Have you ever had a friend in high school who denied liking someone? Even though it was clear as day to everyone else? You might have confronted them and said “Buddy, it’s time to fess up. We all KNOW, you like them. Why can’t you just admit it?”. You even brought them in front of ‘their crush’–only to have them deny any feelings at all. The audacity!?
Whether or not that was the best way to go about helping your friend–you get the idea. Awkwardness, misunderstandings and unrequited love. Toradora! thrives on these encounters and approaches them in a unique way. So pull out your notebook and take notes yee future anime writers– THIS– is how a romantic comedy is done.
Ryuuji Takasu is a soft spoken and gentle 2nd year student–who LOVES to cook as clean. However, due to his aggressive facial features he inherited from his father, no one will go near him. Ryuuji has a crush on free spirited softball champion, Minori. After some poor attempts to connect with his longtime crush, Ryuuji stumbles into Minori’s best friend, Taiga Aisaka. Aggressive, boisterous and small in stature. Aisaka is know across the school as the “Palm Top Tiger”, a physically and verbally abusive monster. Through a misunderstanding, Ryuuji gets a peak at Taiga’s sensitive side and discovers she has a crush on his best friend–and baseball star–Yusaku Kitamura. Furious at his discovery, Taiga forces Ryuuji to help her win the heart of her crush–to which Ryuuji agrees, as long as she does the same. The two begin forming an unlikely bond in the process.
Toradora! exemplifies everything that makes for an excellent story. With its mind tickling plot progression and personal character growth. There is always something to keep you interested. It feels like, in many animes, its usually the main characters that steal the spotlight and receive all the good dialogue. No so in Toradora!, they place equal emphasis on each student. Allowing for a diverse population of characters to enter in, each with their own unique and funny mannerisms. Odds are, you may relate to one of them. Either from a personal or current event in your life. Their struggles seem to be not to far from our own.
I understand it is just an anime, and some of the situations may not actually occur in real life. For example, I doubt someone would actually sneak into anthers room and try to beat them with a stick. It still manages to walk that fine line from fantasy and reality. Assisted by fast paced banter and subtle romantic expressions, not too far from our own.
Toradora! does not shove romantic anythings down your throat. They make you wait. You gotta be patient. Don’t expect to find many steamy love scenes or make-out seshes’–this is not that kind of Rom Com. Nope. This is a grade above the rest. Let me explain with one phrase, “intimacy can be found in more places than just the bedroom”. Yes, just like there are many forms of love, there are many ways to be intimate–beyond sexual relations.
We get to witness true friendship at its root. The fact that you have to spend time with someone, experience their flaws and appreciate their shortcomings. It’s kind of adorable how much the show pushes for acceptance of your true self and a refusal to give into something fake or to be someone you shouldn’t be.
I love all the main characters. Each one has their own dynamic approach to romance and relationships. Each one takes their time to contemplate how they’d like to go about showing their affection. The writers perfectly portray this internal struggle. The raw honesty and genuine emotions are nothing short of spectacular. To see someone go through a situation, I once went through when I was in high school was oddly satisfying and even gave me some hope for my future.
I can say some animes make me want to be better, or even desire what I see on screen. Toradora! really made me want to improve my own communication skills with my friends and family. You won’t get anything but high praise from me in regards to Toradora! You can’t help but root for wee little Tagia and company. That’s right Taiga, I’m talking to you.