Yay, I’m writing again! And reviewing! Rather than a game, this time it’s an anime? I wonder if that means someone will actually read this? Pfft, as if.

Toradora was an interesting time-waster. While it does have a few moments that prompted laughter (primarily involving a parrot), the characters are perhaps too deep to really be able to just sit and enjoy this series. Characters are examined to the point where you either begin to emphasize with their pain, or just end up hating them altogether.

Characters:

Left to Right: Taiga, Ryuji, Ami, Minori, Exhebitionist-kun

Ryuji is a scary-looking student with an obsession for cleaning/housework and mad skillz at cooking. Despite his initial presentation, he’s a fairly cookie-cutter protagonist when he interacts with people. His main feature, his Yakuza-looks, don’t get brought up much and really he could’ve looked like any other wide-eyed anime protagonist to the same effect. The only thing really remarkable about him is his obsession with cleaning. Too bad it doesn’t get played up much.

Taiga is the female protagonist of the series. She’s got daddy issues (and in this case the guy is actually quite an asshole) and a temper, but doesn’t come off as a complete bitch for whatever reason. She is extremely high-maintenance both physically (eating a lot for a Japanese person) and emotionally (cries too much). The show tries to play off the fact that she’s misunderstood and has it hard, but honestly fails at both. She, like Ryuji, monologues to the point that you stop taking her plight seriously.

Minori is a red head in Ryuji’s class that he has a major crush on. She’s portrayed as hyper, speaking oddly, and insightful at random moments. She switches moods so fast it gives people whiplash. She also ignores people that are talking about things she doesn’t want to discuss. All in all, irritating. Also prone to random self-loathing and turns out to be a surprisingly hesitant character. It’d probably be better if she really were as airheaded as she makes everyone think she is.

Kitamura is apparently Ryuji’s only male friend of any significance, and is kind of a dick. I couldn’t help but feel that he’s extremely good at reading/manipulating people. Every time he appears he either appears painfully ignorant or just completely disinterested. He also shamelessly flirts with any females that he doesn’t “like.” The only time he didn’t come off as a complete dick (and generally a fill-in character) was when his issues with the president came to the forefront. Judging by his plans for studying abroad after the show, I don’t think he got over them.

Ami is a teen fashion model that is Kitamura’s childhood friend. She alternates between being portrayed as a self-absorbed celebrity and a typical “mature” lady. She’s so hung up on not being able to live her childhood the way she wants it gets worse listening to her than Taiga. She’s apparently responsible for making the characters realize their “true feelings”, but honestly she just goads everyone to the point of instability, at which point the plot takes care of everything. She gets the “sad ending” as well.

"When you run through the hallways of life, your tears are the metaphorical nosebleed."

Getting into this show, I expected a semi-serious plot with some comedy tacked on. I suppose I can understand this show’s popularity given the amount of character-development, but to me it was overdone. The show also has several serious themes that frankly hit me out of nowhere.

Hit me like a flying exhibitionist

Toradora is basically about becoming an adult and learning to put up with the daily bullshit that life throws at us. That summary is nowhere near as depressing as how right that statement is. It’s annoying as hell, and as a result so is this series.

The characters interact and continue to beat around the bush, refusing to just come out and say what their issues are, deigning to operate within the confines of their more annoying personality traits (except Ryuji, who as a protagonist never really knows what’s going on until the plot demands him to give a cool speech). Some could argue it’s realistic, but I call it annoying. Like real people. Hmmmm….

It's time to duel?

Another theme the series brings up is how young people are predisposed to acting without thinking. Though they attempt to highlight this during the series a few times, I can’t help but think of how cautious and suspicious these characters are. None of these characters act without thinking their actions through. It’s kind of an annoying aspect of most anime, but it really stands out when the show has the characters contradicting their own monologues. Do all Japanese High School students think ten steps ahead all the time?

Yet when they do reach out and try to do something different from the norm, they’re immediately shot down, rather harshly, and left to brood in silence until someone yells at them. Considering all the crap Ryuji and company go through, I’m not sorry I decided to forgo most social interaction throughout High School. Still, I can’t imagine any young anime fan having much to look forward to if they think this is how their high school life and future friendships will play out. Maybe the Japanese simply have that bleak of an outlook on the world? It seems as if anything that happens after High School is something that will slowly suck your soul out according to these conceptions. The characters talk about dreams and yet have it constantly shoved in their faces.

Frankly this series pisses me off. Maybe it’s childish, but if this is supposed to be adulthood, then someone else can have it. Various aspects of society continue to annoy me enough as it is. Though I suppose I should be thankful that I’m not a completely feminine tool like Ryuji. Seriously, there comes a time when you have to tell certain people to flock off. At least he got the girl in the end, though this all could have been avoided if he’d been given the devious insight of his contemporaries…

I somehow doubt people will get the DMC reference...

see what I did thur?

Toradora is licensed in the US by NIS America

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