by Nick Creamer,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Tsuredure Children ?
Tsuredure Children came to an abrupt end this week, finishing off a charming season with one more dose of warm fuzzies. Given that this was an adaptation of an ongoing manga made up of relatively unorganized skits, this episode had quite a task before it: somehow come to a conclusion that feels satisfying without deviating too seriously from the source material. The final result didn't feel much like a solid ending, but it maintained the show's warm appeal and sharp writing up to its last moments.
This episode used a couple structural tricks to give it some sense of closure, despite not bringing most of Tsuredure Children's stories to any kind of ending. Its first smart choice was centering the entire first half of the episode on a school soccer competition. By forcing all of Tsuredure Children's various classes to compete through a series of matches, the show was able to check in on almost all of its main characters, simultaneously emphasizing the congruity of this world and offering tiny goodbyes to many of its leads.
Unfortunately, that soccer segment also demonstrated the limits of Tsuredure Children's animation. The show tried its best, but Tsuredure Children's tendency towards empty, 4koma-esque backgrounds and relatively stiff character movement made it difficult to feel much tension in its soccer battles. There were a couple welcome multi-plane pans and occasionally strong bursts of movement, but the difficulty of delivering fluid animation made this segment come off as a little floaty on the whole. That said, Tsuredure Children has always been driven more by snappy writing than visual beauty, and the gags here certainly held up their end of the bargain.
The finale's second half got more serious, demonstrating that Tsuredure Children can occasionally pull off a visually impressive sequence. No longer forced to convey continuous movement, the relative peacefulness of the show's couples all pushing for their relationships allowed for some striking visual compositions. Sequences like Kana sadly descending the school stairs or Takano waiting by the classroom window offered emotive color schemes and beauty in the frame on a level the show has never achieved before, accenting the dramatic punch of each final encounter.
Those encounters were also quite rewarding, if a little inconclusive. I wasn't impressed to see Kana and Chiaki's last meeting rely on yet another dead phone, but I really enjoyed Chiaki's final speech, where he once again admitted how much he'd wronged Kana and how he'd like to try again. His words acted as a further apology for the way he'd been treating their overall relationship like one more comic bit, making Kana's emotional response feel totally earned. And on Chitose's side, the emotiveness that's been building up all series was cashed in wonderfully during her conversation with Sugawara. After consistently failing to recognize Sugawara's advances, Chitose was the one to draw them together, offering a reasonable capstone to her emotional journey. This finale certainly didn't offer the closure all these stories demand, but it was a fine conclusion to Tsuredure Children's first act. I can only hope we've got more of this series coming soon.
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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