Toradora ep. 19 & 20

There are only a handful of episodes left in the Toradora series and from the looks of episodes 19 and 20, the climax will be good.

Episode 19 continues on with the Christmas arc where the school’s Christmas party is about to start and Taiga is doing her best to help Ryuji confess his feelings for Minori by convincing her to show up to the party. The problem with Taiga though is that she’s always hanging around Ryuji and they look like they’re going out.

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Kitamura starts off the party wearing his strange outfit which just begs for someone to yell at him, no one wants to see a half naked guy at a Christmas party. My theory is that Kitamura is a masochist, he liked both Taiga and the student council president who both have really agressive and bossy personalities. He also mentioned that he liked Ami’s “true” self near the beginning of the series when she was a b*tch acting like an angel.

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Halfway through the party, Ami and Taiga make a surprise performance. Things between those two have really changed since the start of the series. They’re no longer fighting with each other and are actually good friends now. What I like about Ami is that she’s one of the more mature and observant characters in the anime, but sometimes she does things she shouldn’t have. I think the most well-known example of this was at the end of episode 16 where she asks Minori whether her feelings of guilt were gone (refering to Minori liking Ryuji even though she knows Taiga likes him). It was clear that Ami regretted this afterwards as she was walking away and gritted her teeth.

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After the performance, Taiga leaves the party to head to Minori’s house to tell her that Ryuji is waiting at the school for her and won’t leave until she shows up (which was a lie). Taiga then heads home to spend the rest of Christmas eve by her lonesome self 😦

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Upon hearing that Taiga was heading to Minori’s place and then back home (from Ami), Ryuji rushes to Taiga’s apartment. I think this was Ami’s way of making up for pushing Minori on to accept Ryuji’s feelings when she knows that Taiga would make a better match for him. Feeling bad about leaving Taiga alone, Ryuji shows up at Taiga’s home in a giant bear costume pretending to be santa, but of course Taiga knows it’s Ryuji. After a few happy moments and hugs, Taiga thanks Ryuji and basically forces him out to go meet Minori.

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What happened next was something that I had been waiting for for a while. Until now, Taiga has only shown glimpses of her feelings for Ryuji and still claims that she likes Kitamura. After Ryuji left, Taiga broke down in tears and ran out after him, but he was already gone. This confirms that the person Taiga really likes is Ryuji and not Kitamura. Of course, this wouldn’t have an impact on the story if Minori didn’t witness anything. My guess as to why she was at Taiga’s place rather than the school is probably to thank Taiga for everything before meeting Ryuji.

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It’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen during Ryuji’s confession after Minori sees Taiga in tears. Minori was obviously distraught when she shattered Taiga’s crystal star and seeing her best friend like this, she couldn’t bear to hurt her any more. When Minori meets up with Ryuji at the school she doesn’t even give him the chance to confess his love and turns him down. What’s interesting to note in this scene though is that when Minori turns Ryuji down, she covers her eyes, possibly because she couldn’t bare to look him in the face because she knows how much this will hurt him or because she was hiding her own tears. I prefer to think it’s the latter, since there have also been hints that Minori likes Ryuji.

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I thought episode 19 was one of the best episodes, on par with episode 9. The revelation of Taiga’s true feelings means that the show is in its final stretch, and Ryuji’s rejection signals the beginning of the awkward phase of the story.

Episode 20 could have gone two ways in terms of how Minori acts towards Ryuji from now on. She could’ve either avoided him or just acted like normal; she went with acting normal. One thing that did change was Taiga’s reaction to all of this. Seeing how her plans to hook up Minori and Ryuji have failed, she begins to distance herself from Ryuji thinking that Minori is under the impression that the two of them like each other.

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In this episode we find out that the class’s trip to Okinawa has been cancelled since their hotel burned down, so they will be going on a ski trip instead. Personally, I think the ski trip in the mountains scenario is used way too much in anime, but everyone probably uses it because it’s effective at progressing the story.

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There was one scene in this episode that made me wonder what Ami has planned up her sleeves. Ami, Taiga, and Ryuji are at a “Sudohbucks” coffee shop when Taiga tells Ami how Ryuji was rejected. Ami goes on to brag breifly about how she was right about Ryuji getting burned if he got too close to Minori. When they leave, Ami tells Ryuji that she hopes he’s the only one that gets hurt (meaning she hopes that Taiga won’t be hurt anymore since her relationship with Ryuji can progress further now). Of course, she says this with a kind of “I have a plan” look in her eyes.

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Before the skiing trip, the class was split into groups and each group decides what they will be doing during the trip. I thought this was a good way to foreshadow something that might happen during the trip. Most school-life love comedies in anime have some minor characters that hook up in the end and now we get a hint as to who they might be:

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I predict that the next episode will involve some people getting trapped on the mountain during a snow storm since that’s what usually happens. The question is who will end up with each other and what will happen to their relationships.

Episode 20 was a good way to follow up on episode 19. After having so much happen in one episode, the audience needs some time to absorb everything thats happened. This is usually done very poorly by following up with an episode that puts everything back to normal (making the previous events pointless), or one with even more big changes which just loses everyone. This episode put in a few awkward moments and didn’t set everything back to normal, making it a good follow-up to episode 19. It also acts like a cooling off period from all the drama before the ski trip which I expect will have even more drama since it’s so close to the end. I really hope the creators of Toradora keep up their good work and don’t dissapoint with their last 5 episodes.

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