Toradora! is a standout among the many shows I watched in the first year after I got into anime. It's not especially unique in any of the main categories, but it's well crafted and fresh enough to be worth the time it takes to watch it (about 9-10 hours).
The setting is your standard moderately small city, and, given the ages of the characters, most of the action happens at school, someone's house, or downtown. Of course, this means that the world is believable and usually consistent but suffers a little in interestingness. Nothing special, but not bad either. There's not much to say about it, but everything fits perfectly.
A big success overall, it delivers where it says it will and doesn't get lost anywhere. It never feels rushed or slow despite surges and lulls in the action. These waves of action never feel unnatural, and the show's entertaining both moment to moment and overall. This is the best executed shounen romance I've seen. A little simplistic at times, and focused on different things than the romances that target other ages/genders, but ultimately fulfills all of its promises and then some.
Slightly different but excellent style , definitely looks like what the audience it's trying to draw is expecting. Nice, crisp visuals fore and background, and good composition. Movement is nice and fluid. It's a very pretty anime, though some may not like the character design.
Voices were well cast and incredibly well performed, especially the amazing combination of the three main female actresses. Background was good, but, like the OP/ED and insert songs, nothing to write home about. The music could have been amazing, but for some reason just didn't stack up to the acting performances. Still, some good moments bring those scores up.
Here's where this show flexes its muscles. The characters were all realistic and well fleshed out. Every one of the main characters leave a strong impression (with the possible exception of the secondary male), and you learn more about them throughout the show. Development wasn't a big focus, but pretty good. The realism of the characters is what sells this show best, though it's a special brand of realism.
A standout in what I consider to be the most important categories, Toradora! is worth your time and money. The voice acting, characters, and story were near flawless. Still, if you're bothered by the slightly simplified romance and character motivations, you may want to steer clear. This is a well loved show for a reason though, and you should at least give it a chance.