Toradora! (Fall 2008) – An Unlikely Romance Anime

Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy, Romance, School
Director: Tatsuyuki Nagai
Writer: Mari Okada

Romance, one of the genres that made me wonder why I kept getting here. Strangely, I really enjoyed this genre. I watch thriller because I want to feel a high tension for its genre. I watch mystery because I want to act as a third character who tries to solve a twist. But, why am I watching romance? Does nobody want me in reality? Well, it’s really simple.

Romance is a kind of genre you really want to feel an emotion in yourself. Even though you don’t have anyone, romance is the most powerful genre of all. On the other hand, “Toradora!” is one of the perfect anime in describing this genre. Unlike other anime romances, it gave us a real and pure feeling to get caught up in a complexity of romance. And this anime works in all its aspects so that I can watch this anime for many times, I still feel it.

To begin with, “Toradora” simply is a cliche and predictable romance show. Its fast-pacing and execution are also flat. So, what distinguishes this from other romance anime? This is about a love story between a tiger and a dragon. What’s that? It starts with two main characters through their ridiculous life, personality, and friends. Instead, they both have people they love especially their own friends. From here, Taiga and Ryuji start their life across by helping each other get love from people they love. They help each other but not infrequently, there is a conflict between them. What is wrong with this is that they are suitable partners but they never realize it. This couple often together. It makes me feel sorry for their emotions and feelings. In fact, they don’t realize they have got people who always take care of each other.

Simply put, the premise is really simple, cliche, and cheesy at first glance. But, the story always pulls me deep so I feel that I’m in part of their group. “Toradora!” shows an awkward, warming, lighthearted, and realistic romance. On the other hand, this anime also impresses seriously apart from this is a rom-com story in general. I often see the relationship between these two characters, Taiga and Ryuuji. They just never realized it but we act like people who saw them from a distance. It’s breaking your emotions into a small piece. This anime carries out traits that confuse all feelings. You cry and laugh but it’s so natural, solid, and not too dramatizing. In contrast to “Clannad”, this anime is very natural in its characteristic, but it feels very different from kinds of emotions.

J.C.Staff offered some great animation. It’s visually smooth and feels solid. I love the concept of the opening theme songs and ending. Pretty good with the soundtrack as well. The soundtrack feels dramatic and fits with the moments. It also offers some great tone as well. The voice acting gave a nice job especially Rie Kugimiya as Taiga and Junji Majima as Ryuuji. The rest of the cast focused on a group consists of all Ryuuji’s and Taiga’s friends. They are Minori, Ami, and Yuusaku. All of them are very likable, realistic, and unique personality.

Ryuuji is the main character who is difficult in responding to his school life just because his evil feared eyes regardless he is a good person. He is very loyal to his friends, especially to Yuusaku as his best friend. Yuusaku, on the other hand, is also a good supporting character to Ryuuji and his friends. On the other hand, he offered typical tropes of the funny guy between the main character and Minori.

Taiga is the main heroine in this show. At first glance, she is like some kind of douchebag who really likes to hurt people, especially to Ryuuji with her wooden sword. But, this is what we called our queen tsundere. She stood up for her friends but on the other hand, she was very different from the typical trope in general. On the other side, she is so fragile because of her childish behavior. She is not too annoying with her voice of tsundere’s traits in general. It’s like you want to accompany and embrace her for her very, very fragile, dishonest characteristic.

On the other hand, there is Minori with her energetic typical character. She is like the type of girl that always makes you laugh the same as Yuusaku. But, unlike Taiga, she sometimes acts like she didn’t want to ruin her friendship which resulted in her being beaten to the end. On the other hand, she was there for Taiga and the type of character who sacrificed everything.

Lastly, there is Ami. Ami, at first, is one of the douchebags in this show. But the more the story progresses, she is one of the characters who like to play with other people, especially Ryuuji. She acts like from our point of view who can’t do anything except in certain scenes. She sometimes sarcastic but remains as one of the characters who keeps her feelings deep so that no one knocks herself. All of the supporting characters act as triggers and are returned to the main character and heroine. They don’t have many roles and portions in-depth. Unless you play the visual novel, maybe the impression of this anime would be more than that.

The ending feels natural but quite forced. I just don’t like how the chemistry and feelings between Taiga and Ryuuji felt pushed at the end. Apart from that, I like the ending that binds all the conclusions. It feels we really got this at end of the episode. “Toradora!” is far from being a romance anime and it feels like one of the best rom-com anime ever. It’s a subjective argument if you say so, but that’s the fact. I do have to say the middle of the story is a kind of slow pace but in my opinion, it is not really bothering me. It’s a perfect story in a metaphor about a tiger and a dragon. Just like this world and the flaws, you got this anime.