Toradora! 20

とらドラ!Episode 20

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

The winter break is almost over with Ryuuji recovering from and illness and Taiga deciding to stay away with the new year’s start. Ryuuji and Taiga discuss this late one evening across the alley below them. Taiga feels that Minori rejected Ryuuji because Taiga is always at Ryuuji’s house and Ryuuji is always doing things for Taiga. Therefore, Taiga will keep her distance. As far as meals go, there’s always instant ramen and fast food. Taiga tells Ryuuji to not run away because of the setback at being rejected at Christmas.

Ryuuji walks to school alone and at his shoe locker, he’s given back his suit from the guy whom Ryuuji had borrowed the Santa-bear costume. In class, Haruta is having some fun with Taiga and is chased out by Taiga. Minori arrives but Ryuuji finds he cannot even say good morning to her. Back in class, Yuri-sensei tells her students that the class trip to Okinawa is off since the hotel burned down. As such, they will be taking a much shorter trip to the mountains for skiing. The class is not happy about this which causes Yuri-sensei to snap and write on the board that things in life don’t always go like you’d like.

Ryuuji is walking home from the market when he hears people talking about a beautiful girl. That girl turns out to be Ami, who’s waiting at a street corner. She’s not really thrilled to see Ryuuji because she considers him an idiot. Turns out she’s been waiting for Taiga, who then arrives. Ryuuji is surprised that they are friendly as the three of them head to a coffee shop. There, Ami produces an item for Taiga, which turns out to not be a gift but something Taiga had Ami pick up for her. Ami learns of the class trip change of plans and of Minori’s rejection of Ryuuji. Taiga tells Ami to keep her distance from Ryuuji so that Minori and Ryuuji can maybe get together. Before they depart, Ami tells Taiga she hopes he’s the only one getting hurt in this matter, which Ryuuji doesn’t understand.

On the way home, Taiga tells Ryuuji she believes in him and warns him not to run away on the following day. The following day comes and Ryuuji encounters Minori on the way to school. Minori is still acting cheerful and as they go to cross the street, they hear Taiga yell to Minori to hold Ryuuji. She grabs him by the hand and then realizes that Taiga just set her up. Taiga throws a bag of stuff at Ryuuji, telling him he has to carry it as she races ahead. Minori is not happy with Taiga’s stunt, but puts up a front again and walks to school with Ryuuji, both of them holding a strap on the bag. Along the way, they talk of Minori’s brother in another high school and Minori’s new hair style. Minori notes that she used to have a buzz cut as a child, earning her the name “Mister Lady” (actual term used in the Japanese).

At the shoe lockers, Minori and Ryuuji see Ami, with Minori addressing Ami as “Ami-senpai” for some reason. Minori asks if Ami’s seen Taiga. Ami’s answer is rather cryptic and bothers Ryuuji. In class, the groups are established for the ski trip with Ami, Nanako, Maya, Taiga, Minori, Ryuuji, Noto, Haruta, and Yuusaku being in one group. Maya objects to this group setting because it puts Yuusaku and Taiga together but she can’t speak that aloud. Noto tells Maya to join another group if she doesn’t like it. Of course she can’t do that because she wants to be in the same group as Yuusaku. Yuusaku asks Ryuuji for an opinion and Ryuuji is fine with the grouping. End of discussion.

The groups are assigned to make guidebooks for the trip, so Taiga offers her place up for them to meet and do the work. So the group meets at Taiga’s luxury apartment and those who’d not been there are amazed at its size and how much it must cost a month. Yuusaku takes charge to get the work done which causes Ryuuji to notice that Taiga is speaking normally with Yuusaku, something he mentions to Taiga. Taiga sends him off to the kitchen where Minori is making black tea for the group. There, Minori mentions to Ryuuji the positive influence he’s had on Taiga, noting the cups Taiga has purchased for tea/coffee.

As Ryuuji and Minori bring out the tea, Nanako notices a picture in the Okinawa brochure. Maya sees it, followed by Ami who jokingly says they have to keep Yuusaku from seeing it. Yuusaku takes a look and sees it is Sumire. This causes Taiga to chastise Ami for her words. Haruta has found a dress and put it on to tease Taiga, causing her to give chase to the amusement of the others. As this happens, Ryuuji thinks of Minori’s words to him in the kitchen of wanting to enjoy their final class trip and her wish that things could stay as they are now. That makes Ryuuji realize he can’t stay as he is forever.


I knew that Minori’s cheerfulness was a front. This episode proved that without a shadow of a doubt. That’s not to say that Minori isn’t a cheerful person, but she hides behind that cheerful exterior to mask her true feelings. During the last few episodes, she’s been overwhelmed but clearly, she tries to put up that front again. It slipped briefly when Taiga pulled on over on her so that she’d be forced to grab Ryuuji’s arm and then walk to school with Ryuuji. Minori has spoken in the past about her own selfishness but she’s mostly kept a smiling, cheerful front. To Ryuuji, she mentioned being afraid of failing in regards to her friendship with Taiga, yet when we meet Minori for the first time, she’s still smiling, hiding it all inside. I still think that’s why she keeps so busy — to keep herself distracted. People with a lot of free time have lots of time to think if they so choose.

One related side note, I wonder how she views herself as a woman in light of revealing she has a brother at a different high school and that as a child, she received short hair cuts. This may add to her feelings of inadequacy.

I laughed when I saw Ami and Taiga had arranged to meet. They have become rather friendly as seen with their Christmas duet. Ryuuji proved oblivious again with their growing friendship. To me, it another revelation of how Taiga has grown and how she could survive without Ryuuji. There were the other things such as Taiga’s proper sorting of the garbage (which the Japanese are pretty anal about). The biggest piece of evidence that Taiga can survive is how she no longer panics over speaking with Yuusaku. That tells me that Taiga has accepted things between herself and Yuusaku and is fine being friends with him. If she can make that leap, then she can make the leap and let Minori have Ryuuji exclusively. After all, Taiga is sacrificing her feelings for Ryuuji in order to get Minori and Ryuuji together. Unlike Minori, I don’t think Taiga is putting up a front regarding Ryuuji (or at least, not much of one).

I actually kinda felt sorry for Ami in this episode. The irony is that she’s this ultra-hot model. She goes to Hawaii for a photo shoot and has to miss a day of class. When standing on a street corner (waiting for Taiga), she’s noticed because she’s hot. She’s pretty well off financially and lacks for nothing. She could have just about any guy from her class or indeed any guy older than her, yet the one guy she really would like to be with is something she can’t have for now. So she sacrifices her own feelings to go along with Taiga’s wishes to set up Minori and Ryuuji. Should Minori reject Ryuuji a second time, it would be interesting to see if Ami tries to make a move then.

I do have one complaint — the character designs for Ami and Sumire are too similar. When I initially saw the brochure for Okinawa that the group used as a basis to make a new brochure, I thought the picture in the brochure was Ami since she’s a model. Her comments over keeping Yuusaku from seeing the picture made me think she was just teasing her old childhood friend. However, things didn’t quite make sense as to Taiga’s reaction nor Maya and Nanako’s reaction. So I rewatched the scene and realized it had to be Sumire in the photo since the term “rejection” was mentioned.

So a good episode and even if Minori is putting up a front, at least her gloom isn’t putting a big cloud over the series.

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