Desperate Housewife: The Toradora OVA and Understanding the Value of a Meal

Ryuuji Toradora
Art by chunpai

Dialogue to relish.  Check.  Ryuuji’s obsessive housewifery.  Check.  Return of an awesome OP and ED.  Check.  Laughs.  Check.

Oh man, how I’ve missed Toradora.  Quite possibly my favorite show ever and featuring my favorite character, Toradora is a special anime to me.  The new special episode that recently came out with the Blu-Ray release only furthered my love for the show.  It didn’t hurt that this episode included a ton of yummy foods, including two that we commonly eat in my household – tonkatsu (and katsudon) and kimbap (Korean reference!).

The setup of this episode is very simple: Kitamura’s grandmother has been making him fantastic box lunches and Ryuuji tries to one-up her, but finds himself a step behind each day.  He feels slighted – Ryuuji believes himself to be a housewife that is second to none.

My goodness, how I’ve missed this show!

Throughout, I was reminded of both my wife and my mom, both housewives, and my friends’ wives, who mostly also stay at home.  One common thread between these very different women is the energy they pour into showing love for their families, often through food.  Whenever I eat at a friend’s house, I’m sure to have some wonderful (usually Korean) eats.

If you’ve grown up with a mom that stayed at home, you likely experienced the same thing; despite what sitcoms often tell us, most stay-at-home moms are wonderful cooks…

Or are they?

Oftentimes, as it is with many of our experiences, we remember our homecooked meals as “the best.”  We can’t all have the best, so perhaps it’s the familiarity of it or the taste we developed.  Or it could also relate to the lesson Ryuuji learns – we’re not only consuming nutrients as we eat, we’re taking in the love of person who cooked the meal.

My mom knew my tastes and generally prepared meals that she knew I’d like.

Ryuuji and Taiga
Art by しろたか

Not to slight working moms, I think about my wife’s mother, who was and is the breadwinner in her household.  Her food is tasty as well, but she showed love through food not by the yums, but by the healthiness of the meals.  Even now, whenever I visit her, she gives us tons of fruits, low-salt dishes, and “throw in everything” smoothies.  Coincidentally, she’s coming in today to visit for Christmas.

The love of a housewife, or any mother really, is in her actions.  And her actions, like that of Christ, almost always show some sort of sacrificial love, because as Ryuuji knows, it’s not easy being a housewife to an unappreciative “child”; and most of us were unappreciative children, whether partially or fully.

Now, excuse me while I start on lunch for my in-laws.


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