Created by: Yuyuko Takemiya
Directed by: Tatsuyuki Nagai
Written by: Mari Okada
Studio: J.C. Staff
Episode Count: 1 – 25
Format: DVD & BluRay
Audio: Japanese & English
Licensed by: MVM Entertainment
Ryuji Takasu was unfortunately born with the face of a gangster, thanks to his father’s genes. Throughout Ryuji’s school life, it has taken months of convincing his classmates that he was just a normal guy with no link to the Yakuza, despite his appearance. This year was to be no exception, until he accidentally bumped into the legendary student Taiga Aisaka, a.k.a. ‘The Palmtop Tiger’. Known for her foul temper and violent outbursts, the rest of the student body watches as two of the schools most notorious ‘delinquent students’ go head to head in a battle of power. In reality, however, the two students agree to help one another out in their quests for love, as each of them has a crush on their counterpart’s best friend. Let the battle for love begin!
Toradora is a slice of life, school-based anime. By now I should be tired of this stereotypical anime genre, but Toradora is an anime that should be in everyones anime collection. Personally, it is one of my top-rated anime that I can just immerse myself in, time and time again. With a love triangle that soon develops into not only four, but five sides (a love pentagon?) it is certainly an anime that just proves that you can not always judge a person by their looks or by a one-off encounter. The characters in this show have many things happening in their young lives that make the story just that bit more complex.
Ryuji despises his resemblance to his old man, which he believes has led to his lack of friends. Seeing as people often judge others on their appearances, Ryuji has a steep uphill battle against proving his genuine, honest nature to others. The same kind of goes for Taiga. Deeply hurt in the past in regards to her family issues, and physically small, Taiga relies far too heavily on her fists to protect herself. Now seen as a troublesome character by her fellow students, she hides her playful, childlike manner from nearly everyone bar her best friend Minori. Taiga enlists Ryuji as her ‘mutt’, in order to help her get closer to her crush Kitamura. Taiga, in return, agrees to help Ryuji out by getting closer to his crush, Minori. Each character has their own issues, which get more complex as the show progresses. All of these issues involve heartache and how to either control, express or understand their emotions. You can easily get sucked into this anime, as the characters are just so darn relatable.
On the outside, the student body sees only a fight for dominance between Taiga and Ryuji. In secret however, the two have developed an odd friendship where Ryuji acts more like a housekeeper and chef for Taiga. It’s the action that happens during the Christmas party, vacation and school trip that really sees their relationships change. After just one year in this high school, their whole lives take a new turn!
Now, the name Yuyuko Takemiya may seem familiar to some, as she is also the author of Golden Time, of which I have done both an anime and manga review of in the past. Toradora has not only been a manga, but has also been adapted into this anime, a light novel series, a spin-off light novel series, an OVA and PSP Visual Novel game.
The Toradora anime is directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai, who has also directed Honey and Clover II, Idolmaster Xenoglossia and The Anthem of the Heart. Toradora was produced by J.C. Staff, now in its thirty-second year of producing anime and is known for several well known anime, including Slayers, Maid Sama!, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Golden Time and Food Wars! Toradora is excellently drawn, with various character designs and expressions. The overall plot and each individual character arc are expertly planned out. I just can not get over this anime. It’s gripping! The characters are loveable and even their dialogue includes relevant teenage subjects, from sport, studies, the future, relationships and even the girls being worried over their weight/figure.
Bonus Features Include:
Hurray for Gourmands 1-4
Clean Opening & Closing animation
I would adore a second season to this show, just to see how the author intended for these characters to end up. I would highly suggest getting this anime on Blu-Ray, just because (like I mentioned above) this is an essential anime for everyone’s collection. When done with this, follow it straight up with Golden Time, which is probably one of the best animes to give to someone, in order to gently start their addiction to the world of anime.