Surprise! I’ve been looking for an excuse to re-watch Toradora! for a while now, and the /r/anime Christmas re-watch was just what I needed to motivate me to get back to this show. As you should know, I have Toradora! sitting as my second favorite anime of all time, so I’m pretty darn excited to be watching it again. I don’t really have any worries that it won’t hold up on under more analytical watching—really, I’m just thrilled to have the chance to engage with it on a different level.
1:10—This monologue is nothing but fond memories for me. It’s got a lot of ideas about destiny and certainty running through it; right in line with its role as obvious foreshadowing for the end of the show.
1:52—Ah, so good to be back to this OP. It’s actually racked up almost 90 total plays on my iTunes, putting it just outside my top 10 most listened to songs of all time. I never skip it when it comes up on shuffle.
2:16—It’s been too long! Really, really, too long.
5:44—And Kitamura, too! This is like seeing really dear, old friends that I haven’t seen in over a year. Already getting reminded how much I love them all.
6:25—Man, oh man, genki Hocchan is something else, isn’t she? I honestly sort of forgot how off the chain Yui Horie is as Minori. Compared to a lot of her other roles, which are often more subdued, her work as Minori really shows off the versatility she has in her voice.
8:06—And then, right after the punch, we get this bit with Taiga and Minori. This is such an important moment because it humanizes Taiga really quickly to see her chatting with a friend.
9:09—Cool bit of animation with the flying chairs, there.
9:26—And out she rolls. I didn’t realize the first time I watched that she was hiding there because of the fact that she had just hidden the letter and was waiting for Kitamura to come back.
10:28—Taiga bumping into the desks as she storms out is a nice detail. Grounds her in the world and establishes her physicality.
11:04—Here we get the first little taste of a technique that Toradora! uses a lot this episode; sublimating tragedy into humor. I mean, think about it, his dad and her husband is gone, but she just chirps away about how much of a hunk he was. That’s really sad, when you take out the comedic framing.
11:14—And even though he whines all the time about his dad, he keeps the picture.
14:14—Again, it’s kind of hilarious, but also kind of sad. Toradora! is really working here (especially with the wisecrack Ryuuji makes right after she says this) to keep the tone light. My high school drama teacher once told me, “Comedy is tragedy plus time.” You manipulate the context of the situation and the speed at which the reactions come and you get comedy out of things that would be really devastating otherwise. And it works both ways, slowing down and speeding up. Here, they keep it breezy and make it funny.
15:22—She’s a cute girl, but not cute here. For me, that’s preferable to her being über-moe all the time.
15:34—I really like that Ryuuji stops himself here. “I guess all families have issues,” he thinks. It’s nice to see him drawing on his own experience to empathize with Taiga and try and read the best he can out of her situation.
16:54—This is a cute little self-deprecating lecture he gives her, trying to keep her upright. Of course, it has the unintended effect of revealing the name of his own crush and thus we have our premise.
17:31—Heyo, is that a major theme of the show cropping up in episode one’s comedy already?
17:38—I really like the framing of this shot. It’s not quite a bird’s eye view, but throwing the camera into Inko’s perspective for a moment is kind of a silly touch that sets up the punchline (literally) to the joke.
18:18—And this is such a great moment. She lets down her guard, just a tad. Taiga may be a tsundere, but she works both sides of the archetype with equal effectiveness.
18:23—Cute little smears here from J.C. Staff. I wonder how much more we’ll see of that kind of animation later in the show…
19:14—I know she’s just giving the envelope to him to patch a wall, but I have to believe that it some display of trust from a girl who was terrified that he even knew what the envelope was supposed to contain.
20:04—GOOD MORNING (with tiger sound effects in the background)!
20:37—And cute moments like this are what makes Toradora! what it is. Ryuuji puts the phone between the ear and shoulder, just so he can put up ten fingers without hanging up on Taiga. It’s silly and cute and it’s (again) setting the tone of this show.
21:33—Sure, it’s simply drawn, but who says J.C. Staff doesn’t have any style?
22:04—And there’s an interesting observation. Is Taiga a fake? Is what he sees of her on the outside real or not? So much of the show depends on that dynamic between Taiga’s inner and outer selves—and it’s already being set up here in the first episode.
22:07—We get a bit of LN-esque poetic monologue from Ryuuji at this point, which reminded me that, for the most part, we didn’t have very much of that at all in this episode. Instead, we got a lot of character building done through dialogue and visual cues.
24:04—And yay, the fantastic ED by Yui Horie. What a way to end any episode of anything.