Episode 17: “Mercury Retrogrades at Christmas”
Episode 18: “Under the Fir Tree”
Episode 19: “Christmas Eve Festival”
Taiga is returning from her suspension and just in time for the Christmas season. She loves this time of year (for reasons later explored) and her and Ryuuji’s class is also excited, particularly with the announcement of a Christmas Eve party. Everyone, that is, but Minorin, who hasn’t been herself lately, turning into a depressed and even stranger version of herself. She refuses to go to the party, which throws a wrench in Ryuuji’s plans to ask her to it. Can Taiga bring the two together? Does she really want to?
The beauty of these episodes has nothing to do with Christmas, but instead with the character interactions. As in real life, the relationships between the five major characters in Toradora are dynamic. There are a variety of feelings, many of them strong, that exist in different combinations amongst Ryuuji, Taiga, Minorin, Ami, and Yusaku. Love among the characters is based on what’s real and not on simple emotions, and as such, there’s bound to be tension and splintering of relationships. The beginning of the end, as it were, occurs in these episodes.
Unfortunately, the episodes are not particularly Christmas-y (one confusing conversation portrays Santa as a Christ figure), though, right from the beginning with a new intro, the episodes are very wintry. They are also among the best in a series full of bests. If you’ve never seen these episodes, you should watch them, along with the entire series. The two-part box sets available in the states are quite awesome if you’re thinking about buying.
Christmas Spirit Score
If This Episode Was a Christmas Song, It Would Be…
“Last Christmas” – While the lyrics don’t match the plot of Toradora, among the many heartbreak Christmas songs, I felt this was among the best at portraying the pain and confusion many of the characters were feeling in episode 19:
Merry Christmas, I wrapped it up and sent it
With a note saying, “I love you”, I meant it
Now I know what a fool I’ve been
But if you kissed me now I know you’d fool me again
Here are Taiga and Ami singing an untraditional Christmas song (which also ends episode 19):
The bitter cold of the holiday season is often accompanied by feelings of melancholy. If you find yourself, say, longing for your best friend’s love interest and know it could never be, try not to take it to heart.
On the ninth day of Christmas, anime gave to me … Ami and Taiga singing,
love changing a boy into a man,
three homeless heroes,
a widow knitting scarves,
Rin’s charming grins,
Naru looking pretty,
knitting for a crush,
a Paper Sisters birthday,
and friends for a former emperor.