Taiga: fire and brimstone await for your redemption
I didn’t start hating Toradora all of a sudden, and I probably never would (unless J.C. Staff does an absolutely odious ending). However, I did reflect on a quip that someone made on a forum. Since I wrote the reply with haste, I chose to rewrite it to better explain or deliver my opinion regarding the show. Toradora attempts to emulate reality; it is thus no surprise that people make mistakes in the series.
As what I currently do in forum replies, I state a caveat: indeed, I am quite fond of Ami; however, I am also not blaming anyone from the show for their actions. Yet let us analyze the mistakes that the main characters have committed in the span of the show.
Minori was, at first, the true airhead. Her head was often in the clouds, and her liveliness was only rivaled by her retardation at times. Of course something lies beneath the surface, but throughout most of the series (except in these latter episodes) she has been the life of the party. She started becoming emotional, however, when she finally detected that Ryuuji liked her; in fact, she was totally distracted by this that she manage to lose a softball game all by herself, almost destroy the Christmas tree of the class, and seethe with depression. I found this normal especially when placed vis-a-vis a situation akin to this in real life, and the only thing I found to blame in her was her (facade of) retardation at times to cope with reality, as otherwise, she is also a conflicted girl.
Ami was, at first, quite the two-faced bitch. She was difficult to love; her conceitedness was immense. Yet ever since Ryuuji helped her become aware that being herself was all right she continuously changed for the better. From initially a spoiled princess she has transformed herself to a truly caring person. What would be her faults, then? Would liking Ryuuji be one of them? I personally wouldn’t blame anyone when they would like a person such as Ryuuji. Even I like Ryuuji, and I’m a guy. How about her subtlety as regards her feelings? I personally think it would be more offensive to a man to be offensively obvious about one’s feelings. Her subtlety is her coping mechanism: practically speaking her only fault was that she was late to the nucleus of the friendship and so is forcibly relegated to a status that is sequestered in just friendship. For all her teases of Ryuuji she always tried to help him and she always respected him: she even picked him up when he was down at times.
I agree. Taiga did a few things for Ryuuji. She saved Ryuuji from drowning and did other things with panache that aided Ryuuji. HOWEVER, Taiga also did a significant number of evil things to Ryuuji. She still curses and insults Ryuuji consistently. She batters and harms him at times, and I’m pretty sure that hasn’t stopped as yet. Despite all this, however, Ryuuji stuck with Taiga. He cared for her deeply enough to be there and to cheer her towards Kitamura.
How did she thank him?
She thanked him by continuing to abuse him by both words and deeds. I’m sure it may seem comical and jocose for some, but it’s no fun to be constantly battered and called ‘idiot dog.’ Taiga was lucky that Ryuuji was an extremely patient, tolerant, and kind guy. Lesser men would have raped her or battered her in return or simply left; she was simply extremely lucky that he was very nice. A few disparate and isolated incidents cannot efface her constant abuse of him. If he ever chose Minori, and if he ever ends up with her, she can blame no one but herself. One who found what he purported to be mud selling mud to another who found it was truly a diamond cannot blame the other for buying the mud. The blame remains on the seller.
Ryuuji did everything he could to help Taiga. How did Taiga repay that?
I ask one that. I blame that mere coincidence, but that happenstance destroyed a relationship Taiga herself knew was going to work and be successful. Minori likes Ryuuji, and Ryuuji clearly loves Minori. [I don’t blame Taiga.]
Even if she was going to be alone, however, she fully deserves her solitude with her utter disrespect towards Ryuuji. I’m sure that while people would argue that the words don’t mean anything, the fact that they were spoken by her means something. Words may compose only 7% of verbal communication but one cannot disregard their power. If she didn’t mean that, she shouldn’t have said those denigrating words. She fully deserves her solitude, and a few isolated occurrences of kindness cannot change that. In addition to that, Ryuuji would never ignore Taiga. He’ll always treat her as a friend, because that’s how kind he is as a person. He’ll never leave her (as a friend).
That is why before I’m fully convinced of the Taiga and Ryuuji end (as it will most certainly happen), Taiga must first pass through the eye of the needle in a burning haystack; otherwise I wouldn’t be convinced. Toradora isn’t a fairy-tale anime; faults aren’t erased as if they were mere motes of dust in paper. They must be redeemed. As it stands, Ami and Minori are clearly better ‘people’ than Taiga: for one they respect him fully. It will only be through her transcendent behavior that she can redeem herself, and I hope I’ll see this in the near future.
She must first feel the suffering she imposed on Ryuuji and realize the hurt she spread. When Taiga realizes the gravity of her past actions and changes for the better as she recognizes her faults will the relationship be not one merely of dependence but of true love. I await this happening. Redeem yourself, Taiga.