Toradora 14: the best filler episode ever

First, a bit of an update: I haven’t been able to update for the past few days because I was admitted to a hospital (for the very first time) due to amebiasis with moderate dehydration. I thought I was already all right because my stomach didn’t hurt during the first of January, but I also learned that amebiasis could mask itself or be latent when stomach spasms came out strong early morning the next day. I’m grateful for all the caring friends who have visited me, and also those who have wished me well. I’m currently trying to completely recover from the disease; the disease took a lot out of me, which was why I was recommended four days of rest.

I doubt she'll remain a mediator for long

I doubt she'll remain a mediator for long...

After a week’s respite, Toradora returned once more, and it hasn’t lost its edge. The title suggests the episode as filler, and I’m pertaining to it as such because it deviated from the original novels’ storyline. The instances between Sakura and Tomiya were drastically different from that of the novel, and the focus on Ami in this episode was quite welcome and well-made, even if it was not in the original material.

Whenever Ami is featured in an episode, I feel something bittersweet: I am glad when Ami gets focused upon, but also melancholy with the realization that it is extremely possible for her to be left out or shafted by the end of the series. As the series progressed she has changed from a spoiled princess to a complete person: she showed signs of jealousy, but also truly care for her friends.

She especially showed signs of this jealousy during 07:20 through the episode (give or take a few seconds) when she selects black coffee instead of the orange juice (or cola) that Taiga desired from Ryuuji. She also showed signs of this consideration for others when she alleviates the pain of being single that Yuri-sensei felt, or the uncertainty of Minori as regards their picture together with Ryuuji.

More importantly, however, in this episode, we realize that she’s all the more human.

When a friend of Ami commented on her ability to sweep men off their feet by cornering them, Ami smiled, subtly rejoiced and (I believe) tried to test that comment by looking for Ryuuji (or saw him in the adjacent building while he was shopping). She jibes at Ryuuji with regard to Taiga being a lucky charm, but the tables are turned when she sees his deep concern for Taiga’s well-being that she could only reply that Taiga is happy enough as she is. There is a moment where she is pricked by his reply, but simply tries to pass it off as nothing.

Yet she also sees his deep concern for her: the pork cutlets were unorthodox gifts, but Ryuuji also saw that she was suffering and enervated. He wanted her to regain her strength, perhaps by eating pork.

... especially when he's the one sweeping her off her feet

... especially when he's the one sweeping her off her feet

She blushes and is temporarily flummoxed by his kindness, and is also reminded by part of her being childish when Ryuuji quips on her diet. The pedestal which she lifts herself upon had been totally annihilated by Ryuuji: her beauty is not enough to swipe him off his feet; his kindness towards her is painful because it is a kindness he shows to everyone, especially to Taiga; her so-called childish nature is exposed by his motherly concern. To Ryuuji, Ami is just another person, and a treasured friend. To him, she’s not a demigod, and this pains her.

I can only empathize with Ami. She may be in the hallowed apex of beauty and popularity, but these detract her from getting closer to Ryuuji. What sane model would take Ryuuji seriously, anyway? Why should she choose him? These are but few questions that I assume go round his head: it’s just not rational, with the thousands of handsome men willing to fall at her feet.

This is Ami’s tragedy. I’m hoping against all odds that she’ll triumph in the end.

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14 Responses to “Toradora 14: the best filler episode ever”

  1. Zing Freelancer Says:

    I cant believe they ruined that spin-off story in such manner. I had so many laughs while reading it… Yet they managed to deliver a full worthy episode. Cant really call it a complete filler, since it add’s to the story and dont keep things completely still.

    What rather interests me is Kitamura and student president, it been hinted toward “love-love” but nothing comes out of it yet. Especially with her last year at school, Kitamura looks rather sad…

    * Oro? No new OP/END? *

  2. valmanway Says:

    Nice to hear you’re fine.

  3. lolikitsune Says:

    I was floored by this episode to be honest. I mean, I -knew- this show wasn’t your typical trashy stuff, but wow. So emotionally charged, so good. All the characters are so good.

    Wait… the last show I said this about was…

    Honey & Clover?

    I think I’m starting to understand all that nonsense twitter stuff about Toradora being the next H&C. I don’t think it is, but I see the connection. It’s really, really good stuff.

    And Ami is finally becoming less hatable! 😀

    Also, I think I fell for Ryuuji a bit when he offered Ami the pork.

  4. Michael Says:

    lolikitsune:

    I love you. Because this series has been so wonderful, and the episode just continued with the series’s brilliance.

    Toradora can never be the next H+C. I’m not insulting Toradora, but its excellence is different from H+C. There’s a maturity that accompanies the creation of the H+C series; the characters, after all, are university students, and two to three years is a long time for people to become more mature.

    Yes, it is excellent stuff.

    I fell for Ryuuji too. Will this be a menage-a-trois now?!

    valmanway:

    Thank you. I appreciate the comment.

    Zing:

    We’ll see in the next episode. I hope they keep on building upon the show. 🙂

  5. lolikitsune Says:

    I fell for Ryuuji too. Will this be a menage-a-trois now?!

    I dunno. Hiroyuki of the original To Heart is still higher up on my “marry a 2d character” list, but…

  6. jpmeyer Says:

    Even better than the Genshiken yaoi fantasy episode?

  7. Zing Freelancer Says:

    Seriously, just go watch Macademi Wasshoi, just for some random pointless etchi gags 🙂

  8. Lehq Says:

    This is an episode which I think is funnier if you’ve read the vol2 of the novel, since yes, it’s a reference of sort to that Spin-pff chapter.

  9. Ryan A Says:

    Oh damn, you better take care of yourself Michael! ^^

    Yes, Ami’s focus this episode was in my fucking heart! It’s just the sort of thing that wracks a character into a transition (BUTTERFLY). Ami is pretty but I’m hoping she becomes beautiful in the long run.

  10. Michael Says:

    Zing Freelancer:

    I’ve already watched Akasaka. One ecchi show at a time is enough. 😛

    Lehq:

    It’s still a very good filler, right? :3

    Ryan:

    Thanks.

    I LOVED the episode (as always). I hope she gets a happy ending. 🙂

    lolikitsune:

    How about me?! ;_;

    jpmeyer:

    Man, that’s hard to tell.

  11. Baka-Raptor Says:

    “Amebiasis…This condition can be seen anywhere in the world, but it is most common in tropical areas with crowded living conditions and poor sanitation…”

    Let me guess, India.

    “…Africa, Mexico, parts of South America, and India have significant health problems associated with this disease.”

    Did I ever tell you how much I hate India? An intestinal infection almost killed me when my parents took me to India as an infant. What a shitty country.

    “In the United States, amebiasis is most common among those who live in institutions and people who have anal intercourse.”

    Judging from your back & forth with lolikit…

  12. Lehq Says:

    No love for Minori? I thought this ep has rather heavy (although somewhat subtle) emphasis on her.

    =)

  13. utterlyconfused Says:

    god made comments available on a blog for a reason.
    for teh homo side characters.

  14. Elliot Says:

    I loved the scene with Minorinnnn Whenever she’s on screen the anime gets brighter and shinier. I can’t believe that Ryuuji will be ending with Taiga… she has nothing to fight with against Minori, let alone Ami. I have to agree with you that this chapter showed her a lot different, more human and with gentle feelings.

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