And the Zany Schemes get zanier, tangled up in double bluffs, double crossings, and a lot of yelling… honestly I half-expected someone’s fake arm to go flying across the screen, a la Arrested Development, followed by the moral “And that’s why you don’t prank your friends!” Continue reading
The arrival of Kawashima Ami, Destroyer of Worlds, somewhat derailed the matchmaker plot, and as much as I love her it’s nice to be back in the realm of Zany Schemes. And they’re even zanier—and certainly more coordinated—than the ones from the beginning of the show: Minorin, it turns out, is terrified of ghosts and anything even remotely spooky, so Taiga hatches a plan to haunt the hell out of her so Ryuji can come to the rescue in a grand heroic gesture that will no doubt make her fall for him. What could go wrong, right? Continue reading
If last episode was all about quiet bonding and emotional expression between Taiga and Ryuji, this one is all about loud bonding and emotional expression. It’s one of the clunkier ones so far, honestly, though the showdown between Taiga and her new nemesis Ami is quite satisfying. And well, I’d say Taiga’s bubble-burst frustrated yelling is probably justified, since she’s been roped into a swimming contest when the last episode clearly demonstrated that she cannot swim. It’s worth noting that the freestyle race was Ami’s idea. Honestly, what else would she pick? This girl hasn’t had a successful day unless she’s ruined someone else’s at least a little bit. Continue reading
…Well jeez, okay, I ended my last recap saying that the cliffhanger at the end of the episode probably wasn’t going to be addressed, but episode 7 flings us right back into the scene with a startled Ryuji caught between Ami’s doe eyes and Taiga’s cranky stare. Ami all but wiggles her butt and sweetly asks if this looks bad, as if anyone on earth could conceive that it didn’t, and smiles to herself when Taiga ignores Ryuji’s attempts to explain and storms off. Ami you dickhead. Continue reading
I’d go out on a limb and say this episode deals with the issue of body image and body autonomy in teenaged girls, but these serious matters are parcelled in such slapstick bizarreness that it would be an extraordinary reach to say it’s attempting to discuss them seriously. I mean, you could have looked into the pressures a model like Ami is under to maintain a picture perfect body, or you could have her get grabbed and tickle-attacked by “diet warriors” Taiga and Minorin for gloating about her fast metabolism. Clearly the entertainment value in the latter option won over the emotional pull of the former.
Also, somewhat ironically (and by “somewhat” I mean “holy hell, did you guys seriously not notice this?”) the boob-and-butt fan service has amped up with the arrival of Ami, mostly in the form of camera angles… and we find out this episode that Ami moved schools and took time off work because she was being stalked. By a pervy young guy who takes photos of her and objectifies her. Like, no one noticed the hypocrisy there? For reals? Continue reading
In an exciting turn of events, that mysterious blue-haired girl who stands alongside the main cast in the opening and ending animations has finally appeared… and has brought with her a true miracle of nature, since she’s one of the only people we’ve seen who can say and endless amount of nasty shit and not get even a tiny reaction out of the normally explosive Taiga. Continue reading
If the previous episode was all about showing us a lovestruck Ryuji, this one is about demonstrating a lovestruck Taiga. It is… probably meant to be endearing, but as always it’s more than a little ridiculous.
Ryuji finds an album full of blurry photos of Kitamura in Taiga’s apartment, and she finds him finding it, of course, and sets out on the cartoonish warpath. Ryuji only fends her off by promising to take some better pictures for her, a concept that delights Taiga and baffles me. Does he not have a problem with her sneaking around taking photos of his friend? Any concern seems to be outweighed by the hilarity of them all being really bad quality, as if photographic stalking is less weird and horrifying when the pictures don’t come out clear. The entire basis of this plotline is skeevy, but it’s a thing that happens, so let’s just begrudgingly accept that and start overthinking it, shall we? Continue reading
Kitamura’s inner character still remains a cryptid, but this episode sheds a tiny bit more light on Minorin. The first thing we establish, having been around her for a prolonged amount of time for the first time in the series, is that yes, she does always act like she’s just downed three cans of Red Bull.
While walking to school and trying to teach Taiga about laundry (flashbacks to Ben Wyatt’s sincere struggle to turn Andy and April into adults in Parks and Recreation), Ryuji hears the voice of his beloved Manic Minorin and his attention is drawn to the softball diamond. Where, I kid you not, this girl is loudly, off-key singing every movement of herself and her team like she’s audio describing for a stage musical, and running around the field with an unbreaking smile on her face. Ryuji is awed to sparkly-blushing by her bright sunshiney everything, and Taiga tells him he looks creepy as shit and pokes him in the eyes. Continue reading
If Taiga is a black hole of anger and resentment, Minorin is a constantly exploding supernova of happiness. Perhaps between them they reach some sort of cosmic medium, and that’s what makes their friendship work…
In any case, it becomes clear through significant glances from Taiga that these two girls care about each other a lot, and if Ryuji wants even a glimmer of a chance at getting romantically close to Minorin he’s going to need Taiga’s blessing. Which means, at the very least, he’s going to have to hold up his promise to set her up with his best friend Kitamura. Also feed her, apparently, because much to his shock and his mother’s delight, Taiga has started showing up at their house for breakfast every morning. Continue reading
Nothing makes you feel old like realising you watched and enjoyed something nearly a decade ago, and realising too that you remember a lot of it.
ToraDora! rocketed into my heart circa 2008, with a hilarious and moving coming of age story, great character development, the plotline that got me hooked on the delicious disaster that is matchmaker quests, and, if not a deconstruction, then at least an interesting prod at the tsundere trope that took it beyond cutesy business. This is what I remember, anyway. This summer I’m taking it upon myself to rewatch the whole thing and see if it resonates as much as it did back then. Like an emotional geek fish I’m already re-hooked after the first episode, so let’s peer into the depths of that, shall we?
(Note: these posts will be episode-by-episode examinations and won’t contain spoilers for anything ahead in the series, so ideally you can read along without having seen the show before like I have. You can also watch along on Netflix and Hanabee!)
So, in an ordinary town, a boy is glaring into his bathroom mirror, disgruntledly trying to emulate a soft, cute hairstyle open in a magazine spread. Resigned that it hasn’t worked the way he wanted, he tosses the magazine into the trash, only to have his eye drawn to the mould creeping along the bathroom wall… at which point a ferocious zeal overtakes him and he dives down to scrub it away. Meanwhile, a girl sits up in a lavish four-poster bed in the middle of an absolutely filthy room, and sneezes a few times, all under a cryptic and poetic voiceover about “something that does not often reveal itself”. The immediate picture painted of both their lives is a bit of an ungainly mess, and this is the establishing character moment for the stars of our show. Continue reading