Kono Oto Tomare Review Episode 5

A Triumphant Performance

Episode 5

Time for the performance episode. While the Vice Principal’s challenge continues to sit as the explanation for the extra tension on this first performance, other than two minor scenes where he is on screen, the episode prefers to frame the emotional growth of the group and particularly focuses on Kudo. Having Houzuki realise her mistaken impression of him and the two reconciling early in the episode and then having his back story interspersed throughout the performance as he realises the connections he’s made and who he wants to reach with his music makes this a pretty perfect episode.

There is of course the early final push for the club as Kono Oto Tomare drives toward the one month deadline with relenting force. They meet before school, practice at lunches, and continue to go to the music shop in the evening. It all looks nice and dedicated, though one has to wonder what is happening to the rest of their lives in the process given the sudden surge in hours given to the Koto. Such questions kind of kill the romance of the narrative so let’s just go with it.

Likewise the old woman’s advice that they need to put their feelings into the music now. It is the kind of advice that comes out in almost every music or artistically themed anime and while there’s an element of truth in it, it is hardly the main bit of advice someone who has been playing a month needs when they are about to perform a piece in public. As enchanting as it might be to think that feelings are carried by music, at that stage of learning technical proficiency is kind of needed far more. That isn’t a slight against this story, but I find this same old trope fairly dull at this point and while the performance is lovingly connected to Kudo’s emotional state making it actually relevant to the plot, the old woman’s speech was probably the low point of the episode for me outside of the vice principal’s relentless and incredibly pointless attack on the club.

Affiliate Link
	BRAVE-ACT ATTACK ON TITAN 1/8 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: LEVI -VER. 2B-

But such minor nitpicks and personal preferences mean nothing when an episode comes together as well as this one did and reaches a climactic moment for the club. Their first performance, while not flawless by any means, is truly a work to be reckoned with given the inexperience of many of the members. Their effort pays off as they perform, feel they are losing their way midway along, and then find a way to bring it back together. There’s no cause for complaint and even if the final flourish has their music symbolised as metaphoric dragons reaching out to the audience in what might be the most literal symbolism given what they decided the song was about, it feels like a perfect cap to the performance even if it is ultimately quite a cheesy idea.

I also came to the conclusion that the OP to this anime is one of my favourites of the season. Not sure yet if it is my favourite as I’ve been really pushing myself to try to catch up with the anime I missed while travelling so I haven’t paid a huge amount of attention to the OP’s and ED’s yet but as I’ve now settled into my viewing pattern for the season I’m starting to take more note and Kono Oto Tomare has a very nice opening

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisements

Kono Oto Tomare Review Episodes 3 + 4

A pathetic villainous character but fantastic focus on club interactions.

Kono  Oto Tomare Episode 3 - Houzuki
Not the pathetic villainous character, but a great image nonetheless.

Episode 3

The delinquent and the Princess face off multiple times in this third episode, though he’s not actually as much of a delinquent as people think and she’s no princess. However, despite enjoying the play between the two members of the club as they recruit additional members, episode 3 of Kono Oto Tomare plunges us headlong into a trope I despise: the evil vice-principal plotting to shut down a club.

Kono Oto Tomare Episode 3 - Houzuki and Kudo

At no point in any school anime is any adult character given a rational explanation for ultimately being vindictive for the sake of it and to be perfectly frank it makes no sense and the tension for the characters feels completely artificial and over inflated. While I’m enjoying the other aspects of this anime so far, I probably could have done without this particular plot line and the fact that it isn’t resolved by the end of the episode just means we’ll have yet more preposterous motivations and actions to deal with.

Kono Oto Tomare Episode 3 - Kudo

Despite that, I enjoyed large parts of this episode where it focused on Kudo’s backstory and the group of boys who joined the club, as well as the interactions between them and Houzuki. The personality clashes and Houzuki’s awkwardness as well as her Spartan teaching method all actually felt authentic and well thought out. If only the external threat to the club made more sense than vice-principals are evil and hate kids.

Kono Oto Tomare Episode 3

The only other point of contention here is that Takezou as the club president has rapidly faded into the background as stronger and more interesting personalities have stolen the show. While Kudo is interesting and I’m liking his story, it would be nice if Takezou’s story of wanting to take the club to nationals continued to play a role here.

Affiliate Link
MY HERO ACADEMIA 1/8 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: OCHACO URARAKA HERO SUIT VER.

Episode 4

Ask for more of the club president and we shall receive. Kono Oto Tomare continues to have the club members dedicated in their practice and learning to come together as a club. During this time Takezou starts to really step up as club president realising Houzuki’s weaknesses as a teacher and the need to support the morale within the club as they work tirelessly against the clock to prepare for their performance.

Kono Oto Tomare Episode 4 - Takezou

While the vice principal’s challenge is still the motivating factor here, he fortunately makes no appearance and no artificial hindrance appears in this episode, though Takezou’s summons to the staff room doesn’t bode well. So instead of dwelling on the contrived reason for the race against time, the anime instead opts to look at each of the members as they strive to improve within their role within the club and in the song.

As with all good school club anime, the solution to a lot of the minor fractions within the group is to go and eat together. While this might be a fairly well-worn approach, I can’t deny the scene where the club had dinner was touching. The late night practices, the various members starting to look out for one another, it all just kind of works and the interactions within the club remain the strength of the series.

Also, they are getting more and more moments where they are working on the music. I’m really appreciating that aspect and I’m hoping we get more time watching this group practice and play together. Four episodes down and I’m very much enjoying this series.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

This Art Club Has A Problem Episode 3 – Lessons to Takeaway

This Art Club Has a Problem Episode 3

Week 3 of Yomu’s collaboration and this week I’m looking at the lessons to takeaway from the episode. Turns out This Art Club Has a Problem is surprisingly deep. Remember you can check out the other posts in the collaboration or get involved by visiting Yomu’s blog.

So let’s begin.

Lesson One – Don’t Make Assumptions

Uchimaki has a problem this week when Colette (who we finally met) tells him she lost her locket with a super precious picture inside. Uchimaki immediately assumes the locket must contain a picture of her parents who apparently went back home and left her in Japan and he visualises an entire tearful farewell scene. This makes him feel kind of stupid when he realises the only thing in that locket is… well watch the episode and find out.

Lesson Two – Some People Just Can’t Be Helped

Still looking for Colette’s locket, Uchimaki does the sensible thing and actually asks her where she’s been. At first she answers but then she suddenly gets super paranoid about what he might do with that knowledge. Honestly, at that point he should have just walked away but I guess we also learn that Uchimaki is either really, really, really nice or he’s a sucker for blondes.

Lesson Three – Some Times You Have To Cut Your Losses

It becomes apparent that Colette has actually not lost her locket, and at the inconvenient moment of right after she all but accused her two club mates of potentially stealing it, and she’s forced into a situation where she has a choice. She could: A – admit that she made a mistake and apologise. B – Pretend she’s a magician summoning her locket. Clearly she chooses option B. The problem is that the lie is apparent and there’s just no saving the situation so she’s just making things worse for herself. You know what they say, know when to hold them, know when to fold them, and know when to walk away.

Lesson Four – Sometimes The Other Person’s Happiness Is Enough

Usami is put in an odd position this week where Uchimaki seems to have lost his inspiration mostly because he can’t think of a hair-style for his latest waifu. After first suggesting a bob (can’t imagine why) she ends up giving him a magazine of reference images of women’s hairstyles (though she isn’t altruistic enough not to post-it note the bob). Still, she was genuinely happy for his happiness as he leafed through the magazine and began to get enthused again.

Lesson Five – If You Are Cornered and Running Isn’t An Option, Sometimes You Just Have To Grin and Bear It

Look at those pained smiles. Usami’s friends visit the art room and then, mostly to mess with her, decide to have a drawing contest of the two. They position her closer and closer to Uchimaki before finally presenting their work. Personally, I think Usami should have chosen to run away when her friends first said they were going to visit the art club but having left it too late, she was trapped with no way out. Nothing for it but to smile.

Finally – If Your Friend Is A Reporter Your Life Is Fair Game (Watch Out)

Yep, they made front page. I think the lesson here is self explanatory though.

And that is it. Six lessons from This Art Club Has a Problem Episode 3. Looking forward to next week’s themes.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support 100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.
BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT – PREMIUM EDITION
BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT - PREMIUM EDITION

What Happens When Individuals Become a Team?

Tsurune Episode Reviews

Tsurune Episode 4 Review

I guess Tsurune really does want us to wonder how this group of individuals will come together as a team. Anime really has a fascination with team culture, though I guess that really is a direct result of the Japanese culture behind most anime. However, as Onogi points out, generally speaking Archery is a solo effort. Even when you shoot with a team it isn’t as though you can directly assist your team-mates during their shoot. All you can do is your best and hope that you’ve all helped each other enough during training that you are all at your best come competition.

Tsurune Episode 4 - Onogi

The problem facing the boys in this episode is that there are two distinct groups in this ‘team’ and they aren’t meshing well at all (wow, I really wish I didn’t have to use the word ‘mesh’ but it is the perfect fit here so I’ll banish the Hand Shakers trauma and move on). I’m assuming this training camp deal we’re about to start is either going to bring them closer together or tear them apart so they can be rebuilt as a team, but either way it is following fairly standard sport anime protocol at this point.

One thing that did really bother me in this episode was the treatment of the females in the archery club. Masaki introduces himself, all the boys get an introduction or introduce themselves, and then Masaki swiftly declares it is time to get started. Seriously, are the three girls just standing there to fill in the frame?

Tsurune Episode 4

And while they get to compete later and I get they are trying to get the boys to form something resembling a team, it seems a little bit like a dig at them that they are joined by the coach and the teacher in order to beat the boys (one of the boys already sufficiently suffering from target panic that he was never going to get a hit, so technically it was five against four in favour of the clearly stronger teacher team with the back-up support of the three girls who didn’t even get to name themselves this episode).

Alright, sexism in anime isn’t exactly new and this wasn’t really an overt attack on females or their ability at archery, but it all just kind of bugged me as a totally unnecessary element at all. How hard would it have been to have actually given the girls an introduction?

Tsurune Episode 4 - Minato

However, because I do not want to end on a sour note, mostly because this show is pretty great even if it is losing a little of the beautiful edge it started with, I would like to applaud the sound effects and just the ambient sound in this anime. Seriously amazing work and realistically you could just close your eyes during the shooting, hear the creak of the bow and release of the arrow, the whoosh of the arrow through the air and the thunk as it strikes (the target or otherwise). Absolutely amazing and something I can’t get enough of.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support 100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Affiliate Link:
Play Asia Exclusive
Play Asia Exclusive

Tsurune Episode 3: It Isn’t Easy to Overcome Trauma

Tsurune Episode Reviews

We knew from the end of episode 2 that Minato was going to return to the archery club, and as expected things aren’t exactly easy. He still can’t shoot the way he wants, one friend keeps looking at him like he’s worried he’s about to bolt at any moment, another at first makes the casual assumption he’s over his whole trauma thing just like that, and new acquaintances are generally hostile given they perceive his actions as taking the whole thing flippantly (given he left the club and came back in seemingly a matter of days).

Tsurune3b
I’d like to know too, because that explanation made zero sense.

However, Tsurune may be wallowing in teenage drama this episode, but it feels like it is worth it. Minato’s problem isn’t an easy one and has left quite the mark on him and right from episode 1 this anime has played his trauma straight and given it the respect it deserves while not becoming self-indulgent by falling into angsty-back-story territory. It is a fine line to walk and one that this anime has the emotional control and strength of writing to navigate, or at least it has so far.

Tsurune3a

When the teacher takes a back seat and simply says he is observing the conflicts with interest, I had to nod along as I was also very much enjoying being the spectator for the goings on. It isn’t that Tsurune is doing anything we haven’t seen before (admittedly, this is the first time I’ve seen it in an archery setting), it is more that it is doing what it is with such incredible competence and an unhurried hand.

Tsurune3c

For all that I would love to see these guys shooting together, and I’m sure we’re moving toward there after the end of this episode given we’ve now got the hot-owl-carrying archer, Masaki, invovled as a coach, the time it is taking to really look at the starting point for this club feels like there’s a lot of care put into these characters. And while the lengths some of the friends seem to have gone to in order to help Minato might seem inordinate from a practical point of view, it makes for some fairly compelling watching and some fairly strong relationship building.

Three episodes in and I must say I am definitely enjoying this one so far.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support 100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.
Game Soundtracks CDJapan

Tsurune Episode 2: Finding Your Target

Tsurune Episode Reviews

There’s a couple of things Tsurune has gotten very right that makes this anime a fairly solid show and one I want to follow right from the beginning. Comparing to the other sports anime I’m watching at the moment, Run With The Wind, I feel I’ve clicked a bit more with this one. While Minato is also reluctant to continue in his chosen sport, unlike Run With The Wind, the other characters aren’t coercing and forcing him back. They are certainly nagging and encouraging (and a little overly intrusive), but ultimately the choice that he makes in this episode is his own decision that he has come to after his own reflection.

Tsurune  Episode 2 Seiya

The other thing that really grabs me in this story so far, other than just being gorgeous to watch, is that so far Minato, and all of the other characters, don’t appear to have some high minded goal like be the best in Japan or win some competition. The goal so far is to re-establish the archery club and now there’s a tournament they’ve decided to try entering, but ambition is so far being kept in check. Minato has been shown to be pursuing a sound and striving for the form that will given him that, and the other characters haven’t really established their motives just yet. I’m certain that at some point these guys will aim to win something, but so far it is more about pursuing the sport than pursuing victory and I really kind of appreciate that.

Tsurune Episode 2 Minato and Who
Did they really just name the owl W’ho’?

I did however have to do a double take in this episode, literally stopping and video and going back, and I’m certain that’s what they intended, when they suggested Takigawa was actually a ghost. It was a well executed moment because while you don’t really think this is an anime that is likely to actually have a ghost, it leaves you in just enough doubt that when Minato dives to stop him shooting the last arrow you are kind of glad, even if it does all turn out to be a silly misunderstanding.

Tsurune Episode 2

There’s a really relaxed feeling so far to this story but at the same time it feels like these characters have begun moving forward even as we’re only really just getting to meet them. Visually it has been pretty amazing with only a few group scenes where extras have looked a little bit off, and the music and environmental sounds have so far been really solid. I’m really enjoying this so far and I hope it continues as it has so far and I’d really like to start to get to know the rest of the cast a bit better now.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support 100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Affiliate Link:
Play Asia Exclusive
Play Asia Exclusive

Tsurune Episode 1: First Episode On Target

Tsurune Episode Reviews

Well, here’s a second sports anime on my line up for this season, but unlike Run With The Wind, this one I was actually looking forward to because I kind of wanted to see an anime about an archery club. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but I was certainly waiting for the first episode, and it has not disappointed (though Run With the Wind is kind of blowing my expectations out of the water so maybe this season is just a season for me to enjoy boys playing sport, who knows).

Tsurune Episode 1

There’s nothing earth shattering about episode one. Minato is starting high school, a friend from middle-school is also going with him and they run into an old friend from elementary school. The school archery club is starting up again and they are getting roped into it but Minato has some past trauma that means he’s avoiding. When he finally gets dragged into shooting it becomes quite clear he’s got a bit of a psychological block going on.

Tsurune Episode 1

All and all, exactly what you would expect from a first episode of a school club anime focused on a sport. The cast are pleasant enough if not yet fleshed out and the pacing was really well done.

So why am I so happy about this episode? Because much like a couple of other titles this season, this first episode is just oozing effort and attention to detail. The sounds particularly are beautifully done but there’s a real care and effort in shot composition and visuals going on in this episode that makes it a sheer delight to engage with even as it goes through the usual kind of set-up. While I stand by my overall opinion that good visuals and animation aren’t enough to make up for a poor story or characters, when the plot and characters are sound, it is amazing how much more vibrant the experience can become with a little care and effort on the other elements.

Tsurune Episode 1

Really looking forward to more of this one and hopefully it can continue to be so beautifully put together.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support 100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.
Game Soundtracks CDJapan