Toradora – 24: a good anime
This was the episode that confirmed Toradora’s inclusion within the list of good anime. That’s both a good and a bad thing, because, at least for me, it could no longer be great; however, it still remains a good series.
Episodes of confession are, undoubtedly, among the most climactic and cathartic episodes in great anime. I quite fondly recall, even three years after, the sixth episode of Honey and Clover where Yamada confessed to Mayama in her desperation and drunken stupor, to which Mayama can tastefully but fruitlessly reply to with but whispers of recognition. The final episode of the series, which was the culmination of Takemoto’s bike journey to discover himself, was capped by his confession to Hagu. It wasn’t accepted: but it was recognized, and all of his journey without to find himself within was finally completed with that final scene. It is only with the best and the great that scenes of confession are both so epiphanic and heartwarming, something I didn’t find with this episode.
Don’t get me wrong: it was a good episode. But it was far from great. While I was grateful that Minori’s hypocrisy was finally resolved, I really didn’t see her reasons to Ryuuji as that convincing: my friend, which I consulted (but was not spoiled by) also shared the same feelings regarding the episode. At least for me, it seemed too sudden and apocryphal, so it didn’t really sweep me off my feet. I appreciated Minori’s sacrifice: it was seen that she was heavily affected by Ryuuji and really did like him quite a lot. Somehow, however, I also felt that it wouldn’t have been like that if Minori actually faced the problem in the first place. I loved how they subtly showed Minori’s feelings for Ryuuji. When she goaded him to pursue Taiga she hit his mouth. After he was gone she kissed it: it was a poignant scene, and probably the most poignant one in the episode. She would probably love having a romance, but she has other priorities; an indirect kiss must do.
I think that the inherent problem of the episode was that it bit off a lot more than it could chew. While it would have sufficed as an episode dealing with them struggling with their feelings until the penultimate moment, it had to deal with their family affairs. Ultimately, it’s become cluttered and unfocused. I loved the scenes with Minori; I loved how Ami made Ryuuji seriously confess that he loved Taiga; but there was just much noise that it detracted from me calling the series great.
Toradora, at least in its first twenty episodes, was a show consistently amazing. It was a show I always looked forward to, a show I always waited upon. I still have that feeling. However, I also have that feeling that it has simply run out of steam, or simply trying to compress too much into too little. Honey and Clover also had that: at first, I didn’t know where Takemoto’s bike journey led to. However, it sacrificed a few middling moments in the middle of the series to build up a most wonderful conclusion: Takemoto’s confession to Hagu was him finally gaining the courage (through what he learned in the bike ride towards himself) to realize that rejection is not the end of the world. The ending was a beautiful explosion of fireworks, both literally and figuratively.
Toradora sacrificed this in its closing episodes. It’s still a good series, but not one I could call great anymore. And before anyone says otherwise, I still love the show. 🙂