Toradora!, is the story between Ryuuji (Dragon) and Taiga (Tiger) who happen to coincidentally like the each other’s best friends. Through a case of mistaken identity and a little bit of breaking and entering, the two of them decide to help each other get the person of their dreams.
Now, just from the premise alone, you can probably guess where this series is going to head, especially if you are like me and spend most of your time devouring series after series of anime instead of doing normal human things like going outside or sleeping.
In fact, despite how much I enjoyed this series, the tropes are there. Taiga is your classic tsundere type, a girl that is mean and is completely unwilling to express herself and Ryuuji is the general clueless protagonist. But while playing these tropes straight, Toradora! is also not afraid to subvert them as well.
Ryuuji looks like a classic anime delinquent, but acts as a caretaker, throughout the series we see him have a need to look after and take care of others, whether it is his pet, his mother, or his fellow peers. The same could be said for Taiga, despite her being the tsundere character played completely straight, she does exhibit genuine moments of kindness.
This is taken even further with the supporting cast. Minori Kushieda is your typical high energy air-head character, but she is also very deep and understanding. She sees through peoples facades and understand people for what they are and not what they appear to be. The same goes for Yusaku Kitamura, who is your typical student council member in appearance, but is far from being shy and soft-spoken. In fact, as a character he is even far more outgoing than our main character Ryuji and is quite popular with his fellow students.
Something that I haven’t seen a lot of people really talking about are the fellow students in the series.
Some of the best parts of Toradora! is seeing how the class comes together as a whole. The relationship between the main and supporting cast with their fellow classmates is amazing. It really makes the series stand out as you can see how other students view and communicate with the characters, as well as have a genuine view of how various character relationships develop.
The Visuals and Music
Outside of story, Toradora! really comes together as an anime. The visuals for the series is pretty standard at most times. In fact, I wouldn’t even go so far as to say that it looks the best visually, but when they bump things up they do it very well. The emotional scenes have that extra bit of love and polish to it that really drive things home. Things are even ore exemplified with the FREAKING MUSIC!
As of writing this review, I am still listening to some of the music from this series on repeat, and of course one cannot mention music from this series without bringing up the song Lost My Pieces, which is arguably the best song in the show. It is played at just the right moment with the voice acting to really make those gut-wrenching moments powerful.
Coming into Toradora! I wasn’t expecting much. I thought it would be a fun series to waste my time with, but what I experienced was something much more. The series is a story that may not seem too unique from the premise, but the execution is magnificent. I would easily recommend this to anyone looking for a nice story with a fair bit of romance in it.
If you are only a fan of dub anime, then I can wholeheartedly say that the English dub is absolutely fine. I lean closer to the sub personally, but either way is a good go.
So what are you waiting for?! Go out and buy it! You can also watch it on Hulu and Crunchyroll, but I really think you should give this one a grab.
If you’ve already seen the series, let me know in the comments whether or not you enjoyed it. Also, let me know what series you’d like me to review next. I am way behind on my anime and manga intake.