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Tsuredure Children is an anime about high-schoolers falling in love with each other. For most of them, it’s the first time they’re falling in love at all.  Love makes people do crazy things. And with craziness comes chaos, which can only lead to confusion.

Love is a confusing feeling. It’s not just about self-satisfaction–it’s about thinking about the other person in the relationship, and being happy together. In the latest episode of the anime, the couple made up of the shy girlfriend Ayaka and the taciturn but dense boyfriend Takeru are having a problem: they haven’t had any progress in their relationship. Ayaka is eager to hold hands or put her head on her shoulder, but she’s afraid that her feelings might be too clingy and heavy.

However, it turns out that Takeru wants to be affectionate as well. His level of wanting to be close is actually higher than her’s, and he thought she didn’t want to be affectionate. This leads to him kissing her in what turns out to being a quite awkward and sudden first kiss for Ayaka.

And it’s not just this couple that has misunderstandings over and over again. Nearly every single short story in this anime is about romantic misunderstandings. And while they’re fun to watch, it’s also kind of painful to watch because they’re so real to life. They seem so miniscule, but to these teenagers in love, they mean everything. This is everything they think about.

Let me tell you an embarrassing, but funny story at my own expense. Back when pure me had just fallen in love for the first time as an adult, I went out to dinner with the guy in question with some friends. I was sitting next to him in the noisy room, and he asked me a question.

“Sarah, could you hand me the ___?”

I couldn’t hear what he had asked for, and with Japanese being my second language, I was at a disadvantage. I didn’t want to be thought of as stupid and ask for him to clarify had said. I panicked. I tried to connect the dots for what he was asking for.

“O-oh, you want the toothpicks?”

It turned out he wanted the electronic panel you use at bars in Japan to order food.

TOOTHPICKS.

WHO THE HELL WANTS TOOTHPICKS??

This misunderstanding is literally nothing. He probably thought nothing of it. But to someone in love, misunderstandings are pure and utter hell. And these kids go through it every single episode. And some of these situations are painfully familiar.

Sending a text trying to be nice only to have it misunderstood by the other party, making it awkward for days to come. Confessing your love to someone only to have them think you’re talking about something else. Not being to be honest to the guy you like and having him think you hate him, but in fact, you love him more than anything in the world.

OH GOD.

It’s so painfully adorable. I sure am glad these shorts are so… short, because had they been any longer, they would have gone from painfully cute to just plain painful. We’d have to see these kids regretting their decisions every single second of their life. If we had been witness to their despair for a full 30 minutes, it would be too much. But we don’t. And so instead, we’re able to laugh at these kids’ awkwardness for just a little bit and get right back to the cuteness.

That’s what makes Tsuredure Children so great; it’s quick and easy, and simple and sweet. The anime never focuses on the utterly awkward moments for too long, making it easy to watch. It’s a good way to escape from the real awkwardness of love.

Now then, I’ll just be over here, watching Tsudure Children on my phone trying to forget my last botched text conversation I had two months ago…

Tsuredure Children is streaming with subtitles on Crunchyroll.

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