Toradora ep. 21

This week’s episode of Toradora was all about drama. With the end of the series just around the corner, things are heating up and tensions are rising between the main characters.

Just a few minutes into the episode, we already see the first argument taking place when Ryuji asks Taiga why she didn’t tell him about meeting with Kitamura during New Years. They actually showed Taiga and Kitamura meeting at New Years for a few seconds in a previous episode. What the two of them talked about is obviously a secret since Taiga got mad and refused to say anything after Ryuji asked her about it.

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Before Ryuji is able to find out anything from Taiga, the two of them are interrupted by yet another argument between Maya and Noto. From the looks of it, they’re arguing over who to go up the ski lift with. My guess is that Maya wanted to be on the same lift as Kitamura, but since a lift only takes 3 people at a time, either Noto or Haruta would have to trade spots with her. Obviously, having Maya and Kitamura together doesn’t sit well with Noto since he secretly likes Maya, and so the name calling begins. Minori and Kitamura try to stop the argument with little success and it ends with Maya in tears. This little scene certainly set the mood for the rest of the episode, telling viewers that there’ll be no fun and games this week.

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Later on, when Ryuji was by himself, Minori approaches him and starts to talk to him about how to fix things up between Noto and Maya. Here it’s revealed that Minori thinks Noto is trying to keep Maya away from Kitamura because he misunderstands Taiga’s feelings for Kitamura. I know that some viewers think that Minori is a horrible person for what she did to Ryuji, but I think what she says here shows that she’s always thinking about her best friend Taiga. This is really unfortunate for Ryuji though because that means that Minori will never go out with him since she now knows how Taiga feels about him. Having Minori ignore him was already hard on Ryuji, but during their little talk Minori pulls out the hairpin that Ryuji was going to give her after his confession. Apparently Taiga had given it to Minori without Ryuji knowing and told her it was something precious and to hold on to it.

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Of course, Ryuji wonders why Taiga is still trying to get the two of them together when he’s trying to forget about Minori. He then goes and hides in his room to think things over. Seeing Ryuji act so gloomy, his friends pressure him into telling them what’s wrong and he reveals that he was shot down by Minori. These guys are supposed to be Ryuji’s best friends and they acted so surprised to find out he even had a crush on Minori, some friends they are. I guess Ryuji had to spill the beans sometime during the series and the writers thought this was the best time. Kitamura’s face during this “revelation” was awesome though.

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In an effort to help Ryuji out, the guys march over to the girls room to demand Minori explain why she rejected Ryuji. When they get to the girls’ room they find no one there except a huge mess and so start cleaning it up (as if 4 guys would just randomly start cleaning up a room, but whatever). When they hear footsteps coming, they realize it would look really bad if they were digging through the girls’ stuff (as if the girls wouldn’t notice that someone had cleaned their room) and cram into the closet. Taiga finds the guys, but ends up hiding in the closet as well when the other girls return.

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This is where we get to the good part: girl talk. As we all know, girls (on tv anyways) always talk relationships and get into catfights when they’re by themselves. The conversation starts off innocent enough discussing whether Taiga really likes Kitamura or Ryuji, but then Ami brings up how Minori turned down Ryuji. During the course of the conversation Ami tries to get an irritated Minori to explain why she rejected Ryuji when she has feelings for him. It’s as if Ami knows that everyone is listening in on their conversation. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did know about everyone in the closet considering she was right beside it and Taiga dropped her towel when she was dragged in (not to mention that throughout the series Ami always seems to know something everyone else doesn’t).

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Before a fight breaks out between Ami and Minori, Maya ends the conversation and Ami apologizes. All of this leaves a bitter feeling between Ami and Minori and a group of guys mystified as to what Ami was trying to get Minori to say. The next day on the ski slope, Ami tells Ryuji that she really hates people that aren’t true to their feelings. It’s then that Taiga and Minori crash into Ami while riding on a sled. All hell breaks loose soon afterwards as Ami and Minori go at it throwing punches left and right while everyone else is trying to hold them back. In the middle of it all, Minori’s hairpin gets knocked off and flies off a steep hill. Taiga goes after it, but no one notices her run off because of the fight.

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Next comes something I predicted last week and have been waiting for until now: THE STORM!

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OK, so no one got trapped together in a blizzard like I thought would happen, but Ryuji did go searching for Taiga in the middle of it, which is close enough. Ryuji sees Minori’s hairpin on a treebranch and finds Taiga nearby unconscious and bleeding from her forehead. Ryuji carries her on his back up the hill, but when Taiga wakes up she thinks it’s Kitamura carrying her after knocking Ryuji’s goggles and mistaking them for glasses. Here we find out what Taiga and Kitamura talked about on New Years as Taiga tells “Kitamura” that she wishes that Ryuji saved her and that she can’t stop loving him.

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I really didn’t think that Ryuji would find out Taiga’s true feelings until the end, but having Ryuji find out now just means that there’s more drama to come. One still has to wonder whether Minori will still support Taiga’s feelings for Ryuji when it was so easy for Ami to shake her up. There’s also the question of whether Ryuji will fall for Taiga or continue to have feelings for Minori, everything’s up in the air now.

Like episode 19, I thought 21 really progressed the plot a lot without feeling too rushed and revealed everyone’s true natures. I had originally thought that Ami had intended to hook up Taiga and Ryuji, but I see now that she’s only interested in having everyone be true to themselves. As to why she would want that, it’s probably due to her modelling/acting career. Being a model/actress means you have to put on a mask (figuratively speaking) to help your career and so you don’t have the chance to be who you really are. This is probably why it pisses off Ami that people who can do whatever and act however they want hide their true desires.

I was also surprised at how hard angry Minori got whenever Ami tried to bring up what happened between her and Ryuji. If she didn’t like Ryuji at all she could have just said so, but the fact that she didn’t means that she really likes him.

Hopefully the next episode will be as good as or better than this one.

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