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Image courtesy of Hanabee

Toradora! Collectors Box

The final half of Toradora! shows how good characters can triumph over dodgy storylines. A review copy was kindly provided by Hanabee [1], although I’ve since bought my own copy.

The Good

The second half of Toradora! builds strongly on the relationships established in the first half, and this carries the series through to the satisfying finish.

I won’t spoil the details as it is a nicely executed bait-and-switch from an unconventional ending to something more socially acceptable.

The ending displays a solid depth to the eventual romance between Ryuuji and Taiga. A final bonus is the equality within the relationship, which is something I like to see.

The Bad

This is just as well given the continuing overuse of teen romance and high school tropes. The second half of the series has story arcs dedicated to the election of the student council [2], the school trip, and the Christmas party [3].

On top of the summer vacation and the culture festival from the first half, I do wonder when these characters actually found time to attend class.

The student council arc removes Kitamura from consideration as Taiga’s partner. This also signals a shift to an effective harem anime from the initial, and much more interesting, concept of Ryuuji and Taiga helping each other out.

Combine this with some other questionable tropes [4], and there were moments when I was wondering if I should finish Toradora!

However, there was always something about the main characters that kept me watching, and I’m glad I did.

The Ugly (or at least the unfunny)

The Hanabee release includes the OAV The True Meaning of Bento and the four Toradora! SOS omakes. Unfortunately I only found these to be mildly amusing at best, and not the laugh out loud funny they were clearly intended to be.

The Pretty

The second half of Toradora! comes with a nice collectors box to hold the three discs, and the reworking of the original Japanese logo into English is a nice piece of graphic design.

The Summary

Toradora! is a series carried by surprisingly good characterisations, and one that I’ll definitely be rewatching at some point in the future. Recommended for light viewing. I’ll leave with the second opening:

[1] The review copy (including part 1) will be auctioned for charity, probably cancer research, at SwanCon 2013. See Site Disclaimer for more.

[2] Although Kitamura’s membership of the Student Council is almost a side note, unlike Maria-Sama ga Miteru where the characters are more or less defined by their rank within the student council

[3] And, as is often the case in anime, the Christmas party is a mostly romantic occasion rather than a Christmas party per se.

[4] For example the boys hiding in the girls closet to avoid getting caught in their room, and then listening to their private conversations.

EDIT 17/12/2012: Hanabee have provided a collectors box image that doesn’t have the yellow tinge of my atrocious iPhone photography, and I’ve updated the post to include it.