Toradora 16: Transcendent friendship
I’m getting nearer and nearer to conclusively (and without hesitation) placing ToraDora as one of the best series of 2009. As much as I love rooting for Ami, episode 16 was a reminder that as a story and as a character study ToraDora is both moving and pathos-invoking. Many revelations abounded the episode, both implicit and explicit. Taiga discovered that Kitamura loved Sumire; Sumire realized her love for Kitamura, with Taiga’s violent help; Minori is subtly exposed by Ami as having feelings beyond friendship for Ryuuji; Ami was also hurt, and the reason why is still a mystery for me.
ToraDora, as much as I’d want to think otherwise, is a tale of true friendship. Of course it deals with the infantile romances of adolescents, but it is more of a transcendent story of camaraderie. This current episode cleared that up, if anything.
No one wants to be declared a villain. But Taiga and Ryuuji did it to themselves in this episode simply to coerce Kitamura back to the position which he deserves and is a perfect fit to. Using her infamy as a violent, ill-tempered and irate beauty, Taiga scared the students that the only solution for them is to look towards Kitamura as their savior, and Ryuuji was always there with her.
Taiga, upon realizing that she was never the object of Kitamura’s affections, gave him up and even helped the girl which he liked (albeit in violent fisticuffs) confess that she also liked him. In usual serial dramas rivalry between loves ends up in bloodshed, murder, or vengeful deceit. While it also ends up violent in this instance, Taiga had an altruistic aim: her engagement with Sumire was not because she hated her; it was because she wanted Sumire to be true to her feelings and tell the truth at least before she went abroad. In romance, limbo is worse off than being outright rejected as one doesn’t know what to expect and is only left hanging (I don’t speak from experience, though). Her actions, however, were undeniably an act of true self-sacrifice, ones found in classical Victorian novels: because she loved him, she wanted him to be happy.
Ryuuji tried to protect both Taiga and Kitamura from self-destruction. Despite his mean countenance, his keen perception on his friends’ emotions were also transparent throughout the episode.
Minori was suggested to have bridled her feelings for Ryuuji simply because Taiga is her best friend. This isn’t all that evident; it’s overly implicit, but there was significant progression between Ryuuji and Minori for quite some time in the past few episodes. There was a picture below Taiga’s picture with Kitamura.
Ami continues to grow as a friend, and as a person. This isn’t quite obvious as well, but Ami found something in the picture below Kitamura and Taiga’s. It could be assumed to be a picture of Ryuuji and Taiga, because before Ryuuji’s classmates looked at the picture Ami took it and promised to return it to Taiga with a cryptic quip towards Minori that she herself fully understood. As she walks, however, she has this grimace of sadness and pain when no one was looking anymore.
I haven’t read the novels, and I didn’t know what that meant. Overall, however, originary or not, ToraDora is a great anime series.