Although there is much well-known anime romance series, Toradora! is perhaps the most well-known and respected. This contemporary classic featured a cast full of lovable characters in addition to a theme song that is still in demand today. Of course, that's in addition to a female lead who shatters stereotypes and creates new trends.
Even though Toradora! is almost 15 years old, its influence is still obvious. The series was destined to become what it is today, from massively popularizing tsundere characters to elevating established romance tropes. Here's a look at the history of anime and why it continues to be so revered.
After 15 Years, Toradora! Is Still One of the Best Romance Animes
Taiga Aisaka, known as the "Palmtop Tiger" of her high school because of her outwardly hostile demeanor, is the female protagonist of Toradora! She then encounters Ryuji Takasu, the main male character, who she had previously avoided because of his stern appearance. The two develop a reluctant friendship as a result of a miscommunication, which is made even more intriguing by the fact that their mutual friends are each other's crushes. Even though Taiga and Ryuji's romance eventually takes off, it does so after a barrage of cruel treatment of the latter.
Taiga Aisaka is the epitome of a tsundere character, one of several major archetypes in anime. These characters are harsh and gruff, especially toward the characters with whom they are eventually paired. In reality, they have a tender and almost innocent demeanor underneath. This hidden aspect of their personality, as well as their feelings for others, usually goes unnoticed, making their more vile antics more entertaining. That is certainly true of the diminutive Taiga, who constantly berates and argues with Ryuji for no apparent reason. Toradora! introduced many modern anime fans to the tsundere archetype, and the trope's subsequent popularity was based on the show's success. This love toward the characterization of Taiga would be irrelevant if it weren't for the other cast members, however.
Toradoracast !'s and Writing Continue to Elevate it to Classic Status
Although some of the other characters in Toradora! initially come across as generic and stock, but they actually have a lot of depth. For instance, Minori, Taiga's best friend and Ryuji's crush, initially gives off the impression of being a comically perfect student, with all of her jobs and commitments seeming like a joke. But it turns out that these aspects are based in reality, making her more than just a funny joke about a girl Ryuji likes. Even the development of their budding romance is realistic, with a shared passion that initially brings them together and ultimately drives them apart.
Yusaku Kitamura is similar in that he is the vice president of the student council, and all the other students look up to him. He eventually cracks under pressure as a result of his complicated love life. Ryuji is a complex character who frequently prioritizes his friends while criticizing himself for perceived flaws. This level of character development contributes to the series' progression beyond the somewhat tired concepts of its first episodes.
Said trite concepts include the love "square" between the cast, making it almost come off as a soft harem anime. This issue is quickly resolved, however, with all the relationships developing in a way that makes sense for each character. Of course, the tsundere trope itself is now more played out than ever, largely due to much subsequent anime not quite reaching the same characterization level as Toradora! It just goes to show how this particular light novel adaptation was the perfect storm of renewing what was already old and making other concepts more mainstream. Thus, it's likely to remain a romantic comedy classic for years to come.
Toradora! can be streamed through Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video.