ToraDora! Ep. 1: Tiger and Dragon

ToraDora!  On paper, it looks like just another tsundere anime along the same veins as Zero no Tsukaima, Shana…well, basically any recent anime that has made use of Kugimiya Rie.  I’ll admit first off that I have never even touched the series’ light novels, and only recently read the manga, so I won’t be making any comparisons to the source material.  However, based on the first episode, I at least have a positive outlook on this series.  I’ll keep it for the next episode or two before I make a decision whether to drop it or not.

Summary:

Ryuji Takasu is a man of ironies.  While he is just a normal guy trying to make new friends in the new school term, Ryuji is hindered by one thing: his facial features.  Simply put, his normal expression makes him look like a juvenile delinquent, and no matter how hard he tries, nothing ever changes this fact.  Ryuji lives with his mother, Yasuko, who frequently returns home in the early hours of the morning (due to her work as a hostess).  To make matters even ‘darker’ (lol) for the Takasu family, a rather rich-looking apartment complex has risen up next door, completely blocking their sunlight.

Ryuji doesn’t cause trouble, but seems to find it anyway.  Walking to school by himself (nobody wants to befriend a delinquent!), a classmate stumbles into him by accident.  Fearing for their lives, they quickly surrender their wallets before running away.  A confused and dejected Ryuji dutifully turns them to the lost and found area at school, but you understand the reputation he has, right?

While looking for his class assignment, Ryuji finds himself in a wide empty space…in the middle of his classmates.  Only one person dares approach him, and that is Kitamura Yusaku, a longtime friend and classmate for the next term.  Walking to their class, they are approached by a rather energetic girl named Minori Kushieda, whom Ryuji has a crush on.  Minori has no issue about talking to Ryuji, but is also blissfully unaware that Ryuji likes her.

Citing a quick bathroom break before class, Ryuji turns around and manages to crash into…a rather short girl nicknamed the palm-sized tiger.  Aisaka Taiga immediately lives up to her name by decking Ryuji.  Later in class, Minori is comforting Taiga (who is suffering from a cold) and Kitamura checks on Ryuji.  Around them, the rumors start spreading about the confrontation between the tiger and the dragon (FYI: The ryuu in Ryuuji means ‘dragon’, but I’m going to spell it as Ryuji because it looks weird :D).

Ryuji is summoned to the teacher’s lounge for forgetting to fill out one of the forms, but the teacher is obviously too scared of him to really do anything.  After yet another misunderstanding, Ryuji returns to the class to find everything scattered about and Taiga rolling out of a cabinet (!!).  Ryuji tries to retrieve his bag and go home, but is attacked by Taiga for what seems to be no apparent reason.  As suddenly as she attacks, however, Taiga leaves, yelling ‘Idiot!’.

Ryuji returns home, laments the fact that he looks the way he does, and finds that Taiga put something in by mistake.  Inside is a letter addressed to Kitamura, and from the looks of it, it’s a love letter from Taiga.  However, the envelope is empty, so Ryuji thinks nothing of it and goes to sleep.  In the evening, however, the window suddenly opens, waking him up.  Taiga appears out of nowhere and attacks Ryuji with a wooden sword to protect her ‘secret’.  Ryuji calms her down, however, by noting that the envelope was empty.  With the sudden release of adrenaline, Taiga reveals yet another secret – she’s actually pretty hungry.

After cooking for his uninvited guest (and showing off Inko, the PROMOTIONS parakeet), Taiga rummages through Ryuji’s pile of junk (basically, stuff that he’d use if he ever found a girl he’d like, like a CD and such) and finds that he has a crush on Minori.  After some whining and arguing, the two form a pact with each other.  Ryuji will help Taiga win Kitamura’s affections.  In return, Taiga will help Ryuji get together with Minori.  It all sounds so good on paper…

The next day, Ryuji prepares his food when Taiga calls him (she took the oath of doing “anything” very seriously).  As requested, Ryuji goes over in ten minutes with some food, only to find a dumpster of an apartment.  While Taiga catches some more sleep, Ryuji launches into cleaning and cooking, which he is quite skilled at (fatherless family and all).  Taiga wakes up to a completely foreign environment, but accepts her breakfast without too much complaint.  And so it begins…

Impressions:

This series is really hit or miss with me.  I’ve sat through Shana and Zero no Tsukaima (both and all three seasons, respectively), and to be honest, I’m at my limit with stupid tsundere characters.  However, I did pick up the manga a while ago and it was mildly amusing, so I figured ‘Why not?’  After watching the first episode, I’m pretty glad I did.

I can’t get a good impression of the Ryuji yet, however.  This is a guy who can cook and clean, and just had the unfortunate destiny of being born with a face that gang members dream of having.  It all leads up to a series of unfortunate..uh, misunderstandings with nearly everybody.  It’s certainly quite pitiable; however, I have yet to see any outstanding points that separates him from any other blob male lead in other series I’ve watched.  However, I can’t help but laugh at his parakeet.  4chan is going to have a field day with that thing.

The same goes for the supporting cast.  Minori Kushieda is certainly adorable; however, that’s about it.  She’s clearly an airhead, and at this rate, I’d put her pretty high in the running for next year’s Saimoe Tournament.  Kitamura also plays the part of a capable wingman for Ryuji, but up to now has no distinct personality other than be more likable than his supposed gang-member buddy.

What really stands out in this first episode is Taiga, and rightfully so; it’s her character and her interaction with Ryuji that will make or break this series (in my opinion).  Although clearly a tsundere-type character, she thankfully hasn’t gone the route of Shana or Louise.  Rie doesn’t go off yelling “bakabakabaka” or “uruchaiuruchaiuruchai”, leaving a much more toned-down female lead than her other famous roles.  It’s rather refreshing to have a character like Taiga, who has more dimensions than just outright tsuntsun for the person she likes.  Then again, this is a completely different situation; she’s with the male lead trying to get together with a secondary character.  Odd.

Anyway, I have no comparison to the novels, since I’ve never head them in my life.  I’ve heard they’re good, however.  If the anime flops, I’ll have to take a look.  For now, however, I reserve judgment until at least the next episode.

Oh by the way, the ED is horrendous.  >_<

Preview:

Oops, forgot to snap shots of the preview.  Oh well, I’ll do it tonight.

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