Archive for December 17th, 2008

Toradora!: The First Fight

Now they have a lover’s dispute of sorts, and they still don’t realize things! Of course, Taiga actually, genuinely mad at Ryuuji is a frightening thing to behold…

I’m not for sure what, exactly, transpired between Taiga and her father (and I don’t think we’re supposed to know that right now), but he doesn’t seem like the bad sort. Then again, sometimes the bad sort has the nasty habit of looking like the good sort, so it does get hard to tell. My guess is a communication error between father and daughter, but it could be any number of things.

Strangely, too, Ryuuji is the one who is actively seeking out his father’s identity, whereas Taiga is rejecting her father. Ryuuji has no father figure, and his mother’s effectively useless for all intents and purposes; hence, then, his propensity for household chores. Yet the same lack of a father figure prompts him to berate Taiga violently–this is the first time in the entire series that Ryuuji has actually acted like anything resembling a “dragon”–until he realizes he’s doing it for him and not for her. Even after he apologizes, Taiga goes to actually talk to her father, leaving us with everything but the subtlety of a “TO BE CONTINUED…” placard.

Contrasts seem to be the name of the Toradora! game: Taiga projects strength externally but is weak internally, whereas Ryuuji is weak externally (in the sense that he doesn’t live up to his fearsome appearance–and is it just me, or does no one else really care about how he looks anymore?–and his lovably non-masculine habits) but strong internally. Minori acts like a lunatic, yet the lunacy is a cover for her own insecurity (of a different nature than Taiga’s, I believe); Ami is aggressively outgoing because she’s spent her life at the whim of other people, leaving her essentially lonely; and Kitamura…well, okay, he’s as dense as a brick.

The actual series itself follows the contrast: the comic situatiuons the characters find themselves in frequently lead to not only immense mirth but a nigh-obligatory episodic Downbeat Intropsective Moment, and the Moment is made all the better by its genesis in and divergence from the silliness. The bright colors that dominate most of the episode tend to turn from bright and cheery to moody hues tinged with black during such a Moment. Even the name of the show is a contrast: とらドラ, “tora” written in hiragana and “dora” written in katakana.

Contrast is, more or less, the blood upon which a romantic comedy (or even just a romance) thrives. It’s the law of magnetism: opposites attract. It’s kind of hard to say why, exactly, there’s an emphasis on contrasts–not knowing the ultimate outcome, and the ultimate outcome is not likely to come with episode 25, depending–I can’t really make a definitive statement on why the deliberate focus on contrasts both inside and outside characters, if there even is one. Perhaps it serves merely to accentuate the ambiguous nature of the main relationship: they’ve great chemistry but seem completely oblivious to this fact, and pursue their own interests while at the same time supporting each other. Yin and yang: one cannot exist independent of the other. For all intents and purposes, it seems Ryuuji didn’t really “exist” as he does now (he was distinctly aloof before Taiga had her way with him) before the start of the series, and Taiga was busy being sulky in her messy apartment to actually have a life.

I’m going to start spouting silly romantic platitudes any second now. Instead, I’ll apologize for the lack of productive activity lately, as my productive activity has been turned towards trying to graduate (three days!) and also to not go insane before then. This involves copious amounts of doing things I keep forgetting to do, like “have fun” and “exist” and also “what kinds of nonsensical conclusions can I derive from the sources provided to make a paper that will enable me to not fail?”

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NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

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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