- Genre : Romance, School, Drama, Comedy
- Episodes: 25
- Studio: TV Tokyo
A hot guy – who the show tells me is not hot(?) – teams up with a super-hot girl with anger issues – who’s apparently also pretty but not that hot(?)– so that they can help each other get the boy/girl of their dreams. Did that description confuse you? Cause I sort of got lost in the middle of writing the sentence. Anyways you know this story, you’ve seen it before.
My opinion of Toradora is wrong. I’ve been told it’s wrong by the few friends I have who watch anime and were still talking to me at the time. The internet has corroborated. My subjective personal feelings about this show are simply not right and you probably disagree with me. General opinion is that I’ve missed the point and don’t have the attention span required to appreciate this oeuvre. So here we go: Toradora! is a good anime which I didn’t like.
Technically, I really have no complaints. The art is pretty and distinctive, giving the series its own personality from the very first glance. The animation is fantastic considering this type story would normally call for limited action, it manages to work in more than a few impressive choreographies. I absolutely loved the setting. The backgrounds, the weather, the use of light and shadow are all thoughtfully put together and create a fantastic ambiance that is perfectly sustained throughout the series. The gentle snowfall of the last few episodes amplified the bittersweet feeling of everything that was happening on screen and the bright warm afternoon sunshine of those final scenes just beautifully insisted on the optimism of the finale. Also, the city itself, especially the route to their school, kept reminding me of Hajime no Ippo (for reasons) and that’s one of my favorite animes. So, you know, Good work?
The anime managed to cram about 10 light novels worth of material in 24 episodes and still kept a good rhythm. It didn’t feel rushed or like it was skipping over anything important and incorporated enough secondary storylines to make the universe seem alive and full. It also kept the fanservice at a strict minimum, the only obvious instance that comes to mind is confined to the opening credits and Ryuuji’s mom. The characters evolved organically and the story progressed perfectly logically. It got a touch melodramatic towards the end but still perfectly reasonable when you consider the circumstances and people involved. The story was really very gentle on my suspension of disbelief. It illustrated honestly two somewhat troubled teenagers finding each other.
Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of Romance/Drama as a genre. I like my romance hilarious. And Toradora is all about the romance and pretty much only about the romance. Other potential relationships (family/friendships) are pushed aside in favour of romantic pursuits, and are only included in the service of advancing the various romantic storylines. Although supposedly a comedy, the occasional humor mostly serves to lighten up the generally serious mood and the show eventually abandons them to make place for as much existential angst as the story will allow. One small exception would be Yasuko, used as a frequent source of comedic relief and consistently cheerful, but even her character eventually takes on a more dramatic role and she is very secondary to the storyline.
Then there are the main characters. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: A short blonde tsundere who lashes out to hide her insecurity and her fear of abandonment due to parental neglect? A genki girl who’s almost crazed optimism barely covers up her anxieties? A beautiful(?) – or so the show tells me – but cruel girl, who is also a model – who covers up true personality with a sweet public persona? How about a megane hot(?) boy who’s very studious and considered dependable by all, but barely keeping it together behind closed doors? Did this go on for too long? Yeah – point is, we’ve hit every trope here. This by itself isn’t a bad thing.Not every story needs to be original and archetypes can be quite effective, but the real problem is, aside from poor Ryuuji (the basic nice guy of the bunch), I found everybody to be varying degrees of unlikable.
For one, almost everyone (again aside from Ryuuji – this guy is actually pretty awesome) has a pretty marked tendency towards self-pity. They wallow in their problems and seem to weirdly enjoy their despair. It’s one thing to have one or two depressive characters as foils but when everyone is a gloomy mess just under the surface, you end up with a pretty bleak picture. Shake it off kids, things could be worse. And I’m just really fed up with the notion that someone should be allowed to be a jerk to those around them if they have any personal drama in their lives. You got it though? OK, maybe you could flake out on party invites instead of physically abusing innocent bystanders? Just a thought…
Look, I know I’m wrong. This is a good romantic anime and if you like those you should watch this. You’ll probably love it.
Favorite character: Ryuuji Takasu
What this anime taught me about myself: I am hopelessly unromantic
“Sometimes I Take Baths Because It’s Hard To Drink Wine In The Shower”
Suggested drink: Crouching Tiger
- Every time Ami shows her true colours – take a drink
- Every time Minori is being odd – take a drink
- Every time a character mentions their father – take a drink
- Every time Yasuko is drunk – catch up
- Every time anyone confesses – take a drink
- Every time we see a teacher in the school – be surprised
- Every time Taiga attacks someone – sigh
- Every time Ryuuji is being a neat freak – take a drink
- Every time Inko has trouble talking – take a drink
- Every time Taiga is an actual tiger – go awwww