Exceeded my expectations with flying colors (Anime Review)
Alright, so once Toradora got dubbed, I figured I'd check it out. Seeing as it was one of those "tsundere meets everydude" Rom Com animes featuring one of the "Four Tsundere Wonders™", and that I had seen two of those four shows featuring them, finding one mediocre and the other atrocious, I had set my expectations very low. After watching the first episode, however, I was pleasantly surprised. See, what separates this show from Shakugan no Shana and The Familiar of Zero is that it's actually well-written. Very well-written, in fact. The characters actually have fully-developed personalities instead of just being archetypes. Ryuji, the male lead, despite having the Face of a Thug, is actually a nice guy who likes to clean and cook, and laments nearly everyone at school being afraid of him. Taiga, the female lead, known at school as (The Palm-Top Tiger), would appear to be the usual tsundere character you've come to know and love (or hate) upon her introduction, when she uppercuts Ryuji for accidentally bumping into her (even after he apologized). However, the show then introduces her best friend, Minori Kushieda, who she is really close to, and is remarkably more relaxed when she's with her, so she now appears to be an average short-tempered, bratty teenage girl. Furthermore, as the second episode reveals, it turns out she hates her nickname and the fact that people fear her, just like Ryuji. And this isn't even the full of it; the characters get explored more and more as the series goes on. Character Development is the name of the game here, and Toradora is a star player. This level of depth is something you don't normally see in this type of anime (let alone one featuring Rie Kugimiya in a tsundere role), so it's a great breath of fresh air. I can actually sympathize with these characters; I care about what happens to them, I want them to succeed in their goals, I feel bad for them when they're sad, and so on. These are characters I can get invested in. Toradora is a very character-driven story, and the rich cast make the show an excellent and very enjoyable watch.