The Ninth Day of Christmas Anime: Toradora!

Toradora!
Episode 17: “Mercury Retrogrades at Christmas”
Episode 18: “Under the Fir Tree”
Episode 19: “Christmas Eve Festival”

Art by るたろ

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


2 Santa Kero’s out of 4

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

Stocking Stuffers

Here are Taiga and Ami singing an untraditional Christmas song (which also ends episode 19):

Tomorrow’s Forecast

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.

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

6 thoughts on “The Ninth Day of Christmas Anime: Toradora!

  1. So, here’s the thing:

    I love Toradora!, but kind of dislike the Xmas episode. Let’s set aside how creepy the bear thing is (because I was a little squicked out by it, TBH), and focus on its function as a pivotal story moment. True, it formed the turning point of the story where it really got on the rails to the TaigaXRyuuji pairing, but somehow the moment lacked the proper theatricality.

    When I think about it, her loneliness was real and her realization that she loves Ryuuji was real, but maybe it was the montage? I think the strong image of her without family on a day that is about family and relationships could have stood on its own without the hamfisted delivery. And I KNOW that Toradora! is capable of this because the computer lab is one of my favorite scenes in all of anime.

    Just my $0.02.

    1. No, I definitely get what you’re saying, and I think you’re probably right. I haven’t really thought too much about what occurs between Taiga and Ryuuji in these episodes, strangely enough. My focus, whenever I watch, is on Minorin and, to a lesser extent, Ami. The crashing baseball scene and her talk with Ryuuji after the party are both standouts. It’s in these episodes, too, where Ami shows a bit more vulnerability while continuing to show that she’s knows more about what’s transpiring in the relationships than anyone.

        1. Haha. Yeah, Amin is such a great character. Although I like Taiga and particularly Ryuuji, my favorites from the series are the supporting characters.

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