Toradora is a romance comedy about high school students falling in love and doing their best to make their feelings known. The big twist is it’s surprisingly enjoyable.
I’m not the biggest fan of the romance comedy genre. I’ve seen my fair share of shows from the genre, but nothings managed to interest me enough to watch the entire show. I’ve always found the plots to be too simplistic, with characters serving as simple archetypes used only for comedy, and “awkward situation” humor being a far too frequent affair.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when I sat down to watch Toradora, because while the show definitely has its flaws, it was an overall entertaining experience that played with my concept of the romance genre.
Toradora follows the exploits of Ryuuji and Taiga, two high schoolers who have romantic feelings toward people in their class, but lack the courage to admit their feelings. Through a series of whacky events, the two meet and realize that the two people they have crushes on are each others’ best friends. From that point on, the two attempt to win over the hearts of their crushes using cliché and unimaginative schemes, and it’s not long before the two of them learn that love isn’t as easy as the films make it look.
From a glance Toradora looks like it’s going to be another typical harem romantic comedy set in a school. But even from the first episode you can notice the key defining factor that makes Toradora stand out, it’s all about the characters.
In many romantic comedies, the main character is an emotionless blank sheet that always winds up in situations where girls are falling all over him. This is meant to allow the audience to insert themselves into the role of the main character, but often comes off as hollow and a clear sign of lazy writing. Toradora on the other hand wants you to know who the main cast of characters are right away, and that the two most important characters have more personality then most anime protagonist combined.
Both Ryuuji and Taiga have unique aspects to their personalities that make them stand out. Ryuuji loves to cook and clean, but he has the eyes of a yakuza member. Taiga on the other hand is a strong but short girl who never says no to a fight. The two of them have a connection from the moment they meet that makes their relationship feel genuine and not forced upon the show for the sake of the plot.
Every character in the show has their own quirks and flaws, and it’s because of that they all feel so real and relatable. But it’s also because of this that sometimes things can get a little confusing.
In real life, people’s moods can change in an instant. Someone can go from happy to sad in seconds, and can revert to being happy again moments later. Toradora attempts to have its characters act realistically by having their moods drastically change at some points during the show, however many times it feels clunky and is poorly executed.
The worst example is Taiga, who up until the half way point of the show is a hot headed and strong willed girl who doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone. At around the half way mark, she suddenly switches to being a lot more helpless and “cute” in hopes of making the audience stop seeing her as a bro and more as a cute female protagonist. The change felt incredibly forced and caused me to scratch my head many a time as Taiga went out of her way to do something completely out of character.
While the characters in Toradora are brilliantly written, there are times when the writing gets confused with their personalities and causes characters to act completely irrational.
Toradora is an enjoyable time, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like romantic comedies. The show is welcoming to newcomers to the genre, but I would suggest checking out a few other series before jumping into this. If only so you can see all the flaws in those shows, and how Toradora does those things right. If you’re looking for a chilled anime where you can relax and watch teenagers act cute toward each other, you’re going to have a lot of fun with Toradora.
Should you watch Toradora?
Thanks to MVM for supplying a review copy