Otaku USA Magazine
Tsuredure Children [Review]

High school chemistry that’s better than high school

What would you get if you wanted to write a love story but, rather than put together a complex fairy tale or Shakespearean tragedy, decided to start with the climactic confession scene? You’d probably get Tsuredure Children, which, in its first episode alone, showcases not just one, but four different love confessions. In any other romantic anime, any chance to act on one’s feelings would get built up over time, only to have the confession scene get interrupted by just about anything that can make noise. This series, however, doesn’t play the game of love like that.

Based on the manga series of the same name, and with animation by Studio Gokumi, Tsuredure Children, presents itself as a collection of skits, about four skits per 13-minute episode. There’s not a single “main character,” but rather an ensemble of specific pairings (and pairs that have yet to become lovers). One is a pair with mutual affection for one another, but they’re both too nervous to act on it. Another pairing involves a class representative who tries to be serious about everything and a mischievous girl who can’t help but playfully tease the poor thing. A third couple involves a girl whose denial of romantic possibilities makes her admirer suffer from frequent emotional pains, while a fourth pair’s attempts at romance end up constantly devolving into silly comedic bits.

And this isn’t even the entire cast! The original manga, at this point, has at least 70 different characters! This adaptation focuses on only 10 different pairings, but this still makes for a lot of different dynamics. They run the gamut of personalities from the meek and the playful to the slow-and-steady and the aggressive when it comes to different people pursuing relationships. But 20 characters is still a lot of lovers for a series that is only allowed 15 minutes per episode. So how does a show like this manage to make each couple so unique and endearing?

In my opinion, it all comes down to the dialogue. Dialogue can make or break skits like these. You don’t want to put the audience to sleep with a long-winding speech. The shorter and snappier an exchange of words is, the easier it is the keep the audience interested. Tsuredure Children succeeds on this front because it keeps things brief whenever it can. Everything feels essential to the conflicts. The fact that it can convey a lot of emotional information with only a few words without making it all feel rushed is a testament to how you don’t always need a lot of words to express something. These moments of brevity also succeed in making Tsuredure Children a generator of sharp comedic timing and vivid physical expressions.

Tsuredure Children is an endearing festival of young love. It’s also an extremely messy one, not because of what it does, but because of what it doesn’t do. No one here is a magical girl, no one here is involved in a space war, and there’s certainly no knife-wielding yandere running through the halls. Simple romantic misunderstandings dominate this show, making it closer to real life than you might realize. These are teenagers in love; these misunderstandings are everything they think about. This might explain why each episode is so short, because they’d probably go from painfully cute to just plain painful.

In other words, anything involving the show’s cartoony, self-proclaimed “Love Master” aside, everything in Tsuredure Children is real; these are real teenagers trying and often stumbling through the trials of the first crush with complete anxieties, and not a GPS in sight. Never before has the teenage psyche felt so realistic and so cute at the same time. Recommended.

studio/company: Crunchyroll
available: Now
rating: Not Rated

This story appears in the February 2018 issue of Otaku USA Magazine. Click here to get a print copy.