In this week’s episode, I want to tear my hair out as the boys try to find ways to placate Kaito.
— Minato will now join his school’s kyudo club, but I think it’s kinda silly that he even has to apologize. Apologize for what? I’m sure it’s a cultural thing, but I don’t think he did anything wrong. If anything, they should apologize to him.
— Unfortunately, not everyone will accept Minato with open arms. Bullies just gotta bully, I guess. Again, I don’t really understand why the club tolerates Kaito’s behavior. Literally no one reprimands him in this scene, and that’s infuriating. He’s absolutely toxic, and his attitude is detrimental to everyone around him. I’m sure the story will try and endear us to Kaito later. Maybe he’s had a tough childhood. Maybe he has to care for a billion siblings all on his own or whatever. That won’t work on me, though. Nothing excuses being a huge dick. Friendship is not the panacea to all of life’s problems.
— Personality-wise, Ryohei is like a puppy with boundless energy. I’m not a dog person, though.
— Minato tells Ryohei that he was prepared to deal with hostility. That’s crazy, though. You’re just a kid in high school. You shouldn’t have to deal with that. I know life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I know life isn’t ideal. But no kid should have to just suck it up and deal with nonsense at their own school.
— Hakama do look cool.
— Meanwhile, Nanao sure is “quirky.”
— Apparently, the club didn’t manage to recruit anybody other than Minato. Multiple girls didn’t like Nanao’s fan club disrupting the atmosphere. Another girl wasn’t happy that she couldn’t wear a hakama right off the bat. Multiple girls also doesn’t want to deal with Kaito. But I dunno, I don’t think Tomio is running a tight ship. The first and third reasons are totally understandable.
— Even one of the guys complained about Kaito! So you lost a ton of recruits because of one person!
— Last but not least, even Nanao’s fan club is scared of Kaito. Tomio, you suck.
— Rika claims that those kids were just using Nanao and Kaito as excuses to not join, but I think that’s a cop-out. So only people who show true dedication to archery are allowed to join the club? Only people who love archery so much that they can tolerate Kaito’s toxicity are allowed to join the club? You guys are being a bunch of elitists. After all, people don’t usually fall in love with someone, something, or some activity right away. It takes time to foster a close attachment. A casual might’ve ended up embracing kyudo in the long run had they stuck around, but now we’ll never know.
— The other two girls look like they worship everything that comes out of Rika’s mouth. This seems to be a recurring trope for tall, stoic female characters like Rika.
— To make matters even worse, Kaito now refuses to participate in the tournament, because he won’t acknowledge Minato as a teammate. What a trash person. Again, I would just kick this guy out of the club, but eh… anime’s gotta anime.
— Finally, someone stands up to Kaito, but it’s just Nanao jabbing him in the stomach. Meanwhile, Tomio is just like, “I’m sure they’ll find common ground somewhere.” Instead, he’s just going to let Minato “see this through.” Way to run a club, old man. Way to show the kids that the adults will stand idly by when a bully runs his mouth.
— Afterwards, Seiya tells Ryohei that he didn’t take Minato’s issues back in middle school until it was too late. As a result, he feels guilty and that’s why he’s been trying so hard to recruit Minato. Sure, but this doesn’t excuse his behavior in the first two episodes. Sigh, I’m really having a hard time liking any of these characters. Other than Minato, they’re all kinda annoying in their own ways.
— Ryohei proceeds to head to the library and research ways to cure Minato of his target panic. He can’t find a solution in any of the books, but that’s probably because every situation is different. Maybe Minato’s target panic has something to do with his mother passing away. I mean, I wouldn’t really know, but it’s a thought. Likewise, Masaki’s target panic probably has something to do with his grandfather. As a result, there wouldn’t be a catch-all solution. Each person will have to confront their issues uniquely.
— Eventually, Ryohei ends up getting a copy of someone’s diary — someone who dealt with and eventually cured himself of his target panic. I guess this might shed some insight.
— So shouldn’t I like Ryohei for pulling out all the stops to help Minato. Eh, he’s not a bad guy, I guess. He just doesn’t have the personality that I really care for. Overly enthusiastic people tend to be exasperating in the long run.
— Every morning, Minato gets up early to clean the practice hall and water the plants. Might be part of his ritual. Might be his way to contribute to the club despite his ongoing issues. Might be a way to cure his target panic.
— It turns out Minato also has a diary to read — Masaki’s diary, in fact. Hell, it’s the same diary that Ryohei had gotten.
— Masaki assured Minato that they would see each other again if he kid stuck with archery. Let’s face it: he’s joining the club as a coach or whatever. It’d be such a typical sports anime thing to happen.
— Elsewhere, Kaito asks Nanao if it’s really his fault that no one else joined the club. I mean, even if it wasn’t his fault, does he think it’s okay to speak to other people the way that he does? People need to stop being so results-oriented. Your actions can still be wrong even if they end up not hurting anyone.
— I love how the story excuses Kaito’s attitude as him just being really, really serious about archery. As a result, if he just recognizes that Minato is also serious about archery, they can become friends! Again, I find this sort of elitist. There should be room for both casual and hardcore fans. I dislike gatekeepers like Kaito.
— Afterwards, the guy picks yet another fight with Minato, so his talk with Nanao didn’t amount to anything useful. Bullies still gotta bully.
— I like how puppy dog Ryohei thinks that everyone is so cool. Everyone including Kaito.
— Ryohei and Nanao then try to engineer a random encounter between Minato and Kaito that will somehow endear the former to the latter. What a waste of time and effort. No one wants to just tell Kaito to quit being an asshole. Essentially, they think it’s okay for him to hold onto his prejudices towards casuals. The only thing his friends want to change is Kaito’s perception of Minato. Weak.
— It turns out, however, that everyone else has decided to arrive early too. The girls want to know who has been keeping the place so spotless. Seiya is… well, he’s here too for largely the same reason.
— Seiya wants to know why Minato ultimately decided to join the club. Curiosity is fine, but claiming that he has the right to know is a bit silly.
— Damn, that hot guy really did a number on Minato’s heart, huh?
— Minato ends up professing his love for archery, so Seiya then goes, “If you would just say that to [Kaito], you two wouldn’t have had to fight.” That’s so dumb. Kaito is being an asshole regardless of how much Minato loves archery. God, I hate these characters.
— Well, Kaito and the rest of the gang overheard the conversation anyways. Nevertheless, the jerk storms off because he’s not going to swallow his pride.
— Ryohei is the first person to acknowledge how messed up it was to make Minato do a public demonstration despite his target panic. He might be the only one to do so, too. I have no faith in these gormless characters.
— So the puppy dog gives an impassioned speech in defense of Minato. In response, Kaito still stubbornly insists that he doesn’t believe in the main character, but by golly, he’ll believe in the puppy dog! Whatever.
— Oh thank you, your lordship! Your acknowledgment is the only thing that I’ve ever wanted!
— Apparently, one of the guys who had helped Ryohei just happens to go to Kirisaki, the rival school. At the moment, they don’t take Kazemai’s new team very seriously, because that’s the sports anime thing to do.
— Back at Kazemai, Tomio announces that he’s hired a coach to lead the team. And surprise, surprise, it’s Masaki. What’s actually surprising is that Kaito is also a big fan of the guy. Well, let’s see if his idol can rein him in.
This series has just unbelievably by-the-numbers writing and plotting. There’s not a single new or interesting thing in it. Honestly, it’s embarrassing how much Kyoto Animation is focused on cash grabs these days, and their only artistic goal seems to be making sure their animation is pretty and smooth. Talk about beauty being only skin-deep, though…
They have great production values, but other than that, they’re just like any other studio out there. Their works are heavily dependent on the quality of the source material, and they’ve always been completely hit-or-miss on that front. For every decent show, we’ll have something equally forgettable like Myriad Colors Phantom World. And so far, Tsurune is just a basic sports anime with a kyudo gimmick.