Tsuredure Children is available on Crunchyroll.
With the increasing presence of online media, more and more series that previously would have been designed for TV are now seeing a release over the internet. With the jump of platform, this means that shows can now get away with runtimes that don’t fit the standard 22-minutes-with-commercials broadcast format.
Netflix’s run of original series make some use of this; their Marvel series’ episodes can last anywhere between an approximately-standard 44 minutes and a good bit over an hour, whereas their A Series of Unfortunate Events adaptation is effectively a set of made-for-TV movies between 90 and 120 minutes. And that’s great for when you need just a little more space to flesh out the story arc within an episode or pepper in a few more character-focused scenes to build that all-important attachment with the audience.
But anime, the light and sugary fluff material that it can be at times, takes that same ball and runs in the opposite direction.
I’ve written a bit in the past about how I don’t really need every show I watch to grab me by the collar and not let go – and that’s certainly still true. In fact, sometimes that’s exactly what I want as a little breather. For those times, having a short-and-sweet length acts more in favor of a show than against it.
Take the show that I was inevitably going to mention on account of it being in the title, Tsuredure Children. The entire run of it is spent hopping between cute little vignettes, predominantly just involving two high schoolers in various stages between friendship and outright flirting. It’s cute and not-at-all trying to capture the actual complexity endemic to real-life relatonships, but I’m not exactly always trying to find a deeper understanding of society when I sit down to unwind.
Its a touch insubstantial, sure, but the shorter runtime actually hides and works with that.
The closest thing to a through-line connecting any of these scenes is the fact that we revisit the same pairs in different situations across multiple episodes, but even then everybody in the cast has only two or three dominant characteristics that they keep falling back to.
In turn, it’s easy to remember the core dynamic that will drive each scene, and there’s no mental re-adjustment each time you start a new episode (“Oh, yeah, where did we leave off with them, again?”). Instead, I found myself picking up a little eleven-minute bundle of a few anecdotes, gobbling them down, then putting the series back down feeling refreshed. It definitely ended up serving the show’s M.O. more than it invoked apathy in me as a viewer.
Similarly, I just recently finished the first season of Encouragement of Climb (c’mon, marketing team, there has to be a cleaner translation for that title), and that’s less than three minutes of “girls go on casual hikes” per episode for that first twelve episodes – I wolfed the whole thing down inside of an hour. But that was all the longer it needed.
Again, the characters aren’t complex and all their “adventures” are afternoon trips that take ten minutes of screen time at most. But if I were to break it up into the chunks it originally aired in, I’d have a nice little bright spot to breathe in and then move on from just as easily. No muss, no fuss.
With the increasing prevalence of hour-long television-like dramas and long-form serialized fiction, I’m finding that I like shows willing to go smaller and lighter. It’s a much easier time commitment and generally more uplifting on aggregate. Heck, there’s a reason why most folks my age have such fond memories of half-episode-format cartoons like Rugrats, Doug, and Dexter’s Laboroatory.
The kids have got good taste.