Toradora!: In Which I Am Reduced to a Bucket of Pudding

What I wouldn’t give to be that bucket of pudding. I hope it’s free of high-fructose corn syrup, though…

I have just watched Toradora! 4, and it was glorious and awesome and pudding. As a side note, it’s probably best to mention that I’m watching the series raw, explicitly on purpose, for listening practice, something which I do not normally do. It’s fairly easy for me to understand at my level of comprehension, whatever that level may be, so if something weird comes up, it might be that, although I try to make sure I’ve gotten the mportant stuff down right.

At this point, I no longer particuarily care how “accurate” the anime is in comparison to the Takemiya Yuyuko novels. The anime might be different, but that doesn’t make it worse. In fact, it might make it better–yes, I quite like books, and, yes, I quite liked the novel, but the anime seems so much more lively than the novel. It’s partly because it’s a filmed medium–visuals, voice, and music combine to form an experience that is more engrossing than a textual one–but also partly because of the exuberance the anime oozes. I did like the novel, but it wasn’t exactly exuberant (in the way the anime is) in the way I generally recognize exuberance in textual form, which is entirely my fault for a) being a native English speaker and reader and also for finding P.G. Wodehouse hilarious b) not reading the novels in their native Japanese, since the page or so I did read (“read”) in Japanese had a certain exuberance in the language that might not carry over in translation well (or, at least, the translation I read) and c) perhaps I just forgot since it’s been months since I did.

I think it’s this exuberance that’s winning over fans from places it might not have won fans over from, especially from those predisposed against the series due to Kugimiya Rie’s casting as Taiga. The very story about why I elected to watch the series raw demonstrates this effectively, I think: my intention was to get the raw of the first episode and skim through it to get a glimpse of the series in action. I started off intending to skip through large portions of the episode, but I never actually skipped parts of the episode because I found myself mysteriously engrossed in what was going on. In short, my Toradora! watching experiences thus far have resembled this:

except I’m not a cute girl (OR AM I?).

It’s that very exuberance and forthrightness on the part of all the staff involved. The main cast does a spectacular job on everything: Kugyu as Taiga is astounding, Horie Yui turns in an amazing performance as the delightfully loopy Minorin, and Majima Junji is probably doing the performance of his career thus far right now. The animators’ choice of a bright, vivid palette, and the near-constant motion contribute a great deal to this feeling; so, too, does the overall direction and writing, which guide all the previous elements into the completed product that is Toradora!

I think it’s this very feeling of exuberance–of giving everything your 110%–that contributes to the observation cuchlann made about episode 3: the show has the uncanny ability to make you forget (or, at least, not really care) that you’re in the middle of a “cliche.” Cliches exist because they’ve withstood the test of time, and they work, and the difference between “hackneyed” and “originality” tends to be less how few cliches one uses, but ratherhow one uses said cliches. The writing of Toradora! itself can deftly dodge cliches, as I learned from reading the novels, but the penchant of the animation staff to revel in (rather than restrain) the almost over-the-top mechanics of Toradora! means that the series’ true power is able to shine through.

The sad reality of Toradora!’s excellence is that I’m now left with a horrible, horrlble problem: a resounding affection for Taiga, because how can one not like Taiga at this point (that’s rhetorical, don’t answer that), and a bad case of Minorin love, because she’s the exact kind of the excessively-genki type of girl who reduces me to a quivering blob of pudding. In a bucket. Being consuimed by Minorin herself.

I am conflicted and torn. I just hope it doesn’t end up becoming some kind of crazy wacky Civil War, except Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant are actually cute girls.

I need a hug. And an お~は~ or something. Please?

11 Responses to “Toradora!: In Which I Am Reduced to a Bucket of Pudding”

  1. 1 Cuchlann 26 October 2008 at 9:46 pm


    Yes, and also yes.

    Indeed, this is one of the few times I’ve ever really, *really* liked the genki girl. Minorin’s just so strange. She crosses the line into cloud-cuckoo-lander, honestly.

  2. 2 Haesslich 26 October 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Episode 4 brought back the revelation of the confession Kitamura gave Taiga… which was necessary, to explain why he let Taiga down gently in episode 2… as well as explaining WHY Taiga liked Kitamura. That gives it a bit of context, even if most of the episode was filler. Otherwise it’d just have been Taiga abusing Ryuuji.. and that’d have gotten boring real fast.

  3. 3 OGT 27 October 2008 at 1:11 am

    @Hasselich: While I respect and, to some extent, understand your opinion vis-a-vis Taiga, you’re starting to sound like a broken record even more than I can sound like a broken record. You’ve most assuredly gotten the point across that you’re not a big fan of the supposed Louise-zation of Taiga; none of my posts directly address this issue, and, frankly, it’s a non-issue to me, and outside of my concern in whatever my concern for this here blog is. Perhaps TheBigN was correct, and mayhaps it is time to start your own blog? It would be easier, at least, for you to set out a clear and distinct argument for your issues with Toradora!, rather than a smattering of incensed comments across the internet.
    I hate to be the big bad lipstick-clad pit bull of the anime blogohedron, but I think your comments are, perhaps, a bit misaimed here. Gentleman’s agreement, then?

  4. 4 usagijen 27 October 2008 at 4:28 am

    All we need is love for Taiga. O-HAAA~!! Still have to rewatch this episode to fully digest it, and hopefully, go all emo or melt due to too much Taiga moe-ness *__*

  5. 5 omisyth 27 October 2008 at 4:59 am

    I think I will die from the amount of Taigasm’s I keep having.

  6. 6 Heero Yuy 27 October 2008 at 11:03 am

    I don’t like the way Taiga will for almost no reason attack the guy, but she’s got Kugimiya Rie as her voice actor so it’s to be expected. She’s still a likable character though, and I like Minorin a lot too. I agree though in hoping that Taiga doesn’t turn into another Louise.

    So far so good…

  7. 7 Jasonp 27 October 2008 at 7:19 pm

    I remember showing episode 3 to a buddy and during the baseball in lockup part he exclaims: “This girl (Minorin) is crazy!” I had no other way to respond than “Yes!” with a smile. I think that Minorin’s infectious genki enthusiasm works because she is so odd. All the characters are good and entertaining, but she keeps me watching the show.

  8. 8 otou-san 28 October 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Haesslich isn’t the only broken record on the internet. People wrote off Taiga instantly, and it feels like I’m watching a different show than everyone else. The endless accusations of unwarranted abuse, etc.

    Thankfully, you’re watching the same show I am, and thankfully Taiga is cute and Minorin is just awesome. Perhaps you’ve nailed its reasons for being enjoyable. I was going to deride you for reducing yourself and the rest of us to wee toddlers looking at bright colors and flashing lights, but you’re correct. Somehow it’s a visually interesting show even if there aren’t any robots. And besides, you’re right about the story, too. It’s not that it’s a pile of originality, far from it, but it is about as charming as it gets within that framework.

  9. 9 OGT 28 October 2008 at 8:14 pm

    @otou-san: I certainly didn’t mean to imply that we’re all a bunch of toddlers awed by bright moving colors despite our “maturity”–there’s a lot more at work, there. I guess “vivacious” is a more proper word for this concept, but that’s because English has entirely too many words. But I think you got what I meant, anyway: it’s less about the color scheme selected so much as the forces that drove the selection of the color scheme.

  10. 10 Kairu Ishimaru 30 October 2008 at 3:01 am

    This episode was funny. And I was like ‘ohwow’ when Kitamura confessed that she likes Taiga. :D Aww~ Im so excited at the next episode :D

  1. 1 The Scrumptious Anime Blog | The Taigaism Dialogues 3-4: The Ode of “OHAAA”, Altogether Now Trackback on 6 November 2008 at 9:00 pm

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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October 2008

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