Tsuredure Children

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

It’s apt that the final episode revolves around a game. Soccer is the quintessential game for children growing into young adults. It involves everybody, has a simple set of rules and one objective. It’s a good microcosm for young people learning about how to deal with romance in a school environment. And Tsuredure Children is all about these children and their romantic escapades.

Very short and easy to watch, but often so very frustrating, I’m pretty neutral in my feelings about this one. If you’re looking for something really lightweight in every way, go for it, you’ll finish it in less than three hours. That is if you don’t mind watching children get in their own way over and over again while falling in love for the first time! Kids these days…

Characters

Rating: 5

It’s apt that the final episode revolves around a game. Soccer is the quintessential game for children growing into young adults. It involves everybody, has a simple set of rules and one objective. It’s a good microcosm for young people learning about how to deal with romance in a school environment. After finishing the show, I found it interesting that I could divide my experience with these characters into three distinct sections during the show, similar to how sports games are equally divided into sections.

In the first third, I spent the entire time just getting my bearings. There were so many characters so quickly! And our encounters with them were so brief I couldn’t remember anything to identify them by. So during that first third of the series, I was honestly about to conclude that every encounter was with new characters. I only confirmed that I was seeing the same sets of couples in unequally spaced cycles when I saw Ryouko for the second time. Most likely because she’s so distinct from the other characters, or perhaps simply because I like her kind of character. So much strength of voice and outward projections of hostility!

So that’s where I found myself going into part the first of the second third. Coming to the realization that I was seeing the same couples again and again. The rest of this second third I spent figuring out who was who and who went with who and who was who’s VAs. Who? Anyway. There’s an unusual number of fairly high-profile VAs in this show, with lots of well-known supporting and MC roles between them. Kaito Ishikawa (One Punch Man, My Hero Academia), Kana Hanazawa (Psycho-Pass, The Quintessential Quintuplets, Tokyo Ghoul), Inori Minase, extremely famous (Rem in Re:Zero, Is the Order a Rabbit?, A Place Further than the Universe), Akari Kitou (Demon Slayer, Tonikawa), Tomoaki Maeno (Fire Force, World Trigger, very recognizable supporter voice), the prolific Kensho Ono, probably best known as Giorno Giovanni (Jojo), Ayane Sakura (My Hero Academia, Is the Order a Rabbit?, and currently, Feb. 2021, the most hated character in anime, Gabi Braun in Attack on Titan), among others, are all cast in this show. The biggest reason I decided to watch this anime is because I knew so many of these names I saw in the cast. They even snuck Haruka Tomatsu in there for a handful of scenes, most famous as Asuna from SAO and Zero Two from Darling in the Franxx. So yes, I put a lot of names with faces during the middle four episodes of this show.

Then the final third began. This portion was so starkly defined to me that I realized the entire show could be defined by this aspect. Frustration! I kept getting so frustrated watching these children fumble with their feelings and how they express them! Yes they are children. They’re growing and learning, but their experiences are extremely limited. This makes it very difficult for them to know how to deal with these knew feelings. They may not even understand their true feelings at all times. And each of them makes a different mess with them!

As frustrating as it is to watch, I suppose it’s easy to empathize with these experiences. We’ve all been there in some form or another! And probably in some nearly exact way these characters have been, since there’s so many different presentations of the troubles of young lovers to draw upon in this series. But perhaps even that relatability makes it frustrating! Regardless, my primary impression during the final four episodes was one of frustration. I’d gotten to know everybody, I knew who was with who, and now it was driving me bananas how much trouble they all were having getting close to their chosen cupidinous targets. It was kind of like a wild game with simple rules and one goal: fall in love, don’t be obvious about it in the slightest coz’ it’s embarrassing, all to finally and officially claim your crush as your boyfriend/girlfriend.

These characters will drive you nuts. I remembered another blog’s post while I was watching this show that said the girls were “insane.” I will not argue one way or the other on that, but I certainly could say the same for the boys! It drove me crazy watching them fumble with these girls, trying to be nice usually, but still just mucking it up so often. Well, with the exception of Katori. He’s so out of place in this show, and kind of remarkable for it. And he has the most clever dialogue. His exchanges with Ayane Matsuura are funny. You have to wonder if he represents the author walking about in his own story. That’s the kind of the feel it has.

There’s too many characters combined with too little time in the series to develop any of them much. Hence the set of characters suffers overall. It’s fun to listen to so many of our favorite VAs, but beyond that nothing about any of the characters really stands out. That’s the way it goes when you have such short episodes and so many characters. There’s hardly any way around it. And Tsuredure Children‘s characters predictably succumb to these pitfalls.

Artwork

Rating: 5

It’s apt that the final episode revolves around a game. Soccer is the quintessential game for children growing into young adults. It involves everybody, has a simple set of rules and one objective. It’s a good microcosm for young people learning about how to deal with romance in a school environment. Wait, what does this have to do with artwork?

You had to have someone good at drawing red cheeks for this show! Lots of embarrassed countenances and unsure smiles. Eyes are on the rounder side with very little whitespace. This allows for a good deal of expression without the eyes ever looking too emotional. Unless that emotion is excitement, and we get a lot of that in the series. There’s a ton of different eye colors too. But partly because the characters lack development, nobody’s eyes are particularly memorable. One of the girls had really pretty blue eyes, and Gouda had orange eyes which was kind of weird, but other than that I can’t easily put eyes with characters just from memory. Anime is all about eyes! I should be able to associate eyes with characters! This show’s art fails in that sense.

Typical of this genre, everything is very bright and pretty. Lots of green landscapes adorn the standard school settings, and lots of soft sunlight filters in around the scenery. We get a heavy dose of reaction animations in this show. Whether that’s flying hearts or sparkles or bubbles (I think there’s some bubbles once), there’s a pretty wide variety presented here. It is what it is. I think these events are supposed to be set in springtime, as there’s a lot of shots with the gorgeous sakura in the background. I can’t ever get enough of that regardless of the anime.

Nothing exceptional, but nothing spectacular either. The art neither adds nor detracts from the show itself. It’s good quality, but not very remarkable. Much like everything else in this show.

Story

Rating: 5

It’s apt that the final episode revolves around a game. Soccer is the quintessential game for children growing into young adults. It involves everybody, has a simple set of rules and one objective. It’s a good microcosm for young people learning about how to deal with romance in a school environment. This really does amount to kind of a game for these children.

The boundaries are simple. The school is the playing field. There’s very few scenes that don’t occur within the school campus. The rules are pretty simple too. Everybody stick with your guy/girl and don’t drop the ball. And there’s only one objective: win.

I guess there isn’t really a story. It’s just couples trying to get together in this particular arena. I guess that can be called the story. Anyhow, the frustrating but clever part of this show is that everyone struggles so much to win what they’re after. Each relationship is fraught with some form of miscommunication or lack of confidence that leads to lack of communication and the inevitable misunderstandings. I can’t possibly categorize all these different mishaps, as none of them really last long enough to be memorable. On top of that, if I haven’t made this clear already, there’s so many of them! It’s like little kids playing soccer. They kind of look like they’re doing it right, but they’re moving really awkwardly, and they’re making lots of mistakes as they learn along the way. They bump lightly into each other but still end up falling clumsily. But they keep steadfastly heading towards the goal! This is a sports anime! Stop it, you’re crazy!

Overall: 5

It’s apt that the final episode revolves around a game. Soccer is the quintessential game for children growing into young adults. It involves everybody, has a simple set of rules and one objective. It’s a good microcosm for young people learning about…stop it damn it!

I will admit that this is the most superficial I could make this review. Despite the lack of development in the characters, and in the story I should add, we probably could spend quality time digging into each couple’s relationship. It could be as simple how one might relate to a particular couple. Or it could be more complex, such as exploring how much material actually lies hidden beneath all that’s unsaid between the characters. Miscommunication is still communication! So I don’t want to give the impression that there’s zero depth in this series. It’s not easy to come up with different personalities for so many characters, nor is it easy to plug those personalities into stories. But this show doesn’t easily lend itself to any kind of in-depth observation due to its short duration and ultimately its lack of obvious development. Hence I made the choice to simply scan over it from such a high level.

I can’t say I really liked this show. But I can’t say I disliked it. I can’t say I enjoyed it. But I can’t say I did not enjoy it. I can’t say I easily remember any of the characters particularly. But I can’t say I won’t remember any of them. I can’t really say there was much to it. But I can’t say it was empty either. I can’t say it really provoked any strong emotions in me. But I can’t say it didn’t touch our hearts, however lightly that may be. I can’t say I’m pleased overall. But I can say I’m happy with the results. Just like winning a soccer game.

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