ToraDora! tells a story about the bizarre tangled intricacies of teenage love, complete with matchmaker plots, zany schemes, and an increasingly convoluted love quadrangle that’s played for both comedy and drama. It also tells a story about how everyone has issues, inner turmoil, and inner selves that they keep concealed, usually with the intention of preserving a certain image of themselves for the people around them.
It starts small by introducing the audience to protagonist Ryuji, who most of his classmates assume is a delinquent because he has “the eyes of a killer” but is actually a studious, quiet, and compassionate boy. This makes him a neat foil to his classmate Taiga, who at first glance is small, cute, and unthreatening, but has an aggressive temper. These two outcasts prove that outward appearances can be deceptive, but as they become friends and agree to help set the other up with their respective love interest, this theme of outward persona versus inner personality deepens and becomes much more poignant.
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If you followed my episode-by-episode reviews/recaps of ToraDora!, you’ve known this was coming for a while. If you haven’t followed my episode-by-episode reviews/recaps of ToraDora!, nothing to worry about: they aren’t required reading, though this post is the culmination of some thoughts and observations I had while rewatching the show. Namely, hey, wow, Minorin isn’t very straight, is she? Or at least, there’s no reason why she has to be.
As with my previous Make It Gayers, this post will be half textual analysis and half “look, why not? What if?” ToraDora! is a delightfully tangled-up love quadrangle that could only get more delightfully tangled with the addition of LGBTQ+ affections, and having Minorin be secretly in love with a girl rather than a boy doesn’t actually change her character arc, the themes of the show, or indeed any of the plot. If anything, her secretly being in love with a girl makes more sense than secretly being the third character in the show to fall for Ryuji, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Continue reading
So, ToraDora! A show about coming of age, love, heartbreak, and a bird that swears.
Overall, I enjoyed rewatching this beautiful beastie a lot—it struck the right balance between being nostalgic and impressing me afresh, and it was nice to know that for the most part it’s still as fun and engaging as it was when I first watched it in early high school and it lodged itself in my brain. I’d like to thank everyone who read along each week, and leave you with a few final assorted thoughts and retrospectives… Continue reading
The end begins with Ya-chan bursting through the front door of her parents’ house, because Taiga left her a fake phone message saying Ryuji had been injured in a car accident. Ryuji is fine, and because nothing brings people together like casual deceit, suddenly three generations of his family are all stuck in one place where they manage to reconcile and grow. Continue reading
There’s a certain giddy rush you feel—partly validation, partly just reborn joy—when you rewatch something you loved when you were younger and discover that it’s actually still good.
I first watched ToraDora! approximately nine years ago, in a very different time of life, and something about its themes and characters was so emotionally resonant that it burrowed into my heart and has stayed there ever since. I recently rewatched it, and was a little relieved to see I hadn’t overhyped it in my memory—while it’s not a perfect show, it’s still poignant, funny and relatable, even though I’m no longer in high school myself.
In some ways watching while older made it more resonant, since I was able to look back with a degree of self-awareness I couldn’t the first time. And hey, you don’t just have one coming-of-age moment and then wake up as a fully functioning, emotionally sorted out adult—it’s a constant process, which explains the pulling power of a show like this. That, and the romantic comedy shenanigans, which are pretty damn great.
Elisabeth and Dominic are taking a hiatus from the Little Anime Blog, so I’m pitching in and contributing to the My Favourite Anime series! Head over there for the full post.
My regular, more long-winded ToraDora! posts will conclude next week. Who’s pumped?
It’s happening, people. It’s happening. Continue reading