Mm, vanilla salt.
Toradora! was a show I entered with a bit of trepidation, as I generally have not enjoyed light novel adaptations, and the comparisons of Taiga to Shana (Shakugan no Shana) were not making me feel any more hopeful. There’s also the fact that romcoms aimed at male audiences tend to be panty-shot-filled harem romps, so I was fairly suspicious of that, too. But I took the plunge.
Halfway through, I love this thing – I haven’t enjoyed a romcom this much since Lovely Complex. Toradora! succeeds because its characters are so very human, and because they’re so likable – even the unpleasant Ami is beginning to grow on me. While the cast of Toradora! does stupid things at point, they don’t drown in them like characters do in so many other romcoms, from Peach Girl to To-Love-ru (or however the hell its spelt). And this lack of rampant stupid does a world of good for a show that, on its surface, differs very little from many from its genre.
One must also note the excellent relationship dynamics throughout the show, in particular between Taiga and Ryuuji. Regardless of how this turns out, with them as friends or as boyfriend and girlfriend, the two are a riot to watch interact. Also worth mentioning are Minori and Kitamura, whose weird personalities intersect to hilarious results.
Another aspect worth mentioning is the ED song, which is a catchy song done by Horie Yui. The ED perfectly matches the series in tone, which actually means a lot, as demonstrated by other shows wherein the ED produces an unpleasantly jarring effect due to difference in tone from the series itself.
Toradora! thus far wins on its ability to actually hold up both genres it aspires to, bringing the humor to keep the comedy going full-speed, and the heart to maintain a romance storyline. All this show needs to do is hold steady, and it’ll easily rank as one of the good shows of the year.