Tsuredure Children
Episode 11

by Nick Creamer,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Tsuredure Children ?

Last week's Tsuredure Children was smartly written, thoughtfully executed, and courageously conceived. It was also very sad and made me feel extremely sorry for its poor heroes. I love grounded character drama, but I also love fluffy romance, and Tsuredure Children has become one of my ports in the wild storm of life. In light of that, I was happy to see this week's episode confidently return to its original wheelhouse: warmly riffing on the charming foibles of young love.

We opened this week's episode with a return to Chitose, the girl who can't quite grasp her own emotions. Chitose has developed a great deal over the course of this season, shifting from a generally blank-faced cipher to an expressive person who simply hasn't realized she's in love yet. Tsuredure Children did some excellent work bringing that contrast to life, letting Chitose's expressive faces and clear body language tell the story she couldn't yet recognize in herself. I also appreciated how this sequence used Chitose's saxophone practice as an echo of her emotional disconnect. It's rewarding to see these characters in situations outside of “conversing in the halls and classrooms,” since that helps the audience buy into the realities of their lives, and her squeaky tuning also worked as a clear and funny reflection of her denied feelings. It was also nice that this segment ended on some real narrative progression, as Chitose learned that Sugawara might just like her after all.

From there, we jumped over to Kana and Chiaki, the couple who broke up over last episode's credits. The show had to walk a delicate line here, simultaneously respecting the reason Kana broke up in the first place while also leaving room open for a reconciliation. I thought the sequence did a commendable job of managing that challenge. Kana's feelings were respected and Chiaki's understanding of his transgression were made clear, but it also felt believable that the two of them would want to get back together. The final scene of this sequence, where Chiaki accidentally dropped her phone in the bath, acted as a nice reminder of why these two are so good together. Even when their conversation was arbitrarily cut off, they still remained on the exact same wavelength, sharing matching anxieties as Kana rushed to repair her phone. Even if they didn't actually get back together yet, this segment went a long way toward establishing their ability to compromise and forgive.

The episode's last two segments were essentially combined into one extended sequence, as the third years all fought through their exams. I actually felt the Takase-Saki segment was a slightly wasted opportunity. The segment worked well to bring them closer together, but with little romance and less comedy, it seemed more like a narrative role-filler than a highlight on its own.

On the other hand, the following Ryoko sequence was one of my favorites so far. Ryoko's anxieties about her exams felt realistic and painful, nicely fleshing her out beyond her tough-girl persona and her relationship with Akagi. Akagi also benefited from distance here, as getting him away from Ryoko allowed the show to demonstrate his own nervous concern for his girlfriend. Akagi has at times felt too forceful and confident to be sympathetic, so this was a welcome window into another side of his character. And the finale sequence, where Ryoko learned her classmates actually are on her side, was the most charming moment of the entire episode. Tsuredure Children is as strong as ever moving into its final episodes, solidifying its position as one of my favorite shows of the year.

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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