Toradora 11: the fatherless pain

The eleventh installment of ToraDora! wasn’t as stellar as its previous episode. Nevertheless, it still remains to be a tour-de-force, especially towards the end of the episode.

Having experienced the final days of summer vacation, they return to class once more. Not much occurs in the early minutes of the episode other than generally a preparation for the cultural festival. It was obvious (and remains to be) that Ryuuji was heavily affected by the words of Minori during the previous episode.

'Why am I getting more sensitive to things that you say?'

Why am I getting more sensitive to things that you say?

Few things are given some clarity during these minutes: among the three, Ami is truly the most feminine girl, as she seems to be the only one who cares about her nails going to be broken if she played. Minori and Taiga play without any hesitation, and it can be seen that Minori is pretty adept at basketball. The regular Taiga versus Ami battle occurs sporadically through the episode. During their second confrontation, though, when Taiga approached Ryuuji to fix her torn jogging pants, Minori appeared after Taiga and Ami went away.

I assume that Minori has already become more sensitive as regards Ryuuji’s existence with how their conversation took place. When Ryuuji asks regarding Minori’s invitation toward Ryuuji to look for UFO’s together, she doesn’t blatantly deny it; she skirts the issue and goes off on a spiel against instant noodles. Avoiding an issue would mean that one is quite sensitive to it, and it can be assumed that Ryuuji has become more of a presence to her than before. These are merely tangential issues, however. (Yes, even if Ami had noticeably become more open and changed for the better, she was little more than a fixture in this episode.)

Taiga's dad. From his wear to his accessories, he seems affluent.

Taiga's dad. From his wear to his accessories, he seems affluent.

The central issue within the episode (if that hasn’t been obvious) is of Taiga’s disgust (perhaps hate) towards her father for supposedly abandoning her. Throughout the episode Taiga doesn’t answer his calls and merely wants to obtain money from him. There is little doubt, however, to his affluence, from his willingness to treat Ryuuji to the accessories that adorn him. The money he offers Ryuuji to give to Taiga is quite a thick envelope (from what I could see).

Taiga acts in bitterness and revulsion towards her father; Ryuuji gains more insight as to why Taiga was like that because her father explained to him what occurred in their lives. He knows he was in error, and he wants to rectify it by living once more with Taiga (he would even go to such an extent to leave his wife so that they could live together). While I can’t say anything about him realizing the error of his ways, he recognizes that he was mistaken and wants to correct this mistake. When they finally meet, Taiga kicks him in the balls (really painful, girls, I tell you) and angrily goes to Ryuuji’s house.

This was funny.

This was funny.

As a child, Taiga grew up in anger and abandonment. Her skewed character has a characteristic of a martyr: she believes no one has suffered as much as she did; she believes that no one could understand her position. Growing up in bitterness, it’s quite an obvious defense mechanism. Yet she ignored the fact that Ryuuji would never have a father to go back to. There’s a word that signifies all the anger that Ryuuji feels regarding Taiga and her situation.

He calls her ‘teme,’ which is an informal and extremely rude way of ‘you.’ Normally, Ryuuji is a placid and caring guy. But Taiga’s utter disrespect for her father angers Ryuuji; Taiga doesn’t really see it until Ryuuji points out that he would never have that chance of being with his father. He realizes that in his anger he’s really doing it for himself, and not Taiga.

'I finally understand, Ryuuji.' I was crying during this scene.

'I finally understand, Ryuuji.' I was crying during this scene.

Taiga, however, shows a very sharp moment of understanding Ryuuji after his short outburst. When he wanted to apologize for the things he said, Taiga clamped her hand around his mouth. She understood him, finally, and she finally realized that she was not alone: that Ryuuji, despite his kindness and his care, also has issues, arguably even heavier than hers. While she won’t and can’t get close to her father immediately, she will try to understand her father, perhaps for her sake, but for Ryuuji’s as well.

(Yes, I cried again. I won’t expect anything, but this is, hands down, the best anime I’ve seen for this year, even if it’s not ended yet. I just hope it becomes one of my enduring favorites even after it ends.)

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14 Responses to “Toradora 11: the fatherless pain”

  1. mellow_bunny Says:

    Nicely said Mike. Good to balance it out rather then just fanboying xDD! Muchly enjoyed post.

  2. Freya Says:

    Nice comments. Have to agree with most of what you said. Except for the best anime which probably still goes to Code Geass lol. But it is my favorite now that it’s over.

  3. Vexx Says:

    Um, spot on. Brilliant.

    Yeah, I’m going to get lynched for saying this — I may be as fond of this series as any I’ve encountered. Makes choosing my “top 5” almost impossible.

  4. Baka-Raptor Says:

    “Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where’s your father?”

  5. ALTIMIT Says:

    At the end Taiga said something quite interesting however: “it’s a good thing (talk to her father), I’ll try to think of it that way, I’m not sure if I can really think of it that way, but because you said so so I’ll try”
    I do agree that she understood Ryuuji to some extend, but to me it implies that her action also caused by the parent figure, that is Ryuuji told her to do so.
    Also, may be you said the same thing but it appears to me that Ryuuji could not throw away the father in his feeling, whom he claimed unneeded, and forces his ego onto Taiga in the form of his outburst.

  6. Ryan A Says:

    Very strong end of the episode. I really enjoyed the episode more than others for those last few minutes.

  7. lelangir Says:

    I enjoyed this one so much more than 10….infinitely more cathartic, bawwwwww ultimate qq tt ;_;

    But yeah, the parallels between fathers was brilliantly done IMO.

  8. Cyle Says:

    Man now I’m proud to say I was there for ToraDora long before any of you bastards. I was watching the trailers for it’s upcoming debut and going “I can’t wait!” while you guys were like “ToraDora? Probbly just another one of those cliche tsunderes. Yes I’m proud to say I was reading the light novel almost a year before most of you ever heard of ToraDora.

  9. Shiro Says:

    Even with the touching reunion, I still can’t forgive Taiga for all she’s done to Ryuuji so far (and to her dad although she reconciled already), and I already had a “polished blade” for that. Another “polished blade” was reserved for Ami, though.

    I will have to wait until the anime finishes novels 7 and 8 for me to be able to forgive her, though.

    RP-like mannerism aside, this episode didn’t really bring much to me anyway. Maybe I will have to see when the school fest actually takes place to see some awesome stuff happening, perhaps. But still I LOL at the fact that the man we were previewed at in the previous episode is Taiga’s dad, and his mannerism didn’t show at all that he’s bad and even if he did something terrible he already repented by the time he was introduced to us the viewers. Got to love one point of conversation in the novels in which he and Ryuuji shared the same interest in interior designing. Haha!

  10. JP Says:

    I can’t be brought to write or construct elaborate thoughts on Toradora because I always think that something amazing is about to come to light. It never really does but that’s alright. I know there’s more to her dad than we know.

    There’s no smoke without a fire.

  11. korosora Says:

    Hmm, although I also felt the strong, complex emotions conveyed at the end of the episode, my reaction was not as strong as yours. Mike, would you like to talk about YOUR father? 🙂

  12. Jii~ » Blog Archive » In light of my blog having yet to be deleted… Says:

    […] my dear friend Mike of anime|otaku has been quite prolific about his enjoyment of Toradora!, I’d like to give my own […]

  13. qwert Says:

    Guys/girls, does this show improve after episode 7 at all? I started watching it because I read Mike and others comparing it to Honey and Clover. I’ve watched 7 episodes and I see absolutely no resemblance. This doesn’t seem much different from typical anime of this type in my opinion, predictable, flat characters of different cliche types, fan titillation (the mother), and the “emotional” moments are shallow at best….

    Is it a case of, “if you don’t like it by now, you won’t like it later” or is there any significant “change” after episode 7?

  14. Z Says:

    Why do you cry over silly shows and yet never spared a tear when I spilled my pain in front of you?

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