Starting a rapid game of catch up with my look at the disappointing debut of Toradora.
In this romantic comedy, the series follows Ryuuji as he enters high school. He has a bad reputation though, despite his easy going demeanor everyone thinks that he’s a delinquent and is afraid of him. Luckily for him he’s in the same class as his best friend and the girl he has a crush on. The new delinquent in school though is a pint sized girl named Taiga and the two do not have a good first day together getting into more than one fight before the day is done. After Ryuuji discovers that Taiga has a crush on his best friend though, he decides to help her out despite how ungrateful she is for it.
Good and the Bad
This was a series that I was looking forward to personally as the premise behind it sounded like it could be something very fun. These hopes started to become slightly diminished as the introduction began to play. The animation style in this series is very dull. The colors all come from a very soft palette and none of the colors stand out as particularly bright.
Then the characters started to get introduced. Many of the designs in this first episode come across as very ordinary. Ryuuji has very beady eyes to go with an angular face. Taiga is unique in her stature but her design is nothing that looks that different from the rest.
The characters themselves make Toradora even harder to get into as neither of the primary characters establish themselves as particularly likable. A combative personality like Taiga’s normally would go over well with audience members but it’s much harder with her. With all of Taiga’s fights and violence, there’s no real motivation behind it and there’s no build up. She’s either sitting perfectly still or trying to kill someone it seems. Ryuuji has also come across as very wishy-washy. It will be a nice change when this character gets to evolve a little more. Hopefully it happens sooner rather than later.
The comedy in this episode is also something that this series will need to work on in the future. The second half manages to get some good visual jokes in but the rest of the episode felt pretty bare. The first half does make a few character jokes right off the bat with Ryuuji and this does a great job of establishing him as misunderstood. The jokes don’t have nearly as strong of an effect as they might have later after the audience had a better chance to get to know the character.
The pacing for this opening episode is likely what hurt it the most however. There are way too many scenes in this first episode that are dependent on only one character. The scenes in which Ryuuji or Taiga got to play off someone moved much faster and were much easier to get into than any scene where the character was alone.
The music in episode one runs into two extremes. Half the time the series completely eliminates music and just lets the dialogue get itself across without any musical aid. This works some of the time and some of the softer dialogue actually works without any music. The rest of the time are scenes that could have used some very soft scoring to help them along.
The other extreme that this series ran into were the times when the series did use music, only music that was a little cartoonier in nature. Most of the music I heard in this episode was composed with the intention of keeping the scenes light and fun. The music accomplishes this but it could have been downplayed much more.
As with the dialogue, music and animation; the cast did little to impress me in this episode and that even includes Yui Horie whom I admittedly am a big fan of. Yui Horie stands out as the first because Minori was so impossibly cheerful, chipper and irritating in her one scene of the episode that I couldn’t get that irritating sing songy voice out of my head for quite awhile.
I really expected more from this first episode and find myself very disappointed. Sticking with the next couple of episodes should not be difficult but sticking with it after that may be an entirely different story.
Final Impression After One Episode: Not Recommended