Anime of the Day: Toradora!

The latest entry for Anime of the Day is the romantic comedy from Japanese animation studio J.C. Staff. I am talking about the quite popular anime series which had a 25-episode run in Japan’s TV Tokyo from October 2008 and March 2009. The series is Toradora! and is based on the light novel and manga by Takemiya Yuyuko.

This series is a romantic comedy and also one that is full of well-done drama. It’s an anime about relationships and stars two very atypical leads in Takasu Ryuji and Aisaka Taiga. Ryuji is the misunderstood highschool boy whose squinty eyes has labeled him a thuggish, criminal-type which causes some hilarious reactions from classmates and teachers both. Taiga is the doll-like tsudere-type who manages to scare everyone in her school due to her quick temper and improbable strong attacks. The two end up accidentally bumping into each other in the first day of classes and hilarity ensues from there.

Other characters such as Taiga’s friend Minorin (the weird, ditzy girl) and Ryuji’s best friend Kitamura Yusaku also lend their own personalities and relationship issues to the mix which ends up complication everyone else’s hook-ups. There’s also the kyuugere character in Kawashima Ami who is Yusaku’s very beautiful childhood friend whose attempt to hook-up with Ryuji causes other relationship complications which doesn’t untangle itself until very close to the end of the series.

Toradora! looks like the typical romantic comedy at first glance, but as one gets deeper into the series deeper layers in how the characters behave and their motivations for their earlier behaviors shine through. The comedy in the series actually begins to take a backseat to the complex romances in the show. We know from the beginning who should end up with who, but the journey the characters take to finally get to where they need to be in the end is the high point in the show.

For people new to anime this series is actually a very good starting point in the romantic-comedy genre as it takes the subject matter seriously and doesn’t pander to the usual easy hook of ecchi scenes and over-the-top comedy.