I am dead serious. Every man should aspire to be him. He can cook! He can sew! He isn’t a total jerk, or even a jerk at all!
Taiga might steal the show with her infinitely endearing nature, and there’s no doubt that, for the intended audience, Taiga herself is a large part of the series’ success, but Ryuuji himself is nothing short of amazing. Perhaps it’s just the simple fact that I find it incredibly easy to identify with him, given his menacing appearance counterbalanced with his own soft, gentle nature that reminds me of a self-description on a good day (on a bad day, or in a bad mood, I’d place myself more in step with Taiga, and then there are the occasional extended lapses into Minorin behavior that I have to watch out for), but despite the fact that he does nothing that would traditionally be designated “awesome” by masculine standard, he nevertheless manages to be awesome.
Mayhaps the same feeling also stems from his own particular relationship with Taiga. Although Taiga intitally pseudo-bullies Ryuuji into assisting her land Kitamura (by withholding a similar setup with Minori until she is successful), the “bullying” phase lasted for, essentially, less than an episode, as Ryuuji seems to be dealing with and caring for Taiga less because she bullied him into doing such, but more because he actually cares for her, and, true to form, selflessly gives himself over to assist her in her goal of bagging the ever-elusive (and decidedly weird) Kitamura. Selflessly to the point that, in order to prevent Taiga’s poolside embarassment, not only does he sew her some fake breasts, he actually has the guts to save her both from drowning and mortal embarassment by slipping the escaped falsie back in without really recognizing what it was, exactly, that he was doing. It didn’t occur to him to be “lecherous” or even fretting about what might happen if he did such a thing, he simply did it to save Taiga’s face. And he didn’t even bat an eye afterwards. Now that’s what I call manly, and you don’t need sunglasses for that.
Perhaps, in part, it’s because neither Taiga nor Ryuuji (consciously) consider each other as “candidates” for a romantically involved relationship that leads them, unwitting, into a relationship that is a romantic one in all but acknowledgment as such. Of course, we the viewers know that, most likely, Taiga and Ryuuji will become an “official” couple by series end, but the fun (and the tension) is derived from the fact that they haven’t realized it yet, and persist in failing to realize this. We already know from the shocked expression on Taiga’s face when Ami is putting the moves on Ryuuji that while it might not really be a conscious thought yet, she seemingly already can’t bear the thought of Ryuuji getting entangled with someone else, although whether she was concerned more for Minorin (who still thinks that Taiga and Ryuuji are going out, despite their protestations to the contrary) rather than herself remains to be seen. It’s possible, too, that she rationalized away her concern for Ryuuji possibly being taken away from her and foisted it upon Minorin, since, if she truly isn’t cognizant that she likes him in such a way, then she’d have to rationalize it away somehow.
I have the sneaky suspicion it will take Minorin acting like this:
to get Ryuuji and Taiga to realize what’s actually going on. For all her, uh, Minorin-ness, I’m pretty sure that she and Kitamura are the only ones who really know what’s going on while Ryuuji and Taiga are stumbling blindly down the path to…whatever it is they’ll get in the end. Maybe it’s not a plot by Ryuuji and Taiga to set each other up with Minorin and Kitamura. Maybe it’s Minorin and Kitamura’s plot to set Ryuuji and Taiga up! Exactly as Aeolia Schenberg planned two centuries in the future!
TAKEMIYA YUYUKO,. I HAVE FIGURED YOU OUT!