Toradora!: Episode 1 Report

Astute followers of this particular corner of the information superhighway (all two of you) will probably remember that, some time ago, I read the first (translated) volume of Toradora! and issued a report on my findings, namely, that Toradora! was, in a bizarre and shocking development, deserving of its own popularity!

Of course, the light novel being good is one thing; whether or not the anime adaptation will be good is another matter entirely. I was able to check out the raw version of the first episode earlier today, and was suitably impressed by it. I hadn’t actually given much thought as to how they’d adapt Toradora! for the small screen, but I can say that they did it amazingly well. This may, of course, simply be first-episode budget-blowing audience-catching aftereffect, but I’m happy, and that’s what matters.

What got me (and, apparently, everyone else) is that Kugimiya Rie is, rather than resorting to her Shana/Louise/Nagi-esque voice, using one that’s different, thereby deflecting the cries of “TYPECASTING!” that has seemingly plagued the pre-airing discussion somewhat. Even Horie Yui, as Minori, is putting on a different voice than her usual (I knew it was her, yet I still needed some time to make sure it was, in fact, her).

Aside from acting, the episode itself was very well done, in comparison to the novel. I did not, however, read along with the novel in one window and the episode in another and record snide comments on a piece of paper, so my judgement might be a bit flawed. I was satisfied, and, at this pont, that’s all that matters. Fully animated Taiga was appropriately cute in a very Taiga-like way, and, in particular, the slight introduction of her brand of dere (the complete and utter inablity to move or speak when confronted with something involving the object of her affection) mixed with her being, well, Taiga, was pleasing.

As for how good the series is, in terms of the novel? I’m going to withhold judgement until I’ve seen the lightpost scene animated, which will be the litmus test for the series in that department. WIth Okada Mari as the lead writer crossed with Nagai Tatsuya (who has directed things well which would assist in the matter of the lightpole scene, even if he isn’t a Name To Watch Out For yet), however, I’ve got very few doubts as to whether it will be handled right.

In short:

Minori approves. Taiga, presumably, approves, but she’s too prideful to show it. For now, anyway.

Expect a better, more lengthy, and somewhat more interesting post when the lightpole episode does roll around! Shouldn’t be long now!

12 Responses to “Toradora!: Episode 1 Report”

  1. 1 Haesslich 3 October 2008 at 1:26 am

    We’ll see how that goes – J.C. Staff has screwed up adaptations before, which is why my expectations are so low at the moment. Outside of the character designs, it’s not too off so far… but they did add in an unnecessary bit just to show how bad a housekeeper Taiga is. As if that pixellated Sink from Hell wasn’t enough.

  2. 2 zqube 3 October 2008 at 3:09 am

    Meh, I didn’t like how Taiga and Ryuuji first met. I just read the first volume and working on the second so I notice differences more than usual.

    And about that first encounter, why did they make Taiga punch Ryuuji? I thought it was out of character really. Though Taiga may be have that scowl on her face a lot of the time, she is not Louise-like in her violence.

  3. 3 OGT 3 October 2008 at 7:25 am

    Going into a series with a “I expect this adaptation to screw things up” attitude simply means that the adaptation will screw things up, if for no other reason than you’re actively looking for the things it gets “wrong”, turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy, regardless of how good or bad the adaptation actually is. This happened to me with Bokurano, so I’m not “above it”, but your attitude upon entrance can and does have a major effect on the perceived quality.
    I didn’t expect the adaptation to be 100% faithful, because when a story moves from medium to medium, there’s going to be differences. I was more hoping it’d capture the spirit well enough, which it seems to have done, thus far. I’d have had terrifying thoughts about massive unwanted adaptation decay if it had been Gonzo at the helm, not J.C.Staff.

  4. 4 Haesslich 3 October 2008 at 6:13 pm

    OGT: My worry is that they’ll take all the things that made ToraDora good (the atypical relationship, the fact that Taiga’s not a jealous yandere posing as a tsundere like Louise from the ZnT anime adaptations… who in turn is nothing like her novel version), in order to please the Shana-loving masses. And given how J.C. Staff’s track record has been in recent years, I’m VERY worried that this will turn out like another To-Love-RU or Rosario + Pantsu.

    At least the pacing’s about right, even if they’re rushing through the first novel. I’m waiting to see how they handle Taiga’s confession, though. If they screw THAT up, as well as the light pole aftermath, then we’re all fucked.

  5. 5 OGT 3 October 2008 at 7:29 pm

    If anything’s got the masses captured at the moment, it’s Louise, not Shana–s2 was received fairly poorly of Shakugan no Shana, from what I can remember. Don’t know about the Japanese reception, though. I’m entirely unfamiliar (having never read them) with the original Zero no Tsukaima novels, but I’d assume that the flaws endemic to Zero no Tsukaima anime were also endemic to the novels.
    Also, J.C. Staff had absolutely nothing to do with ToLoveRu or Rosario+Vampire (those were XEBEC, who have major issues in the post-Stellvia world, and GONZO, who are GONZO, respectively), so I’m not entirely sure why bringing them up is relevant, except that they were poor adaptations of manga that were destined to receive poor adaptations anyway. But, then again, I’m fairly apathetic about the relative quality (or lack thereof) of Shana, Zero no Tsukaima, ToLoveRu, or Rosario+Vampire, as none of those series interest me in any level other than “lookit how cute/sexy (delete whichever is inappropriate for the situation) this girl is!”, which, admittedly, in some cases, they are, but that’s the extent of my caring.
    And on J.C. Staff’s recent track record–they’ve got their share of hits and misses, but no more than any other studio. Shigofumi, Potemayo, Honey & Clover and Nodame Cantabile were all fairly good as far as I’m concerned. And the staff behind Toradora!, as mentioned above, are very strong with material I’ve liked, and very strong with material similar to Toradora!

  6. 6 Haesslich 4 October 2008 at 12:58 am

    OGT: News flash for you – the ZnT novel plots were butchered horribly when they were ‘adapted’ into the anime. Louise in the novels is not a psycho yandere, but an actual tsundere who has some restraint when dealing with Saito in those. She likes him, and she may act hot and cold towards him… but she doesn’t try to kill him on a regular basis. Louise in the anime bears little resemblance to her as a result, since her default setting is ‘jealous psycho bitch who would cut Saito’s balls off if he even so much as breathed the air another girl had walked through’.

    The reason I brought those two up is because they’re recent examples of very, very bad manga-to-anime adaptations which had little enough to do with their source material outside of the character designs and some plot elements. They amped up the fanservice and added things, while taking out the humor that infused the original story. ZnT and Shana are poor adaptations of their light novels, although Shana fared better because it was less butchered… although for some reason, yandere is the new moe in Japan, to judge by Louise’s success. Or else it’s the fact that she’s even more lolicon than Shana that does it, given that she has a ‘gravure’ art book out.

    Nodama Cantabile and H&C were good… but this is the same studio that pushed three seasons of Zero no Tsukaima, Sky Girls, the poor adaptation of Karin, Maburaho, Tsukihime-the-anime-which-doesn’t-exist, and the could-be-better Asatte no Houkou. The way they keep milking the Shana and ZnT franchises, and in particular the way they took out plot elements in favor of ‘tsundere fanservice’ doesn’t make me very happy, and I’m afraid they’ll remove Taiga’s dere-dere elements in order to make her Louise Mark II.

    They already added more ‘tsundere’ violence by having Taiga knock down Ryuuji, when in the initial novel and manga adaptation he merely got overpowered by her killing aura. If she starts shouting “Urusai! Urusai! Urusai!” while trying to kill him every episode hereafter, then I’m going to have to give up on this sereies as another J.C. Failure.

  7. 7 usagijen 4 October 2008 at 5:42 am

    I think not watching any J.C.Staff trainwreck, particularly Zero no Tsukaima, makes me have the advantage of watching this free from the negative biases that most people have. Reminds me of what you’ve also said before, about dwelling on animes of the past, though in the case of ToraDora it’s more of fans dwelling on the negative reputation of the studio and expecting that this current series will turn out to be the same =/

  8. 8 Haesslich 4 October 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Given how they killed ZnT by making Louise a more murderous version of Shana… AND the way they didn’t even bother to keep the novel or manga designs for the characters… and the extra violence in the first episode… I’m very worried that they’ll decide to ‘improve’ on the source material by making her just like Louise.

    And that would be very bad. There’s several bloggers who have given up on the series already dye to her appearing to be another Louise clone… and some who declare get a psycho based on the manga/novel sources. If they add more violence and take away her restraint, or her confession to Kitamura is changed significantly… then it’s another J.C. Failure. The studio has already had a reputation hit due to ZnT and Louise getting multiple seasons of Kuguyuu vehicles and ongoing lack of relationship development.

  9. 9 Haesslich 4 October 2008 at 12:55 pm

    due to, even.

  10. 10 The Animanachronism 5 October 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Being unable to recognise Kugimiya’s voice, I wasn’t gotten by that, but I was pleasantly surprised. Given the (slightly) more sophisticated relationship polygon I was (faintly) reminded of School Rumble.

    I’m fearful of its status as an adaption removing the prospect of a proper ending, but having read this I’m going to have to at least watch it until this rumoured ‘lightpole scene’ turns up.

  11. 11 Haesslich 6 October 2008 at 4:46 am

    Animanachronism: Yes, at least ‘teh Rie’ has gotten a chance to pick up a somewhat different voice, since her Louise one’s a tad higher than this. And it’s not QUITE a polygon, so much as a situation where most of the characters are oblivious. If you’ve read the novels or the manga, you’ll know what I mean… since there’s already one other twist in here, before we even introduce Ami Kawashima.

    I doubt it’ll have a ‘proper ending’, though – the manga and novels are ongoing, so there’s no real room for an actual end and they’ll (if we’re lucky) create a Mahoraba-like ending which ties some things up without leaving them painted in a corner. The real ending for the manga, which went down a year or two after the anime did, actually paralleled some parts of the anime ending in what was done and how the situation was handled. Just… it was extended over the course of a volume, instead of two episodes.

    I’m more worried as to how much more ‘tsundere’ (read: yandere like Louise) violence they’re going to add to this adaptation in the name of ‘fanservice’.

  12. 12 Haesslich 9 October 2008 at 12:03 am

    Episode 2 came out, and it got hacked some. Alas.

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