Anime Review: Toradora!

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Well, things seem to be going extremely well, huh?

At the end of last year and the beginning of this year, I have been reviewing the things that I got around Christmas time, though there are a few things I am still waiting on from what I expected, as well as things I got myself.

So far, I have covered all the DVDs, except for one, which will be covered when I get the other DVD, and now have only one show from iTunes remaining, until the other things arrive.

Today, I will reviewing that show, which is called Toradora!.

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Ryuji Takasu and Taiga Aisaka have bad reputations around their school for difference reasons, one looks as cute as a child, but has a high tendency to be mean, while the other seems to have the natural appearance of a delinquent.

However, they both have somebody that they are interested in, and when they find out who the other has a crush on, they decide to help each other out, despite the way they first met.

Now that they are allies, they might find something that neither one of them noticed before.

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I am not too sure about this show.

While I cannot say that I hated overall, if at all, I have seen this show both dubbed, which seems to only available on DVD or over on Crunchyroll, though a subscription is required to watch it dubbed in its entirety, and subbed, which is apparently available everywhere else, such as iTunes, and I do think it is good.

I liked how the show showed how we cannot really judge people by their appearances.

When I first saw Ryuji, I thought that he was either a delinquent or, like Hachiman Hikigaya from My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU, a social outcast that is friendless and desires to be alone.

However, throughout the show, it is shown that he does have a few friends, though some people are afraid of him because of his face, and that he cares about people, especially his mother, who in turn loves him very much and wants the best for him, much like the feelings expressed by Kotomi Ichinose's parents in a letter to her in Clannad, which I put up in a post about my thoughts on God and religion.

By having this kind of contrast in appearance and how he is actually is makes me all the more interested in him, because I feel like he deserves to be happy.

Likewise, Taiga seems to be really cute, though I would put that more in the category of little sister kind of cute, not the cute as in being interested in having a serious relationship with her, but it seems like it is too easy to anger her, much like the people in my church seem to think I have emotional problems because they got negative vibes from the publications I have done for them, seeing as I cannot really go into the kinds of details that I can here of why I think that their way of thinking may be wrong.

However, unlike Ryuji, who had a loving mother to look after him, even going as far as overexerting herself because she wanted him to focus on his studies, Taiga does not really seem to have a healthy relationship with her family, especially her father who seems to be too selfish to the point where he only comes into Taiga's life whenever it is convenient for him.

Now, my own father may not be as family-oriented as my mother would have liked, since he does seem to work more than he spends time with his family, but he has always been there for me, or at least tried to make time for me, whenever I needed him to be there, despite knowing that as the years go on by, he is going to be less and less reliable due to the effects of aging that we all experience in life.

Seeing how Taiga has not been given the kind of attention she needed, I can probably see why she acts the way she does a lot of the time, but I am still glad that she does seem to care about people other than herself, though she mainly wants to get together with another boy in the beginning.

I also liked how Taiga had the guts to try and confess to the boy she liked.

Throughout the years of my life, I have always heard that it is the man's responsibility to confess his feelings and that women should wait around until that happens, but not to wait on any one man for too long.

However, what people do not realize is that we are all more similar to each other than we think, despite our gender, age, or challenges in life.

As a male, I can tell you guys that many men, but not all, do not really care whether you are male or female and think that the one that has the strongest feelings should be the one that confesses.

While the female visitors may not appreciate hearing this, I can assure you that things will go relatively well, even if things do not work out the way you want, when a female approaches a male because she honestly likes a guy, instead of just trying to get together because she is single.

After all, I have no doubt that women do not particularly like men coming on to them in certain ways or even giving off the hint that they are doing it just because they do not want to be single.

Besides, the princess mentality does tend to get pretty boring after a while and nobody really seems to grow by sticking to things because that is the way things have always been.

Seeing Taiga have the guts to do something like this makes me actually want to root for her and see how she succeeds.

I also liked the funny scenes present in the show, which seemed to be funnier dubbed than it was subbed, which may be odd to some because the show is that different between the English dubbed version and the subbed version, but, then again, there are also shows like Ghost Stories, where the show is horrible in Japanese, yet hilarious in English because it seems to be an entirely different show.

The funniest were probably the wrestling show and the race that occurred during the festival. I could not help but laugh hysterically seeing the whole thing play out, though I was not really laughing all that much with the subbed version that I bought.

The thing that I liked the most though was that characters all seem to go through some growth, not just Ryuji and Taiga.

During the show, Ryuji and Taiga decide to run away from home because they have had enough, but after a confrontation with their mothers, Ryuji's mother is the one who runs away from home first, even though Ryuji explicitly revealed to her that he was angry about her taking on too much and that he got a job, much to her dismay, to help her out.

I am not too sure about you guys, but I think that any mother that hears what Ryuji told his mother would actually be happy that her child cared so much about her, especially since she seems to give Ryuji the freedom to do what he wants and needs to do.

Unfortunately, seeing how Ryuji's own mother ran away from home, it seems like his mother mother has some issues to resolve because, much like some of the adults in Weston Kincade's A Life of Death, Ryuji does not seem to act that much different from the average adolescent, who is unaware that people are hurting, just like she is.

However, when Ryuji and Taiga realize that what they are doing is not actually the right thing to do, they decide to go to Ryuji's grandparents and start things over from how they should have been done, even tricking Ryuji's mother in coming back into his life.

Seeing all this, I could not help but see how things really changed for the better, between the characters realizing their true feelings to finding out what is really the right thing to do in life and makes me happy for the characters.

The thing that I liked the most though was that I could actually feel what the characters were going through in their struggles, especially those where one character thought that another had to do something because they thought it was the right thing to do.

For example, when Taiga's father tried to reenter her life, Ryuji told her that she had to let him back in because she can still experience things that he cannot, since he does not have a father around, but later, after finding out how much of a selfish jerk Taiga's father was by experience and through what he found out from Minori, he realized that what he had Taiga do was not for her sake, but for his own.

During the whole ordeal, I actually felt the pain Ryuji was going in that he would never be able to know his own father and what he did actually hurt Taiga instead of helped her.

Not only does it give off a strong emotional vibe, but it also clearly illustrates why it is a bad idea to jump the gun and think that something is the solution to a problem when it is not.

After all, in a post that I made about optimism, I made mention of a situation in which somebody thought that the problem was because of one particular thing, but nothing was fixed when they put their theory into place, so I can kind of feel for Taiga in this situation too.

Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked, especially because there are things that were not really shared between the dub and sub, even though it was still the same show.

The fact that the show shows that appearance can be deceiving and that the characters all seem to go through some growth, as well as the fact that I could sympathize with what the characters were going through, made this show fairly enjoyable.

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Although I liked the show, there were some issues.

Fortunately, there are only two, with one that makes the first one worse than it would have been, if it existed at all without it.

First, I could not really feel too much for the characters and their situations.

While I did say that I could in the section of what I liked, that was one thing that I only got from the dubbed version because I could actually focus on what is going on with the characters.

Here, however, because I was watching it subbed, I could not really get that feeling because I had to have my eye on the subs.

Now, I do not usually have problems watching anime subbed, since I have to do so to follow simulcasts, but with subtitles, there are problems that one will have that just do not seem to exist with subtitles, though there are sometimes issues with the scripts used in dubs, such as Detective Conan episode 80 (Japanese count), where a nearsighted man was labelled as farsighted.

Honestly, if I am expected to read through text and feel for the situations the characters are in, I would read a book, manga, or visual novel, because that is what is expected to understand the situation.

If I had to say why this is an issue, despite it being subbed, I will have to bring up the biggest reason that I did not like this the most, which is the fact that the subtitles are too small to read.

As I said recently, I do not have really that much problem with watching things subbed, but, as I mentioned in my review of Lupin III vs Detective Conan, the quality of subtitles is not really that consistent between the companies that release anime where I live, and even among different titles from the same people.

In the case of this title, this is one of those times where the subtitles are not good because they are not easy to read.

Since NIS America is the one responsible for subtitling this show, the problem lies with them.

Honestly! Do you even know how to put out decent subtitles, NIS America?

Subtitles are supposed to help the audience know what is going on in a show, and by making subtitles as small as they are here, the subtitles do not really serve their purpose.

I am not asking for the subtitles to be gigantic by any means, but at the size that they are presented here, I cannot focus on what is going on unless I am watching on a tablet or a computer screen that is close by, and I was watching this on a television screen that was probably the average distance between a couch and a television in a home.

By having the subtitles be as small as they are, I would have actually preferred to buy the dub on DVD, despite the fact that my most used device for DVDs might have a bad laser, at least according to one person I told about the problem, but I like getting things from iTunes because the videos actually do work on Android device without too much fuss, though it still presents a different kind of hassle than DVDs and Blu Rays.

After all, the subtitles for the anime adaptation of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi on Crunchyroll were very eligible both contrast-wise and size-wise.

Does NIS America think that the fans of their shows only watch those shows on computers, tablets, or phones?

I sure hope not, since Toradora! is not the only title from them on iTunes, but they do seem to still be distributing their shows mostly on DVD and/or Blu Ray.

If the subtitles were bigger, I would have been able to follow this show better and I may have liked it subbed as much as I enjoyed it dubbed, or perhaps even more.

Unfortunately, Right now, the subtitles that Discotek featured on their releases of the Lupin III vs Detective Conan special and movie seem to be way superior to the subtitles that NIS America gives me here, and I am not planning on getting any more titles from NIS America, even though they do have at least one other title that I think I enjoyed, unless they can produced subtitles that are more readable or it is dubbed.

After all, I do not need to worry too much about the size or color of subtitles when I am watching a show or movie dubbed.

Other than than those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I disliked, because what I talked about was what really caught my attention.

While the show was not particularly bad, the fact that the subtitles were ridiculously small to the point where they are readable only on computers, phones, and tablets really hurts the enjoyment that I had experienced in the dubbed version.

Despite the fact that there are things that I liked about the show, the fact that the subtitles were hard to read due to their size made this a waste of time.

Unless one decides to watch this dubbed on Crunchyroll or buy the DVDs that have dubs, I recommend that everyone avoid this show like the plague, because NIS America needs to learn that the size of subtitles matters just as much as the color contrast.

What are your thoughts on Toradora!? Did you like it or hate it? If you hated, did you prefer it subbed, dubbed, or neither one? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.