Yes, Toradora is Still my Favorite Anime

Yes, Toradora is Still my Favorite Anime

A while ago, I made a list of my 10 favorite anime. And like I mentioned there, pretty much everything on that list was all over the place as I made it. Things moved around a lot. Some things just changed spots, and some went on and off the list. It was really difficult to decide what would be on that list and where things would go. Now, a year and some change later, I would probably change a few things here and there. I’d also add a few new things. Basically, it would change somewhat.


However, there’s one thing that would never change. It was the only thing on that list I was sure of and am still very sure of to this day, and at this point, I probably always will be. And that’s that Toradora is my favorite anime of all time. So many things on that list were difficult to decide, but the first thing I knew as a fact was that Toradora would be first. I could remake that list today, and nothing would change. It’s a fact in my life that Toradora is my favorite anime, without a doubt. But why?


When I wrote that list, this is word for word what I wrote. “Everything else on this list can change, Toradora, I highly doubt ever will.” That is as true in this moment as it was then. No matter how many amazing series I watch and discover, nothing begins to touch Toradora. It’s as if they’re not even in the same dimension. But why?

love letter
(I guess these posts are kind of love letters)


I will be the first to admit that, despite being my favorite, Toradora is not the best anime out there. It’s not even the best I’ve seen. I’d argue that series like Clannad are better. I even mentioned in that list that Clannad had the best story on that list. Yet, Toradora is the series I watch every year for Christmas. And yes, the fact that people have made that a tradition is part of the reason, but obviously not all. Toradora is something I want to watch so often. But, again, why?


I wanted to try and figure out the answer to that question, not only to explain my reasoning but so I understand myself. Because the answer to it isn’t going to make logical sense. Matters of the heart usually don’t, as cheesy as that sounds, and I definitely love Toradora, and it holds a very special place in my heart. There are a lot of reasons why you like something, obviously. For an anime, it can be the story itself, music, the characters, any number of things, or likely a combination of them. But I don’t really want to talk about that.


I know the story and characters in Toradora are good. it’s a very good romance anime. I’m more wondering why this particular anime means so much over something like Clannad in the same genre that I said was better. And, as you would expect, it comes down to preference, as these things often do. For as wonderful and beautiful of a story Clannad is, or even something like the visual novel for Little Busters, another of my favorite stories of all time, Toradora is the one I want to experience again and again.


Hotarou reading alone
(I was a loner, for sure)


I feel like this needs to get personal to talk about this fully, so let’s do that. I was a very lonely person for as far back as I can remember. I grew up way younger than all my siblings. All of them had moved before I was even 10. I was home-schooled, very awkward, and quiet, meaning I had no friends. In its purest form, I really desired companionship for most of my life, especially my teenage years, around when I watched Toradora.


As I said before, when I talked about the series, Toradora tries to give the complex answer to the simple question of what love is. In my mind, back then, love was the ultimate form of companionship. It was you and another saying that no matter what, you two would never be alone because, against all odds, you had each other, and I think that was a really desirable thing to me at the time, and I still don’t hate the thought now, although there are obviously many ways to get that companionship.


So when you watch Toradora, and you watch these people make mistakes, hurt each other, cause each other pain, make the ones they care about cry and get hurt, but despite it all, despite what’s right or wrong, or how toxic anything is, love prevails, and they stay together. Taiga and Ryuji, for how awful they are, are what I believe love is and should be. Two people who are together because they can’t have it any other way. I’ve said before Ami and Ryuji would be a much better couple. Most people would agree. But Taiga and Ryuji are what I believe in. Two people that make mistakes, and hurt each other but learn and grow to make the other happy. No matter what, they always return to each other, despite it all. It’s that companionship once again.


Sakura and Shirou
(Odd comparison, but you’ll get the point)


Similarly, but in a different vein, my favorite relationship in Fate Stay/Night has always been Sakura and Shirou. Coincidentally, I also think they’re the unhealthiest. Sakura’s route is the only route Shirou doesn’t really change his toxic lifestyle. He doubles down. He knows it’s wrong. He understands what he is doing isn’t healthy. He understands it may kill him. He understands these things. He knows it would be safer to stop. Yet he persists. He looks at the safer option, tells it to screw off, and continues down his path, all but dooming the world in the process. Including falling in love and chasing after the one he loves, quite literally nearly costing him his own life for the umpteenth time this route.


Unlike the other routes, where there’s a pretty obvious right or wrong and a hero and a villain. Heaven’s Feel is the first route where the lines become twisted. Right and wrong lose all meaning. It all becomes ambiguous. It goes from a hero fighting evil to save the world to a hurt, destroyed human fighting everything to save the person he loves. Saving the world is a byproduct. With not only their worlds but the actual entire world crumbling, Shirou fights for Sakura when everyone else has given up on her. There’s that ultimate companionship again.


I think, in my mind, there’s just something incredibly beautiful about people who essentially say screw convention. Screw what’s right or wrong. The world isn’t black and white. And chase after what they know in their hearts is right. There’s something admirable about people who become fully selfish and get what they know in their hearts they need to survive. There’s something beautiful about people who deny everything that attempts to separate them to stay together, even if that thing is sometimes logic and reason itself. There’s something so beautifully human about struggle. It is, in my opinion, the most human thing that exists.


Toradora struggles
(And there’s a lot of struggling, believe me)


And of every anime I’ve seen, I think Toradora is the one that blends that beautiful human struggle with the ultimate companionship of love perfectly. Every character in Toradora does bad things. They hurt each other, often on accident, but many times on purpose. They struggle against themselves, the world, and each other. They can’t always get what they want, nor should they, yet they struggle on because it’s what they need.


I’ve said this a thousand times. Taiga and Ryuji are awful for each other. I can’t even begin to tell you how toxic their relationship really is. It is so brutally unhealthy. Ryuji is so caring, he’ll let Taiga step all over him, and she’s so reliant on Ryuji that she’ll never grow as a person. They’re in this endless loop of not only hurting each other but stopping any chance the other has for character growth, with or without each other. They’re awful, but I love them.


And despite the terrible relationship, and despite everyone saying how wrong it is they stay together, they persist because they know they have to. They love each other in spite of everything. Though I would never recommend this kind of persistence in real life, I’m saying how awful it is for a reason. I can’t help but admit there’s something wonderful about this very romanticized, beautifully awful, well, romance. 


I don’t think I actually managed to answer why I like Toradora so much or why it is my favorite anime after all. Why it has to be this series above all others, but in a way, I guess that’s fitting to what we’ve been talking about. I feel in my heart that Toradora is the right choice for me. Despite knowing there are better things out there, Toradora is the anime I love at the end of the day. In a weird way, I suppose that’s fitting. A fitting answer to a question I can never truly solve.


Thank you very much for reading

I made an attempt to answer this, at least.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. darkdaemonpk2

    I like Toradoara as well. Clannad’s narrative (the series, not the movie version) was trying to squeeze all the stories into one for the first season. Season 2, although good in the beginning and middle, seriously messed me up with that revolting conclusion. Not that I like people dying and despises good endings, but it felt to me that all of Tomoya’s effort was for naught with the whole reset thing. Toradora’s premise was simple and enjoyable.

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