Unrelentingly charming, Tsurezure Children focuses on the sweet yet awkward first steps of falling in love.
When I think of romance in manga and anime, I imagine all of the horrible tropes plaguing the medium: from the pretty boy vs. bad boy dilemma of shojo to the oblivious male leads of shonen, manga and anime are filled with unrealistic and uninteresting approaches to depicting romance. While these archetypes might inspire waifus and husbandos among fans, there isn't much emphasis on the relationship itself.
Tsurezure Children takes a different path - by focusing on the act of confessing love, and the subsequent first steps of the
relationship, for a large variety of couples with radically different approaches to their relationships. There's the manzai duo of Chiaki and Kana who have trouble transitioning from a comedy act to a romantic couple, the two otakus who can't help but see themselves as unattractive despite their growing relationships, the lovey-dovey Kamine and the cooler Kouda trying to understand each others' feelings, and the ultra-cold pair of Toda and Sunagawa who never show emotion at all. All of these individual stories are interesting by themselves, but it is the combination of all of the different ways that the couples approach their relationships that paints a complete impression of "first love."
Reading Tsurezure Children makes me feel giddy with excitement, like I want to slap my legs on my bed like a schoolgirl texting her crush. It is a gentle approach to a genre (romance) that usually gets its fuel from tragedy, action, or something else. At the same time, it is unrelenting in its charm: confession after confession, then a brief tease before coming back harder with something like a beach trip.
This is my favorite manga series, and I think it has something that everybody can enjoy.