My Silky Love: Toradora! (Otaku Desu)

written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)

Figured the Scoop needed a healthy dose of Japanese media. Aside from reviewing movies and tv series, I wanted to start a new column focusing on Japanese anime in the vein of our “Film G33k” posts. So with a waifu on my mind and the dokidoki feelings in my heart, let’s kick off the first post in our new “Otaku Desu” series of articles.

For the first anime series of our new column, I wanted to touch on one of my favorite slice of life romcom anime series. The sweet and sincere, funny and heart-warming Toradora!

This is a series I have watched countless times, and on each rewatching I marvel at how well these characters are portrayed through the entire series. As a romance story, it’s obvious that the two titular characters Taiga (the TORA) and Ryuji (the DORA) end up falling in love. What fails in many romance anime series is when the romance feels either rushed or left for the final 2 minutes of the series. That isn’t the case in regard to Toradora!

Toradora! succeeds by allowing the core love story to organically develop through the entire series

With the romance of the series front and center, Toradora! succeeds by allowing the core love story to organically develop through the entire series, culminating in moments that bring a tear to my eye on each subsequent re-watching.

What starts as the unlikeliest of friendships between the two lead characters, Taiga and Ryuji end up supporting each other and the substantial amount of baggage both characters carry. Taiga comes from a wealthy family, living alone in a swanky apartment. She’s coarse, at times super bratty, almost textbook tsundere. Ryuji lives in a small apartment with his young mother and ugly pet bird Inko. Raised by a single mother, Ryuji has grown to be a compassionate and almost obsessive-compulsive homemaker type. He handles cleaning house and cooking the meals, this is a clear juxtaposition to his scary face… something he inherited from his thuggish looking father. Initially their class and the entire school fear both Taiga and Ryuji, they mistakenly call Ryuji a delinquent and Taiga’s volatile nature… coupled with her tiny frame… is dubbed the Palm-top Tiger by her peers.

Initially, Taiga is in loved with Ryuji’s best friend Yusaku Kitamura… on the flip side, Ryuji is in love with Taiga’s best friend Minori Kushieda. The whole series is filled with all the slice-of-life/coming-of-age/rom-com material you’d expect from an anime series. The summer vacation, the school festival, ghost hunting adventures, and holiday jubilation. Wrapped up in a neat little bow is a year in their lives as this gang of friends grows closer, eventually leading to Ryuji and Taiga falling in love. As naturally as the romance developed, the series managed to maintain a well balanced flow. Toradora! stands as, in my opinion, one of the most watchable anime series out there.

Originally adapted from a light novel series, Toradora! benefits greatly from it. Generally, anime series adapted from manga, tend to be full of pandering. Rife with predictable tropes and cliffhangers meant to keep the reader coming back the following week. While this does have its pluses depending on the series, it’s always refreshing when a series doesn’t have to rely too heavily on a cliffhanger or “problem-of-the-week” type of scenario.

Slice of life comedies can be a dime a dozen when it comes to an anime series, which is why finding such an awesome series all the more of a reason to check it out.

Come for the laughs and feels, the tears and fears, plus all the comedy inbetween. Toradora! is a series that will leave you smiling, and absolutely sits high on my list of shows you absolutely have to watch! Make sure to check it out on Crunchyroll or Hulu if you have a subscription.