Tsuredure Children
Episodes 1-6

by Nick Creamer,

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Tsuredure Children ?

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Tsuredure Children ?

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Tsuredure Children ?

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Tsuredure Children ?

How would you rate episode 5 of
Tsuredure Children ?

How would you rate episode 6 of
Tsuredure Children ?

In the midst of one of the bleakest anime seasons I've personally witnessed, there is still a light in the dark: Tsuredure Children. As a series of twelve-minute episodes that are further broken up into three individual skits, this season's pint-sized romantic comedy has turned out to be one of my favorite new shows and a consistent source of joy every Tuesday. I'll be reviewing the new episodes weekly from here on out, but today let's take a look back to investigate just how this charming show works.

Each skit in Tsuredure Children focuses on a specific quasi-romantic couple. One is a gruff quasi-punk girl and the strangely captivating straight-laced boy who's drawn to her. Another pair are long-time friends who each have a crush on the other, but are both too insecure to act on it. A third pair involves a girl whose deadpan denial of any romantic feelings causes constant emotional duress for her admirer, and a fourth concerns a pair whose attempts at romance keep getting diverted into silly comedy bits. Almost every one of these pairings has a main “gimmick,” but the show's stellar writing keeps any of them from feeling more like archetypes than people.

Tsuredure Children's ear for dialogue is its most obvious strength. Its characters speak in aborted half-sentences and turns of phrase that feel much sharper than you usually get in anime romance, forgoing the usual mix of love-hate nonsense and furtive, melodramatic longing. Characters in Tsuredure Children worry about farting while kissing their crush and overanalyze their paramour's actions in ways that feel natural and charming. They're allowed to be imperfect - they text awkward lines and smoke cigarettes because they're bored, they join clubs for bad reasons and feel bitter about silly problems. They almost all feel like actual people.

The rapport developed between each of Tsuredure Children's pairings develops across their various encounters. The first two episodes are largely devoted to introducing each central couple, but after that, our return to each pairing offers a refreshingly complete view of young romance. One couple that actually gets together at the end of their first skit spends their second one trying to dare each other into getting physical, until someone's mom walks in and totally ruins the moment. Another pair, initially predicated on “I can't tell if this girl is teasing me when she says she likes me,” flips its perspective in its reprise, with the frustration of waiting on an answer from your crush taking priority. Tsuredure Children's willingness to actually let its couples get together, along with its constant flips in perspective, offers a much broader and more satisfying view of romance than most of its genre compatriots.

While not quite as exemplary as its writing, Tsuredure Children's visual execution is also strong. The show's character designs are vividly expressive, and its management of both facial expressions and overall body language greatly contributes to the liveliness of its characters. Major sequences are largely carried by physical gags, and the show's latest episode even demonstrated a brief and highly accomplished fragment of action animation. The show's overall look is pleasant and well-realized, a fine complement to its excellent narrative material.

Overall, Tsuredure Children is easily one of my highlights of the season so far, offering both great character drama and terrific comedy. It's a little frustrating to me that in a show celebrating close to a dozen relationships, every single one of those pairings is a straight couple, but that's an anime frustration I'm regrettably used to. Tsuredure Children's celebration of love and youth is endearing and smartly realized, and its fragmentary relationships are as compelling as any full-length drama. I'm excited to see what happens to these charming kids next.

Overall: A-

Tsuredure Children is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.

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