Aug 26, 2008
MM23 (All reviews)
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.