The Official MSBS Anime Review: Toradora!

ModernSpongeBobSucks
Mr. Adastik: Goooooooood day, Room 300! Today, for Anime 101, our lesson will be on the tsundere archetype! So let's begin today by asking this tall fellow a question. Mr. Takasu, what IS a tsundere?
Ryuuji: Hmm... (a thought bubble of Taiga Aisaka pops up). Uh...
Mr. Adastik: Mr. Takasu, you seem to be having a difficult time answering this question. May I take over from here?
Ryuuji: Uh... Yes, please.
Mr. Adastik: Very well. So a tsundere, according to its Wikipedia definition, "is a Japanese term for a character development process that describes a person who is initially cold and even hostile towards another person before gradually showing a warmer side over time." Now the tsundere archetype has proven to be of popular use in many anime series, ranging from ones such as Rin Tohsaka from Fate/stay night and Taiga Aisaka from Toradora!.
Ryuuji: *Thinks to himself* T- T- Taiga?
Mr. Adastik: Since there is not much to talk about the tsundere archetype beyond this point, my only choice now is to assign you with reading a review article on the anime series Toradora! and to annotate it for homework tonight.
Class: BOO!!! *Starts throwing paper balls and planes at Mr. Adastik*
Mr. Adastik: *Deflects incoming paper balls and planes with a ruler* IF YOU WANT ME TO ASSIGN YOU WITH A MUCH MORE DIFFICULT ASSIGNMENT SUCH AS A 5-PAGE ESSAY ON THE TSUNDERE ARCHETYPE, BE MY GUESTS!
Class: *Comes to a silence*
Mr. Adastik: Good. Now begin reading your articles if you want to complete your assignment ASAP.
Ryuuji: *Proceeds to read his copy of the Toradora! review article*

Hey, hey, hey! MSBS is back here again with another anime review as the year of 2016 comes to a close! For my penultimate anime review of the year, I'll be reviewing the anime series Toradora!. So here's the synopsis of said anime series according to MyAnimeList.net:

"Ryuuji Takasu is a gentle high school student with a love for housework; but in contrast to his kind nature, he has an intimidating face that often gets him labeled as a delinquent. On the other hand is Taiga Aisaka, a small, doll-like student, who is anything but a cute and fragile girl. Equipped with a wooden katana and feisty personality, Taiga is known throughout the school as the "Palmtop Tiger."

One day, an embarrassing mistake causes the two students to cross paths. Ryuuji discovers that Taiga actually has a sweet side: she has a crush on the popular vice president, Yuusaku Kitamura, who happens to be his best friend. But things only get crazier when Ryuuji reveals that he has a crush on Minori Kushieda—Taiga's best friend!

Toradora! is a romantic comedy that follows this odd duo as they embark on a quest to help each other with their respective crushes, forming an unlikely alliance in the process."

Let's get down to the criteria, shall we?

Animation, art, and music: The animation for Toradora! is done by J.C.Staff. On August 27 of 2016, J.C.Staff ranked as the 2nd best anime studio in an article titled "The Best 5 Anime Studios According to MyAnimeList". Now J.C.Staff isn't really talked about a lot by anime fans when it comes to anime studios, considering more well-known ones such as Madhouse (which just so happens to be the 1st best anime studio in the MAL article) are more popular. Despite that, J.C.Staff has produced several hit anime series in just about every genre of anime there is, including romantic comedies such as Kaichou wa Maid-sama! and, you guessed it, Toradora!; fantasy harem anime such as The Familiar of Zero; and the slice of life comedy-drama Bakuman. Aside from that, the animation and art for Toradora! is very nice and solid. Now in my honest opinion, I don't think the visuals are too spectacular considering they aren't on the same level of breathtaking animation such as Sword Art Online by A-1 Pictures and Fate/Zero or Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works by ufotable. Regardless, J.C. Staff still does a good job with it. Not to mention the character designs were good as well. And I have to admit that a few of the snow scenes in Toradora! were quite beautiful, if I do say so myself. As for the music, the OST does have a few memorable ones here and there, but overall, I didn't really find the soundtrack to stand out to me that much. Maybe others do, but I don't personally. The soundtrack is still good, nonetheless. When it comes to the theme songs, they are very catchy. Catchy in the good sense. Whether it be the openings such as Pre-Parade and silky heart or the closings ranging from Vanilla Salt to Orange to Holy Night, they're all quite pleasant and upbeat to listen to. Being that Toradora! is a romantic comedy, the songs are very fitting for the anime. Oh, and for bonus points, the voice actresses for the female characters such as Taiga Aisaka, Minori Kushieda, and Ami Kawashima even sing the songs! It's not every day that you hear the voice actors for characters in an anime also singing the opening and/or closing songs for an anime as well! All in all, the animation, art, and music all hit it out of the park.

Story: To me, the main selling point of Toradora! is not the visuals or the music, but rather the story and the characters. As for the story, while Toradora! may look like another run-of-the-mill romantic comedy anime, its plot manages to bring out something unique that makes it stand out from other anime that are in the same genre. After all, the premise of Ryuuji and Taiga being two students who have crushes on the other one's friend but having to form an alliance in order to do so is a great and interesting concept. Not to mention that the presentation of the anime itself provides many laughs and bouts of emotion throughout the progression of Toradora!. And the relationship between Ryuuji and Taiga proves to be a gradual tightening bond as the two begin to grow close to each other and develop a romantic relationship as each episode of Toradora! passes by. From Ryuuji saving Taiga nearly drowning in a pool to Ryuuji being there with Taiga in her time of need during Christmas time, moments like those truly showed how much chemistry our two main leads had between each other. To sum it up, the story is pretty great overall.

Characters: Now this is the juiciest part of this review. In general, a lot of the characters in Toradora! are relatively likable and have quite some great interactions with each other. In case you have forgotten, let's go over what our two main characters are like. Our main male lead, Ryuuji Takasu, is kind at heart, but has a ferocious appearance. Put simply, he is like a gentle but fearsome-looking dragon. As for Taiga Aisaka, she dons a petite height and cute structure, but masks a short-tempered nature within herself. Well, you can see why she's called the Palmtop Tiger. Looking at this, Ryuuji and Taiga are obviously complete parallel character foils of each other. And considering that they had some great chemistry together, this brings opposites attract to a whole new level. And let's not forget Minori Kushieda, Yuusaku Kitamura, and Ami Kawashima. Each of those three characters had their own fun personalities and were unique in their own ways. With the airheaded Minori's bubbly and happy-go-lucky attitude, Yuusaku's eccentricity, and Ami's egocentric go-getter nature, Ryuuji and Taiga won't be the only characters you remember after watching the entirety of Toradora!.

Flaws: This may seem biased, but aside from how I had a love/hate relationship with the conclusion of the anime, the only problem I have is that I wanted more episodes in order to expand on Ryuuji and Taiga's relationship. I'm not saying I want it to rip off something like Clannad, but don't just end the series with a headbutt to the gut. At least go beyond that to reach a more proper conclusion. Otherwise, there's nothing else wrong with the series.

Conclusion: I'm not usually into the romantic comedy genre. Often, I find more interest with anime within more action-oriented genres such as science fiction, mecha, fantasy, etc. But THIS anime in particular is one of the few series outside of those action-packed genres that I genuinely enjoy. If I had the time, I would binge watch each episode in chronological order over and over again as much as I desire. In fact, I could even invest in everything related to Toradora! ranging from the light novels to the game if I just had the money to do s- Whoa, I love this anime with a passion, but I'm not going to empty my entire wallet out just for merchandise! That said, if you're into romantic comedies, I highly recommend checking out Toradora!. So now I present my final score for Toradora!:

8.0 out of 10.0 stars

Until then, peace! And Happy New Year to all!

*Bell rings*

Mr. Adastik: See you all next week!
Ryuuji: Hmm...
Taiga: Ryuuji!
Ryuuji: Huh? *gets headbutted in the gut* OW!

*Zooms in on the sky*
Ryuuji and Taiga: That's how love is created.
Mr. Adastik: Now that I think about it, the ending was more fitting than I thought it was.

Comments

Sounds funny - TwilightKitsune

Sounds decent. - Skullkid755

Now I want to watch this anime! I like anime like Clannad and Your Lie in April, I feel like I'm going to love this one! - Absolite

Sounds good. I hope you enjoy it. I know I did. Plus, you said you like romance anime like Clannad and Your Lie in April, so Toradora! would be a great anime for you to watch. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

Once again, great writing style and great review. - Undistinguished

I absolutely love Toradora! It's one of the greatest anime in my opinion. - Ultron123

The ending was the worst. - StupidUsername12

Well, like I said, a headbutt to the gut wasn't enough. It felt rather too abrupt rather than heartwarming for me in the ending. Regardless, the overall quality of Toradora! is still great. - ModernSpongeBobSucks

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