Toradora! Final Thoughts

Toradora! Final Thoughts

I was watching Kannagi and enjoying the humor when I noticed that there was a great deal of buzz about a series called Toradora!. People were comparing the two series and trying to figure out which of the two titles were the best of Fall 2008. Some people even mentioned it here, so I thought I’d check it out. The verdict? Comparing it to Kannagi is completely wrong, but as a series, I rather enjoyed it.

The series started rather poorly for me. For starters, people comparing Toradora! to the ultra funny Kannagi made me believe that this would be another wacky comedy affair when in fact it is not. That’s not to say there isn’t humor because there is and it is funny at times. However, the comedy styles are completely different so there is no comparison of the two on that front.

Further harming the series from the start was the casting of seiyuu KUGIMIYA Rie for the role of Taiga. She’s done tsundere characters such as Nagi from Hayate the Combat Butler and Shana from Shakugan no Shana, Rena-chan from Hand Maid May, and the non-tsundere male character of Al from Fullmetal Alchemist. So this felt like just another tsundere role for her and it was a distraction. Fortunately, I quickly got used to her doing the role and soon I forgot about all of the other characters she’s played and only focused on Taiga.

The first three episodes made me wonder what the heck people had been watching to gush so much over Toradora!. The pacing seemed off and there also seemed to be small things missing, which I later learned indeed happened (thanks to Hugh for that information). This is a problem that creeps up throughout the run of the series. On the whole, it is not terribly bad, but at times it is very frustrating to have bits of information missing.

Since the anime writers are compressing 10 volumes of light novels into 25-episodes of anime, this problem actually gets worse over time. I understand that lots of stuff had to be cut for the anime to complete in 25-episodes. That being the case, why not just do a second series or season? I know that anime adaptations are primarily done for otaku of the source material (be it a game, manga, or novel) and unfortunately, Japanese anime writers feel OK with cutting stuff because they expect the audience to fill in the blanks. Anime isn’t written for us gainjin, you know. ^_~

As I said, these gaps don’t harm the series in the big picture. Why? Because the story comes off feeling very real to me, complete with unexpected but natural events happening. Taiga’s and Ryuuji’s friendship feels right and their plans to win over the person of their dreams feels like something a high school kid would do.

With Ami’s introduction to the cast, the story took many unexpected twists and turns and not just for the heck of it. I enjoyed how Ami and Taiga became friends and how Ami was one of the gang simply because they accepted her for who she is, not just because she’s a model. I didn’t like how Ami seemed to get the short end of the stick when it came to expressing her feelings for Ryuuji but we can’t have everything. It would have been nice for that to have received a better resolution.

Another thing that felt real were the emotions displayed. I know some people have thought people got too angst-filled in the 2nd-half of the anime, but I disagree. What we saw were the masks coming off the core characters and seeing their true selves. That’s been a theme since Ami was introduced. The ironic thing is that it wasn’t just Ami pretending to be something she was not — all of the characters were doing this to some degree or other. As such, we have a “harem” where the three girls (who are also friends) falling for the same guy has very realistic feeling instead of the traditional romantic comedy elements. So I appreciated that aspect.

Finally, a thing that doesn’t often happen in harem titles is the choice — which girl with the hero end up with? While I think it is pretty obvious that Taiga and Ryuuji would end up together, valid arguments could be made for Ryuuji ending up with Minori or Ami too. A choice was made though and whether one likes it or not, it is a choice. While a lack of a single choice can be justified in come anime titles, some titles like this one will see the writers just punt on a choice. So I’m glad that was not the case here.

In the end, despite the obvious gaps in story which harms the pacing of the series at times, the realistic story complete with its unexpected moments are what really make this anime title excel. Add to this some excellent seiyuu work as well as some pretty good comedy bits and we have the markings of a real winner. As a result, I can easily give Toradora! a 4 out of 5.

Toradora! 09
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4 Responses to “Toradora! Final Thoughts”

  1. mastermack0 says:

    You are too nice. Toradora was not a comedy, it was just a romantic drama.

  2. Ultimaniac says:

    Agreements all around. Not the greatest series, definitely not the worst. Personally, I loved it.

  3. AstroNerdBoy says:

    It had comedy moments though. ^_^;

  4. zdemochobits says:

    Thanks for you Thoughts

    It’s make me feel

    full of a bit blank in the final ep

    nice to read your blog

    ^ ^

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