For a seiyuu group song, this isn’t bad, but I didn’t like it that much – certainly not as much as the ED. At least the visuals were pretty colorful.
Because of Ryuuji’s promise to help her, Taiga has started coming over to his house for breakfast and is having him make her lunches. They run into Minori on their way to school, and when Minori starts to misunderstand from seeing the two of them together, Taiga claims that they only met by coincidence. This leads Ryuuji to realize that in order to succeed with Minori, he’ll first have to get Taiga and Kitamura together. Their initial plan takes place during gym class: Ryuuji and Taiga pair up to toss a basketball around with the goal of Ryuuji throwing a basketball at Kitamura’s partner. He would then rush that person to the infirmary, allowing Taiga to re-pair up with Kitamura. Unfortunately, to complicate matters, Kitamura also partners up with a girl, and Taiga ends up getting distracted, so she doesn’t avoid the basketball in time and instead gets hit in the face. The next plan involves Taiga giving Kitamura some cookies she baked during home economics class, but Kitamura is in a rush, so Taiga has to chase him. In doing so, she accidentally slips on the stairs, and Ryuuji has to catch her, but her cookies go flying out the window. This latest failure depresses Taiga because she feels that she can’t succeed, so Ryuuji tries to make her feel better by eating all the ruined cookies and saying that they were delicious.
Unfortunately, a new obstacle soon develops for the two: because of how much they’re together, their class has started to believe that Taiga and Ryuuji are a couple. The rumors quickly spread to Minori, and she takes the two onto the rooftop so that she can formally ask Ryuuji to take care of Taiga. To make matters worse, Kitamura is there as well, and he also misunderstands. Both Taiga and Ryuuji are heavily depressed afterward, and Taiga even apologizes to Ryuuji because she feels responsible. She had been living alone because she had not gotten along with her own parents and had felt at home at his house. She feels that no one understands her, and she takes her frustrations out on a utility pole by kicking it. Ryuuji joins her, and their kicking eventually causes the pole to slant a little. This small victory causes Taiga to decide that she’ll confess her feelings to Kitamura, and she claims that Ryuuji can stop being her dog. Along those lines, she declares that, starting from tomorrow, the two of them will just be classmates who live next door to each other, and she then bids Ryuuji farewell, leaving behind her lunch box.
The next day, Taiga doesn’t come over for breakfast, and when Ryuuji sees her at school, she doesn’t speak with him. What Taiga does do though is to raise a huge commotion in the class so that everyone knows that she and Ryuuji aren’t a couple, and even Minori apologizes to Ryuuji for her misunderstanding. Taiga then calls Kitamura outside so that she can confess to him, and Ryuuji just happens to overhear it all because he’s on the stairwell. Before she can say that she likes him, Kitamura first asks if Taiga is going out with Ryuuji. Taiga responds by denying that she likes Ryuuji, but she also admits that she doesn’t hate him either, and she notes how he made her delicious fried rice, cheered her up, and stayed with her. It was because Ryuuji was with her that she is able finally confess her feelings to Kitamura now. Kitamura, however, misinterprets her confession to mean that she wants to be friends, and that leaves her in shocked silence. After Kitamura is gone, Ryuuji reveals himself and asks Taiga what she’s going to do. She’s ready to go home, so Ryuuji offers to make her dinner, but Taiga claims not to want his help anymore. Ryuuji, however, feels that he can’t leave her alone, and he decides that he’s not a dog – he’s a dragon. Since old times, dragons have ranked up with tigers, and so he’ll continue to be by her side as a dragon.
All this – including the fact that Ryuuji called her by her given name instead of by her family name – shocks Taiga, and the only way she can think of responding is by kicking him. She returns to her normal bossy self and starts ordering him around again, but she’s secretly happy that he called her Taiga.
I’m a bit split about this episode. On one hand, it’s a bit worrisome that they went through a ton of material this episode – three and half chapters of the novels or eight chapters of the manga – and a lot of what was covered (the basketball scene, the confession scene) was condensed/abridged. On the other hand, I’m really beginning to like the anime adaptation’s chemistry between Taiga and Ryuuji, and the pole-kicking and confession scenes were pretty well done. A lot of that is because of the strong visuals and music – it’s not an amazing soundtrack on its own, but they’re choosing the right songs to convey the right feelings for the particular scenes. Overall, this a good episode, but I suspect a lot of manga or novel readers won’t be too pleased at the stuff cut out.
In any case, I’m not completely sold on the series yet, so I’m not going to hold off from committing to blogging it until I watch the premiere of Michiko to Hatchin next week.