Toradora! – 15
Yuusaku has been acting weird lately, and it all comes to a head during the discussion about the upcoming student council president elections. Everyone thinks that Yuusaku is the top candidate and will win, but he shocks them all by refusing to run and declaring that he’s quitting the student council. Things get worse the next day when Yuusaku comes to school with dyed hair, but no one really understands why. When questioned, Sumire denies knowing anything and notes that since Yuusaku has quit the student council, what he does has nothing more to do with her. Ami suspects that Sumire herself might be the cause, and although Sumire admits the possibility, she feels that if that is indeed the case, then she’d be even more disappointed in Yuusaku. As everyone else remains concerned about Yuusaku, Ami takes the stance that he’s just looking for attention, and that angers Taiga. Despite this, Minori decides to pay a visit to Yuusaku’s house, and Ryuuji goes with her.
Along the way, the two start talking about Ami, and Minori actually thinks that she is quite worried. Minori sees Ami as someone who works in the world of adults, understands things better than they do, and has to patiently interact with children like them. She feels that Ami understanding is the last salvation for people like them who don’t understand because they’re immature. When Ryuuji then comments on how kind Minori is, she denies it and claims that she’s arrogant and dishonest. The two ultimately have no luck at Yuusaku’s house, but when Ryuuji returns home, he finds Yuusaku there. Yuusaku has run away from home and is going to be staying there for a while, so Ryuuji cooks dinner for them. Taiga insists on helping, and even though her fried eggs are burnt, Yuusaku happily eats them. After eating, Ryuuji finally asks about the dyed hair, so Yuusaku admits that he doesn’t want to be student council president, and the dyed hair makes it so that no one would expect it from him.
Ryuuji falls asleep while playing games with the other two, and when he wakes back up, Yuusaku has already gone to bed. Taiga wants to eat ice cream, so the two head to the store, but before they go, they check up on their friend. Taiga is shocked to see that he’s been crying in his sleep, and when she’s alone with Ryuuji again, she herself starts crying over how she didn’t notice any of Yuusaku’s pain. In response to this, Ryuuji turns Taiga’s attention to the stars, and Taiga observes that even though they seem so close, they’re actually really far away. Taiga compares this to herself and Yuusaku, so Ryuuji points out that she wants to understand him because she likes him and that she stretches out her hand to him so that they can get closer. The next morning, Ryuuji wakes up to find Yuusaku already up and energetic again. He and Taiga make so much noise that Yasuko kicks them out, so the three of them go to a batting cage.
Yuusaku’s prolonged session in the batting cage makes Ryuuji think that something is still wrong with him, but regardless, Taiga volunteers to go into the cage next and manages to hit all the balls, much to Yuusaku’s amazement. When they get home later that day, they find Yasuko waiting for them with a box of black hair coloring. Apparently Yuusaku’s father had been on the phone with her, and she wants to dye Yuusaku’s hair back before sending him home. Yasuko thinks that Yuusaku will be student council president, but he refuses and manages to escape. In the aftermath, Taiga is worried again and remembers how Minori had once claimed to hate horror even though she actually loved it. She applies this concept to how Yuusaku claims not to want to be student council president and implies that he actually wants to be. In order to make things better, Taiga decides to run for student council president as an evil candidate.
First things first, no new OP or ED this week.
As for the episode, my first reaction was that the Gatorade yellow hair just doesn’t work on Yuusaku. He doesn’t even look like a delinquent – just stupid. And despite his claim that he dyed it so that he doesn’t have to be student council president, there’s obviously something more to it involving Sumire. That’s why I don’t think Taiga’s plan of running for student council president is going to convince Yuusaku that he wants the position after all. It won’t happen without a Sumire solution in there, and that probably won’t make Taiga happy. Speaking of which, Sumire’s attitude is starting to piss me off. I don’t know what Yuusaku sees in her.
The other thing that occurred to me while watching this episode was that Minori’s respect for what she sees as Ami’s maturity plus her own self-disdain might mean that if push came to shove in a potential war for Ryuuji’s affection, then Minori would cede him to Ami. It seems like she doesn’t feel that she deserves anything good, and that could be a problem for Ryuuji.
On a different note, I finally got around to listening to the Toradora OST yesterday, and overall it wasn’t quite as good as I thought it’d be given my impression of the music from watching the series so far. There’s only a handful of songs that I really like – Startup, Lost my pieces, Sorairo no Houkago, and a couple of others – and my good impression from the anime is probably because they do a great job using those songs in key moments, like they did in this episode in the Minori scene and the stars scene.