Toradora! – 14
In the aftermath of the culture festival, a rumor has been spreading through the school that touching Taiga brings happiness, and that causes everyone to want to touch her. At the same time, another rumor starts about Yuusaku stealing Taiga from Ryuuji because of their dance together on the night of the festival. This actually makes Taiga happy, but she still gets flustered while talking with Yuusaku. She almost chokes during lunch as a result, and she makes Ryuuji go buy her some juice. Ryuuji finds Ami on the phone by the vending machines, but she soon ends the call and won’t tell him who she was talking to. Not happy with how he’s not that interested and how he’s buying a drink for Taiga, Ami intentionally presses the wrong button on the machine before Ryuuji can make the selection Taiga wanted. After lunch, Taiga and Ryuuji head to the hallway where the photos from the festival have been put up for viewing so that students can order copies. Taiga’s choices includes the one of her and Yuusaku dancing whereas Ryuuji’s choices includes the one of him and Minori crossing the finish line together. When Minori realizes this, she blushes a little and considers buying the same photo. She continues thinking about this into the afternoon, but Ami recounts her own experiences with having her photo taken as a model and makes Minori realize that it’s only a photo.
After class, Ryuuji and Taiga end up going home separately because Taiga gets sidetracked angrily chasing a boy who was after the rumored happiness. Ryuuji heads to the supermarket first to buy some groceries and runs into Ami there. The two talk about touching Taiga for happiness, and Ryuuji wonders how Taiga herself would become happy if the rumor was true, but Ami feels that Taiga is happy enough. Outside the store, Ryuuji hands Ami some extra pork that he bought and suggests that she eat it because she didn’t look so good today. He knows that she’s been eating only sweets and calls her a child, contrasting everyone else who sees her as an adult. Meanwhile, on her way home, Taiga notices Yuusaku sitting by the river alone. He’s not his usual self and even reaches out to touch her because of the rumor. Taiga guesses that the student council president bullied him, but Yuusaku denies it even though Sumire had indeed talked to him about something serious earlier. Not thinking it through, Taiga blurts out an offer to let Yuusaku touch her, however Yuusaku claims that he’s fine and thanks her. At home, Taiga finds Ryuuji cooking a big dinner, and he inadvertently mentions not wanting to lose to the restaurants she went to with her father, but Taiga doesn’t care. Dinner is with Ryuuji’s mother, and when she hears about the rumor about Taiga, she strokes Taiga’s head and claims immediately after that she’s happy. She explains that she’s happiest when doing this and eating a delicious meal with family, and Taiga is surprised to hear Yasuko call her part of the family.
Over at Ami’s apartment, she finishes a conversation over the phone with her mother in which she decides to stay put for a while longer. At the same time though, she wonders what she wishes for, just like Minori and Yuusaku are thinking about how they can’t see the shape of their own wishes very well.
After the three-part festival arc, this felt like a transition episode that ends with a bit of uncertainty as the main characters question what they want. The whole touching-Taiga-brings-happiness thing was amusing (especially when she blurted out to Yuusaku that he could touch her), but what I liked about the episode is how Ryuuji appears to move forward a little with both Ami and Minori and how Ami gets some more development as well. Perhaps the most interesting thing though is Yuusaku and his relationship with the student council president – Sumire had something to say to him that we don’t hear and afterwards we see him looking distant and maybe a bit depressed – because it hasn’t been shown as much as the other relationships. Short of completely rejecting him, I can’t imagine what she said to him that would make him as spaced-out as he was, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough since it appears next week is focused at least partially on them.
Oh and for those of you wondering, the new OP silky heart and ED Orange didn’t premiere this week, but commercials for the songs did (see links). I imagine those will premiere pretty soon, like next week.