Friday, 13 February 2009

Toradora! - Episode 19

After all that build-up, it's time for the school Christmas party at last, and there was only one question on my mind as I sat down to watch this episode - Is Minori going to show up?

Before all that however, we get to see both Taiga and Ryuuji dressed up to the nines, and even more surprisingly Taiga and Ami have joined forces to perform a little Christmas number to the party goers. Meanwhile, Ryuuji is having about as much fun as he possibly can, courtesy of finding his role in the grand scheme of things by serving punch.

It's Ryuuji's dedication to proper punch-serving protocol that leads to him not even realising that Taiga has already left the party, as she goes to persuade Minori to go to the party before heading off home - This is all pointed out to him by Ami, whose patience seem to be wearing rather thin as Ryuuji continues to be blind to the bigger picture regarding those around him.

This outburst does at least wake him up enough to realise why Taiga's headed off home after seeing Minori, which leads to our kind-hearted protagonist performing an adorable turn as "Santa" for Taiga, while her excited reaction is equally adorable. She realises it's Ryuuji from the start, but that doesn't stop her loving every second of it... Perhaps a little too much you could argue - After pushing him out the door to return to the party and a waiting Minori, it finally dawns on her that she doesn't want to see him walk away with anyone else, making for yet another genuinely touching moment, an outburst of emotion matched in its sadness only by Minori's far more subtle response to Ryuuji....

By now, you're probably sick of me harping on about the brilliance of Toradora!, but brilliant is exactly what this series continues to be. While many shows of this ilk would take their emotional moments and throw them into your face with all the subtlety of a pink jumbo jet, Toradora! manages to be relatively muted even when the emotions on show are obvious - It doesn't feel the need to explain everything and put it on a plate for you despite the complexity of the relationships involved (and indeed this complexity which brings a feeling of reality to the inter-dependencies here is another big reason why this show is so good at what it does), preferring to leave you to go with the flow and feel what the characters are feeling for yourself. It's this which makes the series in turn so heart-warming and so emotionally raw, with most episodes leaving you watching the closing credits feeling something - Happiness, sadness, or something inbetween. You can't say that about many series these days.


MisterEd said...

It's nice to see what J.C. Staff does with high-quality source material (as opposed to something like Zero no Tsukaima). And to think I almost dumped this series after one episode because I thought Taiga was going to be a Louise clone. Fortunately, Taiga showed more character depth by the 2nd episode than Louise has in three seasons.

I think you're responding to a storyline that grows organically from the characters, instead of being imposed upon them. You can see this from the author of the source novels deciding to end it with Volume 10 instead of milking it for more. She's going to end the story when the story is over, no more, no less. And J.C. Staff is taking the same care with the characters and the story.

Deimos said...

I think I've finally found a blogger that shares the same appreciation that I have for this series. And also sees what I see. I'll read your insights until the series is over from now on ^^

The ending of this episode made me very sad...I've become so attached to all the characters that I want all of them to be happy and in love :)

I wish they would make a OVA for each girl kind of like Clannad. That way I would be fully happy.

In any case, I'm blown away every time by ToraDora and find incredibly that I like it even more than I already do every time I watch the next episode ^^

I look forward to your next post!