Toradora! 13

とらドラ!Episode 13

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Ami is helping apply makeup to Taiga before the Miss Ohashi contest while Ryuuji finishes work on Taiga’s dress, the work of which amazes the other girls in the class. Taiga is checking her cell phone but denies she’s looking for messages from her father, stating that he’s probably working late. Ami says that the lines for Taiga should be changed, but Taiga won’t hear of it. Ami is called out to get ready to be the M.C. and Ryuuji is sent out so that Taiga can get changed. Ryuuji believes Taiga’s father will come no matter what.

The Miss Ohashi contest starts with Ami dressed in a leather outfit and a whip. When the crowd won’t get silent, she allows her real self to come out to shut them up, then plays it off as if role playing a dominatrix. As the first contestant comes out and is interviewed by Ami, Ryuuji gets a text message from Taiga’s father, asking Ryuuji to apologize to Taiga for him as he won’t be attending the Miss Ohashi contest, nor will he be living with Taiga as he will be away for quite some time. Ryuuji is horrified by this, realizing the truth and that Minori had been right all along. Ryuuji blames his own selfish feelings for blinding him to the obvious.

Ami introduces Taiga and the crowd is awed as the infamous Palmtop Tiger looks beautiful in her white dress and angel wings. However, Taiga looks a bit depressed, so Ami presses on, announcing that Taiga’s father is there and invites him forward. Of course nothing happens and as the crowd gets restless, Taiga tries to leave, but trips and falls. She rips her dress in anger as Ryuuji begins to clap, as does a crying Minori in the back. This gets the crowd to clapping, but Taiga is not done, grabbing Ami’s mike and yelling in rage. After putting down fathers, she has someone bring her a large clothing bag. Taiga gets in it, has herself zipped in, then unzipped and she re-emerges. After Taiga gives a “hmph” of disdain, the crowd goes wild for her and she wins the beauty contest.

The president of the student council gets on stage and announces that there will be a “Mister Lucky Guy” (“mister” being used in the Japanese) contest with the guys having to run a race. The winner will not only get to crown Miss Ohashi and dance with her, but they will also get all of the president’s class notes and the answers from all tests from her time at school. That fires up the guys and the race is on. Ryuuji is determined to win, but he is knocked down as part of the other guys’ strategy. Ryuuji comes back though and knocks down people of his own. He gets into the lead, only to find Minori passing him. Then two members of the track team pass and knock Ryuuji down before doing the same to Minori. One of Minori’s softball club mates tosses her a softball, which she uses to knock out both track team members. Other guys are rapidly approaching, so Minori charges them, managing to knock them all down. She tells Ryuuji to go on and win the race for Taiga, but Ryuuji instead helps her up. Taking her by the hand, they run together and cross the finish line. As they do, Taiga thinks of how they don’t have to worry about her because she is standing on her own again.

At the post-festival dance, Sumire (the student council president) thanks Yuusaku for his efforts in making the festival such a success. Elsewhere, Taiga and Ryuuji talk about recent events with Taiga wondering when Ryuuji and Minori made up. Taiga sees Minori and calls her over to give her a big hug. Taiga then decides to give Minori and Ryuuji time alone and so takes off to bash “baka chihuahua” (Ami) for flirting. Minori and Ryuuji talk, with Minori explaining that Taiga’s father did something similar a year ago. She apologizes for not telling Ryuuji about it and goes on to say that she and Taiga don’t discuss Taiga’s family situation and that Taiga likely would have gotten mad anyway. Ryuuji wonders why Taiga didn’t say anything, so Minori explains that Taiga loves her father and doesn’t want people badmouthing him.

Yuusaku asks Taiga to a dance and she gracefully accepts. Meanwhile, Minori wonders if she’s a lesbian for being jealous of how close Ryuuji and Taiga have become, so Ryuuji assures her she isn’t. Minori and Ryuuji join the dance along with Yuusaku, Taiga, Ami, and the rest of the school.

Thoughts/Review:

Well, as expected, Taiga isn’t going anywhere, her father won’t be moving in, and Minori and Ryuuji have made up. However, the unexpected aspect of this was the presentation. After Taiga won the Miss Ohashi contest (which I’ll speak a bit more on later), Ryuuji and Minori winning the race to dance with the queen as a joint effort was a nice touch to show that they were friends again. Further, even though they were holding hands, it was also nice that Ryuuji wasn’t shown all flustered. Its little touches like this that help to make this anime so enjoyable.

When Taiga got into the bag, I really expected her to have on a new outfit when she came out rather than the dress she had on. When she didn’t, I briefly wondered what the point of that exercise was since a different outfit would represent a “rebirth” if you will. However, the writers made sure to clear that up at the end with Taiga’s remarks, which I found to be another one of those nice touches. It is unfortunate that her family is as it is and episodes like this make me even more thankful for God blessing me with a great family.

Another nice touch was Ami doing Taiga’s makeup for the beauty contest. I guess they are friends after a fashion. To be honest, a big part of me is surprised that Taiga won because I just couldn’t imagine it. I had read that in the light novels, Taiga is considered to be cute and is often asked out by guys but she turns them down. In the anime, Taiga doesn’t come off cute to me most of the time, though she did look good in the dress Ryuuji made. I did like how the writers had her win (no doubt coming from the light novel). Well, now that she’s won Miss Ohashi, I wonder if the anime stories will have guys trying to date Taiga.

It is nice seeing how this anime title surprises me in small ways. No wonder so many people find it to be such a delight.

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