The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials


Title: Toradora!
Genre: Romance/Drama
Company: J.C. Staff
Format: 25 episodes
Dates: 2 Oct 2008 – 26 Mar 2009

Synopsis: Takasu Ryuuji dislikes the way his eyes look: menacing and rebellious. It is the first day of his second year in high school, and he is trying to change his appearance to match his kind personality. At school, Ryuuji bumps into a short girl who is known for bringing trouble, Aisaka Taiga. After a long turn of events, Taiga reveals that she likes Kitamura Yuusaku, one of Ryuuji’s few friends and Ryuuji then reciprocates by revealing to her that he likes Taiga’s friend, Kushieda Minori. They decide to make a pact in which Taiga will help Ryuuji confess to Minori if he becomes her “dog”.

The Highlights
Plot: Somewhat unique, but plays out in the end like any other romance.
Characters: Colourful personalities except a select few that are clich├ęs.
Comedy: It has its moments, but some gags are just failures (especially Ryuuji’s bird, Inko-chan).
Romance: The driving force of the plot; has its twists that only emerge in the end.
Ending: Quickly develops only in the final few episodes, but overall somewhat satisfying.

Toradora begins as an interesting story of two different people trying to confess to their respective crushes by helping each other. I found that the story is unique in its own way while still keeping to the norms of any romance anime. The characters are amusing enough, as we see almost every single main character have a comedic moment or two. I personally loved Ryuuji as a character. He is not your every day anime harem protagonist, easily finding love, only to have the trouble of choosing the right girl. He is kind, cleaning-obsessed and sometimes is prone to petty anger, usually towards Taiga in some matter.

Usually, when you think of romance comedies, the first thing that comes to mind is that classic story about a girl and a guy meeting at random and then slowly falling in love (yawn…). While Toradora did seem to be that type of romance comedy, I could see that there were attempts (failures or not) to break the mold. But, whatever is done, a romance comedy is a romance comedy. If you cannot tolerate the stereotypical situations, then really, stay away from shows of this genre. I can say that if you are willing to dive into the world of random comedy and dramatic romance scenarios then Toradora is not a bad place to start.

Comedy is placed in at moments that are appropriate most of the time, and following the end, it is used as comic relief. I did find myself laughing, for no apparent reason at some of the jokes made, but it was not always as hilarious as it was intended to be. While the comedy aspect is introduced from the beginning and seems to be the main focus of the show for the most part, it is really only later in the episodes that the crux of the story is unraveled and the drama truly unfolds. The majority of the episodes do hold some purpose, but it is only the last few episodes that really matter.

Speaking of drama, there are some points in which the characters became extremely dark, even if it were for only a few seconds. Sometimes, these angsty moments were only put in to foreshadow following events, but when some characters that were usually very bubbly became surprisingly dark, it became a bit unbelievable and, honestly, over the top. Those moments are the ones that took me out of the story and made me feel like skipping the crying and brooding.

Usually, I would not be really bothered by the animation of an anime, unless it is obviously horrid. I did notice that the art is fair in Toradora in comparison to the manga. Although you can’t always compare a manga to the anime, when it comes to the quality of the art, I felt that the style in which the characters (and especially their faces) were drawn to be slightly different, but this did not bother me too much, as the basic components (like Ryuuji’s eyes) were pretty close.

Even with its small moments here and there, I did thoroughly enjoy Toradora and I thought it was a successful anime. I will not deny that I wish there were a few things that could have been different, but as far as romance anime goes, this one was one of the top…30. At least, unlike 75% of romance anime, there was an ending and truthfully, that is all I really need from a romance anime, a proper ending.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: zeroxhour

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