Building Character: Ryūji & Taiga

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

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Taiga and  Ryūji | Toradora!

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE ANIME TORADORA! THIS CONTAINS MANY PLOT SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Toradora! has been called the greatest love story anime ever told by some on the internet. I personally don’t know if I would go that far, but the two main characters Taiga Aisaka and Ryūji Takasu definitely leave a lasting impression on you. To call these two an “odd couple” is probably a bit of an understatement, and the way they end up together was something only fate could ordain.

Ryūji is a quiet, soft spoken guy for the most part, but because of his looks he is quite often mistaken for a delinquent. As a result, he doesn’t have many friends to speak of except for student council vice president Yūsaku Kitamura. Aisaka is the text book definition of a Tsundere character: rough and hateful on the outside, but she does have softer side she will rarely show, and only to those she gets close to. Her only real close friend is Minori Kushieda, who I personally think is just a fun-loving nut, but there is nothing wrong with that. She is always smiling and cheerful, which is in stark contrast to her friend Taiga.

Toradora! | Group

Ryūji and Taiga’s paths cross when the often clumsy Taiga leaves a love note that was intended for Kitamura in Ryūji’s bag by mistake. She notices her mistake as he comes to claim his bag from the classroom, but by that point it is much too late. Since she lives just next door to him, she raids his house in the middle of the night to get the letter back. At that point the two discover that they are in love with each other’s best friends, and they begin to form a plot to help each other out. The most ironic part of this is Kitamura had confessed his love to Taiga the previous year and she turned him down. I feel Taiga has a bit of a complex due to her parents divorce and they way they treat her. She doesn’t feel as if she deserves to be loved.

The two start hanging out together quite often to help each other with their love interests. This turns out to be quite humorous most of the time because both of them are so awkward. Taiga lives alone due to her parents being divorced, so Ryūji basically ends up taking care of her for the most part because she is a poor cook and doesn’t really clean up after herself very well. Ryūji is very good at these sorts of things since his mother works nights at a bar and frequently comes in drunk, forcing him to take care of her. He also has quite a complex when it comes to cleaning, he could really put Monk to shame with his OCD.

Toradora! | Kick

They soon begin to realize that even though they feel awkward and uncomfortable around their crushes they feel completely at ease being close to each other. The story has many twists and turns, and you want to strangle both of them for doing stupid things at times. They eventually come to realize that they are meant for each other, and they each confess their love.

I guess this goes to show sometimes what you really need is a lot closer than you might ever expect. There is just something magical about seeing these two come together over the course of the series that cannot be easily explained with words. The two are so different, yet similar in many ways that you really don’t see right off hand, but they should have realized they were perfect for each from the start. After all, only a Dragon can tame a Tiger.

If you would like to purchase yourself a copy of Toradora! you can do so from the NIS America store.

This video is from YouTube user Sweety Mina

About Steve Baltimore

Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.




  • Laurence J. Nguyen

    I am so glad I watched the anime and boy oh boy I really enjoyed it while it lasted. It is kind of ironic that the title of the final episode has the exact same name as the whole anime, itself. The SOS! videos were okay, I just find them to be somewhat filler to me. The OVA isn’t bad, at all. But other than that, these two characters really do make an interesting oddball of a couple and it shows. I always thought that “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” comes to mind but that’s not really the case, far from it. The music piece called, “Lost my Pieces” will always make me feel really sad especially when it plays in that one scene where Taiga realizes her feelings for Ryuji. It was easily a tear-jearking moment for me but it’s not the only one. I am so glad that I watched the anime on Hulu and I am really glad that these two characters finally got together as a couple considering the fact that both Tigers and Dragons are considered equals and all that jazz. Also, IMO the 1st opening theme song is what I believe to be the closest to ever being a theme song for Taiga but don’t take my word for it, that’s just me.