Toradora! 15

Toradora! 15
とらドラ!Episode 15

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Yuusaku is clearly depressed in class before school starts, even failing at his role of class president to get the students to rise, bow to the teacher, and be seated. Yuri-sensei is a little troubled with how Yuusaku is acting and more so when after she mentions him becoming student council president (as the only candidate), he storms out of the class after screaming and saying that he was quitting it all.

The next day, there’s a crowd outside the school gate. Ryuuji and Taiga are amazed to discover a blonde-haired Yuusaku struggling with a couple of male teachers. He’s taken to the teacher room, after which Ryuuji, Ami, Student Council President Sumire are summoned. Ami finds the whole thing funny, but Yuri-sensei isn’t laughing. Sumire says she doesn’t know why Yuusaku snapped. Ami and Ryuuji can offer no insight into Yuusaku’s actions and leave as well. Ami and Ryuuji follow Sumire, where Ami challenges her, feeling she indeed had something to do with Yuusaku’s attitude change. Sumire says that if she did, she’ll be disappointed in Yuusaku.

Everyone but Ami are concerned over Yuusaku as she believes it to be just a stunt. When Yuusaku is witnessed to be running away from the school grounds, Ami mutters on how fortunate someone must be to be heard when they shout. Taiga, Ryuuji, and Minori meet later and discuss visiting Yuusaku at home. Taiga bails out of the meeting, saying that fewer people going would be best. She then concedes to Ryuuji that there’s absolutely nothing she can do for Yuusaku, so her going would be a waste. After school, Ryuuji and Minori walk to Yuusaku’s house, with Minori remarking on how mature Ami is from working in an adult world and that Ami is worried about Yuusaku in her own way. When Ryuuji remarks on how nice Minori is for being so caring, Minori rejects this, saying she’s selfish, arrogant, and dishonest. They arrive at Yuusaku’s home to find him not home.

Ryuuji comes home to discover a near-petrified Taiga there. Why? Because Yuusaku has crashed there, stating he ran away from home. Taiga decides to show she’s helpful and tries to assist Ryuuji in the kitchen, but burns the fried eggs. Yuusaku eats them anyway. Yuusaku and Taiga then play games until late in the night. When Ryuuji wakes up, Taiga is alone in front of the TV. They find Yuusaku has gone to bed and Taiga is happy to see his happy face before realizing how selfish she is, something she remarks on after they go to get some ice cream from a convenience store.

Late the next morning, Ryuuji wakes up to find Yuusaku looking down on him and Taiga asleep on his legs. Yuusaku mentions he drank the milk in the fridge and when Taiga wakes up, she’s not thrilled at smelling milk and in her daze, punches Yuusaku. The chatter of these three wakes up Ryuuji’s mother, who is not happy about it. She emerges, hands them some money, then points to the door for them to leave. So, the group heads to a batting cage where Yuusaku works off some stress. Taiga gets up next and too Yuusaku’s amazement, does quite well in the cages, even managing to hit the small home run target.

Returning home that evening, Ryuuji’s mother is back to her normal, bimbo self and is waiting for them. She asks Ryuuji to hold Yuusaku, which he does. At that point, she gets up and reveals that she’s wearing rubber gloves, has a box of black hair dye, and an applicator. She explains that the next student council president can’t have blonde hair and that Yuusaku’s father called her about this. Yuusaku is angry about this and breaks away, running out into the night. Ryuuji and Taiga talk about Yuusaku later that evening, wondering if he’s doing what Minori does. So they come up with a plan and the next day, Taiga announces to a horrified school that she’s running for student council president and she’s going to make their lives miserable.

Thoughts/Review:

What the…?!

OK, so where does this angst-ridden Yuusaku come from? Granted, at the end of the last episode, he was contemplative over whatever Sumire told him, but this screaming (though the first scream had a drama AND comedy effect), dyeing his hair blonde, running away from home, and basically acting nutty about not wanting to be student council president seemed so out of character and so out of left field that as a viewer, it passed a certain level of believability. Yeah, I know, people can snap and that was the eye I attempted to view this episode through. If Yuusaku is doing the reverse psychology thing like Minori does for horror, well that won’t make it any better.

Selfishness seemed to be the major theme of this episode though, which I suppose isn’t surprising since in many ways, the anime has a lot of selfish people. Still, it seemed more of a theme here with Yuusaku acting in his own self-interest by running away from the duties that were expected of him (becoming student council president). Minori rejection of Ryuuji’s remark about her being nice by saying she’s a selfish, arrogant, and dishonest person continued that theme (though I’ve no idea where she’s going with that). Taiga remarked on her own selfishness at being happy to be spending time with Yuusaku when apparently all the time he’s been suffering under pressure. That I can understand.

Ryuuji’s mother continues to not be a character I care for. I don’t like the drunken bimbo types and she’s that. Plus, what the heck business of hers is it to try to force-dye Yuusaku’s hair black again because Yuusaku’s father called her? Although I am an adult, I would certainly be pissed if my best friend’s idiot mother tried to do that to me where I in a similar circumstance as Yuusaku. As an adult, it isn’t my job to raise another parent’s child. However, it is possible that Yuusaku’s dad may see Ryuuji’s mother as a client and being a bimbo, she didn’t think anything of it. That said, I do admit that tired, angry Ryuuji’s mother was surprising and funny.

One little nice touch was the batting cage scene. I liked how that after Yuusaku had his go, Taiga got in there and began getting hits and even got the home run. Where was her prize though? My understanding of those batting cage parks is that if you hit the little home run tag, you get a little prize. Not important, but it did cross my mind.

Taiga running for student council president. Man, I sure hope her and Ryuuji’s plan backfires and she actually wins. That would be both funny and interesting. However, I expect Yuusaku to “wake up” if you will and become president. We’ll see I guess.

Well, as I write this, I’ve caught up current to what’s in Japan (though this won’t get posted for days). I hope this episode doesn’t mark a “jump the shark” moment.

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