Toradora – 20: I take it back. I really do.

It’s ironic that it only took me one episode to change my mind about Taiga. Most of the dissenters presented their case well, and I’ve started seeing things from their perspective, especially with this episode. Even if the episode just started I was beside myself in tears, because I felt how painful it was for Taiga doing what she did in this current episode for Ryuuji.

It was obvious how she truly realized her feelings. She was not uncomfortable talking with Kitamura anymore. Not only this, however, I found the scene immediately after it to be especially touching. While her voice was still solid as ever, her struggle could be seen in her countenance. I started crying when Taiga realized that she herself was the cause of his rejection and vowed to stay away from him so that he wouldn’t be misunderstood. She may have a crass mouth and disrespectful demeanor, but by God I would rather have that, as she is also one of the most considerate people, as I saw in this episode.

Of course her commentary was true. Minori has avoided going out with Ryuuji because while she does like him, she also feels that Taiga needs him. It was particularly tear-jerking when she said ‘I won’t go to your place anymore; I don’t need your cooking; you don’t need to wake me up every morning; I’ll do my best.’ This is from a person who recently discovered the one she truly loves; she attempts to give that away, however, because of that love. I couldn’t help but cry. It didn’t help when one could hear her resolve weaken when she said that she’ll last. I wanted Taiga to pass through the eye of a needle found in a burning haystack; she did all that in that scene while being battered about by the tornado of her emotions. I know there are a lot of unbearable physical pains, but that has got to be up there when it comes to emotional suffering.

Despite her own emotions, Taiga tried her very best in this episode to pair Minori and Ryuuji up. Most especially suggestive of Minori’s emotions was the the event in the crosswalk: not only did she blush when Taiga used a reflex of hers to hold Ryuuji’s hand, she was also visibly flustered with Taiga’s actions of forcing them to bring her bag together. Afterward, Ryuuji faced Minori once again as a willing suitor and commented on the change of her hairstyle. He heavily suggested his interest towards her: it would be quite obvious that in a little while he would enact his plans of confession. Kushieda seemed to be opening up even more to Ryuuji: she even suggested to him not to be afraid of failures.

While the two were preparing tea, the others discovered that Sumire was also a magazine model and they showed the picture to Kitamura. I haven’t recognized this before, but Taiga really, really has changed. Her concern for Kitamura (and earlier for Ryuuji as well) really evinced itself. Her positive change was even more pronounced when Ryuuji saw that she cleaned her house and segregated her trash all by herself, perhaps a vestige of his influence or, more gravely, something she celebrates to remember Ryuuji by, as she recognizes his pursuit of Minori.

Compared to more recent episodes, this was relatively light. But the pain is still there, and it hurts really badly for Taiga. She may present a facade of normalcy and contentment, but her face when no one is looking is very conflicted. By the way, Ami was featured in this episode,
but she was both quite acerbic and mordant, a flight from her normal demeanor. Whether it’s having given up on Ryuuji, or whether it’s not being listened to, her biting sarcasm was quite prominent. She has, at last, finally saw her place as an outsider … unless she has something else planned.

Pictures will come when the downloadable subs arrive.

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19 Responses to “Toradora – 20: I take it back. I really do.”

  1. Pimpao Says:

    Congratulations on your post. It relieved that strange taste that soured my mouth after watching this episode.

  2. Turambar Says:

    Coal needs to sub faster D:

  3. Michael Says:

    Turambar:

    They just released the episode. Plus, what I saw was already subbed, albeit not by Coal.

    Pimpao:

    Haha. Thanks, whatever that meant.

  4. Rankao Says:

    I have to agree, This entire episode was actually quite moving. If you watched this episode all by itself, it wouldn’t really be anything to it. But with what happened in the last episode its a lot more emotion, to me, then the previous episode. Ryuuji is really now in a rock and hard place, and whats worst is that he doesn’t even realize it. Both of his love interest are avoiding him for the feelings of the other.

    Minori is attempting still warming up to Ryuuji but ideally she knows Taiga’s true feelings so for her, there can never be anything more between him and her, no matter how much she or Ryuuji wants there to be. Taiga on the other hand now is doing what Minori was doing in the previous episodes. Despite the fact Christmas is over, Taiga is still a much more kinder then she was before the Christmas Episodes. She has now blossomed into a responsible woman instead of a little bratty rich girl she previously was. Taiga now holds the feelings of her friends much higher then her own.

    Although I don’t think she was absolutely selfish before, Taiga wouldn’t have let Ryuuji go after Minori before her transformation. The evidence of this is her jealousy in the previous episodes. The most notable moment might be Episode 3, in the baseball scene before the opening song, where Taiga gets jealous and even attacks Ryuuji for his lust over Minori. Taiga is now a new person, who sees the ones she loves more important then herself. This is likely because of Ryuuji’s good example. Ryuuji stayed by her sad despite the way she treated him and despite what might be best for him. Ryuuji stayed by Taiga through the thickest parts. Especially the Bad Father Arc. Taiga, likely for the first time in her life, truly knows what love is. She knows what a family is and she also knows what it cost for this love. Seeing Taiga becoming this amazing person has really made this the most emotional and best episode for me yet. The previous episode and even small parts of this episode that the rest of the story isn’t going to go for him.

    Both people he cares the most about have decided its best not to get close to him. Ryuuji doesn’t realize it but he is now in a pit and both people have cut the rope for him to climb up. Ryuuji is really nice guy, but somehow it really wasn’t revealed to me till recent that Ryuuji is blindly thick. He isn’t able to interpret Ami’s crazy but still very relevant statements. Ryuuji wasn’t able to see Taiga’s previous interest in him; however, I doubt he will be to see it now. Taiga, who has come to the realization of her own feelings, is able to hide it better from Ryuuji then she did before. There are some foreshadowing that Ryuuji’s life is going to get worst. Likely because everything is already getting pretty bad. Ryuuji is a person who has helped all of the characters out to get out of their bad spot. Now Ryuuji has found himself in a drowning position, and his friends lovely thrown him in to a pool. Ryuuji has no shoulders to cry on, no friends to walk up to him and give him great advice. He must realize that only he can swim to the show. Only Ryuuji can confront each and every friend and find where his heart lies and the hearts of his friends.

    Or maybe I could be wrong.

  5. Michael Says:

    The first scene with Taiga and Ryuuji was particularly poignant. Taiga talks to Ryuuji as a true friend but one could see her conflicted stares when he doesn’t pay attention. When Taiga was ‘motsu yo, zutto,’ KugiRie was wonderful in painting that conflicted emotion. There is doubt in her voice when she said she’ll last, because reining in one’s emotions to that extent will lead to a great deal of emotional trauma. Minori knows Taiga likes Ryuuji, but she could also tell that Taiga is visibly staying away and totally shipping them together. If she couldn’t have happiness, if she would be alone, she might as well not drag her friends down with her. I saw that in all its transparency this episode: Taiga is no longer the selfish brat she was. She has transcended herself, and has done so with great pain. Things will come to a head later on. This is one amazing show.

  6. korosora Says:

    Hrm.
    I don’t like Ami’s stagnating role and character…
    I WANT SOME MOAR AMI.

  7. woahlzxh Says:

    read, agreed.

    a lovely heart, that taiga nowhas. a necessary pain she must undertake in order to grow, nevertheless.

    looks like the ski trip will be a very good forthcoming of revelations to come for this merry little group.

    i loved every bit of ami’s sarcasm shot at ryuuji. absolutely loved it.

    its pretty obvious ami already knows what taiga is up to, and what mirorin is thinking as well.i can understand why she’s not feeling inclined to help them out this time at all.

    taiga is awfully fragile now ):
    she holds on with such courage for that lovable thick headed numbskull ,but how so much it easily trembles.and wavers with every action she commits to get her best friend and that
    numbnut of a dragon together.

    am i the only one who feels a tad disturbed at mirorin saying she hasnt been at taiga’s place since freshman year? not because of her fear of failure for taiga, or that that epic-fail-of-a-father’s issue. something else though?

  8. Rankao Says:

    I enjoy how at the start of the series Taiga looks like a bad guy. And at this point of the series Ryuuji looks like a bad guy. Not really at extreme, but I think you understand what I mean.

  9. Turambar Says:

    @Korosora

    I have to agree with that. The currently plot is making Ami seem more and more like a fifth wheel. While I suppose giving her a new found friendship with Taiga is nice and all, her continual cryptic comments towards Ryujii is getting on my nerves more and more. Ami has always seemed like the most straight forward of the 3 girls and yet right now she’s being anything but.

  10. korosora Says:

    @Turambar

    Even more than a fifth wheel, I feel like she’s becoming an unwanted narrator: she knows the entire situation, doesn’t participate or interfere with anything, and sits back and observes… even though she really wants to do something about it, she feels she’s powerless.

    And even with all the plot progression and character development of the other four main characters since the beach episode, she’s the only one to not have moved forward… Which frustrates me even more.

    Like mike, I don’t mind Ami not being paired with Ryuuji in the end, but I’d like to see something more than a fading away of my Ami in the end.

  11. Michael Says:

    Well, we all recognized her high point was on episodes 14-15. It doesn’t make things more bearable, though.

  12. fisheric Says:

    Minorin was kawaii kawaii when she was talking with the oven mit to Ryuji.

    hahaha

  13. For the greater good? Says:

    […] read Michael’s post on Toradora 20 and his vivid description of astonishment at the changes Taiga underwent after […]

  14. Keio Says:

    It was so painful to watch Taiga give up her own happiness just for Ryuuji’s sake. Putting up a facade like that takes a great amount of courage and self-sacrifice that, IMO, she simply cannot do if she were the same character at the beginning of the series. Being someone in a similar situation before, I can’t help but feel sorry for her.

    Ami’s bitchiness in this episode was lovely. 🙂 Ryuuji deserves to be snapped at like that and it just might be what he needs to wisen up. However, he’s still too dense. Maybe Ami needs to flirt with him again in front of Taiga and Minorin? Just so that he can see the other two girls’ reactions.

    Sorry if I don’t make much sense. I just woke up and haven’t had coffee yet. 🙂

  15. pixie Says:

    I WILL KILL YOU IF WE SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN!

    translation:
    happy birthday mike!

  16. Michael Says:

    I’m glad someone remembered. Haha. I was vacillating whether to make a birthday post or not, but I can celebrate my birthday all by myself anyway. Haha.

  17. pixie Says:

    don’t make a birthday post please. it’s gonna be sooooooooooooo GAY again. LOL. toradora! oh WOW!

    here’s a song for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rERdEQOaDdo i really love this song. weeeeeeeeee. enjoy the song (and the women)

    anyway mike, i’m really mad at you! this is just a defense mechanism.

  18. Joe Jacobs Says:

    Ami is becoming a plot device and it pains me. Give us some Ami character development!

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