Inspire some excerpts while perfecting age-old archetypes and archetypes, Toradora! is still the gold standard when it comes to romantic comedy anime.
There are some big names in the romantic anime scene, but perhaps none is as famous or appreciated as Toradora!. This modern classic has a cast full of memorable characters, not to mention a theme song that is consistently popular to this day. Of course, that coupled with a female protagonist broke old stereotypes and set new trends.
Toradora! it’s now almost 15 years old, but its impact is still easily noticeable. From helping to popularize tsundere characters to enhancing pre-existing romances, the series was destined to become what it is today. Here’s a look back at why anime is still so highly rated.
Toradora! Making waves with a lovable obnoxious protagonist
The heroine of Toradora! is Taiga Aisaka, the “Palmtop Tiger” of her high school, who is so called due to her aggressive and villainous personality on the outside. This sees her clash with the male protagonist Ryuji Takasu, who was previously shunned due to his rather stern appearance. A misunderstanding causes the two to form a reluctant friendship, made all the more interesting by the fact that their mutual friends are the ones they like. Although a romance eventually blossomed between Taiga and Ryuji, it came about after a round of ill-treatment of the latter.
Taiga Aisaka is the perfect example of a tsundere character — one of the main archetypes in anime. These characters exhibit harsh and gruff behavior, especially towards the characters where they end up being paired up. In reality, however, underneath they have a slightly gentle and almost innocent personality. This hidden side of their personality, not to mention their affection for others, often goes unseen, making their more obnoxious antics all the more interesting. That was certainly the case with little Taiga, who often scolded and argued with Ryuji for no reason. Toradora! was the introduction to the archetypal tsundere for many modern anime fans, with the trope’s subsequent popularity building on the film’s success. However, this love for Taiga’s personality wouldn’t be relevant if it weren’t for the other members.
The cast and script of Toradora! Keep making it a classic
Other characters in Toradora! are actually quite insightful, despite how old-fashioned and cliché some of them may seem at first. For example, Minori – Taiga’s best friend and Ryuji’s lover – seems comically perfect at first, with her myriad chores and responsibilities resembling a joke. However, it is revealed that these elements have a much more solid basis, making her more than just a funny joke that Ryuji has a crush on. Even their budding romance develops in a tangible way, with a united concern being what unites them — and ultimately separates them.
Yusaku Kitamura is also very similar, with the vice president of the student council who all the other students admire. This eventually causes him to crack under the pressure of his own complicated love life. Even Ryuji himself is complicated, being a character who often prioritizes his friends but beats himself up for his alleged flaws. This level of deep character development helps propel the series beyond the somewhat grueling concepts that make up its early episodes.
Said clichés include the “square” love between the actors, making it almost a lighthearted harem anime. However, this issue is quickly resolved with all the relationships evolving in a way that makes sense for each character. Of course, the tsundere trope itself is now being represented more than ever, largely because many subsequent anime don’t quite reach the same level of depiction as Toradora!. It just proves that this particular light novel adaptation is the perfect storm to renew what is old and make other concepts more mainstream. So it’s likely to remain a classic romantic comedy for years to come.
Toradora! can be streamed via Crunchyroll, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
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