Winter Finale: Toradora!

21 04 2009

Toradora! started out as a light-hearted slice-of-life anime with good comedic moments and turned into a darker dramatic slice-of-life anime with good comedic moments. That is to say, even though the tone in the series turned much more serious sometime after episode 17, it did its best to retain the original comedic feel. The show did a good job of telling the story and showing us how the characters grew. Read the rest of this entry »


Toradora: Episode 25 (Finale)

17 04 2009

I’m going to start this review off with a deep, (semi-)sincere apology for not actually typing this up until about a month after the actual show ended. I would like to say that life got in the way, but I do think that if I had put out a little more effort, this would have appeared on the site a lot sooner. In any case, here is the review….better late than never, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Toradora: Episode 23 and 24

1 04 2009

Alright, so after three or four weeks of not updating, the finale finally came out. I guess that’s a good indication that I should probably catch up with my episode reviews. I’ll review 23 and 24 together before watching the finale. You can expect the finale post to come up sometime tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »

Toradora: Episode 22

13 03 2009

After the climax of last episode, this episode has to deal with everyone’s reactions to the events of the ski trip. Ryuuji is definitely trying to sort out his feeling for Minori and for Taiga. Judging from the way he’s acting, he’s definitely beginning to fall in love with Taiga himself. (“As I thought, being with Taiga is the best.”) Ryuuji’s act of putting Minori’s hair clip away in the box can be seen as his act of putting his feeling for her away as well. He may still like Minori, but I don’t think he could date her anymore if he knows he’s hurting Taiga in the process.

Meanwhile, Minori declares to Ami that she will no longer hesitate…that she will go after the things she wants. Does that mean…she’s going to work up the nerve to confess to Ryuuji? Everyone can see the oncoming train-wreck here, right?

All in all, this episode has a subtle theme involving figuring out your desires for the future. This involves more than just career and academics…it involves having the courage to chase after what you want. Or in Ryuuji’s case, it involves actually deciding where (and with who) he wants to end up.

Ami does lack the courage to go after Ryuuji..but this is probably due to wisdom rather than cowardice. She knows she doesn’t have a chance with him. =P So maybe not all dreams will be fulfilled. What shame.

Episode Rating: 7/10 (a bit of character development, lots of foreshadowing, nothing exceptional)

~eNamorD (with a future of possibilities)

Toradora: Episode 21

3 03 2009

Well, I believe I am going to have to eat my words. This episode definitely marks a major turning point…completely blowing up my prediction that Ryuuji and Taiga WON’T end up together. I mean, what else can I say when Ryuuji swears in his head that he’s never going to let Taiga go, and then Taiga admits out loud that she loves Ryuuji (albeit not directly to his face). It’s a slippery slope, my friend…

So given that by the end of the season, Ryuuji x Taiga is pretty much a certainty, how will the other characters react? Minorin will probably gently let go, for the sake of her friend, but she’ll do it sadly. Ami will….I have no clue how Ami will react. Possibly with jealousy, possibly with understanding maturity. I’m not sure I can quite predict Ami’s actions. Meanwhile, everyone else will probably just say, “It’s about time you two got together.”

The fight between Ami and Minori, both in the room and out in the snow the next day, were really intense. We definitely see a side to Minori that we haven’t seen before…and we have Ami’s constant prodding to thank for that. Ami certainly knows how to get on her nerves.

I love the way Kitamura reacts to situations. When he hears that Ryuuji has a crush on Minori…the first thing he does is drag the guys over to the girls’ room and try to get a an answer from her. Except..Kitamura already knew beforehand that Taiga was in love with Ryuuji. What in the world, Yuusuke?!

So in the next episode, Ryuuji will probably have lots of internal conflict and angst about his own feelings for Taiga, and then we’ll spend the rest of the series wrapping up the loose ends of the other main characters and then finally letting the Ryuuji x Taiga ship set sail. Ah well, at least that Maya girl will finally have Kitamura all to herself.

All in all, I’m a bit sad that Ryuuji won’t end up with Minori, but I guess that’s the way the plot flows.

Episode Rating: 9/10 (It left a strong impression on me, but I suspect there’s better to come)

~eNamorD ( with all the beautiful white powder perfect for skiing)

Toradora: Episode 19 and 20

2 03 2009

Aaand I’m back!

The plot finally gets rolling in episode 19 and 20 after quite a few episodes of set-up. It’s obvious now that Minori and Ryuuji like each other, and the group dynamics are cleared up:

Ryuuji likes Minori (of course), but also has a soft spot for Taiga (and thus is ‘playing house’ according to Ami). Taiga wants Ryuuji to take care of her, but is willing to separate herself from him in order to play cupid. And Minori really does like Ryuuji, but thinks that she would get in Taiga’s way if she gets with Ryuuji. Meanwhile, Ami (who most likely also likes Ryuuji), sees this entire situation immediately and gives cryptic advice throughout the episodes.

In hindsight, that wasn’t all that confusing.

This might or might not be a love triangle, depending entirely on whether or not Ryuuji and Taiga actually have romantic feelings for each other. This, of course, is up for debate, but it seems to me that they don’t really have feelings of the romantic sort for each other. With only about four episodes left in the series, I predict that Ryuuji will end up with Minori, and Taiga won’t end up with anyone. And if there were a second season…Ryuuji would most likely break up with Minorin because they realize they aren’t right for each other…and he’ll consider getting with Taiga but realize that wouldn’t work either. Just my thoughts.

The plot is going to be fairly straightforward from here on out….not to say that the plot is simple and completely predictable, but I don’t think the storyline is going to twist a whole lot more. It all boils down to how Ryuuji finally meets and confesses to Minori on the school trip.

As a sidenote, Ami and Taiga’s duet during the Christmas party was a pleasant surprise.

Episode Rating(s): 8/10 (plot finally gets moving, climax should come within an episode or two)

~eNamorD (with random Twitter cameo in episode 20)

Toradora: Episode 18

7 02 2009

Wow! Look at all these little plot threads flying around!

In other words, nothing extremely major happened in this episode. Ami starts spouting insightful yet vague advice at Takasu again, then implies she likes him (again). Taiga continues being a good girl for Santa and also explains her reasons behind this. Minorin keeps on spacing out, making us wonder what she’s really feeling guilty about. And Ryuuji….continues being a really really nice guy. Don’t get me wrong, the plot is still moving, but it’s moving pretty subtly.

When the Christmas ornament shattered–my heart almost stopped! The set-up and transition into that moment was great: the warm, cozy feelings, right beforehand, and the dead silence right after….and Taiga’s star lying on the ground in a million pieces. Is the broken star a metaphor for anything? Probably. Something about things breaking apart even after you’ve tried hard, and fixing those things that that break. I’m not going to look too far into that, because I won’t be able to wrestle any solid predictions from this. I’ll just take it for what it is–a moment filled with emotion.

Next episode will probably be the Christmas party. We’ll find out if Minorin will show up with Ryuuji or not. And whether she does or not, we should finally get some answers from her. At least, that’s what I predict.

Episode Rating: 7/10 (Nothing really stands out. Just character building and a bit of set-up)

~eNamorD (with shiny stars)