It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Through all the blood, sweat, and tears, the Kazemai boys are in the finals! We’ve seen them grow so much over these past 12 episodes and it is finally time to see the fruits of their labor! Will they take down powerhouse school Kirisaki? Or will they realize they have gained something more important than victory? Find out in the final episode review of Tsurune!
Japanese Title: かけがえのない
Kazemai worked their way through the ranks to the finals of the Prefectural Tournament alongside Kirisaki High. The gap between these two schools has been steadily decreasing with the Kazemai team finally coming into their own, but, will it be enough to take down Kirisaki?
Close Ups and Angles: Tsurune has been really good about using intimate camera angles and close-up shots to add more weight to specific scenes. There are quite a few in this week’s episode, but the most noteworthy one is the conversation between Shu and Minato in the waiting room before their match. While it’s not a particularly heavy conversation, you feel the closeness of the characters in the way the camera focuses on their faces, particularly their eyes as they talk.
Split screen: During the final showdown between Kazemai and Kirisaki, the anime uses split screens to show two archers shooting simultaneously. It’s a nice technique that allows the viewer to see the expressions on each character’s face as they shoot, while also giving the scene a bit more of an action feel.
Kyudo Facts and Terms
Themes & Trivia
Friendly Rival: I’m used to seeing catty rivals, like the twins, in sports anime. But, in a refreshing turn, the main ‘rival’, Shu, is anything but. Rather, he is more of a friend to Minato wishing him the best during the tournament and in overcoming his Target Panic.
Battle of the Garbage Dump: My Haikyuu fanaticism is showing with this one, but, if you’ve seen the series you’ll know that this is a reference to the anticipated showdown between Nekoma High and Karasuno’s volleyball teams. Except in this series, Kirisaki and Kazemai are the rivals destined to meet in the final match of the prefectural tournament.
Third Years Graduate: This really isn’t a big deal for the Kazemai team, but, for Kirisaki two of their members are third years, so the prefectural tournament is their last high school competition.
There is a lot to unpack in the final episode of Tsurune, but before that, I want to say that this is the best anime finale I have seen in a long time! The pacing was perfect and the tournament finale had just the right amount of suspense to keep you guessing until the end. This is how you finish a tournament arc!
So, first, the shooting. The scene where the boys just click and their shooting gets in sync is one of the most beautifully animated scenes I have ever seen in a sports anime. I’m always in awe of KyoAni’s animation style, but they really outdid themselves here, from the soft lighting and sweeping camera shots of the characters to the smooth and seamless animation of the arrows whizzing towards their targets… all while the CGI leaves float gracefully through the air. Divine. Not to mention Minato’s internal monologue detailing each of his teammates’ individual shooting styles and how they all feed off of each other’s energy bringing out the best in each other… [insert fangirl squeal]
I haven’t been this hyped about a tournament finale since I watched Season 3 of Haikyuu and despite Kyudo being a less ‘intense’ sport by comparison, Tsurune comes with that same fiery energy! There was just so much tension and suspense during that final showdown, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see whether Minato or Shu would come out on top and the results… SO FUCKING SATISFYING!! Minato has had the most to overcome, from the guilt over his mother’s death to his target panic, so to finally see him holding his own is breathtaking! He’s come so far as a character and this final episode really closed the loop on his growth since the first episode followed closely by Masa, who also gets a lot of closure in the end.
Because of their shared growth, it’s only fitting that Masa and Minato be the ones that close out the series, and it is by far my favorite scene in the series. This is a turning point for both of them. Masa is finally ready to move out of his grandfather’s shadow and Minato has for the most part, overcome his Target Panic and came to love Kyudo again. Also… how cool is it that Masa and Minato where standing right next to each other the day of that fateful tsurune that kicked off Minato’s love of Kyudo?!
Coming Full Circle
This was by far the most satisfying anime finale I have seen in a long time. Everything came full circle in the end and it was one hell of a ride. I know I’m not alone in saying this, but I am going to miss my weekly dose of the Kazemai boys. Tsurune is such a wholesome and heartwarming anime and it managed to do everything right! If you haven’t already, watch this beautiful series and fall in love with Kyudo!
That’s it for Tsurune, it’s been one heck of a ride. But, don’t despair there is more anime goodness for you to uncover! So, be sure to check out MANGA.TOKYO’s other amazing Fall 2018 reviews!!
Fall 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast