An anime boy gets possessive over his senpai — a tale as old as time.
After learning that Masaki would be their new coach, the class is curious as to his identity (aside from Kaito and Minato, who are starstruck in his presence.) Masaki figuratively wears a teacher’s jacket over his shoulder, individually greeting the students as their Cool New Mentor. Nanao mentions he’s heard, “lots of things” about Masaki from Kaito, and Kaito mentions that Masaki “put down his bow” for a while, which gives the audience some clues about he and Masaki’s history together. Kaito seems agitated that Minato is acquainted with Masaki, and vies for his attention throughout the meetings.
Later, Masaki arranges for the club to have a mock tournament — guys versus girls, with Masaki and Tomi taking places on the girls’ team to make the numbers even. Masaki declares that the losing team will be servants to the winning team — and, lo and behold, the boys lose. The boys have to wear shirts that say “servant” on them and are henceforth tasked with doing the club’s dirty work until Masaki says otherwise. However, he also pitches that the team go to a “training camp” for the nearing weekend — complete with food, practice, and fun. The team agrees and time skips forward to the first camp day.
Masaki asks Kaito to arrive an hour earlier than everyone else, and Kaito runs into a mysterious photographer taking pictures of the dojo’s surroundings (and people.) Kaito freaks out and goes in to warn Masaki of the possibly dangerous man, only to find him tying Minato’s kimono in a position that gives off some rather dubious implications. Everyone stops and explains themselves; Masaki was just preparing Minato for an opening camp ceremony that he wanted both he and Kaito to be a part of. Masaki also explains that the man Kaito ran into was his older brother.
The club then kicks off camp with “the yawatashi ceremony” — something that traditionally takes place before the start of a match — to pray to the god of archery for the safety of the archers.
The episode is additionally littered with cute cut-scenes where we see Kaito’s softer side, as he strives to impress Masaki and take teamwork into consideration.
Lots of good Kaito character development this episode — we get to see that he isn’t just the cynical a-hole who scares people away with his attitude, but rather, that he is a crooked cop with a heart of gold (as demonstrated from the scenes where he takes care of his cat. See? He can’t be all that bad — he loves cats!)
With this character development, there’s a neat, varied change of pace in his voice role — we get to hear both his softer side and his whiny side (Senpai, please notice him.) English dubs of tough characters are always funny because they still think modern day bullies still say things like “dork” — yet on the same hand, Nanao uses the term “savage” correctly in this episode, so we can’t assume the translators are totally unhip with the kids.
Music and sound effect usage seem to have picked up from how silent things were in the first episode, so it’s easy to feel genuine emotion towards certain scenes now. Given that we haven’t hit the ever-looming anime Tournament Arc yet, there still hasn’t been anything visual to demonstrate how the act of shooting an arrow itself can involve the audience — but hopefully, that won’t be an issue.
One thing that’s worth mentioning is the three girl characters still haven’t done anything — they barely even have speaking roles, let alone personalities. If Tsurune wants a foil for its main cast, that’s understandable, but it definitely needs to commit to that. Otherwise, it was fun to see the main five work to do their chores together (even if they aren’t all getting along swimmingly yet) because it showcased the main theme of the episode — which was teamwork. Just like Minato’s target panic problem, Kaito still has a long way to go when it comes to being a team player, but, coinciding with the last episode, this was a good start.
Things are slice-of-lifey now, but with the upcoming competition arc, there still needs to be a definable way to make Kyudo exciting. Perhaps since Masaki mentioned he’s an expert in “exorcisms and prayers,” the plot twist will be that he was a ghost all along — or that maybe he’s secretly the archery god Minato spoke of during the yawatashi ceremony.
The Kyudo Christ figure may be upon us.