Toradora!

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Toradora!
Toradora.png
In this world, there's this... thing that no one's ever seen. This thing, it's very kind and gentle, and if anyone could actually see it, there'd be a whole bunch of people wanting to have it. Maybe that's why the world keeps it hidden from everyone; if it's hard to get, that makes it even more special. Yeah, but one day, someone will find it... and whoever does, they'll be the one who was supposed to find it. Because that's the way it's meant to be.
Genre: Romantic comedy
Running Time: 24 minutes
Country: Japan
Release Date: October 2, 2008 – March 26, 2009
Network(s): TV Tokyo
Starring: Rie Kagamiya/Cassandra Lee Morris (Taiga Aisaka)
Junji Majima/Erik Scott Kimerer (Ryuuji Takasu)
Yui Horie/Christine Marie Cabanos (Minori Kushieda)
Eri Kitamura/Erika Harlacher (Ami Kawashima)
Hirofumi Nojima/Johnny Young Bosch (Yusaku Kitamura)
Sayaka Oohara/Karen Strassman (Yasuko Takasu)
Seasons: 1
Episodes: 25 + 1 OVA


Toradora (とらドラ!) is a romance, comedy, romantic comedy, drama, high school, coming of age anime series. It started with a light novel series which as written by Yuyuko Takemiya, illustrated by Yasu, and published by ASCII Media Works for the magazine Dengeki Bunko.

Why It Rocks

  1. Toradora! is more of a character study how they view each other as equals, the fact that they are honest with each other about who they are and deal with each others' insecurities and flaws allow them to form a deep bond. And how subtle it fleshed out and developed as lovers throughout the series.
  2. Excellent soundtrack.
  3. Both Taiga and Ryuuji are incredibly likable and endearing characters and they have excellent chemistry on screen. Not to mention, their romance was really sweet and enjoyable.
  4. Some of the other main characters, such as Minori Kushieda and Yusaku Kitamura, the former being Taiga's best friend and the latter being Ryuji's best friend, are also likable and important to the plot.
  5. Good voice acting in both sub and dub, with the sub having Rie Kagamiya, Yui Horie, Junji Majima, and the dub having talented voice actors like Cassandra Lee Morris, Christine Marie Cabanos, Erika Harlacher, Johnny Yong Bosch, Karen Strassman and Wendee Lee.
  6. Great animation in most scenes, especially the heavily dramatic ones.
  7. Tons of character development with a lot of the characters in the series. Taiga, Ryuji, Minori, Yusaku and Ami all get an ample amount of character development throughout the course of the show.
  8. Ryuji's mother, Yasuko is both funny and likable, even if she isn't the best parent in the world.
  9. The drama with Yasuko at the end was unexpected, but still welcome. We learn that she acted the way she did because she was still hurt by the disappearance of her husband, who actually ran away after she gave birth to Ryuji, but she does truly care about her son, and is worried about him when he makes the decision to run away and elope with Taiga.
  10. The conclusion of the series was incredibly satisfying in almost every single way.  Not only do Taiga and Ryuji end up together, but they also make the viewers feel for Minori having to give up on Ryuji, which we learn is hard on her because she confesses that she was in love with him.
  11. It gives a sense of how it is to be experiencing maturity. In some ways, can bring in sometimes how you handle reality and responsibility.

Bad Qualities

  1. While most of the voice actors for the dub sound great and amazing (mentioned above), Erik Scott Kimerer sounded bland as Ryuji.
  2. Ami Kawashima can be very unlikable in the beginning, but she does undergo through some character development of her own later on.
  3. Taiga's parents are both painfully irritating and unlikable.
  4. The side characters (except for Yasuko) are somewhat shallow and forgettable, compared to the main characters.
  5. While the first half is great and well paced, the second half can be melodrama, over the top and the last few episodes felt a little rushed.
  6. Some of the characters have done questionable decisions for either the right or the wrong reasons:
    • Ryuji was very foolish for believing and trusting in Taiga's father that he could get a second chance of redemption with his daughter, nearly straining his friendship with Minori, only for him to show his true colors by swindling both Ryuji and Taiga in the end.
    • Ami confronted Minori and brings up the topic of her rejecting Ryuji, but she brushes her off and the two get angry at each other. Minori tells Ami that she shouldn't judge her because she couldn't see or read her heart and Ami accuses Minori at faking her personalities and hiding behind a mask. It gets worse next day, when Taiga and Minori accidentally run into Ami on their sled. Ami accuses her of doing it on purpose because of last night's argument and engages in a physical fight with Minori. This caused a rift between them and neither Ami nor Minori apologized for their actions.
    • Minori acted like a hypocrite in the end. She berated Taiga for not accepting her own happiness and instead being more concerned about the happiness of her friend, even though that's exactly what she was doing to Taiga. The worst part is, this hypocrisy is never referenced, even a tiny bit, by any of the characters, especially Ami, who previously called her out for not being true to herself, but not for this hypocrisy.
    • Taiga decides to stop running from her problems by returning home to reconcile with her mother and step-family and make her worthy for Ryūji. This confuses many fans as that choice of hers felt rushed and out of nowhere, as she leaves without bothering to tell Ryuji, that she transfers out of the high school, and the fact that she is not seen again until the last few minutes of the show.

Trivia

  • Many of the characters' voice actors have portrayed other characters in the video game series Persona:
    • Rie Kagamiya (Taiga) voices Rise Fujiwara from Persona 4, as well as her English voice actress Cassandra Lee Morris had voiced Morgana from Persona 5.
    • Karen Strassman (Yasuko) had voiced Aigis from Persona 3.
    • Erika Harlacher (Ami) had voiced Ann Takamaki from Persona 5.
    • Johnny Young Bosch (Kitamura) had voiced Yu Narukami from Persona 4.

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