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Tsurune: The Linking Shot
Episode 13

by Lauren Orsini,

How would you rate episode 13 of
Tsurune: The Linking Shot ?
Community score: 4.4

©2023 Kotoko Ayano, Kyoto Animation/Tsurune 2 Committee

This episode confirms what I suspected last week: that Tsurune: The Linking Shot's climactic ending already occurred in Episode 12. While last week's episode wrapped up the plot, “Resounding Release” is all bonus content, the kind of low-key exchanges between characters you might get on a drama CD, not to mention a sprinkling of reused footage reminding us of the events of the season. Nothing important happens, but it's comforting to see the characters just hanging out after the dust settles, like I'm reading the epilogue of a story. It's a victory lap, showcasing Kyoto Animation's excellent animation and sound design one last time.

When Tsurune: The Linking Shot began, summer was just starting. With its finale, the characters begin by remarking that summer is almost over, an observation marked by the sound of cicadas. There isn't much movement to the narrative this week: first, they're hanging out by kyudo range, then they're hanging out at the festival in which Masa roped them all into participating. But during all these casual interactions, there's time for every major story beat to get revisited, wrapped up neatly, and tied with a bow. By the end of this episode, I had zero questions about any loose ends.

While it feels like each person's afterword is addressed methodically, that's not to say none of them hit any emotional high notes. One of my favorites included Ryohei finally revealing his sister's face—and it's smiling. Former adversaries bury the hatchet, like when Manji (the younger of the red-headed twins from Kirisaki) and Minato bond over target panic, once a very touchy subject. Shu, Seiya, and Minato share a soda once again, only this time, Shu and Seiya have resolved their territoriality over Minato. When they exchange takoyaki in front of Minato's relieved face, it's clear that even our oblivious boy realizes that.

Just chilling out in the waning summertime, every character gets a respite from their current problems. As the memetic saying goes, even Eisuke Nikaido is unbothered, moisturized, and happy. His mood is boosted by a well-timed text from his uncle, who agrees to consider coaching the Tsujimine kyudo team. Just like that, his toxic inability to trust other people begins to dissipate, his genuine smile canceling out the negative words he says with no bite behind them. At the festival, Minato comments to Seiya that Shu seems more like himself right now (especially since his family issues have all been conveniently resolved off-camera). But really, everyone is more like the best version of themself in this epilogue. It's like the postscript to a story that revisits each character and assures you everyone turned out fine.

The climax of the episode, if it can even be called that, is when the Kazemai boys dress up like a super sentai team with their color-coded robes and matching bow grips. As he grabs his bow, each person says something cool-sounding to show how much he has grown as a person throughout the show. It's more than a little cheesy because of how un-self-consciously genuine it is, like teens in a play, rather than how teens actually behave. Their movement feels far more authentic: they prepare for the shot in choreographed unison, but the animation includes slight inconsistencies that make it feel so real. As each character reflects on the season, complete with reused imagery to jog our memories, the sound of each tsurune carries this scene as it has so many others throughout the show.

Right at the end, when the team bows toward the camera, ostensibly toward Masa, and says thank you, it feels like a farewell to the audience. It's almost like a theatrical curtain call, capping off this long goodbye. Will there be more Tsurune? If not, this is as good a conclusion as any. We have come full circle from the first episode. Once again, Minato and Masa meet at the shrine (and even Fuu the owl makes a brief cameo). Once again, the sound of the tsurune reminds Minato of his calling. Overall, this season has had a much more upbeat tone than the last and better pacing, even if I found this finale to be a little slow. Ultimately, it's not really about what happens but who's making it happen: “Practicing kyudo has introduced me to so many people,” Minato tells Masa. Now that it's time to say goodbye, I realize that I will miss these people quite a lot.


Tsurune: The Linking Shot is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

Lauren writes about model kits at Gunpla 101. She spends her days teaching her two small Newtypes to bring peace to the space colonies.

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