This is a rant–and a rather poorly written one at that. I say some pretty caustic things about the show, and fans will likely be offended. You can feel free to agree or disagree with anything I said, but keep in mind that this is not a personal attack on you or your opinions, simply my thoughts. That being said, you have been warned about the content of this post and can continue reading at your own discretion.
Did I like the romance in Toradora? I’ll give that a resounding ‘yes’, but probably not for the reasons that most fans would. I liked the romance in Toradora because I hated Ryuuji and Taiga so much and found them so odious that I thought they deserved each other. This is not my first go at Toradora, I actually tried to watch it a few years back, but was so put off by the first few episodes that I saw no reason to continue. Anyway, more recently when I found out how popular it was, I figured I should give it another shot. Mistake. Should have trusted my first impressions.
Here’s a synopsis courtesy of MyAnimeList:
It’s a new school year and Ryuuji Takasu discovers that not only is he in the same class as his best friend, Yuusaku Kitamura, but also Minori Kushieda whom he’s had an undisclosed crush on for quite some time. Along with the two of them comes the “Palmtop Tiger”, tiny Taiga Aisaka and Minori’s best friend. Despite her small stature, Taiga takes nothing from anybody and is secretly in love with Kitamura. Ryuuji and Taiga, despite their oil and water relationship, agree to mutually support each other in their quests for their hearts’ desire.
So I think the caption of the picture below perfectly summarizes why I disliked this show so much.
I absolutely detested the characters and the story and the drama, but mostly the characters. My fundamental issue was that the show was trying so hard to make them multidimensional and well-rounded that it ended up turning them into caricatures instead of characters. There was the whole weird thing with Minori trying to hide just how much she cared about things and how dedicated she was. Then the weird Ami Kawashima ‘dual personality’ nonsense. It made me feel like I was in a mental institution. I understand that a prominent message of the show was that “everyone tries to hide his/her true self from others”, but the way they did it was stupid. It was stupid because it was so obvious. I mean really, they had an entire freaking episode dedicated to Ami and her dual personality. That’s way overkill. A show should let you discover something like that on your own instead of whacking you over the head with it, which is what Toradora did.
There were so many character failures in the show I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, Ryuuji was and idiot. Essentially it went like “oh I really like this weird girl named Minori, but I’m too much of a pussy to ask her out so I’m kinda just gonna waffle around and do nothing.” Then Taiga comes around and decides that she and Ryuuji are going to help each other out. It’s basically them setting each other up with each other’s friends. I mean from the very beginning of the show (even if you don’t know anything about it already) you can tell that after a series of stupid and supposedly funny events, Taiga and Ryuuji are going to end up together. Cool. Whatever. So let’s throw in some tropes then shall we?
You’ve got Taiga, the standard tsundere character who’s not so secretly in love with the class president who is best friends with the guy who has a slutty, absent parent and has to take care of himself and is in love with the weird girl who likes to play sports and be weird. Something like that. I know that totally incoherent not really a sentence was so awesome right? However, I think that pretty much sums up my understanding of the show. Yes, you could go on to say “oh, but it was so cute and sentimental, blah, blah, blah.” Bullshit. Ryuuji was an asshole stringing Minori along and giving her false hope even though he knew he was in love with Taiga. And then Taiga was a total bitch for kind of just accepting the fact that Minori wanted her to be happy instead of backing down and telling her clearly upset best friend that since she liked Ryuuji first then she should have dibs on him. Did that happen? No. Essentially Ami was the only character who actually had a brain between her ears. I can understand why she’s Josh’s favorite character. (Sorry if this is kind of incoherent, I’m sort of angrily word-vomiting at this point.)
Taiga and Ryuuji deserved each other because at the end of the day, they were both terrible people. I hated both of them and thought they went well together. However, that doesn’t mean I thought they were a cute couple or that they should live happily ever after with each other. It just meant that when they finally got together I was like “Thank God can the show PLEASE be over already?” At that point I was ready to tear my hair out and give up. I can understand why this show is so popular, but it’s probably for those exact reasons that I detested it so much.
Then there are some nitpicky things that further contributed to my dislike of the show. Another factor is my dislike of the premise. I mean I’m not a huge fan of the ‘school days’ genre as a general rule. I find them stupid and virtually identical to each other. The tropes are redundant and I’m sick of seeing girls wandering around in skimpy uniforms and knee socks. I know Josh said that girls in Japan actually wear the uniforms, but I kind of doubt that they have so much sex appeal built into them. Also, when Kitamura had that weird nervous breakdown it was so ridiculous and unrealistic that I couldn’t take him seriously. Really, if you meet someone who does that after getting romantically rejected please send him/her my way because I’d love to have a conversation with that person to try and understand.
Then there was the weird, way too convenient nonsense with Taiga and Ryuuji’s parents and the fact that they didn’t really give too much of a fuck about their kids and what they did. I mean Ryuuji’s mom sort of did, but she was basically a hooker, which does a lot to invalidate her as a character. Prostitute with the heart of gold anyone? Look at that cliche. Agh! So much rage about this show. I think I’m going to go eat all the cookies I just baked as a consolation prize for finally finishing this post.