‘Cause this episode is putting me to sleep.
— Masaki doesn’t like onions? Well, I’m already not a fan of him.
— Again with the broad shoulders and tiny heads. Everyone looks like the goombas from the live-action adaptation of Super Mario Bros.
— Oh look, Minato and Kaito now have more in common than they initially realized. Time to become best friends?!
— It’s just Masaki’s first day on the job, and already, Kaito is showing signs of jealousy. I guess Seiya might be in the same boat, but he has a far better poker face than the resident bully.
— Afterwards, we see Kaito berate both Minato and Ryohei for not setting the targets correctly. Like people always say, positive reinforcement is superior to negative reinforcement. But it’s out of Tomio’s hands now. It’s up to Masaki to bring this group together, and I’ll be sorely disappointed if he resembles the vast majority of hands-off anime coaches.
— When Masaki finally arrives, all he does is gently bring up the fact that he can hear Kaito from the outside. Weak. If I was on this team, I would’ve left a long time ago. Why deal with a guy like Kaito? There are way better things to do with my time.
— After practice, Nanao teases Kaito about his jealousy. He even claims that he was never introduced to Masaki because Kaito wanted to keep the guy to himself. Yeesh. Are you all just in love with each other or what?
— Elsewhere, Seiya awkwardly drops by the Narumiya household. He obviously has something else on his mind, but he ends up only asking about their math homework. I’m also amused at him being so surprised to see that Minato’s father isn’t working late tonight. Must sting as a parent, huh? Even the neighbors notice that he isn’t around as much as he should be. Well, this would bug me, but maybe Minato’s father is oblivious.
— The next morning, we continue to see Kaito get on everyone’s case. God forbid they don’t know everything about kyudo like him.
— Then Kaito and Seiya start squabbling. The girls must be exasperated since they’re so drama-free compared to the boys. C’mon, we’re just here to practice. Quit making the atmosphere so toxic.
— I’m sure Masaki heard all of that arguing, but when he enters the room, he just tells the kids that they’re going to have a mock tournament. So yeah, he’s gonna be your typical coach in anime. If the kids have problems with each other, he expects them to solve it all by themselves.
— To help balance out the teams, Masaki and Tomio will be shooting with the girls. Considering how there’s no bad blood on the girls’ team, the boys are in trouble. Plus, y’know, Minato still has the yips.
— Five minutes to determine a firing order… but this is just a mock tournament. Also, they barely know each other. Just do whatever. Why does this have to be such a painful struggle?
— Masaki then adds a prize. He must be really confident that his team will win. Well, I guess I’m pretty confident that they’ll win, too. Kaito’s just a ticking time bomb. As soon as someone screws up, he’s going to completely destroy the team morale.
— I was curious so I looked this up: men and women compete separately in archery, because men do actually score higher on average. Longer arms and higher strength usually translate to higher arrow speed, which then lends itself to better accuracy. But at the end of the day, this is a team challenge, and the boys can barely function as a cohesive unit.
— Like I’ve said in previous posts, I feel like kyudo has too many customs and traditions that would get on my nerves. It looks cool when you finally get to fire the arrow, but all this stepping and bowing… bah, it’s not for me. You can’t do whatever you want. You have to time your movements with the rest of the team. What’s a pain in the butt. As you can probably tell, I’m an impatient person.
— Also, KyoAni continues to be incredibly heavy-handed with the soundtrack.
— It’s a pity that we don’t get to hear the girls’ internal dialogue. The boys’ thoughts are shared with us, but it’s complete silence when the girls are up.
— The boys think they have a chance to win, because Tomio looks shaky on the outset, but he eventually steadies himself. You think the old man’s just going to let a bunch of kids show him up? C’mon. He ends up getting a bullseye.
— Welp, it wasn’t much of a contest. The girls won pretty easily. If you wanna whine, you could argue that they had ringers. We shouldn’t be sore losers, though! Right, Kaito?
— Pfft, this is not so bad. It’s not like they’re making you rub their feet or anything.
— The boys want their rematch, but Tomio needs time to recover. Victory might be sweet, but victory also has its price.
— Afterwards, Masaki announces his intention to hold a training camp at the local kyudo hall. It’s completely voluntary, but y’know how it is… nobody wants to be the one spoilsport who doesn’t attend.
— Later that night, Masaki asks Kaito to come to the training camp early. The next day, the kid is once again eager to impress his mentor, but his mood is ruined when he sees that Minato is already here. Man, this is gonna be a long series.
— Masaki’s older brother Ren is also here. Maybe he wants to take pictures of the training camp. Or maybe he wants to take pictures of the upcoming ritual.
— Right before the credits roll, we watch Masaki solemnly carry out a ritual where you greet the gods and pray for the safety of the archers. Minato hopes that he can be just as blessed as Masaki one day. Yeah, yeah…
— I dunno, this was a really boring episode. I didn’t feel as though anything of consequence really happened. More importantly, the characters stayed flat from start to finish. No one in particular took a step forward or even backward in their development.