Toradora Volume 2 Premium Edition

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, November 6, 2010

As soon as I finished the first volume of Toradora this summer, I was waiting for NIS America to release the next volume so that I could find out what happened. While I didn’t have nearly as much experience with romantic comedy themed anime as I did in the action/sci-fi realm, I found myself instantly hooked by the time I had gotten through the first couple of episodes. Thankfully the wait is over and NIS has finished the series and put out yet another excellent premium edition. The ending may be a little easy to predict, but the way in which it is handled is absolutely perfect and Toradora has quickly become one of my favorite anime series of all time.

In Volume 1 viewers were introduced to Ryuji Takasu and Taiga Aisaka, two high school students that seemed rather mismatched in the beginning but have gotten closer as the series progressed. Both were in love with the other’s best friend (Yusaku Kitamura and Minori Kushieda) and found themselves in some very humorous situations. When Volume 2 begins there is still some humor but it is clear that Toradora is about take a more serious turn. The first few episodes hand the spotlight over to Yusaku Kitamura, Taiga’s crush and the soon to be class president. However, after he is turned down by the current class president he goes into a temporary bout of insanity and tries to become a bit of a rebel. After this story arc ends, Taiga’s focus begins to turn more towards Ryuji and in the episodes that followed more is revealed about the character’s pasts and underlying motives. Once viewers make it to the second disc of Volume 2 the romance element of Toradora is really kicked up a notch and the last four or five episodes will keep you glued to your seat. Admittedly, most people will be able to see what the ending is as soon as they start the series (that is, that Taiga and Ryuji eventually end up together). However, the way that the last two episodes are handled is absolutely brilliant and you will more than likely find yourself watching the ending a couple of times to really let it sink in. Overall, this show really bucked all of the stereotypes and knew when it was time to take a more serious turn.

I mentioned this in my previous review, but part of what makes Toradora stand out so much is its great animation and voice acting. While some series have suffered from decreased budgets towards the end and had lower quality animation in later episodes, Toradora is consistent throughout and always seems to be introducing new locations for viewers to take in. In addition to this, I must give credit to whoever came up with the second series of opening and closing themes. Most shows transition to a new set of themes halfway into the show, but the creators of this series decided to wait until the storyline took on a more serious tone to change the themes. It may seem like a small touch, but it really adds a lot and makes it feel as though a lot of care was put into making everything fit together perfectly. The voice actors also settle into the more serious tone without losing any of the quirks that make their individual characters noteworthy, and because of this viewers are sure to enjoy the second half of the show as much as the first.

Once again NIS America has put Toradora out in a premium package, and its beautiful hardcore box will surely stand out among other anime series you may have on your shelf. Clean opening and ending themes are included as fans might expect, as are the concluding episodes of the super light hearted Toradora SOS mini series. But as with the first volume, what really makes this package stand out is its episode guide. All of the character art and little tidbits of information make you feel more connected to the series as a whole, and the interviews with voice actors and director give you better insight into what they were trying to accomplish with the show. NIS has clearly done their homework when thinking about what anime fans want when they are going to purchase DVDs and they have delivered a package that might convince quite a few people.

Toradora initially seemed as though it was going to be a series that survived solely on its quirkiness and humorous situations, but by the second volume it became clear that this was a clever story that succeeded just as much from a romantic standpoint as it did from a comedic one. For me, this is the kind of show I will always remember and will likely watch regularly in the years to come. While not everyone is sure to have the same tastes as I do, know that if you like romantic comedies and are looking for one that isn’t just a collection of anime stereotypes that Toradora won’t let you down and might even surprise you once in awhile. Congratulations NIS, your foray into anime seems to be paying off so far and hopefully the next series you choose to bring over will be as delightful as this one.

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