Archive for the ‘ToraDora’ Category

Taste is incomprehensible

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Other than the recent stub, I haven’t really been writing much: I have had to deal with more pressing matters, such as the choice that would dictate all my future endeavors. Writing was among the least of my priorities, if you catch my drift.

I have lately been reading, however, and within the past two weeks (barring my failure with BarthesS/Z), I’ve finished reading Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy and a textbook on neuroanatomy. While more insights could be obtained from Jude the Obscure with most people (and it would also probably be more relevant to them) I rediscovered something in my choice of reading Neuroanatomy instead of other literary texts: in a statement, taste is simply incomprehensible. While I would like to have blown my horn and say that I did it in preparation for medical school (hyuk hyuk), the truth was that I purchased it and read it primarily because the cover appealed to me (it was purple). As most people say, don’t judge books by their cover. There is some truth, however, in that despite my utter lack of understanding with the content as I read the book, it has prepared me for the grueling task of reading a few hours everyday, something I would have to be very familiar with when medical school comes, and something that is currently alien to me (I haven’t exactly been an excellent student in university). For all the reading that I’ve done I could honestly say that I only understood about 10% of the book; and that may even be a gross overstatement. Despite that, at least I could also honestly say that it has somewhat contributed to me honing my patience and perseverance in reading more academic texts.

I think the same can be said with regard to my tastes in anime. I do think that Honey and Clover, Cowboy Bebop and Ocean Waves are great anime, and a lot of people would agree, but I also appreciate and like ToLoveRu, something that erudite and elevated individuals would dismiss as rubbish. I sometimes prognosticate wrongly, like what I did with Toradora (by comparing it to Honey and Clover). I can even bear finishing series like Gin-iro no Olynssis, and I think I’m among the few people who did. It’s ultimately puerile and stupid, not to mention hypocritical trying to comprehend the tastes of others; yet I admit I am sometimes that. Biases just inherently exist within us, I guess, and Roland Barthes explained (in the twenty pages I’ve attempted to understand in S/Z) why subjectivity and objectivity don’t really exist for the most part in reading, or in the appreciation of media: the I who reads (or watches, or listens) is himself a compendium of texts (or music, or video, or movies, or anime). How he perceives a text is grounded in the texts that he has encountered before. Furthermore, reading (or any appreciation of media), isn’t actually a parasitic act. We also write something as we read it. This is why no two texts are appreciated by the same way with different persons. My reading of the neuroanatomy text was merely to complete what I’ve started and simply was due to an irrational impulse; to an aspiring neuroanatomist, however, the text may be a godsend. The difference in appreciation is among what ultimately makes us human.

Toradora 25 – So the love birds flew …

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

To be entirely honest, I will graduate from university tomorrow afternoon. I was expecting Toradora to come out some time after my graduation, but I’m glad it came out early especially for the last episode. Thank you, CoalGuys! This is a very nice graduation present.

Yasuko is attractive this time around.

Yasuko is attractive this time around.

The final episode of Toradora addressed the cliffhangers of the previous episode, and it was very good. I guess this is simply up to personal preferences, but I wasn’t moved to tears in this final episode. I think I smiled throughout the episode, however.

I liked how the episode ended exactly how it began: with two birds on a wire, together. Somehow, the producers made us realize that the pair were Taiga and Ryuuji, together in the thin and dangerous electric wire of life. The array somehow paints an illustration of placidity amidst danger and death: being electrocuted is no laughing matter, and yet they’re together with one another in facing it. I thought it was apt.

Ryuuji, despite having plans of running away, faced his familial problems and ultimately resolved them, having Yasuko and her parents reconcile. Ryuuji also discovered the depth of his mother’s love when she pushed through with single-handedly raising Ryuuji despite having everyone desire her abortion. (A more profane thought: Yasuko was very attractive this episode. Despite being just in pajamas and a loose ponytail, I thought she was absolutely stunning.) Ryuuji and her have also resolved their problems, and I’m happy for them as well.

I also loved the kissing scene between Ryuuji and Taiga which happened afterwards. I loved it when Taiga was all ‘once more …’ again and again. She remained true to her tsundere archetype and yet also so true to herself. That was a beautiful scene.

I couldn’t understand why she transferred to a different school, though. Was it to appease her mother, or at least to get to know her mother more? Compared to her dad, Taiga’s mom was truly concerned about Taiga despite their differences. I do know Ryuuji suggested they wait for the parents of both of their sides to approve: while Yasuko I think is all for it I doubt Taiga’s mother would like the idea immediately.

Here's some cute Minori.

Here's some cute Minori.


Finally, I absolutely, absolutely loved the final conversation between Ami and Ryuuji. She has finally shown herself to be a caring child, a child, yes, but one who cares for the welfare of others. Did anyone notice the birds flying through the window? At the very last second before the scene segues once again to between Ami and Ryuuji, the two birds part ways. Ryuuji has moved on, and so has Ami: she doesn’t mind so long as one person understands her, even if it isn’t love.

And it ends as it begins: life is a cycle, and love is a part of it.

P.S. I’m glad Noto and Maya are making progress with one another. Kitamura really is chasing Sumire. I admire that. Inko-chan also finally spoke its own name, and the birds finally fly away together. C’est la vie.

Toradora – 24: a good anime

Friday, March 20th, 2009

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.

This scene was poignant.

This scene was poignant.

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. 🙂

Toradora 23: questions

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Ever since episode thirteen I’ve known that a relationship between Ami and Ryuuji would never happen. I’d like to ask some things, however, since this episode featured a lot more Ami than the previous seven episodes. Most of us recognize Ami having something between mere infatuation and romantic interest in Ryuuji, but did she really stay just so she could help Taiga? If so, was all of those teases of hers merely acts to force Taiga into acting?

To be seen as a demigod, though, is simply quite frustrating especially when one perceives his flaws and his humanity. I guess this is the tragedy of Ami: maybe she looked to Ryuuji as a romantic interest because he saw her beyond her facade; he saw that she was also human. This is all left up in the air, though, since that statement really obfuscated what I initially thought. If anyone could clear that up, I’d be grateful.

I hope the next episode clears up the statement of Minori regarding her happiness only created by herself. I mean, it’s a reason to reject Ryuuji, but it’s not a very good one. In a relationship, both involved people must strive to create happiness. It’s not just one-way. Even without reading the novel, I think there were a lot of things removed, because it didn’t make the episode flow as it should have.

I can’t even write much about the episode. 🙁

Toradora – 22: His and her pain

Friday, March 6th, 2009

It can be argued that the previous episode was the climax of the series. Not only did the episode show the catharses of both Minori and Ami, it also featured Taiga’s subconscious confession to Ryuuji and subsequently Ryuuji’s realization that Taiga liked him a lot and was hurting herself immensely because of her desire to pair Minori and Ryuuji up. The event caused quite a ripple in Ryuuji’s psyche: the very first scene is his dream of that specific occurrence.

He was sleeping in class, however, so when he woke up screaming Taiga’s name (because they were falling into a ravine) it was with the rest of the class. While it was especially awkward for Ryuuji, both the teacher and the rest of the class understood the trauma Ryuuji was in, so they merely nodded and continued on with the discussion. It is extremely notable that when the camera pans to the rest of the class, Minori and Ami were not featured. Even Haruta’s silhouette at the very back is noticeable, but Ami and Minori are nowhere in the picture. After this, however, Minori is focused on, and she has a mix between a sad and a concerned face. (more…)

Toradora – 21: catharses all over

Friday, February 27th, 2009

My drill is the drill that will pierce the heavens!- So it begins, and it begins with this episode: the end is near (as if we didn’t know that before, right?). (more…)

Toradora! – 20: extras

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

This was something I found poignant especially after reflecting on the scene with my third re-watch: Kitamura was already recognized in their school as the God of Broken Hearts. Instead of Taiga praying to the Buddhist gods (traditional religion in Japan), she prays to Kitamura instead without him figuring out what the hell she was doing. The scene further added to my pathos towards Taiga: she recognized that her heart was already broken, and instead of miring herself in depression she simply prayed that she could get over it. She doesn’t, but she still tries her best, as what could be seen in the scene with Ryuuji afterward.

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

Friday, February 20th, 2009

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. (more…)

Taiga: fire and brimstone await for your redemption

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

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. (more…)

Toradora – 19: joy to their world

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Christmas. For most of the Christians, and most of the world, it is a time of celebration. It is the fulfillment of God’s covenant: the Son that He promised to save us from ourselves arrived and arrives on Christmas. It is a time of heavenly rejoicing: the Savior has come.

Taiga justified her lie to Minori.

Taiga justified her lie to Minori.

The stark contrast with the actual mood of the episode was a very brilliant move by J.C. Staff. Despite the lights and the ostentation, the mood of the characters weren’t in tune with the zeitgeist. (more…)