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Toradora is at its core a giant love pentagon focused around an ever expanding cast of highschool students. Now if that sentence didn't immediately trigger some sort of retching gag reflex for you, Toradora may be worth checking out. The overarching plot centers on Face Of A Thug Loser Nice Guy Ryuji and the tsun-tsun-dere-dere pettanko Taiga as they each try unsuccessfully to hook one another up with the other's friend. If that seemed like an awful lot of blue text it's because characters in this show stay very close to stock tropes for much of the series. Its not necessarily a bad thing because the various characters, cliche though they may be, are executed very well. In fact their interactions drive the entire first half of the show, and manage to do so quite well. This is precisely when the viewer is hit by Toradora's famous curve ball, and where the base irreparably breaks.
The later episodes darken very quickly and weight much more heavily towards drama than comedy, and Toradora's biggest liability is undoubtedly in the Mood Whiplash this creates. At its core its almost two different shows. A slice of life comedy at the beginning and a romantic drama at the end. Neither one is bad but they often highlight diametrically opposed parts of a characters personality and the sudden change can be jarring at best and seriously strain believability at worst. Your Mileage WILL vary when it comes to the ending. Whether you think it is well executed character development or cheap emotionally exploitative dross crow-barred in to the ending will depend a lot on you and your expectations for the show. But either way, its well worth finding out. For all the hatedom its engendered Toradora is an ambitiously scripted and well executed show that tries (if not necessarily succeeds) to buck genre expectations.
Good review! You did a great job of explaining while someone might not like this show, but also explaining why you did.
One nitpicky point, though—although you say the show's target audience is "fangirls", I'm pretty sure that in Japan both the original novels and the anime series are aimed at a senien audience—young men. That's probably more of a cultural thing, though—I'm an American college-aged girl and I loved the relationship angst, so I can see why this reads as more of a "female audience" show to someone that's outside of the culture. So like I said, nitpicky.
W-w-well it wasn't all bad I guess.... But its not as if I kept watching just for the unfolding drama! .... Urusai, urusai urusai!
"Repulsive"? I thought Westerners love Tsunderes.
Well, I think "westerners" and "western anime fans" are two distinctly different groups. I wrote my review for the former understanding that it would mostly be read by the latter. Anime fans are generally steeped in Japanese culture enough to understand the psychology behind a character like Taiga. But a person unfamiliar with the social expectations of Japanese society might just write her off as a violent, self aggrandizing bitch (especially before her character development starts).
"Mental consistency of cotton candy"? Toradora had some incredibly dark and deep moments, specifically near the end. Though it does have its large share of fun moments, scenes like Taiga lost and unconcious, in the middle of a blizzard is anything but silly and saccharine. I thought the drama was very well-paced and to call it merely 'relatively enjoyable' would only sum up the beginning (full of gags and silly adventures), completely glossing over the far-superior second half, which truly makes Toradora a fantastic romance.
There were certainly some great moments at the end (the christmas episode really got me). But I just thought the drama at the tail end failed as often as it succeeded, and say what you will its hard to argue that the pacing wasn't incredibly weird. Add to that Minori's weak character development and a lot of extraneous plot runaround they absolutely couldn't afford and it just wasn't my favorite show in the world. Never the less I'll admit this review focused way too much on the first half (that I had in mind after rewatching it). I'll probly rewrite it some time when I'm bored.
I thought Minorin's character development was pretty strong. To be fair, though, she really doesn't have any in the first half.
Rewrote this to more accurately reflect the whole show.
He is smart, calm, accountable, a proficient cook dinner, captivated with housecleaning, making him Taiga’s polar contrary. We get a experience that his scary appears might have a few connections along with his father (that\'s suspiciously absent from his house), and this makes him quite the mysterious individual.
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