Toradora! may have new opening and end credits, but it still remains as wonderful as ever, continuing to cement its place as my favourite show airing at present.
It may be a month or so too late for us, but it's coming up to Christmas in this episode, and between that and Taiga's suspension (after her fight last episode) coming to an end, it's time to celebrate all round. Unless you're Minori that is, who still seems to be suffering from the after effects of the last instalment's climax, to the extent where even her softball skills have gone awry. Just what is bothering her?
Beyond that, Taiga's return to school proves that everyone is as hilariously bizarre as ever, as Taiga receives a hero's welcome from all and sundry... even Kitamura. Minori is also acting as oddly as ever, although in a very different way on account of her worries.
The main focus of the second half of this episode is a pending Christmas party for the school - Who is coming, who isn't, and so on. Meanwhile, there's a concerted effort from certain parties to get Taiga and Kushieda together, which leaves Ryuuji with some mixed emotions himself...
After the highly charged emotions of the last episode, it was nice to get back to something a little more light-hearted this time around (even in spite of the darker undertones regarding Minori's state of mind) - Taiga's giddy excitement surrounding Christmas and Santa was cute in the extreme, Kushieda's welcome to Taiga upon her return to school was hilarious, and somehow even Minori in that crazy bald wig still hasn't got tiring as a gag yet. While that sense of comedy seeped away in the second half of the episode as work resumed on progressing the plot and the various relationships which it relies upon, it still made for yet another entertaining episode which makes me dread the day this series ends.