Friday, 17 October 2008

Toradora! - Episode 3

I don't think it's any secret that I've really enjoyed the first couple of episodes of Toradora!, and having just finished episode three it's fair to say that my opinion of the series has changed not one iota.

While the first two episodes focused largely on establishing the dynamic between Taiga and Ryuuji, episode three shifts its focus a little more in the direction of the latter's romantic interest in the always energetic Minori Kushieda, culminating in one of those anime cliches that likes to pop up quite frequently - Getting locked in a shed or storage room of some description with the object of your interest.

Despite Minori getting plenty of screen time this episode, that doesn't mean that we don't see plenty of Taiga to boot - Indeed, it's her reactions to Ryuuji that make for one of the more interesting topics of discussion this episode, as she helps him to meet her by taking him to a restaurant she works at on the one hand, but repeatedly tries to do some serious damage to his eyeballs every time he gawps too much. Is that just what friends are for, or is there a little more to it than that? Speaking of talking points, we always get dealt some pretty big hints that Minori isn't quite the confident, self-assured girl she likes to make out she is.

While the plot of this episode (and indeed the series as a whole) isn't the kind of thing to blow your mind, Toradora! works fantastically well almost solely on the basis of its characters. Ryuuji is an incredibly likeable guy (and who doesn't feel they're misunderstood every once in a while?), Minori has that infectiously upbeat attitude that seems to be hiding some very human frailties, and Taiga... Well, you probably wouldn't want to hang out with her if you valued your life, but as an anime character she simply shines. Put those three (and the rest of the cast) together, and you have something the viewing experience of can be summed up in a single word - Fun.

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