Tsuredure Children Review - Screw "This is Us"
…you people seem to like requesting romcoms for me to review, don’t you?
Yep, I’m doing another request, this time from one of CSM Anime Club’s old officers. And if you have shows, past or present, that you want me to take a look at, make sure you point them out in the comments section below this review.
So after blasting Netsuzou Trap (or excuse me, NTR, God what a stupid abbreviation) with my shotgun last time, I thought I was done with reviewing romcom anime for a while, but then it slowly dawned on me that almost all of the summer season’s showings were romcom shows, and I nearly had a panic attack. The only good show I’ve reviewed so far this season has been GAMERS!, which has secretly been turning out to be an excellent show in disguise all along, but think about all of the crap I went through otherwise! Between Hajimete and NTR, I’m tempted to turtle back under my bed covers and just watch Cowboy Bebop until the new season starts.
Unfortunately, as a critic, I can’t take any such luxuries, and whenever a show plops onto my desk, it’s my sworn duty to examine it studiously and make sure no minor detail goes un-nitpicked. But I apologize if the summer season’s offerings were so tedious I’d rather have entered myself into the local watching paint dry circuit.
And that admittedly was the position I found myself in when Tsuredure Children worked its way into my queue. I was not enthusiastic walking into this show, as I was starting to get burnt out by its ilk ages ago, but nevertheless I pulled on my big boy critic pants and gave it a whirl, logic being that if I survived the aforementioned two abominations masquerading as entertainment with my life then I’m really capable of anything the rest of the season throws at me.
Although it is worth pointing out Tsuredure Children had a way better start comparatively, since it was in the proven-capable hands of Studio Gokumi aka the guys who did Yuki Yuna, a 2014 magical girls show that I actually quite liked. And that lightened by mood a bit, enough to make some pizza, pour a root beer, slam my head into my keyboard a couple times as I dealt with my analysis homework and then, once the bleeding stopped, throw on Tsuredure.
Tsuredure Children is a very unusual show in that it doesn’t really seem to have a set of main characters or an actual overarching plot. Instead, in each eleven minute episode we get a series of three or four short animations focused on a single couple doing romcom stuff. It doesn’t go out of its way to do anything too special or flashy or grandiose; rather, the show is happy with simply telling a few short stories about high-school relationships and the quasi-drama associated with them.
On the one hand, this means that the stories do not involve characters with fully fleshed-out backstories, motivations and personalities; this show isn’t exactly Your Lie in April. However, that does not stop the show from being one of the most charming and heartwarming series of the summer season.
See, there are a number of ways a show can make you feel while watching it. You have the adrenaline-pumping, “hell yeah!” screaming shows that make you feel awesome like Hero Aca and OPM, there’s the hilarious and rambunctious series like GinTama and KonoSuba whose singular goal in life is to get you laughing, and of course the sick-inducing and irredeemably cringeworthy bullcrap like two of my most recent reviews. Tsuredure falls into the category of shows that exist just to make you feel good, and considering how grumpy I was when I first tossed this on…holy hell, Tsuredure did its job. Because this show, in addition to just being good on the whole, has a ton of weight behind a lot of its stories.
For all the time it has to tell its shorts, Tsuredure gets as much value out of its screentime as it can. Every relationship feels unique, and within seconds of switching to a new scene, the viewer understands the relationship between the two immediately. There is a little bit of narration towards the front end of some scenes, and we all know that I like showing more than I do telling, but again, considering what this show is setting out to do and the restrictions imposed on it, I’m actually okay with this.
This is actually a decent excuse to talk about the show’s writing, since this is a romcom and the characters typically do have to talk in these sorts of shows. And it’s really damn good. It had to be really damn good in the first place in order to make the format work at all, so the fact it turned out really damn good makes me really happy. This show has some of the best dialogue pieces I’ve heard this season, absolutely hands down, and the fact I don’t want to quote any of them for you should be testament enough to how much I liked this writing. And although Tsuredure hits its punchlines at a very healthy rate and I had a smile on my face throughout the entire ride, the best parts of this romcom series, and holy hell this is going to be the sappiest thing I’ve written on this blog to date, are easily the “rom” bits.
Tsuredure’s writing comes from a spot of genuine compassion and sincerity, and that is the thing I respect most about this show. It’s not out to just force adorably awkward couples together and just leave them alone to let the sparks fly. It’s evident this show cares about the relationships its characters build, and watching said relationships grow and evolve over the course of the series is incredible, at the lack of a better word.
One of the more frequent couples to star in the show is Takurou Sugawara (Kaito Ishikawa, Kageyama from Haikyuu! and Genos from OPM) and Chizuru Takano (Inori Minase, Hestia from Dungeon and Rem from Re:Zero), and even though we maybe get eight minutes or so with them across the first four episodes, we know all the intricacies of their relationship. Sugawara has confessed to Takano but she didn’t notice, and Takano is waiting for Sugawara to confess although there isn’t one coming. And every time these two come on screen and almost hook up, it feels real. It feels authentic.
If there’s any one big thing I can say for Tsuredure Children, it doesn’t show any sort of pretense whatsoever. Every move it makes is deliberate, every scene leaves some sort of impact on the audience, and if a series is doing that regularly to the point where I’m caring about characters I’ve known for maybe two minutes, then it’s doing something right. And again, this wraps straight back around to the show’s excellent writing, without which this series probably wouldn’t have stood much of a chance.
I was probably going to give Tsuredure a passing grade at any rate just due to it not being Hajimete, but I was blown away by this series in a manner I was not expecting. There is a ton to love about this show, and it is unabashedly proud of what it’s set out to accomplish. This show is going to stay in my queue for a while and I think I’ll need to give it a couple rewatches at some point.
This show was a very pleasant surprise, and I’m really glad I got a chance to review it. Like I said, romcoms are really not my thing when it comes to anime, but even with that said, I’m glad I bumped into Tsuredure. And if this show kinda flew under your radar this summer (like a lot of unremarkable stuff probably did), then I strongly recommend you sit down and just shotgun this series during the fall season downtime.
I…I think I like you, Tsuredure. Would you…maybe consider dating?
THE VERDICT: A Next time: Paddling