I don't usually watch the romantic comedy genre of things. I always enjoyed action, fantasy, adventure like Soul Eater, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun etc. but for some reason I was in the mood for something different.
Toradora is just the 3rd romcom anime series i watched and I can truly say that it has become my FAVORITE anime.
The short version of this review is: I very much enjoyed Toradora
-The characters are all unique, likable, and relatable due to the fact they all display their weak sides sometimes and moments of insecurity behind the personality exterior. The chemistry between the characters was fun to watch
-The story stays
away from cliches and was relatively unpredictable for a love story. Every character had a reason and motive for what they did and how they acted, other than just being unnaturally dumb/too prideful/stubborn.
-The soundtrack was really good, making certain scenes all the more memorable
-I loved the comedic scenarios in the beginning of the series, which gets progressively more serious and emotional as we get deeper into the story and characters, but the overall vibe of the show stays relatively consistent to the end
-I became emotionally invested in the overall plot and characters and couldn't stop watching, which is extremely rare for me, especially for this genre
I watched the 1st episode and was interested. After the 2nd ep, I was hooked. I watched all 25 episodes in one go, back to back, because I couldn't stop. Never has another series been able to keep me going (I usually don't watch more than 5 episodes in one sitting), but Toradora kept me wanting to click on the next episode each time until I was finished, and left wanting more (even though I was satisfied with the ending)
Afterwards, I thought a lot about why an anime series of a genre that is usually not my taste could have been able to retain my attention for so long, and i realized the answers: the characters and the overall story.
The characters are what make this series so great. Each character have personalities that are unique and rather realistic and believable (or as realistic as animes go). There is no "super" character that acts too good or too cool for school. There is no "that annoying" character that acts too snobby or stuck up, which can sometimes be a problem for tsundere characters. And this is all because every character shows a weak side or moments of insecurity, which makes each of them more relatable. It also allows for many rather comedic scenes as well as emotional moments. But the best part is the interactions and chemistry between all the characters, and the way each of them change as their relationship with each other grows.
The second thing is the story. The reason I usually don't care for romance or drama is because I usually find the story too cliche or predictable. I also hate those cliche moments of "coincidence", for example, when a main character happens to see his/her love interest with someone else accidentally and misunderstands. I also hate it when characters act unnaturally stupid or too prideful for no reason and let it get in the way of the relationship.
But none of those cliche moments happen in Toradora. Every character has a reason and motive for the actions they decide to take. The story managed to keep me guessing and wanting to know what will happen next, instead of making me feel like i could write the story myself.
Another plus for Toradora is the music. There are some key scenes where the soundtrack actually triggered goosebumps and made me tear; it still does even after rewatching. THAT IS RARE FOR ME. In fact i don't think anything I've ever watched, not just anime, can even make me feel that emotionally invested in fictional characters.
Almost forgot to mention that after it was done, I started to watch it again from the beginning the next day. Another rare occurrence for me, as usually i don't feel like rewatching things for months. I was able to pick up certain things that i missed with the first watch thru. The only reason I put the story as 9/10 was because of this. A few plot points weren't really shown or conveyed in the best way and were missed even to an avid viewer like me. But I was glad to have felt that way, leaving me thinking about what I missed, instead of feeling like I could have easily figured it out or seen it coming.
Again, Toradora has become my favorite anime, as a guy that usually doesn't care for this genre, which says a lot. It gave me more enjoyment than any of the other anime I have seen so far. I would recommend it to anyone, not just romance lovers.
This's the first time I got the "4 seasons" feeling while watching an entire anime show.
What's "4 seasons" feeling I am talking about? Here's the explanation:
I felt the sensation changed 4 times while watch this anime:
1st time: During episodes 1 to 2, watching those episodes for the first time I thought this series would just be a light comedy anime which will make me chuckle without a complicated story. It just like the spring season that give a high hopes on the early year.
2nd time: During episodes 3 to 14, I'm getting a bit bored and almost drop it, but I decided to push
my self to finish it (the only reasons I want to finish it is just because I got interest by the last main character who showed up in this part). It just like summer season that is really hot, and the only fun is going to beach during the summer break.
3rd time: During episodes 15 to 24, my curiosity was piqued for what will be going on with this show, things got a bit complicated, and I think this part is the "life" of the series. Just like an autumn season, although the flowers fall, but becomes a wonderful scenery.
4th time: During the final episode, "WHAT THE HELL", with this final episode, I mean everything seems fine at the beginning of the episode, but in the end it turned out anti-climatic for me. Just like the winter season, unpredictable storms, snow, and always cold; but after that Spring comes.
Well, that's my personal view of the story, so I give 7/10 for it.
Art and Sound, nothing particular to comment, it all seem good enough, and I like the second opening OST. 7/10 for both of it.
All characters were unique, both in design and personalities, even with the supporting characters, they are all really good. A great job was done by the creator at this point. EXCEPT for MC's pet, it's very annoying, and I really like "Ami-n", her appearance, her personality, her reactions, her way of pretending to be an adult (she's the last MC that I mentioned before), so 8/10 For Chara design.
For the enjoyment, I think I'll go for 7/10 that because this show had me feel bored once, and the ending was anti-climatic for me, but I do like the humor and story development (starting from episode 15).
Toradora!= Another normal romance/drama anime involving high school...We had many anime of this kind. In fact, these type of anime are very common nowadays. I had watched this type many times, but mostly ended up so wrongly.
But this time, Toradora! is done the right way. Yup, I ended up loving this "normal" anime. Story involves two high-schoolers, a normal guy, and a short girl....Now where have I heard that from? Many anime had this kind of story. Yup, It kinda gives me feelings of Deja Vu-ness. This time its done the way I like it. On to the review....
Involves a ordinary guy named Ryuuji Takasu and a short and short-tempered girl named Aisaka Taiga. This reminds of Saito and Louise from the Zero no Tsukaima series. Where the protagonist always gets beaten up by the girl, yeah those type. And more strangely, most of these short anime girls are always so strong or feared by many..thats Taiga a.k.a Palmtop Tiger. While Ryuuji only looks scary, but in reality, he's pretty harmless. OK~ enough of that...Why only a 7 for the story? Its pretty common..and its very predictable. I knew Ryuuji would end up with Taiga even just by looking at the cover art without watching the anime!. So obvious, so predictable, which makes it a bit boring. This flaw is common in many romance/drama anime, but its quite annoying. Story have a very good pace but it took quite a while for both of the hero and heroine to fall in love. Yup, they fell in love...but it took so long! But that's a good thing right? haahha- well~ those are the flaws I found here. Story= 7 out of 10.
Art- Graphics are rather unusual but very good..which I would say, Graphics are unique, that's for sure. Good graphics should receive a good score!
Art= 9 out of 10.
Sound- The anime had 2 OP and 2 ED...1st OP was...strange. Same goes for the 1st ED. But the 2nd? Both the 2nd OP and ED are both awesome~. The 2nd OP tells Ryuuji and Taiga's "love" arc is going to start. Don't get any wrong ideas. XD
Sound= 9 out of 10.
Character- All characters are uniquely made...Yup, especially Taiga and Minori. Minori had a very funny attitude which I loved. Awesome characters, awesome score.
Character= 10 out of 10.
Enjoyment- I enjoyed every single episode there was, some were very memorable but few are forgettable. I personally, enjoyed every minute of the anime which included comedy, parodies, romance, and some parts were very sad. Sad, but not as sad as Ef- Tale of memories. Toradora! can make you have "watery eyes", but Ef probably can make you cry. Beyond Awesome enjoyment.
Enjoyment= 10 out of 10.
Overall= Toradora! is not really recommended for everyone to watch, but Its highly recommended for fans of Romance/drama/comedy anime with a bit of sadness. If you bought it, its worth every penny. Anyone looking for some romance, then this could be your answer to that question. If you watch it online, its worth every minute and if you downloaded it, its worth every bits of data.
OVERALL= 10 out of 10. Really loved it.
Romance has always been a tricky, unforgiving genre; you make one mistake and the story slowly begins to crumble. Why is that? Well, as many of us may know, love is a complicated business. So is entertainment. So why do we watch romantic series? There's many different answers that vary based on the individual. Maybe we're simply taking a chance at trying to find a feeling. A feeling of the tingle of our heartstrings, or a stir in our human emotions. It's good to feel these things from time to time. Fortunately for us, Toradora is a series that gracefully grants us this chance. It
captivates us in remembering what a romance series should strive to be.
What makes Toradora so exceptional as far as the romance genre goes? Is it the story? The art? The Sound? The Characters? It just may be all of them combined. I'd like to begin by stating something. The story of Toradora is very predictable. Cliché even. But wait, isn't that a bad thing? While the story may seem plain, the execution of the pacing is undeniably good at assuming a calm, relaxed flow for the majority of its run which, in turn, yields a satisfying romantic series as a result.
Toradora is not like many other romantic series out there that have characters fall in love simply just because. Love slowly stems from what begins as two people who become friends looking for mutual assistance in their romantic interests. Toradora gives its audience room to breathe and focuses the first half of the show on building the friendship between the two main characters through silly, lighthearted antics, making developed romantic feelings between characters seem more realistic and sincere later down the line when things become more serious. However, love is a complicated business, as I've said in my introduction. People's feelings do get walked over and left in the dust. While it's thematically a good thing for the audience to feel touched emotionally, seeing characters getting their emotions crushed was truly a somber sight to behold.
The art was smooth and was enjoyable visually. I did like the consistency that Toradora’s animation offered. For a series that was done in the 2008-2009 time period, it still looks marvelous and holds its own compared to more recent anime. The sound was a big plus in my book. While I liked both the OPs and EDs, I have to give a big shout out to the timing of the music during dramatic moments; that repetitive melody of piano left quite a strong impression on me. I'd like to also address that the script and voice actors were really quite something. The dark little subtleties in comments or remarks were an admirable feature the show had to offer.
I think every romantic series heavily depends on its cast to be the foundation of the series, holding the structure of the show into place. The characters of Toradora are an interesting bunch that create the opportunity for its audience to laugh and also feel gloomy. There is more than meets the eye underneath these seemingly cliché characters. Ryuuji is the male lead and he is generally a very likable, realistic character. He struggles with romance, gets low self-esteem because he’s self-conscious, and regularly voices his opinions on matters at hand. Throughout the show he proves that he’s a loyal friend and all around good guy, though he might be a little obsessive compulsive about cleanliness and order. But hey, who doesn't have their own little quirks?
Moving onto the main female lead, I felt a little wishy-washy in regards to liking Taiga’s character. I’m not a fan of the tsundere type, and that’s exactly what she is. While Taiga acts like a brat most of the time, she also becomes more and more endearing as the series progresses. She stands up for herself and her friends, and despite her childish behavior, generally cares for the people around her. With the main two characters out of the way, what about the other ‘main’ characters: Minori, Yuusaku, and Ami?
One of Toradora’s strengths was allowing the supporting characters to have their moments in the spotlight. Because of this, we are able to obtain a deeper understanding of them and paint a better picture of them as characters. While Ami and Minori seem perceptive of the relationships in the group, I’m honestly not sure about Yuusaku. Under his oblivious façade it’s somewhat difficult to tell. While he's Ryuuji's best friend, he is oddly quite different compared to him. Yuusaku is energetic, outgoing, responsible, yet also very silly and childish. Minori seems like genuinely a nice girl with the happy on the outside cliché personality, but Minori is really a coward underneath it all; she doesn’t confront her own emotions and constantly pushes for Taiga’s happiness at her own expense. It’s not that I disliked Minori as a character, it was just agitating to watch her at times. Last but not least, Kawashima, Ami. Ami is the most astute of the unsaid troubles that are bothering the people in the group and often makes subtle comments or sarcastic remarks pertaining to their unspoken feelings. When she is first introduced she seems extremely stuck up and vain, but as the series progressed it becomes more apparent that she’s tactfully looking out for the people she can finally call ‘friends’ for the first time. She developed the most out of the three supporting main characters, in my opinion, and easily became one of my favorite characters of the series, if not my most favorite.
Despite how gratifying I thought the series was, I also can’t turn a blind eye on the aspects of the show that I did not like. One of the most annoying tropes in anime, at least for me, is characters getting hit for no reason, or very petty ones. It's a trope that comes hand-in-hand with the tsundere character archetype, and it's one of the reasons I dislike tsundere characters as a whole. Taiga, who basically goes down the list of tsundere character traits like a check list, is a huge offender of verbally and physically abusing Ryuuji early on in the series. If you're like me, you'll find this to be quite vexing. Lastly, fan service is apparent in nearly every recent anime. While I personally dislike fan service, I know that many series utilize it to keep a portion of their audience interested. I watched Toradora because it was a romance story that set itself apart from most others. Although it's substantially toned down, comparatively to other series, I believe Toradora would have been better off not utilizing any fan service at all.
While I did like the ending overall because it ties things up nicely, and felt fairly rewarding, I did not like how the ending felt very rushed. The amount of material crammed into the last couple episodes felt considerably off, considering the rest of the show was focused on coaxing the relationships at a much slower pace. A couple bad apples on a tree don’t make the rest of the apples rotten, and Toradora was far from being bad. It isn’t a completely perfect series, but one of the best the romance genre has to offer in anime so far.
Every once in a while a person can't help but wonder what if. There has been a time in all our lives when we have pondered the thought of meeting the 'one' who is exactly right for us. Every day we strive to find a person, or people, who understand and accept us for who we are. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll find that one person that fits together with you like two consecutive cogs in an intricate machine. Maybe, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who is exactly right for you. It's not because this person is perfect, or because you are, but because your combined flaws fit together seamlessly in a way that allows two different beings to coexist together perfectly as equals … something like a Tiger and a Dragon.
Toradora! is one of the most annoying shows I have ever watched. And it has the single most ridiculous ending of all anime I've seen. Even the ending of Claymore was more satisfying, which is saying something.
It is naturally that annoying because initially it seems to have much quality. I liked animation, music, opening, and, most importantly, I really liked most of the characters, including Taiga and Ryuuji. It is definitely quite cliché but charming brainless high-school romance with engaging characters isn't something I automatically hate.
But, as episodes go by, all of the shows' cons start to become visible. First of all -
it is too long relative to its content. Generally I'm ready to forgive Japanese for being so inept at confessing emotions, but my tolerance is limited and after over ten episodes fueled only by "omg, I'm so Japanese, I just can't spit it out" I'm totally fed up. Then around episode 11th Toradora experiences massive tone-shift and evolves into a soap opera without any significant comedy element. It wouldn't be a problem, but honestly it's not a very good soap opera - the dilemmas and problems seem forced for the sake of drama and easily solvable, had characters sit down and talked. As a result the entire middle part of the show feels completely unnecessary and contributes little to the main plot.
But still it is not tragically bad and these unnecessary middle parts may be fun for someone who likes Slice of Life genre. The real problems begin when the series after much overblown melodrama finally establishes official couple. There are many people who didn't like the pairing and preferred the other ones. For me the problem was not the pairing (because I personally preferred it over the others) but the way it was dealt with - I got the strong impression that the story on an emotional level actually justifies these other relationships better (even although I didn't like them). The final confession ends up being forced onto the couple, not only by the writers who want to rush the end, but by the other characters in-universe as well. As a result final romantic couple is not very romantic - at least one side of that pairing was literally dragged into it by external circumstances. And when one puts into consideration the fact that this forced side had all the chance to act on its own will few episodes before, yet it chose to pass, one begins to wonder what the writers had on their minds.
Still, I wouldn't dislike the show that much. But the very last arc also turns Toradora!, already an over-exalted soap-opera, into a full-blown Bollywood movie. The only difference between the two is that Toradora manages to have even more unnecessary stupid drama than its Indian counterparts. Characters start to behave completely at random, clearly with a goal to create as much drama as possible, without any other reason. The viewers are presented with a runaway couple (which ran away for no reason whatsoever), hasty engagement (without even sharing a single kiss beforehand), missing fathers, a few family reconciliations and the girl leaving a boy without a single a word for an extended period of time (again without a good reason). All of these serious events are introduced over the span of one and a half episode and resolved almost immediately. That was so unbelievably contrived, idiotic and poorly handled it was painful to watch. And it was absolutely not romantic. At all.
There is something seriously wrong with romantic comedy that manages to be ultimately neither romantic nor funny. That combined with the unbearable forced melodrama and the clumsy treatment of last six episodes sinked this show so much, I can't rate it any higher.
Unlike the main protagonist of this anime, I do not have much strength to withstand torture. Put me in the clutches of a diabolical serial killer/torturer, and I have no idea what I’d do. Ryuji, our hero, is one of a kind. Bards should sing about him in taverns all across Tamriel. For 14 episodes, he stands Taiga’s relentless abuse with a smile.
In one of the greatest songs ever written, the extremely white lead singer of the Smiths sings about how it’s so easy to laugh and so easy to hate. Kindness and gentleness are difficult, and
I do agree with him. That said, I wonder if the band and their fanbase would change their mind if they saw the anime. Actually, considering how huge this anime is, becoming iconic in the school genre – I think they won’t.
I’m a defender of the school genre. Many rant about how immature and derivative it is, but few people didn’t go to school. A lot of things happen in school and you meet a lot of people, so it’s a place rife for stories. Its low-key and stable environment actually makes it excellent for stories driven by characters. Conflicts will have to rise from within and not an external UFO coming to wreck the party. These shows rely heavily on their characters, and it’s enough to have a decent, odd cast – see Haganai – to make something decent. Toradora is a major failure because of how insufferable its cast is.
Since we’re talking about symbols and not actual human beings, I need to find a way to explain why and how disgusted I was with them and how that lead me to conclude this anime is horrid crap. Many a great story are about horrible people. In fact, one of the best novels ever is about such a terrible murder. It’s their darkness, their psychology and reasons for being so that makes them so intriguing. How frightening these characters are because we understand them and see us in them. Part of our obsession with villains and their backstories, or with serial killers’ childhoods is because we want to know why they’re like this.
Everyone in Toradora is a bit of an asshole. Actually, only two characters are but they’re so dominant that it’s easy to forget about the rest. Taiga is the big problem, since she’s both the main character and the worst. Tsunderes can often seem creepy, sometimes borderline Gacy-like sadistic. None of them are as bad as Taiga.
The archetype can be funny. Tsunderes’ appeal is their insecurity, how they address the Presentation of Self in Everyday Life – we put up a front in every social interaction, putting a different front in different places. The best Tsundere, Neptunia‘s Noire is all about this. Humor never comes from her being violent – she’s rarely is – but how hard she works on her image.
In contrast, Taiga is nothing but violence. She reacts to everything with violence, like a 10-year-old playing Elder Scrolls and thinking that it’s supercool to kill every NPC. She may not kill anyone, let alone essential NPC’s but it doesn’t make it any less creepy. In every episode, she beats up people at least 5 times. Her reactions are always with force, causing clear pain to the other characters. I’d expect anyone to beat her in return the first time.
The fact Ryuji stays there is flat-out creepy. Moreover, she treats him with pure condescension. Rarely, if ever, she addresses him in a way that’s not hostile. Early in the series they make a pact to help each other, but Taiga doesn’t actually help him until the middle of the series. All the episodes are about the characters doing stuff and Taiga beating people up. The anime never answers why, exactly, Ryuji puts up with so much physical abuse.
Yes, ‘abuse’ is the only word that can describes their relationship. Switch the sexes. Imagine if Ryuji was constantly beating up Taiga, calling her ‘bitch’ and so forth. It’s nothing but sick. You can only watch it for so long before getting tired of this torture porn thing. Not only Taiga is violent to everyone, she also has a weird entitlement problem. She expects Ryuji to take care of her and do everything for her. She never asks, demands with the expectations that Ryuji must do it for her.
In the end, she’s nothing but a horrible person who beats up everyone but also thinks everyone owes her everything. Now, a character being a terrible human being isn’t enough. How their actions are framed is important and now we get to the main problem. Taiga is framed as okay.
A backstory occasionally rears its head, feelings of insecurity do show themselves. None of is it actually dark, none of it gives us a glimpse into a troubled psych that can only react with violence and cannot connect to people. The backstory may justify anger, but the anime never acknowledge how bad Taiga’s case is. No one around her also reacts like they should. They treat her like she’s a quirky friend, someone who occasionally goes off, like that friend who swears a lot. This is a person who’s in desperate need of help and a lawyer. It’s no longer a person having anger issues but a criminal that everyone tolerates because the plot demands it.
Such light framing of dark material is unforgivable. Humor doesn’t have anything to do with it, but how the frame never addresses the darkness of it. Physical abuse leaves people with trauma. People react harshly to physical abuse. If people stay for a long time with a physical person, being nice to them and doing what they want it means they got issues of their own. I can’t stress how dark this material is, yet the light framing is disrespectful to anyone who went through physical abuse.
Taiga and the framing of her behavior towers over the anime, so everything else ends up pointless. No matter how hard they try, the creators frame Taiga as quirky and cute. Nothing can salvage the anime, but then again it doesn’t seem they try. There isn’t much in the way of stories or characters. Ryuji is like that dude from Haganai only not as hot. Somehow he manages to be perfect and eventually the center of the harem because he’s nice to everyone and doesn’t have wants of his own. To the anime’s credit, the secondary male actually has a purpose here and he’s a bit hot, but besides being a more energetic nice guy there’s nothing to him.
Other females consist of a wacky redhead who’s entertaining for five episodes and then becomes tiresome. As for Ami, she’s another generic asshole who’s overall unpleasant without the darkness. Like Taiga, she treats people like crap but the cruelty is never meant to shock or make us reflect. Funniest thing is how the anime passes her off as sexy. Not only the characters can’t drive a story, but they look bad.
Art style is another problem the anime suffers from. No one has a distinctive look. School anime, at worst, create pleasing to look at characters. You may not experience anything profound but there is aesthetic value in the designs, in understanding human beauty. Designs don’t have to break boundaries, but little touches like Sena’s butterfly and deep eye color make an anime more pleasing to look at.
Toradora does nothing like this. Taiga does have a weird hairstyle, but Minori isn’t memorable at all. She has huge eyes and short red hair. End description. Worse offender is Ami who is meant to be the sex symbol. To express this, they gave her a longer hair and slightly bigger breasts. Unlike shows where the characters are actually sexy, her figure isn’t defined or emphasized – which is necessary if the character’s beauty is important to her personality. Her hair is just long without hairstyle quirks. Look at any anime that has a character whose beauty is important and you can always spot details expressing it – just as I described Sena in the above paragraph. The designers decided to do the bare minimum.
Character designs are integral to how we view them. How people look is a part of them. It doesn’t mean characters should all be sexy (that’s actually quite odd) but their looks should somehow find their way to their personality. If your character is meant to be beautiful, make them beautiful. Toradora is satisfied with just sending the signals, mistaking low effort for minimalism. Minimalism is when you have few details but these details are important. Ami’s design and everyone else’s has no effort put into it. A simplicity that has no elegance, that emphasizes no details is just a product of no effort and laziness.
Maybe the anime drastically improves. I have a hard time believing it. Watching this anime became painful. Witnessing the abuse Taiga inflicts on everyone, and expecting to be entertained and amused by it is too much. Torture porn at least acknowledges its characters suffer even if it expects me to find entertainment in pain. This anime pretends physical abuse doesn’t cause any pain. Truly, it’s objectionable almost on a moral standard.
Story: Secret love, unrequited love, love triangle... So yeah... The funny thing is that the ending is given away in the beginning. This can't even be considered spoilers to say that the main characters are going to end up together. Anybody who says otherwise is just too blind to realise this. Let's take the main points of the plot. First of all, one guy, one girl, each in love with each other's best friend. Two, those two try to support each other with their love interest. In order to do that, make them spend a lot of time together.
Even make them live next to each other. Give them a social outcast aura and the result is: congratulations! you got yourself a very unoriginal couple. Now this is a shame because the idea is quite realistic, only too obvious which gives you no expectations. For all I know, Ryuuji and Taiga could hold hands, cuddle, hug, kiss, have sex, get married and act like there is some distance between. Awkward since there is absolutely none. From the beginning, they were already ridiculously close to each other by living next door but no, not close enough, need to live under the same roof. Even best friends don't do that ( yeah I know, room-mates or particular situation involving money but that wasn't one of them ) so it clearly gives you an idea of their relationship.
Art: This part pisses me off, it is so bad. Taiga is supposed to be cute... it didn't do it for me.She looks like an underdeveloped child with a big head and permanent bed hair. Maybe it's just me but the chara design really need some work. However Ryuuji's face gets +1. Now if I just say this without evidence to back up my argument, it's just trolling. If possible, watch the fight scene between Taiga and Sumire. To avoid spoilers, well, watch it on mute and no subs... The animation is really sloppy here, whether it's the lighting, the background characters with the same face or simply character motions. The art is good only when everything is still. Sloppy sloppy sloppy.
Sound: Too bad I didn't pay much attention, but the openings and endings were nothing spectacular or catchy. When it comes to sound, I would say that music is more important than the voice acting since most of the time, the acting is flawless, it just comes to whether or not the seiyuu's voice is appropriate to the character. In Toradora, it's the usual. The usual being flawless performance. Now for the music, the comparison might be unfair but Toradora is nothing compared to say, Clannad. I chose Clannad because no matter the scene, sad, happy or epic, it's easy to remember the themes while Toradora produces music that you hear in elevators or supermarkets. Only one stands out: Lost my Pieces. But it's just one... Not enough.
Character: Ami saves the show a little with Minori not far behind but Taiga... Damn she pisses me off! Ryuuji is not bad but too weak to be important.
Ami and Minori had good scenes, good chara development. I didn't give a shit about Kitamura because he is a creepy smiling guy. Ryuuji had some changes but nothing significant. Taiga on the other hand, just got more and more annoying. She's not even a tsundere, the dere part is inexistant and replaced by retard state, otherwise she's just a plain spoiled bitch who needs to be left alone. That does it, she gets a -2 for being so unlikeable. Past the physical appearance which I don't even like one bit, she has nothing left except her execrable personnality. Now one way to sum up this show is that the side characters are more interesting than the main characters. When I say main, I mean Ryuuji and Taiga. Kitamura, Minori and Ami are side characters to me. While watching the show, I realised that I had no interest in whatever happens to Ryuuji and Taiga cause they already act like a couple. The side characters however make you want to know more about them. Creepy smiling dude Kitamura has a good reason for being like this while double face Ami and oddball Minori are kinda left out towards the end after much chara development. Bad idea. My main concern is how people perceive Taiga. She does things that makes you want to slap her really f*cking hard and shout what the f*ck is wrong with you? yet she is still described as being cute, lovely etc... That girl seriously has anger issues and they can't be justified by people calling you palmtop tiger, that's retarded. She's so rude it's not even funny. Now this might be spoilers but it sums up pretty much why I think her personality is the worst. In one scene, she learns about her unrequited love confessing to a certain girl who for specific reasons refuses to give a proper answer. This is because she's going away soon so she can't say yes yet doesn't want to lie to herself by saying no. What should Taiga do in this case? Well, nothing. For the simple reason that it doesn't concern her. Still, she goes out of her way to beat the crap out of that girl while insulting her and forcing her to say she hates the guy. I was thinking "WTF" the whole time. What gives her the right to beat someone up just because that person is a coward when it comes to love? If we had to beat up every person who is a coward because of love, we're doomed. Besides she's also overreacting and goes as far as insulting and hitting people for no reason. With Ryuuji, they represent the epitome of shallow people. Both of them have a crush on someone who's really popular. The reason surely is because they treat them differently from the rest of the class. If that's not being shallow. Take one guy who's a social outcast. Now take a girl who's really popular, kind, funny, pretty and easy to talk to. This one guy would probably fall in love with that girl if she goes to talk to him because he's probably thinking "she's so nice, she talks to me while the other bastards don't even look at me, maybe she cares about me" without realising that maybe she's just nice and talks to everybody. This describes Ryuuji and Taiga perfectly.
Enjoyment: I was really disappointed by Toradora. At first I thought it would have nice development with the introduction of Ami but I guess not. It was dull and slow. Once you feel like there's something going to happen just push the reset button because it has the same feeling. Got some funny scenes though. Unfortunately the show is barely realistic. You don't root for development of the relationship between the characters and their crush because there's no feeling, no background story. Things would've been simpler like this:
Ryuuji: I like Minori.
Taiga: Oh... I see. I like Kitamura.
Ryuuji: !!! What!? Ok. So...
Both: Wanna hang out sometimes?
The premise of the show is pretty hard to believe. After an accidental meeting involving two violent outbursts, Taiga Aisaka and Ryuuji Takasu make an agreement to help one another pursue their respective love interests, Kitamura and Kushieda, who also happen to be Ryuuji and Taiga's mutual friends. It's the stockholm syndrome trope, create a situation in which the two main characters are forced to spend large amounts of time together and wait for them to fall in love. High school ‘contracts’ are an object of fiction, much like the accidentally overheard conversations that drive most of the character development. People do overhear things occasionally,
but when the relationship is progressed entirely through cliches, it’s pretty hard to take it seriously.
However, after a rocky beginning I actually began to enjoy watching Taiga and Ryuuji. Ryuuji is more functional than most adults, doing all the cooking and cleaning for his mom who comes home late from her job as a cocktail waitress and sleeps most of the day. Ryuuji finds another dependent in Taiga, whom he feeds and launders for on a daily basis. He discovers her living amongst dirty dishes and garbage after entering her unlocked apartment to wake her up and make her breakfast. What’s important here is Ryuuji isn’t just a caretaker to Taiga, he represents something she’s never had, a person who genuinely cares about her and accepts her for who she is. He's a surrogate parent, which will be incredibly significant as we learn more of her backstory. He doesn’t complain that Taiga’s a mess, he just helps her pick it up and she slowly improves. This relationship does have some kind of benefit for Ryuuji as well, though it's far from ideal for him.
He seems to derive enjoyment from taking care of the dysfunctional Taiga, and given his relationship with his mother, who's equally bad at taking care of herself, it's very understandable that he's okay with it, he's used to it after all. But not only is their relationship is entirely one-sided, Ryuuji deals with being verbally and physically abused by Taiga constantly, aggression can definitely be attractive in a girl, but there's a difference between being aggressive and abusive. As part of their agreement, Taiga calls him a dog and commands him to do whatever she wishes... and he agrees. I guess he just really, REALLY wants Kushieda, and somehow plotting schemes with the diminutive and violent Taiga seems a better idea to him than simply talking to somebody he's already friends with. It's not like Kushieda's distant with him either, she bubbly, confident, and provides Ryuuji multiple opportunities to get closer to her, hell, they get locked in a storage room together for hours. At this point the overbearing use of cliches started to make me believe Toradora! was a satire, but given the amount of melodrama I'm pretty sure that it's takes its romance seriously. However, it’s important to remember that it’s Kushieda he’s interested in, so it’s not like the show is trying to force TaigaxRyuuji down your throat, they’re simply spending time together, so Ryuuji maintaining Kushieda as a love interest helps the story feel somewhat believable, despite Taiga’s abuse.
As the plot continues to carve its destructive path, Ami is introduced, and with her, more opportunities for "contract" agreements that force characters to be in the same place together despite their apparent misgivings. I'm not sure if Ryuuji is aware that he isn't legally bound by the results of immature high school contests. In any case, the writers continue to create contrived situations that force character interactions that would not otherwise happen.
I liked both Ryuuji and Taiga, despite the unbelievable circumstances that make up their character development. I stated before Ryuuji enjoys cooking and cleaning and is very good at both of them, this detail is the precipitating factor for most of their interactions. Taiga is pretty helpless when it comes to household tasks and Ryuuji provides those services to her. Despite the horribly unrealistic circumstances I felt that Taiga and Ryuuji actually acted in reasonable ways for the most part. Taiga beats Ryuuji frequently but it's clear that she actually does like spending time with him. They're both laughably bad at pursuing their romantic interest but that's pretty typical of high schoolers so it's hardly surprising.
Kushieda is obnoxiously positive. She shares many traits with Ryuuji including domestic competence and is very hard working. I'm sure you've all encountered that person in high school who magically balanced multiple jobs, sports, and school, all while staying unusually cheery. Most of the time she was on screen I just found her really annoying, she's just WAY too positive, there is such a thing. I don't think she was necessarily a bad character, just not the type of character I liked and I wasn't remotely invested in her. I didn't care if Ryuuji made in success in pursuing her because 1. Taiga the obvious romantic interest so you know that nothing's going to happen anyway, and 2. because Ryuuji was such an idiot when it came to trying to win her over that I wanted him to fail. She also becomes the source of more forced drama later on, making it even harder to take seriously and threatening to ruin ending.
Kitamura is the man. At first you get the impression that he's the stereotypical "obvlivious anime male highschool student" but he has his own agenda, and it plays out in spectacular fashion. You have not seen a love confession until you’ve seen Kitamura. To be fair, his arc’s only purpose is to help make TaigaxRyuuji a thing, it also results in a fantastic sword fight, but he’s still pretty funny to watch.
Kawashima is introduced later and is absolutely fantastic. She’s far more mature than the rest of the cast due to growing up as a model in the “adult” world, but is stunted in some ways by her air of superiority. Her development was the best part of the show and creates some of the only believable drama between characters. Her conversations with Ryuuji are similarly realistic, they are rarely on the same page but it’s clear to the audience what she’s trying to tell him, which makes their interactions much easier to understand, why Kawashima finds Ryuuji interesting etc.
The biggest mark against the show is that it’s totally drowned in melodrama. Taiga overreacts in ways the get old fast, and the forced pathos ruins the genuinely emotional moments in the show. I need to emphasize this, there were truly some great emotional moments. The Christmas episode with the bear costume (you’ll know it when you see it) [i]almost[/i] caused me to shed a tear, a feat that only Grave of the Fireflies is capable of, but because of the melodrama surrounding most of the show, these scenes lose their effect. Of course, there’s also the incredibly contrived situations (See accidentally overheard conversations/confessions) that bring these scenes about, which doesn’t help.
The production quality was fairly good, I liked the character designs and the animation quality was impressive at times and never bad. Nothing else about its artwork or animation stood out but that’s not terrible in a romcom. The OST was kind of forgettable but does add a lot to the emotion in certain scenes and I wasn’t a fan of the OP/EDs.
Toradora! certainly isn’t bad. Despite its issues it delivers an heartfelt romance with well-defined characters, but the frustration with its asinine story telling was enough to outweigh most of the positive aspects. If you like melodrama, you’ll probably like Toradora!.
One final note, the ending is talked about incessantly, and it is very good. Many complain that it was rushed and didn't explain things well enough, but if you pay attention to the character’s values and motivations, you shouldn’t need the writers to spoon feed you Taiga’s reasons for why she did what she did. Just make sure you watch the last episode all the way through, past the credits and everything.
Going into Toradora, I wasn’t really expecting too much from it. I thought it would be your standard school life love story we have all seen so many times before. But low and behold it came out to be surprisingly good, and has quickly become one of my favorite 2008 airing anime series.
The story revolves around Ryuuji and Tiaga, two ordinary students that end up working together in order to help one another end up with the ones they love. It stays pretty true to the "love story" formula. What makes this anime really good is the excellent pacing it takes with the story.
In many "school life" anime we always end up watching filler style episodes, only to have the end of the series be the only thing good about it. Not so for Toradora however! It manages to keep the anticipation between the potential couples high, all along weaving together a pretty good in depth story that really shows the heart of the characters. A lot of times we have scenes that show the characters trying to get the words out to express their feelings, and others offer more side story scenarios-- which usually end up going in conjunction with a certain character’s inner turmoil and struggle. Each episode flows nicely into the next, and you get some pretty clever comedy along the way. Now that is not to say that Toradora's story is without fault; not every episode is particularity interesting as others, towards the end the story tends to drag on a bit and feel somewhat rushed, and the characters start to get in a sort of "pity party" mood with their situations, which can get to be a bit of a downer at times. Still though, haven’t all of us been there at one point in our lives, where we really want to say what is in our hearts, but end up holding back for risk of getting hurt? Or even worse, hurting another? Overall the story is filled with enough drama and guess work to keep the audience into it! Though it should be said that hardcore romance fans may be able to predict some of the twists and turns the plot takes. It does come close to becoming a bit of a harem anime, but just never quite reaches that category. The anticipation of "who will end up with who?" --is the stories strongest feature, and the ending doesn't disappoint!!
The art really isn’t anything too special. You get a nice mixture of bright colorful characters and environments. The characters are sharp and well animated with their facial expressions, but the backgrounds can look a bit washed out at times. And some of the action scenarios can be a bit on the stiff side. Again, the character’s faces are what stood out for me the most with the art, you really feel like you can read them at times.
Like the visuals, I wouldn’t go on par to say that the music can be anything more than "appropriate." You do get some pretty nifty opening and closing songs, and they change mid way through the series. The BG music was nothing--if not forgettable. Even while writing this I can’t really think of a piece that stood out for me. What does make the soundtrack so good however, are the character voices! All of them were matched perfectly to a "T, " and I could not find a single voice actor to be out of place with their role. I especially enjoyed Taiga’s voice. She has this tough girl tone and attitude, yet you can tell that deep down inside she really does care about those around her. Something that the viewer will indeed discover while making their way through the anime.
Definitely the heart of Toradora! While going through this anime I really felt that I started a "virtual" style bond with them. I actually cared about the problems they had, and wanted them to end up happy in the end. Towards the beginning, viewers may find a character or two that they either dislike or even despise. But trust me when I say this: "stick with it!" They end up evolving and have many twits to their persona! Taiga is really the one who stole the show for me, she has so many layers to her personality that it can be hard to figure out just what is going through her head at times. A character named Minorin can be drop dead funny when she wants to be, and Ryuuji is a great guy that is always there for his friends. The best compliment I can say about the cast? They act very human (ie: realistic), maybe a bit exaggerated at times, but mix the two together very well! Which can be hard to do in an anime. My only real knock against the characters was, since there are multiple romance skits going on, at times it felt like some of them were a bit too discreet with confessing to one another; which in turn can make the story slow paced at times. I almost felt like I wanted to jump inside my computer screen and yell: "Oh just say it already!!!" That aside, there really isn't much to complain about, great cast!
Despite some of the glitches in the storyline, I still never the less found myself totally drawn into the world of Toradora! It had more than enough to offer to keep me wanting more! The mixture of comedy, romance, suspense and tender moments--really drew me in!
Toradora makes us contemplate what is more important in life; love or friendship? This anime really turned out to be a great surprise for me. Sure its got some flaws and all. But this series has it where it really counts; character chemistry and development! If you are a fan of romance anime, complimented with a great cast of characters and funny anecdotes. Then I highly recommend giving Toradora a try! It may not do anything new with its romance formula, but it does indeed do it right!
Toradora isn't your story that only focuses on one thing. Well, at least I don't think so. It conveys so much meaning to everything that is going on in life. It shows you that sometimes, even your most important wish, the with you want to come true the most, can sometimes not be reached. But it also shows some examples of how people decide their path and move on forward.
Please bear with me. This is only my third time reviewing.
The story was fantastic. Even though there are only 24 episodes, which is actually plenty, the story was well
developed. There are no complaints that I can think of right now. For example, the person you thought you loved just because of the way they act wasn't the one you loved, then comes another person who is a match for you. That is a good plot on it's own. That connects to what is going on in the real world.
The art... Fantastic. You could really tell they put a lot of effort into it. From they're facial expression, even the walking, they put a lot of effort. Then when the animation shifts to the parts where there is violence, the animation in that part was... Wow. That is all I could say.
The sound was great. Everything, the sound effects were timed well, and the sound tracks matched perfectly with the scenes. Although for some reason, the first ending song didn't quite get along with me. But the rest was great.
The characters were really the perfect match with the story. They're slow development in each episodes connects the viewer in the story that sometimes they might think that they are them.
The enjoyment... I enjoyed it very much. It's not like romance is my highest favorite genre, but I still like it. Especially in this one. Also the comedy, some actions, and others were also factors of the enjoyment it brought.
Overall, this show was really great. I only wish something like this will come in the future.
NOTE: This Review will be Updated every 6 episodes
Toradora is a highly entertaining romantic comedy that successfully escapes the cliched harem tales that dominate the genre. Although it is somewhat let down by mediocre animation and music, the original premise and unforgettable dialogue make Toradora one of the best light hearted romances of the season.
Toradora is based primarily on the interplay of Takasu and Taiga. A nice guy who has a fearsome reputation due to his aggressive looks, who makes an unlikely pact with a volatile, but cute girl, to help each other succeed with their respective crushes. This premise quite refreshing, and
unlike almost all anime within the genre, the male lead is not automatically the object of affection for half a dozen girls.
Unfortunately, the pace of the story is somewhat erratic. There are frequent episodes that seem more `slice of life', with no significant plot development. This, however, is not as bad is it seems, given that the events that do happy in each chapter are often hilarious, and well watching on their own.
Toradora art is not bad... not particularly good. It just does not stand out. While Taiga has a very attractive character design, some supporting characters do look rather bland. The background themselves are also serviceable, but not particularly noteworthy. There's nothing particularly wrong with Toradora's looks, its certainly comparable to that of for example, True Tears or School days. It just doesn't feature that extra level of excellence featured in Clannad or Tale of Memories.
The voice acting for the characters are well done, and definitely fit their roles. However, the OP and ending themes are rather mediocre.
Toradora's main strength is the personality of its cast. Rarely is there a character as unique as Aisaka and Takasu. Their personalities are not only memorable, but also multi-dimensional. While Aisaka, for example, comes across as an arrogant and demanding girl, there are rare moments where her more timid side is briefly shown.
Toradora is a great anime to watch, and perfect for lifting you from a foul mood. It's both funny and touching, which makes it great for short study or work breaks.
Despite its technical flaws, Toradora is an excellent example of what a light hearted romantic comedy should be like. Despite its rather exaggerated circumstances, it features an original storyline where the cast are more than just cliches.
Toradora can do one thing extremely well: comedy. The characters of Toradora are completely built for playing off each other well in comedic gags. That's why I really loved the first half of Toradora. It had some of the best school comedy scenes I've seen.
However, at the half way point, after the Culture Festival, it seems that an invisible switch was flipped for the story, where instead of focusing on comedy, the drama would be more prevalent.
Now, there have been many shows that have been able to mix comedy and drama, they even form the genre of "dramedy", Kodocha and Clannad to only name
two. So I know that the two can be sucessfully spliced. In Toradora's case though, the result is jarring, as the humor seemingly disappears from the show to make room for chick fights, eavesdropping, confessions, and rejections.
The main problem in this transition form comedy to drama is the complete 180 degree turn some of these characters do. Since they were built for comedy, the author/director needed to change them for the drama.
Minorin is a wonderful example. She's super hyperactive and boisterous during the first half of the series. However, by the second half, when the show makes its transformation from comedy to drama, Minorin is just a shell of her character from just a few episodes prior. She broods, mopes, and loses pretty much all of her energy.
How am I supposed to take this story seriously when it seems like there are two different versions of the characters? I just cannot.
Now for the boring statistical review.
Story: 6/10 - The first half was great because, while it included several school cliches, it found a way to be different from all its predecessors. The second half, however, was just cliche, and often convoluted, where it seemed the author just made characters fight with each other for no reason.
Art: 8/10 - The artwork is above average, which seems to be what J.C. Staff strives for. It's not near the level of JC's other series of the Fall, Toaru Majutsu no Index, but it definitely suffices and detail is provided when necessary.
Sound: 7/10 - I'm a fan of the first opening/ending, but the second set are adequate as well. The BGM is unobtrusive and largely unnoticeable, but that's not really a bad thing.
Character: 7/10 - As I said, these characters are built for comedy. Be it Ryuuji's near-OCD behavior when he happens upon a messy area or Taiga's childish demeanor whenever she sees Kitamura. They're funny. It's too bad that the characters were nearly all completely changed for the second half.
Enjoyment: 6/10 - I loved the comedy in the first half, but dreaded the poor writing and inconsistency of the characters that plagued the second half.
Overall: 7/10 - Overall, it's not bad. It's an average romantic comedy in a sea of romantic comedies.
[Spoilers Mates] I have had my Toradora box set sitting on my shelf since 2012 or 13. I've had the VN for the PSP sitting around for years too, I have no idea why it took me so long to watch and finish this amazing show but god damn was it worth it.
Now with the story let me start off by saying I was really impressed with the pacing, romance and drama in the story. I mean, it was unfortunately too predictable for me however that did not stop it from being great. I liked that no matter what episode I was watching there
was always a sense of joy and a little bit of wonder. I'd always be thinking to myself "Hmm, I wonder what antics Ryuji and Taiga are going to try to get closer to the ones they allegedly love." Now, there were numerous moments that I was disappointed about. From the first or second episode when Taiga confesses and gets friend-zoned by Yuusaku it's a dead give away from her speech about Ryuji that she may have already fallen for him. I was disappointed about that because I felt that it was too early for that to be established. Additional moments that made it predictable and a bit less enjoyable or less suspenseful for me was that after Ryuji's mother calls Taiga family, and lastly, more importantly is how they both go so far to support each others unrequited love.
Moving on from the story the artwork and most character designs are pretty good, especially for it's time. I think the only character's whose character designs I didn't care for was Ryuji. I'm not going to complain to much though because his character was supposed to be the delinquent type and the eyes, giving him such evil looking eyes and messy-ish hair work in that sense. Soundtrack... meh, only one good song that stood out for me and that was the track played when something sad or emotional was occurring. I'm a sucker for piano songs.
Characters were pretty amazing for the most part! I liked the relationships between the main and supporting characters, I felt like no characters were wasted. Even the background characters like Ryuji's friends. It was like every character had a purpose in the show and that's something I always like to see. Characters being put to good use even if they are people you don't really care about.
Toradora! was totally an enjoyable experience for me in some sense. I would recommend it to those who are more or less new to romance series. This is because as I mentioned earlier, it's really predictable and that easy predictability can really take away the enjoyment of the show.
Overall I have to give Toradora! 8/10 because while the story wasn't it's strong point the bond between the characters is something that makes it greater!
As we dash forward to chase our ideals, we may eventually realize that what we were chasing was beside us this whole time.
That is the basic premise that Toradora builds its story upon. Although Toradora is a rom com, the story line is not your typical rom com plot line. Our two main characters, Ryuji and Taiga, help each other get matched up with the other's friend. Furthermore, Taiga, for some reason, does not know how to take care of herself so it's up to Ryuji to make sure Taiga eats well and lives like a human. Obviously, it's inevitable that they will grow closer
together. I enjoyed the fact that we don't have the main characters "coincidentally" encounter each other and develop feelings for one other that way. Instead, Toradora makes it so that we always see our couple together, scheming how they should get the guy/girl of their dreams.
As you begin watching the show, you may realize that it's mainly funny moments with Taiga and Ryuji and that the romance is meh. But as you move into the second half of Toradora, the comedic elements begin to take second wheel and the romantic elements take center stage. I assure that it's a great feels trip. If you haven't been rooting for a character at this point, the story will convince you to root for someone. I definitely would say that the second half of Toradora is the best part of the entire anime and what makes it endearing for so long.
In Toradora, we have Ryuji as the male lead who is often mistaken to be a goon but in fact, deep down, he is a very caring guy (who is also a clean freak). Taiga is our main female lead. Aptly nicknamed "Palmtop Tiger," she is someone who is not afraid to let her fists do the talking. For our "secondary" characters, we have Minori (Ryuji's crush), Kitamura (Taiga's crush), and Ami, a model who is an acquaintance of Kitamura. Although I label these three as "secondary" characters, they get ample screen time and a lot of development. This is another aspect that Toradora does well. The writers did not abandon them. Rather, Minori, Kitamura, and Ami are essential characters to the story but they don't take away our desire to see the developing chemistry between Taiga and Ryuji.
The only troubling aspect of Toradora is that at times, I found myself extremely frustrated because the characters can't either express themselves or seem oblivious to the feelings of others. Indeed, these are things that happen in real relationships, which makes Toradora very relatable, but since the anime is a rom com, this element doesn't mesh well with the genre.
The sound was fairly good. There were a few emotional scenes where the music helped bring out my emotions but other than that, the background music was alright. However, it was not intrusive in any way and was well-composed for the situation. The voice actors brought out the unique characteristics of each character and did a wonderful job.
I didn't quite like the opening and ending themes to Toradora. Although the beat of the first opening is pretty cool, I found the opening did not match the atmosphere of Toradora.
The artwork was good. There were some scenes where the colours were very rich and captured the mood really well. In general, Toradora leans on a vibrant colour palette. I felt that the character designs were a little simple. For example, Ami isn't drawn like a model as she should be so without telling you she's a model, you will think of her as just another student.
Although I don't think Toradora lived up to its hype, I enjoyed the anime. Since Taiga is the Queen of Tsunderes, you should have Toradora on your anime list (otherwise, she may come at night and hit you with her wooden katana). Even if you aren't a big Tsundere fan but still enjoy rom coms, you should have Toradora on your list because it is a very memorable anime.
I definitely would tell you to check out Toradora! Let me know what you liked or disliked about this anime. Was it over-hyped? Was the ending spot on? I would love to hear from you!
Toradora is based off of some romantic comedy light novels written by Takemiya Yuyuko. From October '08 to March '09, an anime adaptation aired. It was brought to us by J.C. Staff, the same studio behind Shakugan no Shana, Yami no Matsuei & Hachimitsu to Clover. So, this could be terrible, really good or bland, based on that. The anime version's writer doesn't help narrow things down either. It was handled by Okada Mari. She's worked on such anime as Canaan & Kuroshitsuji II. So, let's take a look and see if this is one of J.C's better works, or at least entertainingly bad
like their work on Garzey no Tsubasa.
Ryuuji has romantic feelings for his classmate, Kushieda. Kushieda's best friend, Taiga, has a crush on Ryuuji's best friend, Kitamura. A fact that Ryuuji learns when she mistakenly leaves love letter in his bag. Ryuuji and Taiga become friends, planning to help one another in order to make their romantic dreams come true. Next stop, shenanigans.
The biggest flaw with the series is that its relatively unique set up for a rom-com becomes progressively more clichéd and predictable as the series progresses. In fact, a lot of you will be able to guess how the series ends just from applying romantic comedy logic to that short description. It's a shame because the early stuff can be fairly amusing. The series also has its share of always so “wonderful” jokes about a girl hitting a guy. Although, in all fairness, they aren't as prevalent in Toradora as they are in certain other series. The main romance is also quite bad with a convoluted love... heptagon... no, hexagon and with several overly melodramatic moments leading up to it.
Moving on to the positives. To reiterate, the early episodes are pretty entertaining and there are some genuinely funny moments in there with clever set ups and good pay offs. Seeing Ryuuji and Taiga try to help one another leads to quite a few good jokes.
The characters in this aren't particularly complex, but they're perfectly functional for a comedic series and most of the main cast get their share of good comedic moments. Where the series really excels is with the developing friendship between Ryuuji and Taiga early on. Although, the series sets about ruining it in the second half.
The animation in this is pretty good. Granted, they don't have to do much with it since most of the series takes place in a rather generic townscape and at a rather generic school, but it has some strong details and the characters do look unique. The series also has some success at using lighting to set the mood at various points. It's a nice little detail.
They got some good actors for this series. Kugimiya Rie, Majima Junji, Horie Yui, Nojima Hirofumi & Kitamura Eri are all fine actors. I won't claim that Toradora shows any of them at their absolute best, but there's enough for them to work with that they can show their skills. The music is pretty mediocre. There's nothing that really sets it apart from the music of any other romantic comedy.
There are points in the story where it definitely seems like Kushieda has feelings beyond friendship for Taiga. But as the series continues and becomes more trite, it becomes apparent that that isn't the case.
Toradora is a series with a strong start. In the beginning, it has a lot going for it. A legitimately different premise. Some strong comedic scenes. A good dynamic betwixt Ryuuji and Taiga. However, as the series progresses it gradually eliminates all of that. It tosses it away to make things, to be completely frank, boring and generic. Instead of taking some risks, Takemiya decides to play it the safe, dull route we've seen in every romantic comedy ever made. As a result, the series squanders its early good will and ends things on a disappointing note. I sill wouldn't call it a bad series but I would say it ends up being as mediocre as Hachimitsu to Clover. My final rating is a 5/10. If you really like the standard rom-com clichés, you'll probably like it throughout. If you want something unique in any way you'll spend the first half of the series thinking “this could work if they don't decide to bog it down with obvious clichés” and the second half pressing your palm against your face a lot. Next week I'll look at Sword Art Online II.
I personally found Toradora to be somewhat enjoyable to watch but not exactly outstanding. My biggest gripe was the use of Kugimiya Rie, coupled with J.C.Staff being the producer, which really dampened the potential impact this series.
For people not very informed, Kugimiya Rie has played the role of a tsundere with fairly similar personalities in 4 different anime works (Shana, Zero no Tsukaima, Hayate no Gotoku, Zettai Karen Children). I liked the use of a deeper, lower tone for Taiga and I acknowledge this, but I simply found the (over) use of Rie rather stifling.
A fairly normal high school setting which sets the stage for the intriguing characters to work on. The story is really character-driven and while the characters do a great job, the background course of events are less than stellar, like as if a B-rate movie writer did it. The events of the Cultural Festival, and the Ski Trip were really touching, and that made me almost raise the rating to 7. However, the pacing seems to drag on over the winter period but feels rather rushed towards the end with bits and pieces missing. I just didn't feel really satisfied with this.
Character - 8/10
I really enjoyed the cast and the way they transformed over the course of the series. We get given characters with rather eccentric personalities which work nicely with everyone else. There is good coverage of the thoughts, feelings and the transformation that occurs in the main leads and that is really pleasing to see. I would personally liked to have seen more airtime for Ami's personality growth as she's probably the deepest person in the entire cast, and the "answer" to her was really rushed. Overall a really great, and enjoyable cast.
The Seiyuu for Ryuuj/Nojima Hirofumi put in a solid performance but my pick of the lot is Minorin/Horie Yui who really brought up Minorin's eccentricity and hyperactivity in an excellent fashion. My gripe with Taiga has already been mentioned.
Sound - 7/10
Nothing fancy in the BGM but I really loved the OP themes. The two OPs really conveyed the mood of the story as it changed from one to another. The timing in which OP2 was introduced was perfect.
Enjoyment - 6/10
My enjoyment in Toradora was closely linked with the story. Unfortunately, despite the characters which gave me great joy worthy of an 8, the story felt really dragged out, so at the end of it all I feel it's a mildly enjoying show overall, but not one where my mind would get totally transfixed to.
Art and Animation - 6/10
Fairly good and consistent. It's no KyoAni but does the job.
Looking to expand my occasionally action or intellectually centered anime tastes, I perused the top rated anime list in the hopes of sparking interest for something a little different. Toradora has been recommended to me a number of times over the years, but I've always been hesitant or too busy to give it a try. Perhaps it's the inconsistencies I have with the romantic comedies genre. Shows like Nodame Cantabile have left significant impressions on me, while others have been mediocre or laughable at best. Believable love stories can be difficult to convey as a narrative, especially when you start to add petty high school
drama and love triangles into the mix. Finish everything off with an emotional punching bag mc and exasperating tsundere and you've got the potential for failure. It took me over two months to finish Toradora for good reason. I took small breaks from it, tried to put it on hold and even considered dropping it entirely, but through sheer willpower I have reached its conclusion and wish to share why Toradora just doesn't work as a romantic anime.
I'll cut right to the chase. From its opening scene, you can tell Toradora is not trying to be your stereotypical slice of life anime. The dialogue is witty and the comedy is crass and rapidfire. Ryuji initially seemed like a refreshing protagonist in both appearance and attitude. Given his parental background, his desire to be self-sufficient is understandable. This perception quickly deteriorates as more of the characters and setting are introduced, and the infamous tsundere, Aisaka or "Taiga" steals the show. Now if there's one thing I've learned, it's that girls and guys have a limited number of situations in which it's believable for them to be friends. Maybe they were in diapers together or what have you but most of the time it doesn't work out without someone getting hurt or having feelings for each other. Knowing this fact you can pretty much sum up the entire plot of Toradora within the first two episodes. They're eventually going to end up together. Ryuchi and Taiga are both in love with each other's best friends, so naturally they miserably attempt to help each other pursue the affections of the other party. Every attempt to get the prospective couples alone goes awry, a great bit of foreshadowing on the writer's behalf. It sounds like a simple love story, and it really should've been. Except the countless awkward conversations and feeble advances our main characters had with their respective love interests help to cement the fact they don't deserve to be in love at their age. The ensuing 25 episodes consist of these awkward exchanges and the melodrama is so thick you could cut it with a knife. Most every interaction is misunderstood or blown out of proportion, and literally everything becomes an emotional crisis with these characters. All the while Ryuji is incessantly berated with physical and emotional abuse from Taiga. But it's OK, that just means she loves him... or something like that.
Forgive my philosophical ramblings, but I've learned through the years and relationships I've had that you can't choose who you want to fall in love with. Love just happens. It can be crude and fickle, but at the end of the day it can give you a feeling unlike anything you've felt before. This is why I don't question the validity of odd couple romances (Ore Monogatari/Nodame Cantabile etc.) throughout entertainment. Sometimes characters are polar opposites in personality and looks but something subconscious draws them together. This is what Toradora tries to accomplish. However, a relationship constructed in this manner must be done with finesse, while not being overshadowed by such melodrama as this series has. Similarly growing up in a house without a father as I have, the furthest idea from my mind would be to take care of someone with so much baggage. Taiga takes advantage of the doormat Ryuji is and carries herself in the most bombastic way possible. Ryuji is most certainly a glutton for punishment. Even if I would've enjoyed the romance elements I don't know if I could've stomached the abortion of an ending Toradora had. Many anime fail at getting love right, and this series ends up no different. All it takes is for someone to have an overly emo moment and the entire conclusion gets blown to smithereens. As the final credits were about to roll, the same tsundere stigma that was starting to fade away was slammed back into my face, taking a big shit on my hopes and expectations for the show. Those who have seen the series know exactly what I'm talking about, One of the worst endings I have seen in quite some time, a romance cop out.
Toradora's writing was frustratingly inconsistent. Character's dialogue and emotions would swap from operatic to deeply intellectual within seconds, leaving me dumbfounded as a viewer. All five main characters put on some sort of a façade with their personality, driving the story into many arguments and miscommunications. That was an aspect that I enjoyed to some extent, as I believe most everyone acts a little differently in groups of people than in a one on one interaction. The pacing is well constructed, and the series ends up being split into three major parts. The first half of the series is used mostly to set up the relationships for the five characters, but unfortunately ended up being quite boring as a result. Around episode 14 things really begin to pick up, with conflicts coming to a head as the main characters start running out of time to profess their love appropriately. Everything is assimilated effectively but falls flat due to a train wreck ending. I feel like most people who consider the ending good are only fooling themselves with false reassurance for investing so much time in the series only to be greatly disappointed. I understand that I'm probably not the target audience for this anime, but just because you're portraying a high school romantic comedy doesn't mean you have to sensationalize each line of dialogue or character's emotions. We all went to high school, but I never felt like everyone was that annoying... at least not all the time.
Although there were numerous moments of immaturity, Toradora created a setting that made me quite reminiscent of my time in high school. Embarking on school trips, creating chances to talk to that one girl you liked since grade school, or waiting for that same opportunity during a school dance or function. Although I'm frustrated by it now, hindsight is 20/20 and I could probably imagine myself being slightly timid or awkward when it came to confession time... perhaps just not on the same level as the writer portrayed here. I also love the scene with Ryuji and Minori when they were at Ami's beachhouse at night. The way they were talking about love without coming out and blatantly saying the word kind of made me laugh, and help me put back into perspective what I was watching, and how young the characters really were.
I found it irritating when the writers tried to pass off Ryuji's slanted eyes as the reason everyone thought he was rough around the edges. I know I've judged books by their covers before, but this one is just silly... not to mention the fact that most, if not all of these characters are Asian, which kind of throws that reasoning out the window. As I said before, I related to Ryuji based on personal experiences, and I was initially hoping he'd be a character I could identify with. His germaphobic nature and desire to be the patriarchal figure in his household was right on point, but I didn't buy into his relationship with Taiga one bit. The tsundere trope has always felt unnecessary to me. Even yanderes like Senjougahara from the Monogatari series has some believability, because I've encountered some crazy chicks in my lifetime... And sometimes it makes them even hotter. But it just isn't working in Taiga's case. I can give positive remarks to the amount of depth she had as a character though... and the relationship with her parents was certainly believable. I guess you never realize how pampered some kids can be until they start trying to live on their own (Taiga=primordial millennial). I just don't understand everyone's general praise for Taiga as a character, he'll she's not even the most enjoyable character from the series, let alone all of anime.
Minori actually had some depth as a character. She put on such a ditzy and carefree attitude, but in all actuality she was just as perceptive as anyone else in the series, especially when it came to Ryuji. It was refreshing to see a character playing an "out of reach" love interest that was everything but one-dimensional. That scene when she approached Ryuji while he was in the bear suit was kind of heartbreaking. By that point you knew the feelings she had for him were mutual, and how covered up she got them to be for Taiga's sake. Kitamura is a turd. High school taught me how vain and superficial girls can be, and if I learned anything from that, it's that no girls are attracted to the guy with glasses. Not to mention he was a complete dweeb, with spastic mannerisms that often made no sense and a complete lack of composure when he finds out his crush doesn't like him. Grow up dude, you're barely old enough to drive! It's like he almost went completely nihilistic after he bleached his hair. I kind of kept wondering how Ryuji even became friends with him, they're really nothing alike. Ami is the only character in Toradora that I actually liked to be honest. It seems that her history and modeling has actually injected a sense of maturity into her mind that the other characters just don't have. While the rest of the cast is laden with melodrama, Ami seems to come out of left field with a comment I'd expect to see in real life. Although I don't understand what she saw in Ryuji, I would've preferred if they would've ended up together vice the way that it turned out. I can only imagine how she struggled to take her friends seriously.
The music in Toradora is so-so. It didn't necessarily add or subtract much from the series... But there wasn't much variety in the use of background music. I really enjoyed the first OP and ED, but the 2nd OP really didn't flow well with the rest of the show for me... And those lyrics are ghastly. I will give props to the voice acting in Toradora, as most all of the characters were played fantastically and were very distinguishable. Most notably was Rie Kugimiya as Taiga. Her voice absolutely nailed Taiga's seething personality and tsunderisms to a tee. Yui Horie also dos a fine job as the spacey Minori. The art and animation is okay, considering the anime came out over 7 years ago I'd say it aged quite well. As I mentioned above I was pleased by the stark differences between the five main characters, in character models especially. Some older anime have trouble differentiating the characters due to lackluster illustrators, but Toradora does not fall into that trap.
Overall, I was quite disappointed with this series. It just didn't capture the natural, unadulterated love that so many romance stories have. It even got boring with its unneeded drama and emotion-stricken scenes, leaving me to take the characters less seriously. People say that Toradora is the pinnacle of the romantic comedy genre, and if that's the case I may not be returning to it for quite some time. I can't say I enjoyed it all that much. I'd recommend Toradora to fans of romance anime since that's the target audience, or someone who enjoys the tsundere trope... it just wasn't necessarily for me. As always, thanks for reading and be sure to check out my other reviews!
It seems JC Staff loves to makes animes out of light novel publications from ASCII Media Works. Toradora! is one of their newest adaptations, and in the genre of romance/comedy that has been overdone extensively already, I am pleased to say that this anime has exceeded my expectations greatly.
Story: There is nothing extraodinary about the story in Toradora, I dare say its a cliched scenario of the 2 main characters being together for all the series to find out in the end they love each other. However the way Toradora excecutes and delivers this story was done so well that even if the outcomes and
events looked predictable, it would still keep you on your toes and make you want more.
Animation: This anime's strong point was not on the visual department, however it was still well animated and throughout the show we would be treated to a very rich and colorful anime that was pleasing to the eyes.
Music: Toradora proves that you dont need an awesome soundtrack to make an anime sound fantastic. Apart from a couple of tunes from the OST, there is really no standout songs in the show. However the songs are used so well in the anime they are able to really enhance the enjoyment of important scenes, making the show much more enjoyable. Also very solid voice acting, as expected from a top class voice actress as Kugimiya Rie but I was also highly impressed with Majima Junji's role as Ryuuji. Perfectly excecuted.
Characters: This is by far the show's best aspect. Not every anime is able to deliver such likeable characters and make them blend together so well. Throughout the series I was in constant debate on which of the main heroines I liked most, because the anime manages to develop every character so well. Even the supporting characters are very likeable, and are well developed in this show. And to my surprise, for this genre of anime the show managed to deliver a main male lead that I did not find a complete idiot.
Enjoyment: Man this show has been a blast to watch, every week I would go thinking they couldnt top last week's episode yet they still managed to do it almost every time. This is definitely one of my new favourites animes.
Overall: In the romance/comedy category, it is very easy for an anime to fall into the "overdone" category, despite all that, Toradora is able to keep a refreshing and interesting pace for most of its run and for that I salute JC Staff for this brilliant adaptation to a great novel. This anime proves that even if you dont have a groundbreaking plot, if you are able to provide an excellent execution with what you have you can still produce a top quality anime. If you are looking for a great romcom that is able to set itself apart from others and is able to maintain a great level of entertainment and quality, then I am sure Toradora will not disappoint you and I highly recommend it to anyone.
Toradora .. it is considered one of the best romance anime of all time .. well i disagree. I only saw a couple of romances and i already saw 3 romances that for me were better than Toradora.
Why this anime for me is over rated? Well it has nothing special to offer .. pretty usual, pretty normal, the romance is predictable, well nothing here excels in my opinion.
Story: 7/10. I only gave a 7 to the story because we have a interesting way of starting an anime. The rest ? Clichê. Everything ! Not even one character is original, everyone are clichê and
not even one is interesting. I kinda guessed the end when i was in the 4th ep or so .. and I did it right, the end was just what I expected to be ... why is that? BECAUSE IT'S A ********* clichê and like every clichê out there, they are predictable and boring. But still the story is good enough.. there is no plot holes, everything fits right.
Art: 6/10. Really really crappy art. The characters look ugly.. it seems that they just changed the size of the boobs, the hair colour and the eyes colour between the female characters. Look on the web and see if i'm not right. There is even 2 characters that i just could distinguish by hearing their voices... -.-. The background is also pretty bad. But .. the design i think it's well done after all and fits well with the character's personality.
Sound: 8/10. Actually the best aspect here. It makes the comedy moments much more fun. The voice acting is pretty good also. The openings are funny especially the first one. About the OST, they fit nice and i found no problems on them .. Although the OST for the drama could be better .. it's pretty smooth for me xD
Character: 8/10. Like i said they all are clichê characters .. predictable movements, predictable choices, predictable reactions .. where is the fun watching this? But i do have to say they have a nice development, all of them have a different personality and it's interesting seeing the interaction between the characters. But again, they are clichês so as their background stories. I was having a deja'vu every time they explained some character's past.
Enjoyment: 8/10. It is a clichê .. but at least it's funny to watch and entertains well. Although .. because i already had predicted the end, the romane got extremely weak for me, and it looked pretty rough, i mean at least i don´t like that type of romance. I'm one of those who likes cute things. I can´t lie to you, i saw this anime in 3 days so i had fun while i was watching that's for sure. But it's because it is a comedy show with some drama on it.
Overall: 7/10. I'm being generous giving this anime a 7/10. I like to get suprised and here i got everything right. To much predictable, at least for me it sucks. Although for a comedy is nice, for a slice of life is also good. But i advise you, if you heard the same as i "Toradora is one of the best romances of all time" .. IT'S WRONG. For me, it was just a normal romance, so it can´t be the best. So don´t get hype for then get disappointment like i had.
If you like romance/comedy/slice of life, this is a good show .. but not one of the best romance animes. It just looks pretty normal to be one of the best.
In this world, there’s this thing that no one’s ever seen. This thing is very kind and gentle. And if anyone could actually see it, there’d be a whole bunch of people wanting to have it. Maybe that’s why the world keeps it hidden from everyone... Because if it’s that hard to get, that makes it even more special. And one day, someone will find it. Whoever does find it, they’ll be the one that was supposed to. Because that’s the way it’s meant to be.
Ryuji Takesu is trying to find this something... He’s in love with
an energetic girl in his class, but his reputation as the second scariest student in the school has kept him at a distance from her. One day, the first scariest student in the school slips a love note into his bag by mistake, and the two of them realize that they’re in love with each others’ best friends. By joining forces in the pursuit of their unrequited loves, can this tiger and dragon finally find that one thing that they long to see?
Well, once again, we’re returning to JC Staff, although this series is an entirely different creature than the two shows I’ve reviewed before. It combines the budget allocation from Ghost Hunt with the hyper-cheap aesthetic from Ookami-san to some surprisingly great effect. It’s not what you’d call a great looking series, as movement is limited, but for the most part, the movement it DOES showcase is smooth and kinetic. The only time it really becomes ugly is during a few of the biggest emotional moments of the show, and their attempt to get as much movement as possible out of the characters leads to frameless, poorly drawn monsters that look absolutely hilarious when paused. But luckily, those moments are few and far between, and the high emotions involved are enough to overpower and revulsion these images may cause.
As for the artwork, it’s above average. The character designs are brilliant, with inspired looks and bright, sharp color choices keeping the entire cast fresh in your mind for days after you finish the series, but outside of that, it’s pretty standard slice-of-life stuff. The CG, at least in the few moments that they choose to employ it, is flawlessly done, so it’s pretty easy to pick out where a good chunk of the budget went. The only aspect of the artwork that really bothered me were the constant jagged outlines around the characters, which is not an uncommon problem in anime from around the late aughts... Even Brotherhood and Spice and Wolf suffered from it. That problem is completely erased if you’re watching it on Blu-ray, however.
In any case, the show does it’s job visually, as all the extra effort in the animation makes for some impeccable comic timing, and the lighting and color scheme suddenly become gorgeous whenever there’s a romantic scene to showcase. The facial expressions are detailed and dynamic enough to make Kyoto Animation eat it’s heart out, which is important because in a lot of ways, the characters are the most important part of the show. The main characters... The ones who appear most prominently in the opening... Take the standard love triangle and evolve it into a full blown love pentagon, with enough plotting and emotional nuance that each one of them is as important to the unfolding drama as the next.
Our central character, Ryuji Takesu, is a hopeless romantic who’s been mistaken for a scary thug because of his tough face and quiet demeanor. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because his character was ripped off wholesale by a series that I like to call “Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Original Ideas.” He’s the standard nice guy rom-com lead, but there’s more to him than others of his ilk... He was raised by a very childish single parent, which lead to him becoming the responsible housewife she could never be... He cooks, fusses, and is an obsessive neat-freak who can’t stand to let dirt or mold sit unchallenged. His personality may not resonate with everyone, but that’s what’s so wonderful about it... He actually has personality traits that aren’t just positive gimmicks, and the majority of the people surrounding him actually DO find him weird because of it. He’s not the glorified perfect guy everyone loves, and after Kyo-Ani’s domination of the market, that’s pretty refreshing.
The other main character is Taiga Aisaka, a tiny girl who’s actually earned her frightful reputation. Blunt and brutal, she’s been given the diminutive nickname “The Palmtop Tiger.” At first glance, she may appear to be some calculated pander to the fans of the lolicon and tsundere archetypes, and I can kind of understand where people who say this are coming from. But as the story progresses, and you learn more about her family situation, her tough nature becomes more and more understandable, and it also becomes very clear that her physical shortcomings are a thing that she has to overcompensate for. Yeah, you can condemn her as being a shallow grab at the loli market, but the truth is, I knew plenty of girls like her in school, so it’s hard for me to become offended when one of them is very accurately represented in a story. She’s the most complex and (ironically) the most developed character in the cast, so it makes sense that she’s become the posterchild for the series.
Their friends(and initial love interests) are Yusaku Kitamura and Minori Kushieda, two lovable oddballs who are active in a lot of school activities. Yusaku is a relatively simple character, and in the beginning, he’s the only one who knows that Taiga and Ryuji are good people. This probably has something to do with his involvement in student council, as he seems to be the kind of person who makes an effort to get to know everybody. Despite being a little simple, he does have his problems, and he does get his own arc, and they don’t disappoint. Minori is the class’s genki girl, a bright ball of energy who tries her best in everything she does, is highly perceptive of other peoples’ true feelings, and holds about a dozen jobs outside of school. She can be annoying to some viewers, but while it’s never fully explored, it’s implied several times throughout the anime that she has a wealth of issues below the surface, and that she may secretly suffer from poverty, or even severe depression in her home life. Whatever the case, the only ones who never really believe in her sunny exterior are herself and...
My favorite character in the show, Ami Kawashima. When she’s introduced to the story, it’s as a sort of villain... Or, at least, an antagonist. She’s a bratty, arrogant model who puts on a much more manufactured, moe-like facade in order to manipulate people, and if you’re the kind of person who can’t stand all the infantilized doe-eyed ladies of the Key Trinity, you’ll be laughing right along with her over it. As she develops, and we learn more about why she transferred to this school and why she is the way she is, she’s eventually forced to drop her act, at which point she becomes arguably the most important character in the series. She becomes an almost Shakespearian character, a fifth wheel who’s free to observe the web of lies going on between her cast mates. She takes an active role in the story, pulling strings and making calculated comments, getting way too involved as she tries to unravel the truth behind it all.
The supporting cast is used with surprising efficiency, as none of them are featured any more or less than they need to be. Characters like The Student council President, Inko the brain-damaged parrot, and the parents of our two central characters exist not only to augment the comedy or drama of the material, but to drop subtle hints about why the characters are the way they are. Characters like Miss Koigakubo and four other select students exist to deliver some stunning paralells in regards to what’s going on in the main story, as well as to serve as a constant reminder that there’s a world outside of Taiga's circle.
Toradora is one of a small list of shows that I’ve seen in both English and Japanese, and even though I may be woefully monolingual, I can personally attest to the fact that both tracks are nothing short of pure gold. I can’t really say anything about the Japanese track that a simple list of names wouldn’t say all on it’s own, as I don’t think anybody is a virgin to the works of people like Rie Kugimiya and Yui Horie, but the English dub really doesn’t have that kind of star power, so it does merit a bit more discussion.
In recent years, Bang Zoom Entertainment has taken to pushing it’s main stable to the back row, and instead giving some of it’s best roles to a series of newer actors that haven’t gotten nearly as much work in the past. This transition was a little rocky at first, with projects like K-On and Oblivion Island at the forefront, and some decent yet rather awkward acting in Madoka Magica. Well, Toradora was their moment, and they rose to it, putting forth better performances than I could have possibly imagined. They all far surpassed the relatively little work they’ve previously done, and after hearing them in this, I sincerely hope this stable becomes the next big industry powerhouse.
Going in, I already had respect for Cassandra Lee’s ability to understand her characters, as her performances in both K-On and Madoka Magica were outstanding, but I felt Taiga’s depth was out of her range… And I never really liked Christine Marie Cabanos, although she was decent in Squidgirl. I wasn’t initially expecting much, but this dub is literally perfect. And yes, I know what I’m implying by putting the word literally before the word perfect… Believe me, I mean it that way. I can’t imagine any cast coming together for Toradora better than this one did. All of those actors I’d never heard of before… Like Erika Herlacher and Erik Kimerer… Are names I’m going to be looking out for from now on. Cassandra Lee has only strengthened my confidence in her abilities, and as for Cabanos? I take back every negative thing I ever said about her. She is the star of this dub, and as such, I don’t want to live in a world where her performance is anything other than star-making. Every inch of her becomes Minori Kushieda, from her sunny and boisterous exterior all the way down to her complex, insecure interior. She’s apparently found her niche in loud, energetic characters, so I hope she keeps getting roles like that one.
There are a handful of seasoned veterans among the cast, with Johnny Yong Bosch and Karen Strassman pulling off performances that are about what you’d expect from them... Which is a good thing, mind you. And even though she’s playing multiple second-string roles, like that weird parrot-thing, Wendee Lee hasn’t sounded this good since Cowboy Bebop.
So, right from the first episode, or just from a simple explanation of the plot, most viewers will give this show a dismissive wave and say that it sounds too predictable. “Okay, so they’re in love with each others’ best friends, but they’re going to wind up falling in love with each other, right?” I have literally sat and watched this with a first time viewer who said pretty much this, and then throw his hands up in defeat after about eight episodes of NOTHING going the way he predicted it would. And that’s part of the genius of this series. The characters are familiar, the tropes are familiar, the setting is familiar, but none of it is ever played the way you’d expect it to be played. Take any problem that the romantic comedy/harem genre may have, and Toradora either avoids it completely or turns it upside down.
For example, there’s the harem aspet. It’s a trend in way too many shows that nearly every female character in the cast will inexplicably fall head over heels in love with the male protagonist, ignoring all other options as not being main enough for them. This is one of the biggest issues I had with Sword Art Online and Clannad, but it’s not just a numbers issue... In Tiger and Bunny, the main character had ONE girl fawning over him, and it was still bugged me by being completely unexplained. In Toradora, yes, the three main girls have feelings for Ryuji, but there are a few things that set this series apart... First off, it’s only those three characters. Second, all three of these love interests are explained in story, either explicitly or with subtlety, and they’re all played out differently. And finally, Ryuji’s not the only eligible bachelor in the show... His friend Yusaku gets just as much attention, and hell, the first character in the named cast to get a significant other is one of their classmates!
Another example is that in most harem shows, particularly the ones adapted from dating games (Which Toradora thankfully wasn’t), the story seems disjointed, as each character gets their own arc while the main relationship just sits on the backburner until all the filler is done and the writers are damn well good and ready to just get to the point already. But Toradora’s story is, however, VERY tightly written. There is not a single story arc in the single freaking series that doesn’t somehow involve Taiga and Ryuji and their ever-developing dynamic, nor does the central plot ever get forgotten. The other three mains may occasionally take a backseat, but they never disappear from a story completely.
Hell, when you get down to it, all the little things that make up your typical romantic comedy are here... But they’re used in new, clever, often subversive ways that are never just there for the sake of being checked off of a tropes list. Everything that you’d expect to see in a show like this... From bathing suit shopping to the obligatory beach episode... Is executed in a way that’s fresh, unique, and important to the story. Hell, where most anime are happy to settle on a cafe or a haunted house for their culture fest episode, Toradora goes balls-out with a professional wrestling show, complete with faces, heels, an over-the-top script and choreographed in-ring action! We never see any characters in the bath, because no matter what a lot of other shows may think, no on screen conversation ever NEEDS to take place in the bath. There’s a little bit of fanservice, but it’s never gratuitous... Except for a dream that one of the side characters has right before the Christmas arc, which was funny enough to be excusable... And it’s offset by a heaping helping of manservice, often willingly supplied by the unnervingly confident Yusaku, and even then, it’s played entirely for laughs.
But if I had to pick out one thing that makes this series stand out over the tops of all the other rom-coms out there, it would be exactly that... Confidence. Toradora is one hundred percent confident in the quality of the material it has to offer, and unlike a lot of other shows that value enthusiasm over ability, it’s smart enough to know that it’s confidence is well founded. It never doubts itself, nor does it ever assume that YOU doubt it, and it never slows down or breaks it’s outstanding pace to try and convince you otherwise. It’s this confidence that gives Toradora it’s energy. Well, that, and the amazing soundtrack.
Toradora has an unwavering, dazzling energy just radiating from it at every moment of screen time. That energy never goes away, even during the more tear-jerking scenes, because it never screws around... Instead of pop culture references, Toradora casually rolls out references and metaphors related to it’s own universe. Where there are plenty of anime that fall into the trap of stopping their stories dead to show you backstory episodes you don’t care about for characters who are just going to fade into the background afterwards... His and Her Circumstances was particularly bad about this... Toradora doesn’t, because it knows that you’ll care about the characters anyway. It never does anything just because it feels like it should, nor does it ever show us anything just because we might want to see it. The only time it really slows down is towards the end, and it only does it then because it has one hell of a perfect post-credits ending to close on.
Toradora was originally released on a pair of undubbed DVDs by Sentai Filmworks, and while those DVDs were just fine and dandy... Once again, the sub is great all on it’s own... I would still highly recommend purchasing the DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack that was released last year by NIS America. It’s pricey, but it comes with a full color fan book and a generous helping of special features, including the cute and charming Hooray for Foodies mini-sodes. It also comes with a short video of some of the impressions that Taiga made Ami do, and a dubbed OVA episode about the magic of making bento boxes, but I’ll be honest, they were both kind of disappointing. The OVA wasn’t necessarily bad, but it would have dragged down the series if it had actually been included. You can also stream the entire series, in either language, on Crunchyroll!
Toradora isn’t just great, it’s glowing. With the exception of the animation, which is at the very least better than it has any right to be, there is nothing this series does wrong. At twenty five episodes long, it’s as fun to rewatch as any other show with half the episode count. The high rewatch quality doesn’t stop there, either, as the comedic and dramatic material are both so effective and so timeless that I still found myself constantly laughing and choking up after seven entire viewings. It takes some of the worst things about the romantic comedy and harem genres and proves just how amazing those things can become with a little bit of effort, focus, and tender loving care. I won’t say whether or not the characters found that mysterious ‘thing’ they were looking for, but I found what I was looking for... The best anime romantic comedy ever made. I give Toradora a 10/10.