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.