Summer 2017 Season Wrap: Tsuredure Children, Restaurant to Another World, & Aoyama-kun

As sad as I am to see many of this season’s series end, I’m overjoyed that the hot summer months are on their way out. Bye-bye, mosquitos! Farewell, sweat-drenched dog walks! Hello, blankets and sweaters. Come to me, hot chocolate!

This past summer anime season included a lot of comedy and sci-fi continuations. While there were a handful of exceptional shows that went beyond expectations, the vast majority of them hit at just about average or slightly above. I dropped a large number of anime that either lay far outside of my preferences or were completely unpalatable after one or two episodes. I did a lot of weeding, but it was for the best since I was also able to catch up on a fair number of older television series and films, like SDF Macross and Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro.

My summer 2017 season wrap starts here with three wonderful series that I do think are worth your attention, if not in full, then perhaps at least enough to give a passing glance. First love, fantastical food, and super clean soccer: take your pick!

*Rating system:

  • 0 dango – average and forgettable.
  • 1 dango – very good in its category.
  • 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
  • 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.

Tsuredure Children

What if all the picture-worthy moments of your first romantic relationship were compiled into a show comprising of just those scenes? Requited, unrequited, successful, unsuccessful, the connections between these high school students tumble across the too-short, 15-minute time slot each week in a bundle of silliness and sweetness. So many couples are shown to us, yet each somehow distinguish themselves from one another. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but Tsuredure Children succeeded where so many other full-length series fail; the series made us fall in love with its characters and their individual stories.

As is usually the case with large casts, it’s easy to pinpoint favorites. Mine included not only the last two couples to feature in the final episode—Sugawara and Takano, and Chiaki and Kana—but also ultimate troll Yuki and her too innocent crush, Jun. There are so many pairings in this anime short, of whom many I can’t even remember the names, but their faces pop up clearly regardless. There’s the “Dating Master with” his terrible advice, and the astronomy club girl left behind by her upperclassman. The magic of their appearances lingers long after we’ve moved on to other more prominent characters.

Awkward and short like too many of our first loves, Tsuredure Children is a show I heartily recommend to anyone looking for a laugh and a heart squeeze.

Rating: 2 dango

Isekai Shokudou

There was almost no doubt that Restaurant to Another World would hit the bullseye of my preferences, but I was surprised at its mainstream popularity. Not flashy like Food Wars, nor deliciously pandering like Dog Days, Isekai Shokudou takes a leisurely, episodic pace that doesn’t often resonate with a lot of viewers. I’m used to a smaller fan base for shows of a similar feel, like Bartender, or Wakako-zake. It might be the “Isekai” aspect that appeals to more people, the fascinating idea of a restaurant that connects to many different fantastical places and people.

Regardless of why this show received as much attention as it did, Isekai Shokudou was my spot of calm each week. It joined comfort food with story time in a way that deeply resonated with my childhood memories. None of the dishes shown are particularly complicated to make on your own: curry rice, pork cutlet, fruit parfaits. Yet the care with which they are made and the joy they bring to their customers rank just as high as any three star restaurant. Here, the food literally transports you to new places, like any good story should.

Rating: 1 dango

Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun

What was that show some seasons back about a perfect high school student loved by everyone? Sakamoto-something? I couldn’t get into that series since it felt so one-note and faceless, and I didn’t expect much more from Aoyama-kun. His cleanliness, perfection, looks, they all seemed too similar to what I had already turned down.

Forget all of that. Aoyama-kun is exactly the kind of friend you need.

Instead of relying on perfection and crowd adoration for laughs, much of the humor in Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun stems from just how inconvenient his mysophobia makes day-to-day life for him and his classmates. It’s especially trying on his soccer teammates since any grime or sweat that touches him severely impacts his playing ability. One instant he’s a soccer superstar, and the next he’s running like he has fifty-pound weights on each foot. Despite all of this, people still find it hard to not love him. He can be hard to deal with, yes, but he also thinks of others despite his fear. Since he cannot eat food prepared by another, he cooks his own meals and is happy to do so for others. His need to clean anything he touches means entire areas used by other students also get cleaned. And when push comes to shove, he forces himself to overcome the mud to help his soccer team win. If there’s anything he hates more than getting dirty, it’s losing.

I realize I’m making this show sound more heartwarming than comedic, but it’s honestly both. There are plenty of familiar gags with teammates like Tsukamoto, a guy best known for his butt juggling technique. Then there’s the ongoing, but one-sided, rivalry with Zaizen, a spoiled mama’s boy who literally jumps head first into everything.

Give this show a try, and be sure to stick around for the ending credits with its distinctly retro song and art.

Rating: 1 dango

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9 thoughts on “Summer 2017 Season Wrap: Tsuredure Children, Restaurant to Another World, & Aoyama-kun

  1. Restaurant hit a much better note for me than something like Food Wars, which I quit watching halfway through the second series. If you asked me, I’d say it still had a little bit too much overreaction to the food that they were eating, but it wasn’t intolerable. Instead it was good at telling a lot of little stories, although I kind of hoped for a more encompassing arc. But sometimes there just isn’t that. People go to a restaurant, and they enjoy some food, and then they go home. Sometimes that’s all you need. 🙂

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    • There were definite moments of doubt when I would wonder if the food could really be that amazing, like the baked potato. I’ve had some wonderful baked potatoes, but nothing that would cause quite a reaction like Aletta’s. I still thought her scene heartwarming 🙂

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  2. I totally love Tsuredzure Children, to the point of reading all of the manga that’s available now. I think they did a really good job in selecting the cast for the show, out of the far larger cast of the manga (more than twice as many characters). My favorite groups are Chiaki and Kana, Ryouko and Akagi, and Kamine and Gouda, although I also really enjoy Yuki, especially in her way of dealing with Hotaru. Takano and Sugawara are good, as are Takase and Kanda, but they do a lot more wheel spinning. The show format worked really well with the manga format also, allowing for the quick hitting skits without having to pad or cut.

    I’d love to see more of the show, because there’s a ton more great material already there, both for the characters we know and some of the other couples. The foursome of Yamane, Kirihara, Motoyama, and Enomoto (who didn’t show up in this series) – the two geeky guys and the girls who like them – is a lot of fun and has some really nice themes, as Kirihara steers Yamane through both his self-loathing and his inexperience with having a girlfriend as it continues. It was also weird that they introduced Keisuke and Patricia, without going to her signature quirk, but it wouldn’t really fit into a soccer match.

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    • I definitely want to read Tsuredure Children when I get the chance! If not for more Yuki, then to get to meet some of everyone’s favorite couples not featured in the anime.

      I’m honestly not a fan of the Ryouko / Akagi pairing. Ryouko is a sweetheart who needs to work on her self confidence, while Akagi scares me with how manipulative he is, even if his intentions seem good. The show plays it off as some kind of sexy and endearing attitude to win her over, but I can’t help but see all the red flags for some kind of psycho she’ll need to put a restraining order against some day 😳

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      • I’ve expressed the same kind of concerns before in writing about those characters. But I think that the relationship as it works out isn’t problematic like it could be, either in the show or in later chapters of the manga. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite, in that much of what Akagi does is in an effort to break Ryouko out of her self-imposed isolation, and try to boost her confidence. Like when Katori realizes that Akagi really wants to go help Ryouko in the class, but instead encourages her to interact with her other classmates, both for her own experience and to let the other girls see that Ryouko is trying (which leads Erika to start supporting her).

        I think a lot of the point is that it would be very easy for Ryouko to fall into a bad relationship where the person she is with takes advantage of her. Akagi even mentions that when they first meet: Ryouko asks “Do you think that I’d just go out / do it with you if you asked?” and Akagi answers, probably correctly, “Yes. You probably would with the first person who asked. But that’s why I felt I needed to be that person.” In short, he tries to be what Ryouko needs. Are there red flags? Yeah, because it’s the same kind of power imbalance that would be bad news in a bad person’s hands.

        What I’m saying is that it’s correct to see that there is manipulation there, and there is the concern that it could turn bad. But I think that Ryouko was going to be a person who could be manipulated whether it was Akagi or someone else. She needs some self-confidence, but it’s hard to see how she’d actually pick up any without anything changing. Maybe if she was in a bad relationship, and got through and out of it, she’d realize she needs to stand up for herself, but instead of that, I think that Akagi’s been trying to get her to have that realization without being hurt.

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