Appearances can be deceiving. That is a saying that we all hear from a young age. Most likely because it is a universal truth. It also is a truth that we forget. We make snap judgements about people based on how they look every day. The real shame of that is how much we miss out on. How many fascinating people do we miss out on knowing?
One anime that really explores how layered people are is Toradora! Yuyuko Takemiya is a manga creator who has created some wonderful love stories. One such manga was the start for Toradora! It was first published in 2008. Fans connected with the story and the characters quickly. The anime originally aired from 2008-2009 with one action-packed season.
Ryuji Takasu looks like a delinquent but is an extremely nurturing person. His life is difficult. His house is falling apart and his single mother is doing her best with the skills she has to make money, but there are some things that are looking bright. At school he gets to sit next to his best friend and close to his crush. One day a series of events will put him on the same path as the “Palmtop Tiger” of the class. Taiga Aisaka looks tiny and frail but she is also a force to be reckoned with. Ryuji learns this from Taiga with her wooden sword the hard way.
While their first interactions are rough, the two find they have some very important things in common. A deal is struck between the unlikely pair. Shenanigans ensue and they start a journey together that neither could anticipate.
Love is one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of Toradora! Love is a huge theme and plot point for this series. I adore the character designs. They really leaned into tropes for how certain characters should look; then pulled back layers from them to give the viewer surprisingly dimensional characters. The music is fantastic, including a great opening theme for the first half of the series.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this anime. I don’t like a lot of romantic anime and I was worried every time the show would lean into a cringeworthy trope. I fell for it every time. That is the mark of a well-written storyline. This anime will surprise you.
I recommend Toradora! It is funny, unexpected, messy, and full of feeling.
ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!!!