Friday, 6 February 2009

Toradora! - Episode 18

Ever since that scrap between Taiga and Sumire, Toradora! seems to be on an ever-deepening emotional spiral when it comes to the relationships between the major characters, and despite being quite a slow-paced instalment episode eighteen moves things on a little further in this sense.

Of course, the main focus is the continuing preparations for the school Christmas party, with Taiga continuing to try her best to be as good as gold, while Minori seems to be trying her best to avoid both the party itself as well as Taiga and Ryuuji. During this period we learn a bit more about Taiga's past, the reason for her unswerving belief in Santa, and see a rather generous side to her (even though she sees it as being self-centred herself).

However, the important moments of this episode come courtesy of Ami and Minori. Starting out with the former, Ami continues her knack for telling it like it is as she discusses how he feels watching everyone's attempts to set Taiga up with Kitamura, while also dropping what seems to be a not so subtle hint about her own feelings towards Ryuuji. Then there's Minori, who is still clearly deeply troubled by something, but we still get no real clues as to what this might be, despite an accident during softball training potentially bringing her closer than ever to Ryuuji.

As I've come to expect from this series, Toradora! continues to be nothing if not a triumph in characterisation - Even in a relatively quiet episode, the behaviour of both Ami and Minori could easily fill of a volume of a book on psychology and body language, with their words and actions often telling very different stories, and offering an added layer of depth to the series. The character growth on show here is well worthy of note - Take Ami as a perfect example of this, an initially hateful character who has, as the series has progressed, grown up to reveal a lot more about herself, in turn becoming more than just your generic bitchy good-looking girl. It really is compelling stuff.


felicity said...

I agree with you about the great psychology/body language in this show - I think that's definitely what has let Ami transcend her initial hatefulness (and god did I hate her at first - really don't know what the fanboys see there, ha). Although I don't dislike her complex character anymore, I still think she's the hardest for me to understand.

It may be easy to interpret her not-so-subtle comments this episode as having feelings for Ryuuji, but that doesn't fit with the rest of her characterization at all in my mind. I think that's a convenient harem explanation that doesn't suit the rest of the motivations in the show. I believe Ami is just sick of being ignored - this is a major plot point which the anime has been building up regarding her intervention in her friends' love lives, and she's about to blow up over the fact that nobody has been listening to her which is true!

I'm sure part of her does wish that she was in the running for Ryuuji's affection from the start, not because she likes him necessarily, but because she doesn't like being the outsider. She arrived too late and the connections between the others were too strong already. Ami's an attention whore at heart (and I mean that in the kindest way, hehe.)

But despite the public adulation she gets from modeling, she's perpetually on the outside of the deeper growing attachments between her peers, and she's lonely because of it. (Still nowhere near the loneliness of Taiga though, so there >=p)

Sorry for the epic long comment!!

Hanners said...

Epic long comments are always good. :D

I definitely like your points about Ami.. I am kind of torn between the simpler "she likes Ryuuji" explanation and her more general need for attention from the people around her, but I think when all is said and done you're probably right on the money with your thoughts.