Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Anime Review: ToraDora
It's quite rough going back on the anime boat after not watching anime for a good two years. Seeing mountains and mountains of gigabytes of anime growing in your hard drive is actually quite demotivating, like looking at a mountain of homework. So demotivating, that I was catching up on my already lost childhood watching Disney movies and thanks to that I developed a unhealthy penchant for musicals.
Ever since I've completed my HSCs I was just flicking through the mountains of anime I was collecting, watching a few random episodes of various series here and there aimlessly, just to burn time. Until, a particular anime caught me with it's magic on the very first episode and kept me engaged until the end of the series.
Toradora was unique to me, I especially loved it's eccentric manner, plot development, clever developers and it's tear jerker last arc. I won't spoil it too much, but I would like to say that it's strangely addictive, like watching a gingerbread house being slowly soaked by a light stream of milk, however unlike the later one, it's much more engaging.
The story revolves around, a character named Ryuji Takasu, a male high school student with a natural hostile appearance, however in contrast he's the most nicest, caring and most innocent guy, a guy could ever be, surprisingly this has a moe effect. What does he want more than anything else? Alot of friends and a girlfriend, just like any other male student protagonist want. However due to his appearance, misunderstandings occur, wickedly funny and cruely sad that this conundrum really wrecks his confidence which is noticeable within the anime. Another major character to mention is Tenori Taiga, a small female student within the same class, who is so cute that she's revered to the likeness of a doll and yet has a brutal and violent personality, imagine a loli with a extreme case of tsundere issues. Both of them have a crush on each other's respective best friends, and thus both decides to co-operate with each other to help them score. Sounds alot like lovely complex? Well, it is, I'll let that loose, however! Toradora has it's own set of originality that it's well worth to watch!
I especially like the contrast between appearances and personalities which really accentuates the irony within the anime, and that's what the anime's core is, the irony of two polar opposite characters creating a checker patterned mental imagery whenever their together, developing friendships, breaking barriers, learning new things and ultimately falling in love.
I also enjoy Toradora's insubstantiality, most anime producers would often just stick with one set of atmospheres or one motive and work with it for the rest of the series, usually these motives have been used before by other producers and they are adopted because they work creating popularity, thus creating a genre. However, Toradora's different, I specially appreciate the producers who worked with this masterpiece. They adjusted the jokes, colors and dialogue to compliment Toradora's fast yet smooth and streamline plot development, easing everything into a tight neat package of 25 episodes ensuring that nothing's abrupt or sudden but remained...natural. For example, the beginning was comedic, the dialogue, the jokes, the light bright colors and Ryuji's conundrum was brought out in a whimsical fashion. Yet the end was dramatic and overtoned with romantic seriousness, thinking back on it, it was a real surprise how the anime just seemed to flow so naturally in between two completely different beginning and ending. From laughing to well...um...being moved in a manly way, it was simply amazing.
The artwork was nice and easy on the eyes with high quality and attention (I haven't noticed a single background stock character missing a face part or the edges of the background faded away), you can tell immediately that the anime wasn't budget made, but a proper anime with proper backing, meaning proper artwork. The standard of the artwork was consistent, unlike some other anime artwork where only the first and last episodes are in substantial quality. Despite being a more slice of life anime, there are the occasional action scenes, and I must say, they did the action scenes properly, I'm not talking about the choreographing, though it was impressive, I was more impressed with the frames per second, it wasn't stuttering or skipping a lot of valuable frames, meaning the producers really went all out with this anime in every detail they can get their hands on.
The voices of the characters were noticeable. They were either all main stream voice artists or unique voice talents. For example, the lolicon tsundere voice super power Rie Kugimiya, whom made serious debuts as Shana from Shakugen no Shana, Louise from Zero no Tsukaima and Nagi from Hayate no Gotoku.
Overall, Toradora was great, a unlikely good find within my treasure mountain and most certainly worthy of being watched.