Genre(s): Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, School
Age-Appropriateness: 13+ (Mild language)
Platforms: Crunchyroll, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon
Episodes: 25 (+1 OVA)
TheAwersome Rating: 8.8 / 10 (Surprisingly rewarding)
Premise: Ryuuji is a gentle high schooler with a love for housework; but in contrast to that he has an intimidating face that makes everyone assume he’s a delinquent. On the other hand is Taiga, a small, doll-like student who is anything but a cute/fragile girl, rather a feisty and abrasive one. An embarrassing mistake causes the two to cross paths and discover that they have crushes on each other’s best friends! In exchange for keeping each other’s secret, they decide to help one another with their respective crushes.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: If you read that premise and said, “Gee whiz, I WONDER where this will go?” you’d be entirely right. It’s obvious from the get-go how most of this show will end up, you’re practically told in the opening and ending songs. That doesn’t stop this show from being really sweet, satisfying, and have surprisingly good character development. While it starts out excessively tropey (Feisty Tsundere, doormat protagonist, etc.) it quickly makes the characters believable and relatable. Despite the show basically blasting you in the face with how things are going to end up, the journey there is wonderful. I really connected with this one and got very invested.
Another thing Toradora does right is capturing High School without all the cringe. There isn’t unnecessary drama for drama’s sake. The drama that does happen is understandable, rather than the usual “This character is mean and evil just because” which is very prevalent in RomCom situations. I found myself saying “You know, in their shoes I probably would have done the same,” to most of the dumb high schooler decisions because the characters are that well written.
TLDR: Don’t be fooled by the first few episodes, this is an excellent piece.