「弁当の極意」 (Bentou no Gokui)
“Secret of Bento”

Even though it’s not the sequel OVA that everyone hoped for, this unaired episode of Toradora! was nevertheless a great reminder why this series is one of my favorites.

Toradora! is particularly special for me because it was one of the shows that drew me back into anime after a hiatus. I didn’t even know what a tsundere was at that point; much less any played by Kugimiya Rie, so watching Aisaka Taiga’s antics was like discovering a whole new personality type. Her spunky and lovable best friend Kushieda Minori was also responsible for sparking my appreciation for Horie Yui’s awesome voice. Perhaps one of the ways that Toradora! influenced my anime tastes the most was due in no large part to how likeable the male lead was. Nowadays, I find myself comparing almost every male lead with Takasu Ryuuji (Majima Junji), especially if the show is a romantic comedy.

With the entire episode focusing on Ryuuji’s efforts at making bentos to beat Miya, Kitamura Yuusaku’s (Nojima Hirofumi) grandmother, all of you Taiga fans might have been disappointed by her lack of screen time in this episode, or the simple fact that this OVA wasn’t a sequel. While I am curious about where Taiga and Ryuuji’s relationship ended up, I don’t mind that this OVA is set during the timeline of the original series because: A) I like food/cooking, B) Taiga made some cute faces, and C) all the best characters made appearances as the way we remembered them – right in their prime, so to speak. Everyone was at the top of their form: Ryuuji with his delinquent eyes, Kawashima Ami’s (Kitamura Eri) smirks, Minorin’s all-around awesomeness, and Taiga being one of the best examples of a tsundere there is.

It could just be the nostalgia speaking, but I’ll always fondly remember this series for its ability to strike nearly a perfect balance between romance and comedy. This OVA was no exception either, seeing as it was basically an unaired episode. Not too much romance to get in the way of the comedy, but also not too little romance to make you forget about that it exists. This episode had just the right amount at the end to make you say “D’aww”. How many shows these days can you say that about?

* Full-length images: 01, 02, 09, 13, 14, 20, 33


  1. This is a very late post but thanks anyway.

    Nothing really new has added, also I was of those hoping for a little bit of continuation after the series ended, but oh well we got this and it isn’t bad either, it’s very entertaining and had a good laugh on it.

    But this OVA is like a drawback because it doesn’t show any progression on any of the relationship.

  2. It was fun for me to watch Takasu get all competitive and shtuff, as it reminded me of an experience of my own back in the good ol’ highschool years (crap I’m getting old..>>;.) *cough* anywho! Definitely the show in it’s prime. A great little one shot nostalgia trip. … No, I need to sleep soon I cant just throw in the 1st DVD and have a full blown nostalgia trip >_>! … Bad self, stop having crazy fantasies <_<!.

    ^_^… such a good series. mou ichido… mou ichido… .. . .

  3. Why on earth did this episode not air before? It’s like they were just saving some Taiga so they could have a reason for people to buy the blu-ray collection?

    Why not just do a second season where they go to college or something? Or animate the spinoff light novel?

    1. There’s not really much left apart from a few side stories to animate. The author has stated that there will be no more Toradora! and has moved on to a new series ‘Golden Time’. From what i’ve read of that sofar (the first LN has almost been translated) I’d be really interested to watch an Anime of that once the LN’s are done. You can check out the light novels’s here

    2. That’s because this was made recently for the bluray collection, which was also only released recently. How else would they entice fans to buy the BD? This episode might not be from the spin-off that features a different group of characters, but at least it is from one of the side-story novels, which makes it canon.

    1. How was the ending of Toradora! aweful? I assume you watched past the ending song right? Taiga and Ryuuji Show Spoiler ▼

      1. It was terrible for me because I saw the Show Spoiler ▼


        Jonathan Strange
  4. It seems like most people don’t understand what is going on. The OVA actually takes place after the last episode of the series.

    The story is a flashback to the fall. The present time is shown in the last three minutes of the episode, the spring after they graduate from high school. Why else would everyone force Taiga to feed Ryuuji?

    Also, the “spinoff” novels are not an actual spinoff. A good bit of their content is included in the series, and in this episode.

    1. It doesn’t even have to be a flasback, actually.
      This particular story is from the third Spin-off novel, which actually came out after volume 10 of Toradora. Now, to understand what I am getting at you need to know that unlike in the anime, Taiga came back after a few months, and not when Ryuuji already graduaded.
      So this little story could very well be placed after Taiga came back, as they are still in the same school.

      Show Spoiler ▼

  5. Great episode which captured every aspect of the series which I love 🙂 (I.e. Taiga’s cuteness, Ryuji’s obsession to be the perfect housewife etc). It’s the series that really got me hooked onto anime and it was a good trip down memory lane.

    I still don’t really see Taiga as a typical tsundere, as compared to other typical tsundere that seems to just toy with their main love and making their lives hell, no matter what Taiga does it’s clear she has a big heart for all her friends.

    1. Thats what I thought as well, although wasn’t Kitamura flying off to the US to chase after Kano Sumire?

      It is possible that the whole “feed Ryuji” scene was some sort of final get together before they all went their separate ways after graduation.

  6. “Toradora! is particularly special for me because it was one of the shows that drew me back into anime after a hiatus.”

    Off-topic: I suddenly remember Bakemonogatari, making me come back to watching anime. Oh, good times..

    Anyway! This OVA is nostalgic and heart-warming (esp. the ending) at the same time. I love it.

  7. Takasu going all out cooking – even bringing rice cooker into class! – was hilarious, but didn’t take away from the conclusion that it is feelings put into the bento – or indeed any meal – and concentrating on needs of receiving person that matters.
    This is really a great tribute to one of best romcomedies of all time.

  8. Without all the heaviness of subtle(or blatant) char drama, you could easily relax and enjoy this episode w/o trying to analysis minor developments between chars. Taiga and Ryuuji really had a ‘couple’ feeling to them, esp since there wasn’t any focus of her adoration of Kitamura. Plenty of funny moments to be had here. I especially lol’d at having the rice cooker cooking in the back of the classroom and everyone knowing Ryuuji was the culprit. There wasn’t an ounce of tsun from Taiga either, which made her 10x more toradorable than usual X03!

  9. Toradora!, how I love you so. This was also an important show for me as it was the first I watched live, and it became my favorite romantic comedy ever. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; this show is rock solid. There’s this amazing sense of balance. Every episode is good, every character is interesting, and on top of that, the relationships are believable and have so much chemistry.
    I agree how it strikes the perfect cord between romance and comedy, but I’ve also always included drama in there. I remember when it became more dramatic towards the latter half of the series, people complained that it had lost it’s spunky comedy and was too serious. I actually adored that transition, and I think it didn’t get enough credit. This series for me will always be a perfect romantic comedy drama.
    I’ve been getting Toradora! vibes from Anonatsu, and I really hope it continues to wow me in that department, because unless someone jumps on a Toradora! After Story, we probably won’t get much more shows like it.

  10. Toradora is what I consider the true start of my anime watching, so I have been looking forward to this OVA. And best of all, it didn’t disappoint. A lot of fanservice moments, with things like Ryuuji’s creepy eyes being shown again and so on. But best of all was the fact that this was a sequel too! I don’t know about the food-part, but the start and the end is definitely set after the series end.

  11. I was confused at first when this OVA came out cause it was really out of the blue. Also at the beginning Taiga was cooking like she knew what she was doing and she looked older ore at least more mature so I thought it was a sequal(that part kinda was since it leads up the end part) then it cuts to a time during the shows second or third arc. Then it magnificently brings it back to the “present” bringing a touchy sweet moment for all us fans. This is one of my all time favorite animes and was the one that got me watching them regularly thus it was my genesis for becoming an anime fan.

  12. I have to admit I must be among the minority. I loved the first 12-14 episodes or so of Toradora! and then – well, actually I *HATED* the rest..

    Maybe it’s because they try to pace it so much, and as a grown adult all the foreshadowing and drama is way too obvious and felt too forced! (out of my highschooler mindset?). As the series went on I started to hate Ryuji more and more, and despised the adolescent nature of his relationship with Taiga.

    Obviously, once you stop cheering for RyujixTaiga, the later episodes of the series just make you want to gag.. I’m such a grinch, but with a title like Toradora, it was obvious they would get together.. but the show failed to make me love their coupling! 😡


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