‘Toradora!’ is a high school “slice of life” romantic comedy anime that ran from 2008 to 2009. The show was created by J.C.Staff, running on TV Tokyo and dubbed by NIS America. It based on the manga by Yuyuko Takemiya. This review is based on the dub.
Ryuji Takasu (Erik Scott Kimerer) is a high schooler living with his single mother Yasuko (Karen Strassman), a cocktail waitress he takes care of. At school, he has a crush on peppy classmate Minori Kushieda (Christine Marie Cabanos) but is too shy to talk to her. While gawking at her, he crashes into her friend, firebrand Taiga Aisaka (Cassandra Lee Morris) who has a crush on his friend Yusaku Kitamura (Johnny Yong Bosch). Taigai, known as the “Palmtop Tiger” because of her temper, makes an alliance with Ryuji so they can win over their respective crushes, but when Yusaku’s vain friend Ami Kawashima (Erika Harlacher), trouble starts to arise.
As for the animation, it is pretty standard for the era. I do like how each of the five main characters has unique features. Ryuji is tall, Taiga is short with big hair, Minori has piercing eyes, Yusaku has glasses, and Ami is tall with purple hair. Their looks also matched their personalities. The secondary characters were a bit similar in design, but most of the show focused on these five characters, so it was not too distracting.
The voice acting is pretty good for the English actors. They truly brought their characters to life. Specifically, Kimerer as Ryuji and Morris as Taiga had such great chemistry through the entirety of the series. Their interactions brought most of the comedy and tension episode to episode with not a single chance of slowing down. Cabanos, as usual, brought the kindhearted Minori to the forefront. She does such a good job of making you feel the emotions she goes through as her friendship Taiga changes.
Where the heart of this series lies is in the story. Ryuji and Taiga are conflicting personalities. He is a softhearted young man who shoulders a lot of responsibility while Taiga has a, sometimes, violent temper and hides a lot of her personal life. They go from being necessary allies to friends to something more as the plot moves forward. Yes, they was a lot of comedy that made you laugh, but there were a ton of heartfelt moments that raised the stakes for all of the characters. At times, you were frustrated with the events happening, but you never lost interest in the lives of these five students.
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews for Brand New Animal and Grimgar, Ashes and Illusions. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.