So a sixteen, going on seventeen year old guy just watched Toradora. His name is me, Ratchet. Does he feel embarrassed by the fact he thoroughly enjoyed this anime? No. This anime is something that is so well done and so compelling that whatever girliness is to be found is negated by the strong characters, excellent writing, and totally dramatic atmosphere. Sure it has it’s comedy, sure it has a few action sequences, but it is the drama and romance that totally pulls you in. And this wouldn’t have worked without excellent characters and writing.
The story revolves around Ryuuji and Taiga. Taiga wants to admit her love to Kitamura and accidentally puts a love letter in Ryuuji’s bag instead of Kitamura. Next thing he knows, Ryuuji is helping Taiga get together with Kitamura. And to put it simply, lots of complications get in the way, including the growing affections between Taiga and Ryuuji which leads to a fantastic, dramatic, and sad ending that is sure to stay with you for a long time.
The story isn’t amazingly amazing, but it’s good for a romance. It has a lot of good situations for the characters to grow and get closer. It’s a school romance that has a lot of typical situations of the genre, but they are fresh due to the strong characters. The ending is one of the best parts of the story with a lot of drama, and a lot of things coming together. The very, very end is not particularly great and leaves a lot to be desired, but if you can get a hold of an English translation of the novels this show is based on, the ending is a lot better there and you won’t feel like you are missing something and be wondering about the romance going further.
The animation of Toradora! is good, but it’s not amazing. It’s not bad in any way, shape, or form. The characters look good, the action scenes are fluid, the action in general is fluid, and character emotions are well shown through the eyes and mouth and other subtle things.
Toradora has two different openings and closings. The first opening song was great, the second OK. The ending songs were both good. The voice actors were great, conveying emotion perfectly. The music in the background was good, and the sound effects were all good. Nothing much to complain about here.
Here is where Toradora! really shines. Ryuuji, Taiga, Ami, and all the other characters we spend a lot of time with are all fun characters, but as the series continues, we grow to really love them all. The main characters are so well fleshed out through the dialogue and the romances and they develop so well. In the twenty-five episodes, so much development is given to the characters that they feel real. The romance feels realistic, the story feels realistic, and the way the characters act feels realistic. All the main characters are great. As much I want to talk about all the characters, I don’t want to spoil the story for you. Just believe me when I say that all the main characters, especially Ryuuji and Taiga, develop amazingly well.
The side characters are good, but they don’t have enough screen time to really complain. The ones we get to meet are mostly Ryuuji’s friends and are all typical guys. Characters are very strong and as I’ve said, thanks to the character interactions and monologues, they become amazingly realistic.
Toradora! is an excellent romance. The characters act realistically, the writing is amazing, the animation is good, the voice actors bring great emotion. It’s long, very long, but the whole story fleshes out over the twenty-five episodes and we really get to learn to know and love these characters and cheer them on as they fall in love. It’s a very complicated story that I’m sure is generic for romance stories, though I wouldn’t know because I never had occasion to read or watch anything specifically romantic. Despite that, I found this story to be exciting, compelling, and I can’t stop saying how good this series is. No matter your age or gender, there is something to like here.
This is another series I am glad to have watched and another series I’m putting on my top ten anime I’ve ever seen.
I’m giving Toradora! a 9 out of 10.