Tsuredure Children may be a wacky 4koma-style comedy about teens in puppy love, but its observations on infatuation can cut surprisingly deep. This week in anime, we piece together just what makes it so feel so honest.
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Hey, Jake! How's life treating you?
Good! While everyone's been off at Otakon, I've been holding down the fort back home, enviously glaring at con pics.
Jokes on them, really. While they're out surrounded by nerds, we get to cocoon up in front of a computer in lone silence for hours on end!
That reminds me, are you following the most #relatable show this season?
Well until the day that I piano-wire a millionaire and hijack his fancy-ass apartment to bathe in his fortune, I'ma have to give the most relatable award to Tsuredure Children this season instead.
It's especially funny to me that the romcom anime with The Largest Number of Couples I've ever seen is also a short. GOTTA CRAM IN THAT CHEMISTRY!
It's pretty impressive - the show has more couples worth rooting for in a single episode than some entire romcom shows I've watched. Doubly impressive since I can't remember half their names.
There are nine couples and counting. And that's congealing a couple triangles into just like one pair, so it's really more than nine already. Because the show is vignette-based, most of these characters don't interact with one another, it's all about getting across their relationship in three-minute blasts of comedy and angst.
And fret not, I wrote down their names, because hahaha no my brain does not retain that kind of minutiae. NOT AFTER ALMOST TWO DECADES OF ANIME IT DON'T.
Oh good, because - inside baseball time - these are my notes on the show just to keep things straight
my "Tsurenames" if you will
this is an extremely fair workaround
So I don't know about you, but my high school dating experience was probably closest to Chiaki and Kana, the childhood friends turned sweethearts who didn't actually realize they were dating for a whole year. OTL
I fell in love with those two from their first line of dialogue
The subject of poop seems to come up a lot for these guys.
Their dynamic's really fun though, and surprisingly forward for an anime romance.
Well they don't have to worry about embarrassing themselves by revealing too much about their true selves, which is usually the main concern for new couples. It's all "oh she's seen it". "Oh, he knows." They can just go full ass-mode on each other and they usually do.
Though there are still some...surprises
Hahahaha the magazine is just called SEXY. Kinda hard to play off that you read it for the articles.
I'm just wondering where a Japanese high school kid got hold of an english porn mag. Dude had to go through an intermediary for that.
I think most American boys his age are pirating all of theirs online, so I'm sure there's a surplus of titty mags to float across the Pacific.
But yeah, maybe it's because I've consumed more romcom schlock than is healthy, but it's a shock to the system for so many of these couples to actually...be couples. I'm not used to seeing that without three seasons of will-they-won't-they preamble.
There's very few cast members who aren't at least in the beginning stages of dating, and even that's only because of Teen Anxieties. The hardest I laughed in the whole show was when Can't Confess couple (Takase and Kanda) both finally for real confess over text message simultaneously to one another, since the in-person pressure is off.
But Kanda just comes out and says it. While Takase's message says "There's something I want to confess to you tomorrow, don't wanna be a weird loser asshole and just do it over text haha." Needless to say, the conversation dies rrrrright there.
It's really a tight competition for who would feel worse in that scenario.
"Oh no he thinks I'm a weird loser asshole."
"OH NO I'M ACTUALLY THE WEIRD LOSER ASSHOLE."
It's a fun theme that pops up in a lot of the vignettes though, which I really like. So many of these characters miss opportunities or fuck up because they try to shrug off their feelings as jokes to give themselves an escape route.
"i love you just kidding ha ha so uh what are you doing tomorrow i'm busy which sucks but if you're free maybe i'm not busy"
and you just want to put your head through a table but in a good way
Okay TMI time, but that's literally how my first high school girlfriend and I played it for nearly all of freshman year. And seeing that portrayed - even comedically - is both endearing and makes me want to cringe so hard my spine snaps. Like, WATAMOTE
levels of nostalgic embarrassment.
I think it stops just short of those WATAMOTE level cringes because the comedic timing is so good that you feel like it'll all be okay. The scene where Chiaki's mom comes in right when they're about to snog is a great example. We've seen that scenario a million times before, but it's the delivery - the editing and the acting - that really sell it and make it feel more like a relatable situation than a punchline. His mom isn't TRYING to ruin the mood, but it is absolutely ruined.
At least she's a sex positive parent!
Admittedly, that's the one moment of the episode that had me ??? cuz she offers his girlfriend one of hers in case she forgot and uh that is not how the pill works. You can't just pop one on the way to the bone zone, it's a premeditated affair. BOYS WRITIN' ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Who knows, maybe she's got a big stash of Plan B ready to go.
Chiaki's mom lives on the edge.
But on that note, not all of the couples are super down to earth like that, not when the cast is so big. Some of the really cartoony ones are pretty out there, like Prince Mystery Narcissist, aka Katori-senpai
Oh yeah, this motherfucker
HERE IN TOWN THERE'S ONLY SHE
WHO'S AS BEAUTIFUL AS ME
I guess it's a kind of love? I'm curious to see if we'll ever get into his vulnerabilities or if he'll remain a pure ridiculous foppinjay. A guy like that who "cannot belong to just one woman" (meaning none of them) has to be holdin' back some emotional constipation of some kind.
He does feel like he's from a different show at times - his bits are the most purely comedic and absurd of the whole thing so far.
I would say second only to the President & Yankee Girl, aka our Problematic Couple
Yanno, it's a lot easier to have an "UMMM?" pairing like this in a show with so many pairings to choose from. When you have enough diversity of tone and characterization in the writing, their bizarre dynamic is almost charming.
I don't know what you're talking about, there's nothing questionable here
The joke is clearly supposed to be that he's a stuffed-shirt disciplinary committee nerd without romantic experience, so you wouldn't expect him to be so forceful and direct. While you would expect that from a yankee girl, so the dynamic is reversed. BUT in my experience, plenty of stuffed-shirt nerds are forceful or even threatening in person, and plenty of girls who talk or dress tough have difficulty negotiating those social situations and standing up for themselves. So it's not an inherently funny premise to me and his assertiveness can get a little Bad Touch-y, but the individual gags between them are so funny that it's hard to be mad about it.
Their first two skits were the ones that left me the most unsure about the show at first, but when they're actually dating it's actually more endearing? It plays like teasing rather than discomfort.
Right, you get the distinct impression that she could tell him to back off if she was bothered by it, but she doesn't. Perhaps due to her image, it's likely that nobody's treated her this way before, and she kinda likes it? I'm not gonna kinkshame her, that's all I'm saying.
at least there's no ethical conundrums when it comes to Genderbent Froppy's relationship
I mean LOOK at this guy. There's so many couples in this show that they even loop in the background characters.
Dude looks like the sad turtle in a children's book about learning to share
omg he does. Froppy and Turtle-kun
Turtle-kun and his best guy friend, Red Pill-kun
I was actually gonna say, surprisingly not? I mean yeah, he's got his issues, but he drops the woman-hating pretense and fully embraces being happy for his friend, trusting his new crush right away. So I think he's just snapping at sour grapes and will grow out of it quickly.
Yeah, it's an easy punchline. Dude's more old school He-Man Women Haters Club than anything.
He's okay with any women who like dumpy guys, so maybe he'll find the right girl to like his dumpy face too. That's what love is all about, I think, finding the right person out there to love your dumpy face. It's a sincere and heartwarming message in a genre that can be packed with jealousy, self-absorption, romanticized abuse, or just plain boredom. Most lovable anime romcom I've seen in a long time.
It's super cute and fun every week! It's certainly leagues above the other romances this season. Nobody's falling in love over an eraser, is what I'm saying.
But how do you know it's love if you can't DRINK THE DROOL OF YOUR PARAMOUR?
Now that's a good topic for a future column. >:D
Anyway, I have no doubt that they're gonna keep introducing more couples in future weeks, but I hope at least a couple of these poor kids gets some closure. They've all come so far already on just like three minutes every two weeks! I BELIEVE IN YOU, TURTLE-KUN.
I guess that brings up a good question: Who's your favorite couple?
It's actually one we haven't discussed yet: Goda and Kamine.
I like their shtick because it takes you from the pit of rejection to the height of adorability every time. Kamine is sugar spice and everything nice incarnate, just a shojo
princess trying to make her fairytale come true in the gentlest way, but Goda's so bad at communication that he keeps saying stuff that makes her think he's breaking up with her. And it always turns out to be the exact opposite, some clumsy and poorly explained gesture of love that brings them closer together. It's the kind of drama that I think a lot of people secretly want from a relationship. You know it can't be all sunshine and flowers all the time, but you hope that the awkward or bad moments will just bring brighter happiness once you get through it.
I think my favorite is Chizuru and Takurou right now.
Ah yeah, those two seem to be the "main couple" if you can say there's such a thing. They get a lot of the ending codas to an episode.
I especially liked them in Ep 4. There's something quietly sad about missing out on something because you're sure you could never deserve it or find it. Plus Chizuru's "Thanks" when he confessed in their first skit is maybe the funniest moment in anime this year. At its best, the show really melds comedy with some genuine emotion, and those two get it the most often, I guess.
Yeah, the only reason they're not together, even though they both clearly know they like each other, is that they don't think anyone SHOULD like them, beyond even could. Because they're "boring" or "gloomy". And that works really well both because it's a teenage thing, it's an emotion you feel most strongly when you're first beginning to realize how hard it is to find your place in society and wonder whether you fit, but it also follows everyone into adulthood too. We all think we're out of someone else's league, but the truth is that the leagues are all made up, and the points don't matter, and nobody "deserves" anybody else, you just have to follow your heart until it runs into somebody else's heart and sticks there.
And what's fun is that it tackles all that with a sense of humor - it never feels super heavy but you can still tell it's treating the kids' feelings with sincerity.
Now I just hope my other OTP happens
"When her heel knocked my braces straight through my tonsils, that's when I knew."
AH YOUNG LOVE~