Takasu Ryuuji is a high school student who lives in a small apartment building that’s been eclipsed by a much larger one. He’s special in that he has a fearsome stare, but he’s actually a responsible person who takes care of his mother. Most people are nevertheless afraid of him, and his only close friend at school is a guy named Kitamura Yuusaku. Also in their class is a lively girl named Kushieda Minori whom Ryuuji gets embarrassed and tongue-tied around. On the first day of his second year though, Ryuuji accidentally bumps into another girl in their class: Aisaka Taiga. She is a girl with a small frame, but she has a fiery temper and is known as the Palmtop Tiger, and she ends up punching Ryuuji in front of everyone. Things take a different turn though that afternoon when Ryuuji tries to retrieve his bag from the classroom. He finds Taiga in the middle of a mess of desks, and when she realizes which bag he’s after, she panics and tries to take it from him. Ryuuji wins the struggle after Taiga sneezes, and she storms off in defeat.
That night, Ryuuji realizes that there is an envelope in his bag addressed to Kitamura from Taiga, and he figures out that she had accidentally put a love letter in the wrong bag. What’s more, he finds that there’s no actual letter inside the envelope. He decides to go to sleep for the time being, but he’s woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of something moving around in his apartment. When he goes to investigate, he gets attacked by Taiga with a wooden sword, and she’s bent on killing him or making him forget what he saw. She stops only after he reveals that the envelope was empty, and she faints soon after because of hunger. Because of this, Ryuuji cooks her some food, and in order to prove that she shouldn’t be ashamed, he pulls out a box of things he’s made for the girl he likes and shows it to her. This is how Taiga finds out that Ryuuji has feelings for Minori, and despite his pleas, she refuses to trust him until he offers to help her with her own love and be her dog. She leaves for the night, but she calls him again early the next morning, yelling for him to come over to her place. It turns out that Taiga lives in the large apartment building next door, and when he heads over, Ryuuji finds her place to be huge. However, it’s also very messy and has a horrible smell. Since Taiga has fallen asleep again, Ryuuji decides to clean her kitchen, and he’s got food ready for her when she wakes up, but she hardly shows him any appreciation.
ED: 「バニラソルト 」 (Vanilla Salt) by 堀江由衣 (Horie Yui)
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2, Streaming
I’m generally not a big fan of seiyuu songs, but this ED wasn’t so bad. Come to think of it, I haven’t had as many adverse reactions to Horie Yui songs compared to, say, Gotou Yuuko songs. In any case, I liked the song.
This first episode turned out to be fairly good. It more or less follows the novel/manga story, and the pacing so far makes me think that this’ll be a 13-episode series (I haven’t seen official confirmation on the length). The production quality meanwhile is also pretty good and seemed like a standard J.C.Staff production – nothing stood out as great, but this isn’t the type of series where you’d expect it to. And although this sounds a little odd given that Toradora isn’t really an action series, I ended up enjoying the two Taiga vs. Ryuuji scenes the most.
I wrote in my fall preview that Taiga’s role was tailor made for Kugimiya Rie, but she actually didn’t use her Louise/Shana voice so much. It was instead a meaner sounding voice than I’m used to and felt appropriate for the character. That being said, I was amused that she still managed several of her classic urusai lines throughout the episode. In any case, I’ll probably give this a few more episodes, but after this first one, I’m not sure if Toradora is worth me following. There’s nothing wrong with the series itself, but after having gone through the story twice now via both the novels and the manga, I don’t feel like I’m getting much more out of the animated version. Maybe that will change as the story progresses.