The rollercoaster ride’s rush, that feeling you get when the rollercoaster starts moving fast after the initial climb, begins in Episode 13 of Toradora! The characters are defined enough, and the stage is set for one amazing, emotional ride. Hidden feelings come out, characters fight (yes, punches are thrown!), and we see more development of the relationships of Ryuji and his mom, and Taiga with her parents.
If you haven’t watched the series, but will, then please be warned that spoilers are coming. I’m intending this post for readers who’ve seen the series. So if you don’t want to see any spoilers, please stop reading now!
What I really like about this anime series is that we see at the beginning how similar Taiga and Ryuji are, and then throughout the series, we see how they complement each other. In my opinion, such relationships are the best. Taiga doesn’t do chores and doesn’t know how to cook good food for herself, but Ryuji does both very well. Taiga is brash, but Ryuji is level-headed. Finally, Taiga and Ryuji support each other emotionally. When there isn’t this balance, there is tension in a relationship. That’s why Ryuji and Minori wouldn’t have worked out. Ryuji likes Minori, but Minori is quite self-sufficient and hard-working. Taiga likes Kitamura, but they’re too different: Taiga is somewhat of an outcast, but Kitamura is on the student council and is widely respected. Ami likes Ryuji, but emotionally, Ami is more mature. And for a guy, how do you date a model?
I remember reading somewhere, in life, you will find out who you really are. You find out your limitations, your likes and dislikes, and who you get along with, and who you don’t. Try too hard to be like someone else who you are not, and you risk losing your own identity: that’s what the school president was afraid would happen to Kitamura by his following her career path.
There is one plotline I wish had more resolution: Ryuji and Taiga didn’t know what they wanted to do after high school. Their high school teacher told them that they must choose their own career path, and that no one can choose it for them. In the end, one is in charge of one’s own happiness. While that’s true, I think the teacher or school counselors should’ve provided more guidance, like figure out what you’re good at, and look at possible careers that match those strengths. College is a process of self-discovery, and the sooner you figure out what subject you want to major in, the sooner you can take the classes to graduate with that major.
Finally, Toradora reminds me of Kimagure Orange Road. There’s a love triangle among two young women and a young man, and there’s a family pet for comic relief. Kyousuke’s special powers in Orange Road are analogous to Ryuji’s talents in cooking, cleaning, and being level-headed.
What did you think of Toradora?