AM! #7: Toradora!

Anime Me!  #7: Toradora!

Originally a Japanese  light novel series by Yuyuko Takemiya.  The series in total are ten novels released between 2006 and 2009, published by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko label.  A manga was then adapted by Zekkyō and started serialization in the shōnen manga magazine Dengeki Comic Gao! formally by MediaWorks.

After a run by an internet radio show in 2008 hosted by Animate TV, a 25 episode anime adaptation produced by J.C.Staff aired in Japan on TV Tokyo starting in 2008 running through 2009.  The title Toradora! is derived from the names of the two main characters Taiga Aisaka and Ryūji Takasu. “Taiga” sounds like “tiger” in English, and tiger in Japanese is tora. “Ryūji” literally means “son of dragon” in Japanese, and a transcription of dragon into Japanese is doragon.  Thus Toradora!

Toradora! is one of those stories that just hooks you and never let’s go.  Now like most “high school dramas” it follows the lives a few characters and their interactions between them.  They go through normal everyday events and their daily struggles through high school.  A love triangle story develops and becomes interestingly twisted as each character finds their true feeling for the one’s they truly love.  At one point you actually do start rooting for certain characters to find each other.

We find Ryūji Takasu, the male protagonist and absolute neat-freak, who is becoming more frustrated by his own looks as he enters his second year of high school.  He has a very gentle personality, but his looks, mainly his eyes, make him look at first glance as an intimidating delinquent.  He is at a time in his life where he is looking for a girlfriend, but he is utterly hopeless about going about it.  From his constantly hungover mother, to his best-friend (Yūsaku), to the one girl (Minori) he has a secret crush on.  He unexpectedly knocks into “the school’s most dangerous animal”, Taiga Aisaka.  Who just happens to also be in his class, and is a good friend of Minori.

Taiga has a negative attitude towards others and just about everything (except Minori).  She will not hesitate to snap at anyone.  After meeting Ryūji, she takes an instant dislike of him, and literally smacks him upside the head.  Now here is where the story gets interesting.  As it so happens, Taiga has a crush on Yūsaku, and Taiga finds out about Ryūji’s affections towards Minori.  Both Ryūji and Taiga decide to team-up for the purpose of helping each win the hearts of the ones they love.  At first Taiga exploits the fact that Ryūji will do anything to get closer to Minori.  But along the way they open up to a side of each other that neither ever shows.

I won’t spoil anymore, and there is a lot more to view, side plots, and an added love triangle, not to mention much more to have laughs with.  On a side note the opening theme Pre-Parade by Kugimiya Rie & Kitamura Eri & Horie Yui is very catchy, and very appropriate for the series.  By far it is one of the most enjoyable themes in any anime.  Now to be truthful, I was very hesitant about this anime.  At first glance it seems like a Shojo type romance story, and in some regards it is.  But ultimately the story itself is what keeps this anime going.  It is a very interesting look into why you should never judge a book by it’s cover, as you never know what is inside, until you look.  Lesson learned…lol.

From the many, many comic gags and situations throughout the series, to the touching scenes towards the end.  There is no doubt Toradora! is one of the best stories I have seen.


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