Toradora! – 23
Things have returned to normal now that Taiga is back in school, but her teacher speaks with both her and Ryuuji about their future aspirations. Ryuuji’s mother wants him to attend a university, but Ryuuji knows that she already works too hard, and he doesn’t want to trouble her any further. Taiga, on the other hand, claims that she’s rich and doesn’t feel that she’ll need to work or study. Their teacher reminds them that they’ll have to live with their decision for the rest of their lives and wants them to think about this some more, pointing out particularly to Ryuuji that he hasn’t rebelled against his mother before. Ignoring the advice, Taiga turns her paper form into a paper airplane and throws it out the window. She feels that she doesn’t need it when she can’t think about the future and can’t even accept herself right now. The only thing she can think of that she wants to do is to fall in love normally, but she feels that it’s impossible because she’s not normal. This frustrates Ryuuji and causes him to question the meaning of normal and who decided these things. Taiga then goes home, and Ryuuji ultimately decides to select the finding employment option on his future aspirations form. When he goes to turn it in to his teacher though, he runs into Ami arguing with another teacher. Ami walks away from the argument, and that teacher makes Ryuuji go after her.
It turns out Ami turned down the teacher’s request for her to be the model for the school uniform, and she reveals to Ryuuji that she doesn’t even know how much longer she’ll stay at their school. She had been planning to quit and had stayed a while longer because of her friends. Ami had felt that she understood Taiga and wanted to help her, but she realized afterward that if she hadn’t been there, then things would probably have worked out fine. Ryuuji wants to ask her more, but he then gets a phone call informing him that his mother collapsed. At home, despite being sick, Yasuko is concerned about her part-time job, so Ryuuji decides to do something about it. Taiga chases after him and brings him wallet and keys and coat, but Ryuuji points out that she was in such a hurry that she’s wearing different shoes. In any case, he tells her to go home, and shortly after she refuses, the two almost get run over by a car. Ryuuji finally admits that he feels at fault for his mother collapsing, and he thinks that if he had been more reliable, then his mother would have had more faith in his ability to do things. Grabbing Ryuuji’s hand and refusing to let go, Taiga reassures him that things are okay, reminding him of how his mother had done the same in the past. Patting Taiga on the head, Ryuuji still feels that he has somewhere he has to go, and Taiga decides to follow him.
The place Ryuuji goes is to the bakery where his mother was working part-time, and since the owner still needs help, Taiga volunteers. She claims that she’s doing it for Yasuko’s sake, not Ryuuji’s, and it prompts Ryuuji to decide to help as well. At home, Ryuuji only tells his mother that she was fired. The following day, he and Taiga are tasked with selling chocolate outside the bakery, and while doing so, they are approached by Haruta and his girlfriend. The fact that Haruta has a girlfriend surprises both of them, and it bothers Noto as well when Noto comes up afterward. Taiga and Ryuuji have figured out that Noto has feelings for Maya, but he refuses to admit it and runs off. Since they’re having trouble making sales, Taiga calls Ami up and makes her come by to give a free endorsement. Ami initially refuses, but she does it anyway after people on the street start recognizing her. This draws the business that Taiga was looking for, and Ryuuji goes after Ami afterward to tell her that he doesn’t think that things would be better with her not around. He also points out that they would feel let down if she left since she’s liked by everyone. Ami redirects Ryuuji’s attention back to the bakery since Taiga has her hands full, and to herself, she thinks that it would have been better if it weren’t everyone. She also admits to herself that she doesn’t understand things either.
That evening, after finishing up with the job, Taiga buys some boxes of chocolate herself to take home. She plans to give some to Yuusaku, Minori, Ami, and Ryuuji, and she hopes to make everyone happy. After spending the night making her own chocolates and putting them in the wrapping from the bakery, she passes them out the next day after class. When she gives the chocolates to Yuusaku though, she mentions that it’s thanks for him saving her during the ski trip. This bothers Minori since she knows that it was Ryuuji who had done it, especially after Taiga mentions how she felt that she said some unthinkable things. Minori decides to ask Taiga about it, and when both Taiga refuses to say and Ryuuji insists that nobody heard anything, Minori confronts Ryuuji by calling him a liar. She reveals to Taiga that Ryuuji was the one who actually saved her and didn’t tell her because of whatever Taiga said. Taiga tries to escape from all this, but Yuusaku and Ami block the doors. Forced to face Minori, Taiga admits that her intent was so that Minori could be happy, but Minori feels that only she herself can attain that happiness – she doesn’t want anyone else deciding it for her. In tears, Taiga tries to escape the room again, and this time Yuusaku and Ami let her pass. Minori then declares to Ryuuji that she’s going to chase after Taiga because she’s not done talking, and she questions what Ryuuji is going to do. Ryuuji is unsure of that because he’s conflicted about hearing Taiga’s true feelings since she wanted to hide them.
Apologies for the late post. I watched Toradora when it aired on Wednesday, but I had midterms this week, and when I got a chance to write about things again, I went ahead with the more recent shows (mainly CLANNAD because it was a finale) before coming back to this one.
Well that certainly ended with a bang. I swear Minori’s fierce and angry side get scarier every time we see it. She did what she had to do for the truth to come out, but I wonder how Ryuuji feels about her now… I guess it doesn’t matter if the story is moving towards him and Taiga together, but that in turn makes me question again what happiness does mean for Minori. I’m still thinking that it’s something to do with money or softball since, after the explanation she gave last week, it’s not going to be a relationship with anyone. I assume we’ll get some closure on this before the series is over, so maybe it’s part of what she still has to tell Taiga.
Speaking of whom, I can’t help but feel sorry for Taiga since she’s been coming off as a lot nicer and reliable lately with how she’s supporting Ryuuji. Like I said, I thought what Minori did was necessary in order to move things forward, but I still feel sympathy for what Taiga has to go through. Conversely, I find myself caring less and less about what happens to Ami. Since she’s been taken out of the equation, any character development for her is off to the side of the main plot, and it’s just not as interesting anymore. Maybe she’ll still have a role to play though as we enter into the final stretch of the series. There are only two more episodes to go, and the title of next week’s episode suggests that there’ll be a confession next week.