It’s Masa’s time to shine!! We’ve been through all the growing pains of the Kazemai kyudo team, from Minato’s target panic to Kaito’s inability to play well with others, and most recently, Seiya’s reason for shooting. But, there’s been one character that has been put on the backburner and that is the team’s coach, Masaki Takigawa, and if you ask me it’s about damn time we spent some time with him! Episode 11, ‘The Pain of an Empty Release’ is here to fill that void! So, without further ado, let’s dive into this week’s Masa-centric episode!
After being told that he is hated (by Seiya of all people), Masa goes on a journey to reaffirm his reason for shooting, while also piecing together who his grandfather really was. Meanwhile, the boys make it their mission to return their coach’s kindness by lending him their strength.
Masa’s Struggle: It’s been all about the boys lately, with Seiya’s drama being the latest in a long line of character arcs. This week we give the Kazemai coach a chance to work through his baggage. His issues with target panic and his ‘reason for shooting’ have been touched on briefly throughout the series, but never really given their own episode. So it was nice to finally see some of this episode’s runtime dedicated to Masa and his inner turmoil. Now, if only the girls were so lucky…
Animation: I’m not sure if that is the correct descriptor, but there is a scene about midway through the episode that really captures just how beautiful and atmospheric the animation is in KyoAni anime series. In the scene, Minato and Seiya are walking home from school together chatting about a conversation Minato overheard between Masa and Tommy-sensei. While the content of their conversation is important, what really struck me the most was the staging of the scene. Rather than cutting between just Minato and Seiya’s faces while they’re talking, their conversation is shown through their inverted reflection on the water under the bridge they’re talking on. The fluidity of the moving water animation and the beautiful colors from the reflected evening sky give this whole scene much more weight than if it had been animated in a much more standard way…
Kyudo Facts and Terms
Vanguard: While this isn’t exclusively a kyudo term, it was used to describe a type of kyudo practitioner, so, I’m going to include it. A vanguard is a group of people that are at the forefront of the action or specific movement. This is typically used to describe a military (particularly naval) tactic. But, within the series, Masa is told that his grandfather along with two others were considered the vanguard of the Kyudo scene back in the day.
Themes & Trivia
Shichimi: During the episode, while explaining their team’s strengths and weaknesses, Seiya is seen sprinkling an unknown spice on his food. When asked about it, Seiya calls it his ‘personal shichimi’. Shichimi, also known as Shichi-mi tōgarashi (or nana-iro tōgarashi), is a common Japanese mixed spice that consists of seven ingredients. Typically the seven ingredients are coarsely ground red chili pepper (the main ingredient), ground sanshō, roasted orange peel, black sesame seed, white sesame seed, hemp seed, ground ginger, nori/aonori, and poppy seed. However, there are several other recipes that substitute in other ingredients.
Balloon Flower: When Masa and Minato visit Saionji-sensei, we see distinctive purple flowers blooming in her yard. Based on their appearance and coloring these appear to be Platycodon grandiflorus commonly known as Balloon Flowers due to the balloon-like appearance of their buds. The flower and plant has many uses, particularly in Asian cuisine and medicine. In Japan it is one of the seven herbs used in the Nanahana no sekku (Seven Flowers of Autumn).
Okay, so this is probably my inner fangirl talking and should no way reflect on the integrity of this review but…. Masa’s grandpa was a hottie in his younger days… Like Grandpa Takigawa can get it! [insert fangirl squeal]
So, now that that’s out of the way…
I am always in awe of just how beautifully animated this series is. Each and every shot is done in such a way that you really feel like you’re in the room. From the shifting perspectives -one minute focusing on someone’s face, then their hands- to the sweeping aerial and nature shots. The focus is always shifting, and rather than detracting from the scene it adds more depth to it by broadening the scope of the world. Not to mention the beautiful background music with its appropriate crescendos and decrescendos. Ya’ll this is just a really emotional anime series….
There’s been an accident
NOOOOOO, NO, NO! Tsurune was doing so weeeeelll… This week’s episode was solid, finally giving Masa’s character arc some much-needed attention… and then they had to mess it up with a wholly out-of-place car accident… come on Tsurune, you’re better than that…
I’ll be back next week with another Tsurune review, but in the meantime, be sure to check out MANGA.TOKYO’s other amazing Fall 2018 reviews!!
NEXT TIME: Five Arrows
Fall 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast