Author: Yuyuko Takemiya
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School Life, Shounen
Ryuji Takasu has learned the hard way that appearances can be deceiving. Despite his inwardly sweet personality, his unintentionally sharp gaze and aggressive features give him the air of a delinquent thug, putting his chances at making friends, let alone a girlfriend, next to zero.
It’s Ryuji’s first day in junior high school and it seems as if things are looking up. He gets to sit in between his only friend, Yusaku, and, more importantly, the girl he’s secretly crushing on, Minori Kushieda. But just when he thinks the stars are aligned in his favor, he unwittingly crosses the most feared girl in school, Taiga Aisaku, making her onto his arch enemy. To top it off, Taiga has moved in right next door to Ryuji and happens to be Minori’s best friend! Can this school year possibly get any worse?!
I watched Toradora! a few days back and it seems inevitable for me to compare both form’s versions. In fact, I could basically call my little review here a comparison between both! Anyways, Toradora – it’s about time I read a shounen manga which has love as it’s main theme. Either there aren’t that many or I just didn’t try looking for one, the latter being the more accurate. Well, I’ve never read that much shounen manga to begin with anyway.
The story follows two very misunderstood characters with very self-contradicting names and how they try win their crushes’ hearts. We also see them trying to battle their community imposed social positions within the school-o-sphere which is really quite entertaining! The overall plot-line follows a rather predictable(or if you’d like to use a fancier word, ‘classic’) plot-line and is what I call ‘the shounen way of getting couples together.’ By leading the winning pair into the unoptional hilarious scenarios which undoubtably, always work.
The most lovable part of the manga is probably the hero, Ryuji Takasu, a very adept young man who takes care of his nocturnal mother who looks as if she’s just jumped out of some ecchi manga. Ryuji is such a likable character you can’t help but want him for yourself. He’s a stable character which is quite a nice trait to behold, it’s nice to have someone that you can depend on. He isn’t exactly prone to emotional fluctuations either, something that seems to almost frequent shounen heroes. They should come up with a side-story/prequel specially for Ryuji’s parents, it’d would be hilarious! As for the heroine, Taiga Aisaka, a tsundere heroine and I don’t have much more to say but she compliments Ryuji’s personality very much. She’s more like an constant angry cat than a tiger.
The side characters’ relevance felt more prominent in this manga adaptation, while I thought the anime portrayed them more in a prop-ey manner. Let my hard-core personal opinion butt in for a second and tell you how I personally have no idea how Ryuji got a crush on a complete nut-crack, Minori Kushieda. Not that I don’t like her as a character, she’s just not an ideal match for darling Ryuji, I think we all need some people with loose screws in their head(makes life far more interesting).
I’m quite fond of the cover art, it isn’t exactly the most exciting, but I like the contrast between serious-ness and cute-ness between both main characters which I think provides a good sypnosis of the story quite nicely. The action scenes are illustrated wonderfully and it isn’t overdone, it’s nice and clean. It’s un-scruffy-ness meshes well with the plotline – fun and light-hearted. It made the action scenes far clearer and I could actually follow what was happening! (Something I often fail to do whenever I look at action scenes. Hehe. If this were a tweet I’d type #personalfail.) The character designs lean more towards the cute side than the serious flair and it really is quite appropriate. I especially favour Ryuji’s hairstyle in this manga adaptation, his hair style makes him far more cool-er.
Many people will enjoy Toradora, I enjoyed the manga version a lot more than I did with the anime, there was a lot more build up and things weren’t sloppy. It comes off strong and confident and the goal is very clear as a good romantic comedy and it earns a good place within the genre. It’s has good laughs and is heading a good direction, it’s far more romantic than its similar counterparts such as Love Hina and I think that’s it’s strength. I think it’s predictability does not serve to hinder the overall impression since it’s execution is well done.
Overall rating & any comments: 4/5