Toradora! – 16
Despite the pressure from everyone to get Yuusaku to run for student council president in order to prevent the evil Taiga from winning, he doesn’t change his mind. Things look bad as the candidacy deadline draws near, but one night, Ryuuji receives a call from a guy named Murase who’s on the student council, and Murase reveals that Sumire is quitting school to go study overseas soon. With this in mind, Ryuuji heads out and tracks down his friend by the river. Yuusaku admits that he likes Sumire, but she’s going to America to be an astronaut. His original plan was to get elected as student council president, earn recognition from her, and then confess to her. However, since she wouldn’t be around, there was no point in becoming student council president anymore. Yuusaku knows that what Taiga has been doing is for his sake, and he decides to head home again when she comes looking for Ryuuji, but he first claims he’s okay and gives the indication that he’ll be turning things around. When Taiga finally finds Ryuuji, he doesn’t tell her about seeing Yuusaku and doesn’t even reveal who the phone call was from.
The next day, Yuusaku shows up at school with his hair back to normal and seems ready to be student council president again. However, Ryuuji learns later that Yuusaku still hasn’t officially filed to be a candidate, and there’s not much time left. When he confronts Yuusaku about it, Yuusaku admits that he decided not to do it after all, and he goes on to tell Ryuuji the story of how he joined the student council. Back when he had first entered high school, he wanted to get a girlfriend and had confessed to Taiga. After Taiga rejected him, Sumire was the one who raised his spirits and gave him a fun school life on the student council, but now, Yuusaku feels that he can’t take the next step forward. It is at this point in the conversation that Sumire appears and confronts him about running away. She makes him realize that he has to step forward, literally smacking him forward in the process, and as she walks away, she claims that she’ll be watching to see what kind of student council president he becomes. Knowing what he has to do, Yuusaku turns in the candidacy form just in the nick of time.
On the day of speeches in front of the student body, instead of delivering a speech, Yuusaku decides to confess to Sumire. This surprises everyone, and with people calling for Sumire to answer him, she finally takes the microphone. However, she treats the confession as a sign of what an interesting guy Yuusaku is, and she uses this to play up his candidacy. Ryuuji chases after Sumire afterward and questions why she didn’t answer Yuusaku properly after she had urged him forward. Sumire explains that she had wanted him to run for student council president, not to confess, and she feels that Yuusaku should learn to live more wisely. Ryuuji wants to continue questioning her, but he’s stopped by Taiga who wants him to go comfort Yuusaku because it’s not something that she can do. She claims that she’s okay, but after Ryuuji runs off, she pulls out a wooden sword and goes to confront Sumire in the classroom. Even though Taiga understands that she’s not the one Yuusaku wants, she wants to do what she can, and the only thing she knows for sure is that she can’t stop.
As Sumire and Taiga trade hits, Taiga repeatedly calls Sumire a coward, and she refuses to forgive her for hurting Yuusaku. Ryuuji eventually comes in and stops the fight, but Taiga continues yelling and wants Sumire to say that she hates Yuusaku if she won’t accept his feelings. To everyone’s surprise, Sumire responds by saying that she wants to be a naive idiot like Taiga if she could, but if she said that she liked Yuusaku, then he’d sacrifice a lot to follow her – that’s why she feels that she can’t be an idiot. Sumire realizes too late that Yuusaku had heard all of this, and he ends up thanking her and telling her that he’s truly glad to have fallen in love with her. Nothing else happens until the teachers come, and after helping clean up, a few of the girls discover Taiga’s student handbook on the floor. Inside is the picture of her and Yuusaku, and the girls – including Minori – realize that Taiga really did have feelings for him. However, before they can look at the picture underneath that first one, Ami confiscates the handbook so that it can be returned. As she then walks past Minori, Ami quietly questions if Minori’s feelings of guilt are gone.
In the aftermath, Sumire heads to America, Yuusaku is elected student council president, and Taiga is suspended for two weeks. Sometime later, Sumire receives a postcard from Taiga, and on the back are two characters that make her laugh: baka (idiot).
After all that, I thought the reason Yuusaku didn’t want to be student council president was kind of silly. He didn’t care for the position and just wanted it so that he could confess to Sumire. I don’t see why he even needed her to recognize him by getting elected – if he really felt that strongly about her, he wouldn’t have let something like that get in the way. Ultimately it worked out though, for better or worse, and I enjoyed the ups and downs of the episode. The fight and Sumire’s subsequent admission made for a nice climax, and although this was not the series I expected to see such action in, it was pretty cool and nicely choreographed.
Perhaps even more interesting was the scene with Minori and Ami after the fight. It which was a little confusing initially in regard to what guilt Ami was referring to, but I guess it meant that Minori was feeling guilty about falling in love with Ryuuji if Taiga was already in love with him, and the picture showed that Taiga liked Yuusaku instead, so there was no need for that guilt. It’s curious though that Ami was actually helping Minori out here by not showing what the second picture was (it could have been of Taiga and Ryuuji), and the guilt line almost made it feel like she was making sure that Minori knew that it’s okay to like Ryuuji. Since it’s been suggested that Ami also likes Ryuuji, things look to be heating up on this front, and I assume they’ll be exploring more of the two girls’ feelings in the next arc. Speaking of which, now that we’ve finished another story arc, maybe the new OP and ED will finally premiere next week.