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.