Toradora! 19

とらドラ!Episode 19
Toradora! 19

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Toradora! 19Ryuuji calls Minori and leaves a message asking her to come to the party as Taiga is yelling from across the way for Ryuuji’s attention. Taiga has a present for Ryuuji — a nice suit that had belonged to her father. Taiga is also dressed up and looks good. They head to the party where they see Yuri-sensei, who’s heading for a seminar on buying an apartment. Inside the party, Yuusaku is dressed as a shirtless Santa and gets things started. Ryuuji can’t stand how the fruit punch is being done so he takes over serving. After some time, the lights go out and Ami and Taiga are on stage and perform a Christmas song, idol style.

Toradora! 19After the performance, Ami comes over and sees Ryuuji, who compliments her on the singing. Ryuuji is surprised to learn that Taiga went to get Minori and then go home to wait for Santa-san. Ryuuji is confused and Ami gets irritated by Ryuuji’s ignorance and reminds Ryuuji of what she had told him previously — stop playing house with Taiga. She leaves in a huff and Ryuuji realizes that what Taiga intends. So he takes off from the party.

Toradora! 19Meanwhile, Taiga has paid a visit to Minori to tell her that Ryuuji is waiting and then comes home. She’s feeling a bit sad and lonely, more so knowing that she’s setting Ryuuji up with Minori. Taiga nods off and is awakened by pounding coming from her bedroom window. She goes and finds a person in a Santa-bear costume. Taiga is excited by Santa-san’s visit and shows him her little tree. Taiga is very happy but she knows who’s in the costume — Ryuuji. She thanks him and then shoves him out so that she won’t be a liar. After all, Minori is going to the school to meet Ryuuji. Reluctantly, Ryuuji takes off.

Toradora! 19After Ryuuji leaves, Taiga becomes sad and suddenly doesn’t want Ryuuji to be taken from her as he’s been the only always there for her. So she races outside to see if she can see Ryuuji. Since he is not, Taiga sinks down to the ground and cries. This is seen by Minori, who is inexplicably outside Taiga’s apartment complex. Minori heads to the school and finds Ryuuji waiting. She reminds Ryuuji of their conversation at Ami’s summer place regarding UFO’s and ghosts. She tells him that she doesn’t feel she needs to see those things any more and then leaves. The stunned Ryuuji realizes that he’s been rejected by Minori.

Thoughts/Review:

Toradora! 19I had only one real problem with this episode — why was Minori outside of Taiga’s apartment? The series has shown that Minori doesn’t live in the same nearby area as Ryuuji and Taiga as they would meet Minori on the way to school. Since the Christmas party is at the school and presumably Minori was out to see Ryuuji at school, then why would she be at Taiga’s house? That seemed a stretch to me. If she wanted to talk to Taiga, she could have called. Taiga stopped by Minori’s place rather than call because she wanted to make a personal plea to Minori. There’s no reason for Minori to see Taiga in person. As such, the whole scene of Minori getting to see Taiga weep smacked of unbelievability.

Toradora! 19Ryuuji is really rather dense. Ami could see that Taiga was developing feelings for Ryuuji (as could Maya). Ami could see that Minori had feelings for Ryuuji. Ami knows her own feelings for Ryuuji. Ami had tried to warn Ryuuji about “playing house” and Ryuuji didn’t listen. Ryuuji does feel very protective of Taiga and doesn’t want to lose her, but romantically, he’s still more interested in Minori. Taiga, who’d recently suffered having Yuusaka confess to someone else, knew she had no chance with Yuusaku despite how nice he is nor how others were forcing them together. Yeah, she liked the idea but in reality, Taiga knows the one guy who’s the perfect companion for her — Ryuuji.

Toradora! 19I’ve read some people complain that this episode was full of lazy writing and was all but a “jump the shark” moment. I don’t see that at all. One of the complaints was how Taiga just changed gears from Yuusaku to Ryuuji, but as I said before, Taiga already knew that she wasn’t going to be with Yuusaku. Plus, Taiga has already noticed how close she and Ryuuji are. When they were in Ami’s large summer home, Taiga and Ryuuji spend the evening in the living room with Ryuuji sitting on the floor and Taiga on the couch using him as a foot rest. I don’t know about you, but I’m not getting that cozy with a female friend without some acceptance in my mind that she could be a potential girlfriend, and I believe girls feel much the same in reverse. So at least in the back of Taiga’s mind, Ryuuji was potential boyfriend material (as I see it).

Toradora! 19Another complaint is that the characters are acting like idiots and everything depends on coincidences. For the idiot part, I didn’t see the characters acting any differently. Minori has been depressed for a long time and I suspect her happy-go-lucky nature was to cover her depression. Taiga has often shown a softer side so no difference there. Ryuuji is pretty thick so no difference there. Ami is the one character who seems to see everything clearly but she’s not really acting any differently. So I don’t know where this idiot charge is coming from.

Toradora! 19The coincidence part has one valid argument — Minori (and I’ve already addressed that). The other things that happened didn’t feel coincidental. However, everyone has their own opinions for what they like and don’t like as well as what they perceive and don’t perceive.

One side note — Ami and Taiga performing the duet sorta helps cement in my mind that they are indeed friends. I don’t think they would have bothered to sing together otherwise. Yeah, the song may have been done to get otaku to buy the single, but I liked the moment just the same. No, I won’t be buying the CD, even if I had a job. 😉

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9 Responses to “Toradora! 19”

  1. Hugh Roe says:

    One of the things that got to me in this series has always been the “falling for someone you barely/don’t know” bit between Ryuuji and Minori, at least with Taiga and Yuusaku there was a bit of history.

    Of course now the screech is that Ryuuji doesn’t feel anything more than friendship for Taiga, but there have been slight hints throughout that there is more. I still recall early on when (in the manga) he told Taiga not to go to sleep at his place because he’d possibly take advantage of her.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Minori was heading over to Taiga’s house in order to find out for certain what Taiga’s true feelings were (which she does). Although the source material makes this clear, it really isn’t explained in the show.

  3. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Hugh — Man, I don’t remember any such speech by Ryuuji in the anime. Then again, the anime hasn’t made Taiga the popular person she’s described as being in the light novel/manga. Taiga has only recently achieved some small popularity after her fight with the former student council president.

    @anon — that’s the biggest problem I’m having with the show. Hugh has pointed out a few other things earlier on where the anime writers decide to discard small but important bits of information which would make things clearer. Instead, they are depending on the viewers to have read the source materials and just fill in the blanks.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is a little off topic, but your last reply @anon reminded me that you also said something very similar in response to Dave Barani’s newsgroup review of this episode.

    “That said, Dave’s point about bad writing comes into play. It is clear that the anime writers expect the audience to be familiar with the source materials and fill in the blanks. Throughout the series, I’ve had people who’ve read the novels address certain of my complaints by telling me how the anime adaptation drops bits here and there, which had they been included would have made things clearer and certainly flow better. That is a kind of bad, lazy writing that I don’t like, but which happens too often in anime.”

    I agree with both of these comments, BUT this is exactly the same point many Tenchi fans have made against Kajishima’s way of story-telling in OAV3 that requires people to be familiar with a lot of external content introduced after the original OAVs. The thing is, I’ve seen a lot of these discussions and you’ve always passionately defended this kind of “bad, lazy writing” when Kajishima does it. I have to ask, WTH is up with this double standard?

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    You raise an excellent point to a degree. For starters, I’ve never said that the writing for “OVA 3” was perfect. In fact, I have slammed many parts of it. My defense has been more in lines of where the story went since the series was always about Tenchi, not about his harem. They were just icing on the cake and easy to get lost in.

    That said, there is a difference between “TM!R OVA 3” and general adaptations. For this episode of “Toradora!,” having little bits dropped from the anime adaptation meant that we lost critical information. Clearly the writers expect the audience to be versed in the original light novels because that is their audience.

    For “TM!R OVA 3,” there is no adaptation. OVA 3 in and of itself is an original story. The unfortunate thing here (and I’ve conceded this as well) is that the storytelling covers multiple media formats and for us in the U.S., we are completely screwed save for what bits of information have been uncovered and brought to light in my FAQ site.

    Now, I freely admit to being somewhat biased with Tenchi. At the same time, I do concede that for American fans, this cross-media storytelling is not something we do in the U.S. However for the Japanese Tenchi otaku market, this is no big deal. They’ve read the novels, the interviews, the doujinshi, etc. and are more versed in the world Kajishima-sensei has created whereas we (and I include myself in this since I’ve not read everything) are not.

    One of the other problems with the Tenchi franchise is GXP. That’s very much part of the canon, but it was released before OVA 3 even though it took place after OVA 3. So characters introduced there (Yosho’s wife, Aeka and Sasami’s grandmother) made sense to appear in OVA 3 for those who’d seen GXP.

    Now, I’ve tried to look at things outside of GXP and I still don’t see why those few are so hostile to Airi and Seto’s being in OVA 3. Seto’s arrival providing interesting information on how much Jurai knew about Yosho’s disappearance while Aeka was out in space in hibernation as well as giving Aeka and Sasami a grandmother (Misaki’s mother). Airi provided Tenchi with a grandmother and Tenchi was able to learn more about the Misaki family secrets. Frankly I found that good information, but I guess people were so hung up on their own story ideas and wanting to see Aeka and Ryoko duke it out that anything short of that was a fail.

    OVA 3’s failure in writing comes not from dropping stuff from an adaptation (as I mentioned) but from wasting time. With only six episodes, did we need an entire episode dedicated to Noike and Sasami cooking? Absolutely not.

    Also, when Tenchi’s harem first gets into a big fight with the Galaxy Army Special Forces at the end of one episode, the following episode, everything is resolved and all we get is a non-dramatic Sasami flashback. Now while I didn’t mind Misao and Mashisu’s story being told, the fact that there were only six episodes to tell everything meant that maybe this story shouldn’t have been told. However, those who’d seen GXP and liked it had a greater appreciation of the Misao-Mashisu story.

    So yeah, there are major writing problems with OVA 3, but at the same time, it is not the end of the universe that some would go on for years and years and years and years about. There were plenty of good things that we learned from OVA 3 if one’s focus was on the world Kajishima built rather than the trivial “who will Tenchi choose?”

    While I had problems with some writing elements in “Toradora!,” in the end (along with the explanations fans who’ve read the light novels provide) I’m still able to enjoy this anime on the whole.

    So my defense of OVA 3 comes mainly from an annoyance at those very few people who can’t move on with their lives and have to preach to the world how badly it sucks and they sometimes don’t even get to the writing or direction. Otherwise, how often do you see me start up a Tenchi conversation these days? You don’t. ^_^

    Thanks for writing and for not going into a psycho rant on the subject of OVA 3. ^_^

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’ve got to say I don’t see a big difference between leaving out some important parts in an adaptation, and continuing a story with a lot of the links missing for the viewer like OAV3 did. The result is still the viewer left scratching his or her head to an extent. I can see some of your points though and I guess some of what I remembered about your views on OAV3 was a little off base. I wasn’t happy with the new characters because they were casually dropped in as though I should have known them already, and they stole time from the primary cast without adding much of anything. I believe OAV3 could have been executed so much better even with the same storyline. Not much we can do about it unfortunately.

  7. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Since I’ve got more free time, I may just go back, rewatch the whole thing and blog it as a “back to the archives” feature (I believe I have one come out for “Planetes” today).

  8. Anonymous says:

    If you like. I was thinking that since it must have taken you a while to write that reply above, you could have made it into a full-fledged blog post instead, it’s sort of wasted here in the comments for another anime.

  9. […] is that I can have a bit of fun with images from anime series. So during the Christmas party in episode 19 of Toradora!, I grabbed two images of both Taiga and Ryuuji dressed up. Unfortunately, I […]

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