Tsuredure Children
Episode 9

by Nick Creamer,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Tsuredure Children ?

This week's Tsuredure Children was appropriately titled “Square One.” After many weeks of gradual romantic progression, this episode saw several of the show's couples backsliding, hampered by their own insecurities or simply reset in a narrative sense. It was certainly believable, but definitely not the most funny or satisfying of Tsuredure Children episodes. That said, there was still plenty to be charmed by here.

The episode's first segment was the only one where characters actually got closer this week. Takano (the girl who can't seem to recognize her own feelings) and Sugawara ended up shooting glances at each other all throughout a poolside gym class, with each of them offering similar internal anxieties in narration. Many of Tsuredure Children's couples started from a point of mirrored but unspoken insecurities, but in Takano's case, the fact that she's stressing out over the significance of Sugawara's gaze represents a big step forward in recognizing her own feelings. Their mirrored thoughts about the awkwardness of eye contact were also just very cute for their own sake, yet another believable fragment of young romantic anxieties. The fact that Sugawara ultimately admitted he'd been staring at Takano was a satisfying punchline to a sequence that saw one of Tsuredure Children's marquee couples getting closer than ever before.

After that, things got a lot more awkward. The texting couple Kanda and Takase were up next, introduced with the reveal that it had been a full month since the two were able to communicate. In the wake of Kanda's confession and Takase's unintentional shutdown, the two found themselves unable to even regain their original level of comfortable friendship. Kanda and Takase are chronically incapable of conveying their feelings to each other in the way they want, meaning this week's attempted conversation was a nail-biter of botched negotiations, as their mutual wish to date resolved into an unfortunate acceptance of their continued platonic friendship. These two are so bad at this that it's actually stressful just watching them fail at everything.

Goda and Kamine fared slightly better in their segment, though it still represented a step back from last check-in's kiss. As usual, the two found themselves completely misreading each other, with Kamine hoping for a do-over kiss while Goda felt sure Kamine was put off by the first one. In spite of their miscommunication and Goda's astonishing thick-headedness, Kamine did her very best to pull the two of them closer. Kamine has undergone significant character growth over the course of Tsuredure Children, with her proactive attempts to snatch a kiss nearly working. In a show that's largely about awkwardness and miscommunication, it's nice to see that at least one character is slowly learning from their struggles.

Things capped off with Minagawa the perpetual crush-teaser and Furuya the perpetually flustered crush, in a direct echo of their first encounter. This segment felt straight-up repetitive, as the sequences we've witnessed between them since seemed to imply their relationship should have moved past this initial dynamic. In spite of that, I was happy to see Furuya willing to actually admit he liked Minagawa, even if she didn't seem to take his words seriously. Minagawa doesn't really have much room to complain if Furuya is finally willing to be straight with her.

Overall, this episode felt like a bit like the show was treading water, except in the one segment where the characters were actually treading water. But “one step forward, two steps back” is indeed a big part of young romance, so I suppose I can forgive the show for dedicating an episode to exactly that. I just hope these kids can get back on track soon, for their sakes and my own.

Overall: B-

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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