On balance, that was probably my favorite episode of Tsurezure Children so far. It’s nice to see some actual progression in these relationships for starters, and I thought the humor worked very well for the most part. And the fact that this series has a real edge to it helps – it’s a good balance of sweetness and acidity.
We start off with the osananajimi comedy team, and there can be no question that this is a pairing that leads with humor. Still, things got real real quick with these two – she’s decided she’s ready to push the envelope, and finding his porn stash was just the excuse. The implication here is that she’s prepared to go all the way, and he’s just as scared as she is. The funniest moment here was the reaction of his mother when she barged in on them – it was hilarious but also a little disturbing. I mean, what is it with anime parents wanting their teenagers to jump straight past “Go” without even collecting the $200? I’m fine with kids doing the horizontal bop (though 9th-grade is pushing it), but jumping into it too soon is just as bad as waiting too long.
Next up are the student council prez and the banchou girl. This is a fairly comedic duo too, but there’s something pretty skeevy about their interactions. Kaichou is certainly a guy who says what he’s thinking, I’ll give him that – but what he’s thinking is pretty nasty. He really seems like he’s manouvering this girl into sleeping with him when she really doesn’t want to, and couching it in humor doesn’t make it any less wrong.
Next we have the class troll and the shy class rep boy, and not a whole lot has changed here. Think of this as a test drive for Karakai Jouzu Takagi-san, because the vibe isn’t totally dissimilar (though it’s no dead-ringer either). I’m not crazy about teasing girl but what makes her tolerable is that she’s obviously teasing this boy as a way of making light of her own feelings (which are confirmed by her reaction to his staring at her). This one has some charm, but it’s a gag I could see getting old really quickly if there’s no movement in this relationship.
Finally, it’s umbrella boy and low self-esteem girl. This is easily the most earnest and straightforward pairing in the episode, and probably the entire series so far. These two are really nice kids, and their communication gap is kind of gut-wrenching. He’s too shy to grab her by the scruff of the neck and state his feelings unambiguously, and she’s so certain no boy could possibly want to date her that no amount of hinting is going to get her where she needs to go. This is the most realistic and emotionally engaging pairing we’ve met so far, I think – I’m glad they’re not all this serious, but it’s nice to have a straightforward romance mixed in amongst all the farce-driven material.