Sep 19, 2017
SunlitSonata (All reviews)
Romance is a universal theme in the lives of many people. It’s something almost everyone must face at some point in their adolescence, whether they choose go through with it or not. How would you confess? How much do you love someone? How do you hide your crushes? What forms a successful romance? Are you shy or do you prefer to be flamboyant about it? In what ways, do you communicate with those you care about? Watch these questions and more be answered in Tsurezure Children, a playful set of comedic shorts all centered around one thing, the struggles of young love and budding relationships.

Each episode is only 12 minutes long, about half the length of your average anime episode, and in these shorts, there is usually 4 different stories about the hardships and struggles of young love. With 12 episodes, there are 48 different scenarios around one general subject. You might think this results in playing the same joke repeatedly but surprisingly, no. Almost every 3-minute story has its own subject matter relating to the general base to show that yes, love and early relationships are rarely handled the same way for anyone. These shorts can be about anything from awkward text misunderstandings, the aftermath of on-the-spot confessions, trying to help a friend talk to a girl, trying to say how much you like someone in a unique way, escaping the friend zone and many more. While not all of these shorts were comedy gold, and a few were kind of annoying, a majority them did get me to chuckle while watching, due to some of the character quirks and very unexpected outcome in a few more. The plots in general feel written for this format, to have a beginning, middle and end for every one and in doing that, the writing is really solid, even if the characters sometimes fail to distinguish as well as the plots.

The show features a decently handled cast of those in their adolescence, with about 5-6 character pairs and two main recurring ones in every vignette. For the most part, characterization is pretty basic, with many of the plots being defined by how much a character is feeling love anxiety for another, but there are a few exceptions. The inquisitive Akagi and the incredibly flamboyant Shinichi were standouts for their more eccentric nature going beyond the simple idea of love anxiety. Props to their voice actors for making their personalities come alive. Everyone else is generally fine. They seem to act like typical teenagers with the whole “anime reaction shot” gimmicks, but are less memorable for their characters and moreso for the stories they are a part of, and towards how the animation conveys their feelings. At the same time, this is another credit to the short format of the series: that no one character overstays their welcome. If it ever gets close, you’ll shift to another pair for the comedy to continue.

As far as presentation goes, it’s generally pretty light. The animation by the have-yet-to-make a mark Studio Gokumi isn’t standout, with very typical designs, colored hair, typical scene composition and face structure (with exception to Takao Yamane’s frog face), as well as the school setting. At most, it’s functional, but I won’t go too hard on it given what it wants to convey is with writing and not visual spectacle, and that it does, along with the voice acting, help in playfully exaggerating the nervous and the flamboyant personalities. In terms of music, it’s also generally typical. The OP is a basic pop tune that isn’t too memorable or exciting, background music is generally fine, but I must give credit for the handling of the ED. It is fashioned like a typical climax moment song in most romantic dramas, but the usage makes it more special than that. Rather than it having separate visuals once the plot resolves, it plays as the last scene of the episode plays out. The expressively dramatic song both helps the romantic resolutions made in each episode’s last short, and also serves to oxymoron if the scene is bombastic and silly. It’s a nice touch that makes certain scenes funnier than they would be otherwise when sending off the episodes at the end.

In a season remembered less than fondly by horny psycho gambling nonsense, the most boring and derivative Fate entry yet, and the insipid lewdness of Hajimete no Gal, this was a bright bulb. Not the most original or creatively animated series, but for shorts, they were very charming and pleasant. I would recommend the series if you want a nice sweet time passer that reminds you what your teenage love life was like. Next time I’ll be covering the season’s biggest critical darling Made in Abyss. See you all then.