Toradora! – 22
Having arrived back from the ski trip, Ryuuji can’t get Taiga’s confession out of his mind, and he accidentally yells out her name in the middle of class. Taiga has been absent because she’s with her real mother, and Ryuuji hasn’t talked with her since. He does, however, ask Yuusaku to pretend that it was Yuusaku who saved her, and Yuusaku realizes that this has something to do with how Taiga prayed to him back during New Years. Ryuuji later goes out with Noto and Haruta to eat, and they talk about the form they have to fill out about their future aspirations; Ryuuji still isn’t sure if he’ll be going on to a university. The three of them find Minori working at the ramen shop they decide to eat at, and she’s her usual cheery self. Ryuuji’s thoughts, however, remain on Taiga and why she hasn’t come back yet, including the possibility that she realized what she had said to him. At home, Yasuko insists that Ryuuji continue studying and not worry about the money it’ll take to send him to a university. She doesn’t want him working instead of studying and believes that things will work out somehow. All this reminds Ryuuji of how his mother had similarly reassured him back when he was young that it was okay that he didn’t have a father because she’d take care of him.
The next day at school, Minori tells Ryuuji that Taiga is doing fine since she gets along with her real mother. Ryuuji also learns that Minori has taken on the responsibility of being captain of both the boys and girls softball teams in addition to her new job. He worries that this means that she won’t be able to do her best at each of the tasks, but Minori insists that she’s working hard so that that doesn’t happen since it’s something that can be seen. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Ami, who’s still cold towards both of them, and Minori decides to leave Ryuuji behind to go after her. Minori breaks the ice with Ami by suggesting that Ami’s favorite spot between the vending machines is haunted, and she transitions from that to explaining how she thought she saw a ghost. Minori, however, claims that she doesn’t want to be preoccupied with what she can’t see and lose sight of what she can see. For that reason, she’s facing forward without hesitation and heading towards what she can see. Ami doesn’t want to hear any of this.
Ryuuji meanwhile has a talk with his teacher about his future plans, and she wonders how he personally feels about it. Thinking about this when he gets home, Ryuuji finds a note from his mother saying that she’s starting a new part-time job. He has a hard time studying afterward, and his attention is drawn towards the hair clip that Minori had lost and he had retrieved while searching for Taiga. Since he can’t give it to her now, he places it in the box of things he made for the girl he likes, and he realizes that liking someone isn’t shameful. Just as he’s feeling troubled by Taiga’s feelings for him, he hears a knock on the door. The person at the door is none other than Taiga, and Ryuuji starts freaking out at the sight of her. She knocks some sense into him and shows him the bandage on her head to indicate that she’s fine. Taiga has been skipping school to spend time with her real mother, and she’s here now because she lost her keys and needs to enter through the window.
Ryuuji tries to get her to stay as long as possible, but she eventually moves toward his balcony. That’s when she notices the box of things and asks if he heard Minori’s true feelings yet. This causes Ryuuji to wonder to himself why she’s worrying about him given her true feelings, but Taiga doesn’t realize this and insists that things will turn out well between him and Minori. Before she heads over to her own apartment, she thanks him for searching for her with Yuusaku and Minori. She admits that she wasn’t conscious, but she feels like she had a dream where Yuusaku was carrying her and she said some stupid things to him while half-awake. Seeing that Taiga wants to believe that this was just a dream and that nothing happened, Ryuuji tells her that it was indeed a dream and that he had heard that she hadn’t said anything. Taiga is relieved about this and jumps through the window into her own apartment. After she crashes into it and bids him good night, Ryuuji reflects on how she really is clumsy.
After all that happened in last week’s episode, this week was fairly tame in comparison. We had Ryuuji’s feelings for Taiga coming out more as he comes to terms with her confession interspersed with a semi-explanation of why Minori rejected him and with talk of what Ryuuji is going to do after high school (which seemed to highlight the fact that the series is nearing its end). Minori went back to the ghost analogy, and while I had to refresh my memory on that, I think her point was that she’s got something more important to her than a relationship with Ryuuji and that’s what she’s pursuing – something to do with money, softball, and/or school I would guess. Regardless, this all shows that the series is slowly but surely moving towards RyuujiXTaiga, and because that’s so obvious, it was frustrating to see Ryuuji delay things by telling Taiga that what she remembers was a dream. It’s clearly not a secret that he’s going to be able to keep forever.
This episode also put some focus on the mothers, first on Yasuko for wanting Ryuuji to continue studying and working a part-time job because of it, and then on Taiga’s own mother even though she remained off-screen. It made me wonder if Taiga’s mother will eventually make an appearance and if she has any quirks like Taiga’s father does. There’s only a few episodes left though, so maybe that’s not important enough to show.