Toradora!, Episode 15

Ah, yes, the Kitamura Goes Crazy arc. I remembered that this happened, but, as predicted, I’ve forgotten pretty much everything about how the events of the plot go. Kitamura’s issues aside (because they don’t really get revealed in this episode anyways), the biggest note for me here is how radically thoughtful Taiga has become in the days after the culture festival. It’s as if, after deciding she didn’t need support herself, she’s determined to support others instead. Of course, the lovely irony is that Ryuuji is always there, as if invisible, supporting her.

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Toradora!, Episode 14

We’re well on our way to the end of this story! This episode kind of seems like a one-off on the surface, but it’s actually (once again) Toradora! using humor to keep us entertained/distracted while the foundations of the big character arcs in this half of the show are being set down. As I said last episode, large swathes of the second cour are lost to my memory due to late night marathoning, but I’m certain all five of our leads get significant development in the back half of the show. Which is a really cool thing. We’ve had the chance to see all five of them grow a little already, so now we get to see how the ways they’ve changed make them different now.

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Toradora!, Episode 13

And so, we come to the end of the first cour of Toradora! We’re now over halfway done with this rewatch, which is at once sad and joyful. For my part, I remember significantly less about the second cour than about the first: a common occurrence when I watch 2-cour shows. This has much less to do with the second cour being of lesser quality and much more to do with the fact that I tend to up my marathoning speed when I get to the back  half of the plot. For Toradora! specifically, I was up until 5:30 AM finishing it the first time I watch, which probably means I did at least from episode 15 to the end in a single sitting. That’s a lot of material that I get to rediscover. But, before that, let’s polish off the Ohashi High School Culture Festival arc.

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Toradora!, Episode 12

So, Ryuuji’s just made some terrible decisions that could have left this relationship in shambles, but this time it’s Taiga who has bent to preserve an uneasy peace between them. As I said yesterday, I’m not exactly sure how this arc concludes, but my instincts and the phantom of my memory seem to be telling me it won’t be good. At least, that’s what I was thinking before I actually started to watch the episode. But when a certain moment hit, I remembered how everything was going to end up. So, let’s get to it!

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Toradora!, Episode 11

We’re now done with the summer vacation arc, as our heroes are heading back to school. But, although we’re returning to a familiar setting, things between them all are no longer the same. This is what I mean when I say character drives action drives character: how will the changes in them affect the choices they make and how will those choices affect those around them? This isn’t to say that everything is suddenly altogether different; the shifts are more subtle than that. And some things, as we saw at the end of the last episode, have stayed the same. Or have they?

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Toradora!, Episode 10

I’ll be honest: going into this episode, I wasn’t sure I would be able to get much out of it to write about due to the fact that most of it is rather comedically oriented. Fortunately, though, I wound up with plenty of stuff to talk about (not a huge surprise), especially since it seems like Nagai really liked the ghost/UFO stuff—his direction with the scene last episode and at the end of this episode has been inspired stuff.

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Toradora!, Episode 9

With the cast fully assembled now, we’re fully prepared for rom-com shenanigans (which are quite funny this episode, if I do say so myself), revealing character moments, and maybe even a little bit of drama. It’s pretty impressive that, at this point in the show, a lot of things are pretty darn obvious. Ami’s cryptic and shades a lot of her words with her ditzy act, but she’s not all that hard to read. Ryuuji’s steady and consistent, as he’s been thus far. Taiga’s the easiest to read out all of them, even in the midst of her emotional confusion. Kitamura and Minori are the real wildcards at this point, which is actually somewhat odd given how early they were introduced—as I’ve said elsewhere: I remember the end game, but how exactly we get there is a mystery to me.

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Toradora!, Episode 8

Fun fact: of all the notes I’ve taken on this show thus far (12.5 pages thus far), these were by far my most neatly written ones. That might seem kind of random and trivial, but it’s pretty surprising how particular episodes or particular shows can inspire me to write differently, whether that be in my prose or my handwriting. This episode is one such episode—nuanced and subtle when it needs to be, painfully obvious when the time comes for it to be so. At this point, I pretty much feel like Taiga’s real feelings are crystal clear to the audience, even if she hasn’t figured them out herself.

(I’m a really big fan of the camera work for these three cuts out of the OP, so I thought I’d feature them here before the OP changes in just a few episodes.) Continue reading

Toradora!, Episode 7

And I’ve come to the final episode on the first disc of NISA’s original release of Toradora! As I mentioned yesterday, I didn’t really remember well what happened in this episode, so a lot of it felt new all over again to me, which is a treasured experience to be able to have again with a beloved show you’ve already seen. A lot of great visuals again in this episode: I might end up having to learn how to make gifs or webm’s before I finish the show so I can capture the neat like bits of animation that I keep seeing.

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Toradora!, Episode 6

So, all the key players have been set. Now’s the time where you start letting character drive the action of the story, and that’s exactly what happens here. It’s also really interesting in the overall structure of the story that the last two episodes have essentially been a mini-arc for Ami spinning directly out of her character introduction. By the end of this episode, she’s already in a very different place personally than she was at the beginning of episode 5. The real her is out and so now we just watch how that spins everything else in new directions.

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