Toradora Anime Review: Obscurity on the Weekly #4


Welcome to Obscurity on the Weekly, a home for obscure things retro to modern. Today, we’re looking at Toradora, a sweet slice of life anime from J.C. Staff.

Toradora has one of my favorite casts in fiction. All 5 of the main characters are endearing in their own ways, despite a few of them seeming outwardly unpleasant, I’m talking to you, Taiga. The show deals a lot with the various personae we use to hide our problems from those around us, and how we deal with those problems without them, so most of the characters are who they are because of the problems they face in their daily lives.

Photo by Austinjklim on Deviantart
From left to right,
Kushieda Minori, Aisaka Taiga, Kawashima Ami

For example, part of the reason Ami hides her true personality is because her fans could be watching her at any time. As the show goes on, you slowly get to know these characters better and better, until by the end of the show, it feels like you really understand them.

Another thing that makes the cast so lovable is just how funny they can be. Ryuji and Ami have a snarky comment for just about everything, Kushieda is bursting at the seams with life and exuberance, Taiga can be counted on for some slapstick, and Kitamura will occasionally chime in with something offbeat. The charming cast makes sure that the show is entertaining even in mundane situations, like a family dinner or a normal day at school. The characters have a lot of chemistry together, making their individual character stronger in turn. I could watch this cast in just about any situation and be plenty entertained.

The relationship between Ryuji and Taiga is the most developed dynamic in the show, with Ryuji being the audience surrogate point-of-view character, and Taiga serving as his deuteragonist. Their chemistry is a strong foundation to be built upon with other interesting characters and dynamics. While their comedy duo act is well constructed and fun, their relationship really comes to life in quiet, contemplative moments. One of my favorite scenes in the show is simply a down to earth, relaxing conversation in the dead of night, between two friends who don’t yet realize that they love each other.

From the start, the show makes it blatant that Taiga and Ryuji aren’t going to get with their crushes. In fact, quite the opposite, the show implies from the beginning that Taiga and Ryuji will be the main couple in the end. This serves to illustrate an important thematic message. Admiration is not love. Taiga and Ryuji both make that mistake. They’re so caught up in their juvenile infatuations that they miss the genuine love that’s staring them in the face. The series urges you to not miss the forest for the trees, not to ignore the importance of the people in your life, and not to take them for granted.

Be on the lookout for more Obscurity on the Weekly.

“It’s so dumb. This room is so big, yet we’re sitting this close to each other…”- Aisaka Taiga