J. C. Staff Studio
Directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai/Music by Yukari Hashimoto/Based on the light novel by Yuyuko Takemiya & Yasu
Entering his second year of high school, Takasu Ryūji enters the school prepared to once again deal with the misimpressions his intimidating appearance seems to always leave on his new classmates each year. He’s helped along the way in this regard when he runs into a new classmate, the cute, tiny, tsundere, and ever-so-slightly-violent Aisaka Taiga–literally runs into her, that is. Which might just be destiny, although it also serves the immediate purpose of revealing that he’s not actually a scary guy at all. Through a series of misapprehensions and fumbles, Ryūji and Taiga enter a unlikely partnership of sorts, as each has a huge crush on the other’s best friend. As these two and their friends(?) Kushieda Minori, Kitamura Yūsaku, and Kawashima Ami go through the school year together, their friendships and affections grow in unexpected ways, sometimes leaving a bitter impression but mostly, preciously filled with the sweetness of being together.
I deeply enjoyed watching the anime version of Toradora! The story is a bittersweet romantic comedy with strong seinen undertones, even though the setting is high school. I really felt that the combination of humor and seriousness was very poignant; it draws the reader in more than I ever expected to be. And even though it’s a romantic comedy–and there are some touchingly romantic moments–it’s not overly mushy either. I think it shows the emotional uncertainties and struggles of youth in a sweet, gentle way–which suits Ryūji’s character perfectly, being such a gentle, nice guy as he is. The yin-yang (or rather, tiger-dragon) sort of character contrast between Taiga and Ryūji is brilliant, bringing out the best of both of their characters. And I love that there are numerous other significant characters with well-developed personalities and stories mixed in to the story as well. The art for the anime is quite nice–typical seinen (think Maria†Holic or Papa Kiki!)–and I appreciate that it’s not too overly ecchi (something the genre has a bad tendency toward). Toradora! is absolutely on my list of highly recommended anime series–really, check it out!
Note: There are 25 primary episodes in this anime. Additionally, there is a 26th episode which was released as an OVA–dealing entirely with a bento competition–which is silly, amusing, and well worth watching.