The problem with describing, reviewing, or recommending Toradora to people is the fact that it really deviates very little from the romantic comedy mold. Trying to go into depth about it's plot or the character development or plot direction won't raise any eyebrows by any means, so let's get something out of the way right off the bat: you've probably seen this story a million times by now--"boy likes girl, girl likes boy, denial and wacky antics ensues". However, what sets it apart is the quirkiness of it's execution--Taiga herself not being a perfect fit to the "tsundere" archetype and Ryuuji himself being a generally
likeable, interesting, non-spineless male lead for a change, which is a breath of fresh air as opposed to the trite method of presenting the male lead as a completely unlikable idiot without any sense of what he's doing.
The strong suits of the manga become apparent very quickly, the first and foremost being the art. Characters are drawn extremely crisply and clearly, and the backgrounds and motion are presented very fluidly. I really cannot praise it enough--it's very well done, and I wonder just how J.C Staff will somehow be able to pull off translating it into anime form without it losing something very special. There are some minor issues with word bubble positioning, but all in all the artist presents a very masterful use of his pen. And from here we can jump over to the second strongest draw -- this being the characters themselves.
Taiga herself will instantly win over most readers with her psychotic, energetic charm, even going so far as to break into the male lead's house at night in order to deliver her own warped brand of justice due to a misunderstanding, and this is only an early example. Speaking informally, using profanity and harshness, showing extreme procrastination and laziness, and generally presenting a rather cynical and sarcastic view on life towards Ryuuji which I find parallels her personality personally, she's honestly and simply adorable -- and not to mention absolutely hilarious.
Anyhow, if you have a soft spot for romantic comedy and are looking for the next breakthrough comedy romance manga of the past few years, you really can't go wrong with Toradora. It might not innovate the genre, but it certainly comes close to perfecting it. It's light, casual, and easy to follow at whatever pace you want, and if you have any heart at all you'll probably find yourself laughing at Taiga and Ryuuji's antics, at least every once in a while.
There are some anime's out in the world that have a satisfied ending, some that have ones that just leave you hanging, and some that end fine, but you are just so attached to the characters and story line that you can't possibly end the adventure there. Thats when you either start the anime over, or pick up the manga. For me, it was the latter.
I didn't even know there WAS a manga of Toradora! until after I had seen the entire anime. If you HAVE seen the anime of Toradora!, I'll say that the manga is extremely close to the anime. I've even noticed
some similar lines. It has the same gut-busting humor that leaves you rolling around on the floor, and the same tender moments that you can't help but smile at. However, one quality that I like about the Toradora! manga that I seemed to have missed in the anime was Takasu Ryuuji's constant narration throughout the manga. Through his eyes, we see many more details and feelings than the somewhat rushed thoughts in the anime.
The only character that looks different in the manga than in the anime is Ryuuji himself, which really bothered me at the beginning. He looks harsher in the manga than in the anime, always looking angry or annoyed (which, could be a tribute to his murderous eyes), and is frequently drawn in the "chibi" form. However, I really grew to love the way that he looks in the manga. He is truly one good-looking kid. He's one of those rare protagonists that you actually LIKE. I know. Crazy, huh?
Most everyone else looks the same, especially Kitamura Yuusaku, whom I can't help but chuckling at, every time I think about him. Kawashima Ami is still the same witch she is in the anime. I shall forever hear Hori Yui's delightful voicing of Kushieda Minori in my head every time I read her lines.
Now, if you HAVEN'T seen the anime of Toradora!, you're tossing around the question, "Should I read Toradora!?" Since the manga was based off the anime, you might be worried that you're gonna miss something by not watching the anime first. I'll tell you this: the manga is a great place to start. You're hardly missing anything by not watching the anime, in my opinion, though, I do have to say, some moments in the manga are just so ridiculously funny because I remember the same scene and the tone of voice the characters used in the anime.
The story is really about a Takasu Ryuuji, and his new next-door neighbor, Aisaka Taiga or the "palm-top-tiger" as she is called at school, and the deal they make-- Taiga will keep quiet about Ryuuji's crush on her best friend, Minori, as long as he becomes her servant, or, as she calls him, her dog. This story line isn't exactly original, but what makes Toradora! so absolutely wonderful is the absolutely original characters. So, in a whole, whether you've seen the anime are now starting the manga, or have just considered reading the manga without even having knowledge of the anime, all the aspects contribute to the glorious story of Toradora!
So, after reading this extensive review, the question in your mind might still remain: Should I read the Toradora! manga? Oh, but don't bother worrying any longer on the subject. Here, I'll make up your mind for you. Yes.
The fact is that even though this manga only picked up not so long ago..
It is one of the most hilarious ones I've had the pleasure to read.
Taiga and Ryuji may seem like they have some kind of dispute at first, but the deal is that they have the same personalities.
They are both hot headed who are feared by all their school, which gives them almost no social life, and are only liked by their friends, who are very near nothing.
And what makes the hilarity even more enjoyable is the fact they fall for each others friends.
Ryuji falls for Manika, a cheerful girl who is
so energetic, she accidentally hits Ryuji every now and then.
Taiga on the other hand, falls for Yasuko, a normal guy who by what he says, has no experience with girls, but is able to speak with them quite naturally.
Now comes the breaking point; Ryuji comes to get his bag and notices Taiga hiding in the corner, as things develop he starts helping Taiga confess for Yasuko.
By my opinion this manga has a very good direction.
Its very light and the story is hilarious.
The characters are very funny, and you'll find yourself giggling every so often.
To sum this up, Toradora is an awesome manga.
Forget breathy sighs, excessive thought bubbles, and unending miscommunication. Toradora! centers around two relatively straightforward, unconventional leads that inadvertently become best friends. Despite having a combative relationship, Taiga and Takasu agree early on to serve as wingmen for each other in pursuit of the other's best friend. Takasu likes the silly, cute Minori (Taiga's best friend), while Taiga likes the sociable, active Kitamura (Takasu's best friend).
It took me 5-10 chapters to get into the swing of things, but once Taiga and Takasu established their friendship, I found this manga to be delightfully refreshing. I'll agree with other reviewers that there's nothing
especially deviant from the genre, but the relationship between the leads is one not commonly seen. Since the main characters are focused on becoming closer to secondaries, the blushing and awkward shoujo tropes are told from a hilarious third-person perspective; so you get to see something like a confession scene with someone else commenting on how terrible it is.
Of course, you have to understand that guys and girls can't be friends, or at least not as close as Taiga and Takasu. Naturally this causes the duo some inexplicable jealousy and longing, which will be fun to watch them figure out.
All in all, I can recommend it with the encouragement to at least read the first 10 chapters.