Tsundere - we know the drill. Love grows from animosity. Yet in Toradora, the plot wasn't that simple. Not in the slightest. Toradora is a delightful anime that will make you laugh, but it will also strike a cord deep within you.
Story - 9
As stated, this isn't a straightforward tsundere, at least in my opinion. This anime doesn't make things that easy. Taiga is a tough tsundere-girl to crack, to say the least, and one shouldn't expect to see her feelings change that easily. In fact, where I think this show excels, is the recurring theme that Ryūji and Taiga's deepest, darkest desires are buried
deep by themselves. And so these desires they bury so fervently aren't going to be made readily available to us as the audience. I won't delve more into this theme so as not to provide spoilers, but one should realise it is highly prevalent throughout the anime. As stated by one character, "The person you understand the least is yourself." So true for so many of us.
Another theme that the story of Toradora really excels at, is the theme of running away from one's problems. We all do it. We all ignore our problems. But sometimes we need to face them head on.
Clearly, Toradora is not just comedy and romance fluff. It deals with serious issues; estranged family members, what a family truly is (blood-related or "adopted"), growing up, and all it's disappointments, as well as what it means to be a mature adult. I really appreciated this spin on the romantic comedy genre.
And my absolute favourite lesson learned? We cannot grow as a person without love (aww :P).
The ending...without saying much, I wasn't initially very pleased with it. I thought it ended up being a little bit overly cruel to our main protagonist. And a bit futile. But yet again, I laughed as a realised that Toradora really had kept me guessing - right up until the end! Oh, and make sure to watch right through the credits - there is a wonderful little tsundere moment to end things off :P.
Art - 10
I adored the art. Really could find nothing wrong with it in the slightest. Taiga is absolutely adorable. And all the characters are illustrated in the vibrant, clean way.
Sound - 10
Another great feature of Toradora is it's soundtrack. I was disappointed with a minority of tracks that seemed to repeat themselves, yet there were stellar tracks that just outshone my disappointment. The first theme song - Pre-Parade - was absolutely phenomenal as it fitted the anime so well. And watching Taiga glare into the camera during the introduction; priceless. Silky Love - the later introductory theme song during the second half of the series - was also great as it showed Taiga's development as a character, and the change between Taiga's and Ryūji's relationship. Vanilla Salt is also a great song! But without further specifics, songs and scores used during particularly emotional moments in the anime really overwhelmed me.
Character - 9
The characters shone for me; it wasn't a job done solely by Taiga and Ryūji. One particular favourite was Yasuko, Ryūji's mother. I first saw her and through that it was a girlfriend of Ryūji's. Her personality was so well-written and humourous, I just was enamoured. One character that I personally could not relate to was Minori. I found her attitude fake and annoying at best. And later in the anime, without giving spoilers, I felt her behaviour was just unfounded and poorly written, and contraindicated her role as a friend. Other than that though, no complaints! Even other supporting characters like Inko-Chan were wonderful and added flavor to the world of Toradora.
Enjoyment - 10
Not much to say here, except that I was dying to watch a new episode every time I finished a previous one. The fact that I felt I could relate to Taiga almost instantly really helped matters. Relate-ability - that is what truly made Toradora what it was and is.
Overall - 10
This is a 10/10 anime for me, even with a few faults. This anime was nothing short of magical and endearing. I feel as though I was sucked into the anime, and that I myself was friends with the whole group of friends in the anime. It is sad that the show ended and I parted from these friends, yet at the same time I felt as though I gained unforgettable memories :).