The rivalry between Taiga and Ami really started to hot up in the last instalment of Toradora!, and thanks to a 'bright' idea from Minori, this is what we end up with - A sports contest to decide whether Ryuuji gets to spend his summer holiday at Ami's villa or not.
With the choice of sport being drawn out of the pot, what else becomes the chosen discipline for this contest but... Swimming. Hardly Taiga's special subject it's fair to say, as we learned last episode. So, the in-class betting over who will win begins with earnest, but with both Ryuuji and Kitamura putting their faith in Taiga, she has little choice but to try and repay that by doing her best to win the contest, even before taking into account how desperately she doesn't want Ryuuji to end up with Ami for an entire summer.
Call this "yet another generic swimming pool episode" if you like, but that doesn't make it any less great. If nothing else, Taiga's get up at the start of the swimming contest (not to mention the line that follows it from the watching crowd... "I thought she'd come armed") has to be the funniest thing I've seen all week, and there were plenty of moments that really hit various emotional spots during the course of the episode, from humour to some actually far more serious moments between Taiga and Ryuuji that again managed to shape the perception of their relationship in subtle and enigmatic ways, walking that ever so fine tightrope between love and friendship almost perfectly to leave the viewer not only guessing, but repeatedly changing their mind during the course of the episode.
So, yet again Toradora! wins the day as one of the better (if not best) series of this anime season - A superb bunch of characters, given perfect situations and great dialogue to strut their stuff. It's incredibly fun to watch, which makes it one of the highlights of my week, and that's really all I should need to say by way of a compliment.