarden, K-On!, and Clannad.  It has three studios in Kyoto: Studio 1 (in Fushimi ward), Studio 2 (the headquarters), and Studio 5. Their product development branch is located in Uji, which is one railway stop away from Studio 1. The facility, built-in 2007, has mostly been utilized by the animation production personnel.

Kyoto Animation typically only creates one anime series every year. This is done to provide a less stressful atmosphere for its employees, particularly animators. It is also one of the reasons KyoAni is regarded as the most humanitarian Japanese animation company in which to work. Because the studio fire attack incident happened in July 2019, Tsurune was the final show that many of the victims were allowed to work on.

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Masaki Takigawa from Tsurune anime.
Masaki Takigawa senior shrine priest at Yata Shrine. He later becomes the coach for the Kazemai High School Kyudo Club. Pic credit: Kyoto animation

Tsurune, despite the tragedies associated with it, is a brilliantly animated anime with finely developed characters. Tsurune is similar to many others made by Kyoto Animation. Knowing that many of the individuals who worked on it are no longer alive will always create a sense of tremendous loss, since some moves and designs can never be reproduced, and certain concepts will never be realized.

Many of the personnel who worked on this animation will be posthumously honored in the upcoming film in August, which may finally provide some closure to many. “The work is done.”

Tsurune anime synopsis and more

Minato Narumiya has wanted to learn kyudo since he was a child. He was so passionate about the sport that he became one of the greatest archers in middle school, only to acquire target anxiety and lose all of his skill.

Minato’s friends Seiya Takehaya and Ryouhei Yamanouchi are creating a kyudo club now that he is in high school. They definitely want him to join! Minato is determined to resist until he meets a mysterious guy called Masaki Takigawa.

Masaki persuades Minato to attempt to overcome his target anxiety. Just as Minato joins the team, they learn that their new coach was none other than enigmatic Masaki himself! Minato, his newfound friends, and his coach work together to help him overcome his target fright. He also rediscovers his passion for the sport of kyudo.

Kyoto Animation delivers another outstanding performance. Character motion and movement are lifelike and smooth while being extremely detailed. Furthermore, the musical themes that play throughout the series, particularly the opening and ending songs, add a lot to it.

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Minato and his pals let us see kyudo—many of us for the first time! Although Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou Kyuudoubu spends much of its time on the characters’ relationships and drama, we do learn a lot about how the sport works and all the complexities that come with it. Perhaps this anime will encourage a few viewers to attempt the unusual martial art!

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