I will broach no argument with the following statement - Toradora is the best anime romantic comedy of all time. Needless to say, this opinion has left me veritably frothing at the mouth with the prospect of rejoining Ryuuji, Taiga and company for this one-off OVA to accompany the show's Blu-Ray box set release.
Unsurprisingly given the way the series (and its light novel origins) closed off, this OVA is very much a standalone "filler" piece which slots somewhere into the middle of the series, which means time for some everyday high school hijinks. More specifically, Ryuuji is the main focus of this episode as he finds himself faced with a rival in the boxed lunch making stakes in the form of Kitamura's grandmother, who produces a more than lavish meal for him while his parents are away on business.
Never one to be bested at such things (in no small part thanks to his OCD in such circumstances), Ryuuji sets out to make a "winning" bento box to show what he's made of, but it seems that no matter what he tries he simply can't best Miyo's concoctions. So intently focused is Ryuuji on producing the perfect lunch that he completely misses one rather major point of preparing any meal when someone else is involved - their preferences and enjoyment in terms of what they get out of the meal is far more important than what you put in. Needless to say, it's Taiga who (albeit unwittingly) teaches him this important lesson, as another little sign of their relatively compatibility.
Although I would have loved to see this OVA try and focus after the end of the series (and surely there was a fair amount of scope to do so), any new Toradora material is good material to me, so it was great to be reintroduced to what feels like a group of old friends, however briefly and frivolously. Even without its romantic overtones for the most part aside from the off flicker here and there, there were still some signs of the old Toradora magic here - some great lines and set-ups that made for joyful and amusing comedy that played to the strengths of its characters. If anything, and even though I rewatched it in the summer, it simply makes me miss this series even more - maybe Ano Natse de Matteru can fill this gap in the forthcoming winter season?