Toradora! reaches what is more or less its half-way stage, and in a fashion that will probably leave you going "Awwwww" at least once.
With the wrestling event over and still no sign of Taiga's father, it's time for the culture festival's beauty contest, with Taiga of course representing her own class while Ami hosts the show. The trouble is, Taiga's entire introduction on stage was based around her father being there, and when the invite for him to take to the stage goes unanswered everything goes horribly wrong... Until Taiga goes ballistic that is, and somehow manages to turn everything around to have herself declared as winner. No, it probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but I guess I can cut it some slack this time around in the spirit of the festive season.
Speaking of not making much sense, what follows is an announcement from the school council president that the winner of a lap of the school grounds gets to crown Taiga as winner of the beauty contest, and also an opportunity to dance with her, which of course sends all of the guys into a frenzy. Realising Taiga's probable loneliness due to her father not showing up (and having received a text message himself from her Dad getting him to break the news about him letting her down again), Ryuuji takes it upon himself to win this race to cheer up, but finds himself facing some stiff competition from who else but Minori. This eventually leads to the two making up, bringing forth some of those aforementioned "Awwww" moments (notwithstanding Minori's pondering over whether she's a lesbian, which will doubtless get some people reaching for the drawing pad and pencils...).
While almost everything about this episode was slightly implausible (winning a beauty contest by ripping your dress, tripping over and getting yourself zipped into a bag? You won't see that at Miss World I would wager) it still had enough going for it to keep things ticking over, not least reminders of why I love this show's main characters so much. They're the kind of people you'd want as friends, which is always a good starting point, but as far as watching them in action is concerned they have enough of a fallible human nature to make them all lovable. Yes, even angry Taiga. With things getting just ever, ever so slightly lovey-dovey between the main duo and their unrequited loves in this instalment, I'm very much looking forward to seeing what the second half of this series can bring to the table.