Misunderstandings plague attempts at love confessions, and the early dating experiences, of prospective teen couples.
To see why I love this show so much, it's best to look at the first skit in Episode 7. But first, some background:
The show is structured as skits of a few minutes length, each starring one couple; we'll pick up their story in the next skit featuring them, which might be in the next episode of the show, or in some episode further along. (A few couples DO disappear from further consideration, at least in this season of the show, before an actual conclusion to their storyline.)
The character art seems a bit crude, but the comic writing here is often near-brilliant.
To get a little closer to that skit in Episode 7, and why I love it so, let's consider its couple, Yuki Minagawa and Jun Furuya. Minagawa is a species of girl I've not seen much in anime: she loves to torment guys for her own amusement, but it's not tsundere violence, but rather playing with their heads by keeping them guessing about her true feelings; even if she LIKES a guy she seemingly can't help doing this. Furuya asks if she really likes him, or is harassing him, and the answer to both questions seems to be "yes"; she can't do one without the other.
So here's the setup to Episode 7. Hotaru, Furuya's younger sister, realizes her brother has been texting a girl and decides to drive this girl away by posting texts to his phone herself, posing as him. Minagawa, however, instantly realizes who's really got the phone, and Hotaru's no match for her; you can't out-prank a Master. Minagawa has to take some extra steps to lure Hotaru into the trap- Hotaru is unbelievably naïve- but when Minagawa springs it, it's one of the most devastatingly funny scenes I've ever seen in ANY anime series. (Even Minagawa's text avatar is wonderful, since it's so deliciously ironic for HER.) Minagawa is one of the most terrifying female characters I've ever seen- and this bit is wickedly hilarious.
But Minagawa and Furuya are not my favorite couple in the show...
Possibly the couple with the most scenes in the show is Uchimura Chiaki and Kana Ijima. Kana wonders why Chiaki hasn't made any moves on her when they've been dating a year, and confronts him about it. What follows is a series of exasperating-to-horrifying attempts by these two, first to become more intimate, but later just to hold onto their relationship at all, as it becomes a one-step-forward-two-steps-back situation. It's true that they both have unbelievably bad timing, always saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong moment, but most of the blame does seem to be Chiaki's- in particular, his insensitivity to her feelings and moods. Their stormy relationship reminded me a bit of Risa and Otani's in Lovely Complex, but it seems that HERE, if the relationship is to survive, it might be better to- well, I can't say.
But Chiaki and Kana aren't my favorite pair, either.
My favorite couple is Takuro Sugawara and Chizuru Takano. Takano has what we'll call a self-esteem problem ("I'm not cute, I'm gloomy"), and Sugawara can't quite seem to find a way to confess to her that gets through her "He-can't-possibly-be-interested-in-ME" filter. It becomes plain that if this relationship is to happen at all, Takano's going to have to make some effort.
As noted, some characters disappear before their stories are resolved, and there are a few couples I really didn't warm to (such as the stoic Takeru Goda and the bashful Ayaka Kamine.) (It's not obvious at the beginning that these kids go to the same school and know each other, but connections between the couples do appear toward the end.) There was only one pair that struck me as offensively sexist; HIS name is Masafumi Akagi, HER name is Ryoko Kaji, and he uses finding her smoking as a way to blackmail her into kissing him. This is another couple with a stormy relationship, but since he's always making crude advances on her, and she's apparently dismissed as a "bad girl", the storminess here is much less funny than the Chiaki/Kana struggle. The show does end up having her aspire to better things, so I felt a little better for her in the end. And I'd love to see more of that blonde girl who rather randomly joined the soccer match in the final episode; she was delightful, WHOEVER she was.
This is the first "short" series I've felt merited a full five stars. The episodes might be only half the length of a standard show, but they're about four times as entertaining, so it's twice the show of its rivals. As I've said before, I've always wanted to see a fresh approach to the romantic comedy genre; Tsuredure Children amply qualifies. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: At one point clothing is removed and sexual foreplay is attempted (not successfully); breast fondling is proposed elsewhere. There's some frank (and actually fairly honest) discussion about intimacy between Kana and Chiaki. We'll recommend for 16+.
Version(s) Viewed: Streaming on crunchyroll (Japanese with English subtitles)
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Tsuredure Children © 2017 Toshiya Wakabayashi, KODANSHA/"Tsuredure Children" Project
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