Da Couch Tomato

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image source: http://crunchyroll.com

Boy meets girl. Girl beats up boy. Boy and girl become friends. Girl likes boy's best friend. Boy likes girl's best friend. Boy and girl conspire to help each other. And oh, we know where this is going. But for the more fun of it, let's toss in two more girl players in--the childhood friend and the student council president--who like boy and boy's best friend, respectively.

I used to be fond of, or borderline obsessed with, this fluffy anime His and Her Circumstances/Kare Kano, because it had such pretty drawings and the teen angst dialogues are well balanced and, well, good. I never got to finish it (I forgot why) but I got to episodes experimenting on form and pretty much forgetting to string along the content. Basically, I got bored. Still, I never thought I'd find a fluffy anime to top His and Her Circumstances because I've always underestimated anime's fluffy high school romance capability of being smart.

I am thoroughly happy to be proven wrong. I was obsessed with anime when I was younger, and trying to re-educate myself with it, I opted for something light. I just wanted something that would pass the time. And I'm happy it did more than that--meaning bring out the anime fangirl within me. What I looked for when I read Twilight almost two years ago, was delivered in this balanced meal of escapism and smart dialogue--cherries on ice cream as dessert on the side--in Toradora!

It's the perfect tween writing that I've always longed for: one bunch of metaphors after another, right amount of appropriate and inappropriate jokes, talks about life, the future, the now, love (of course), doing what's best for those we love (of course), and everything in between. Match that with the most typical J-pop music, and it's a very effective formula to be pulled left, right, up, down---Toradora! is a roller-coaster ride. Like any other anime, it can be quite excessive. But paired up with its expertise on subtlety, sarcastic remarks to physical fights which express their feelings, are not only believable, but a pretty touching gem. In the span of five minutes into a scene, it can make you laugh, think, and oh my god, I actually cried. And really, I find it more and more hard to find a tween show, book, film, whatever, that can move or exhilarate me. It takes something as a so simple plot, complicate it by throwing every character to each other's faces, voila! Entertainment.

And what the fuck, I cried. Dammit, Toradora! makes me cheesy and makes me sing love songs---and no, it's not even the destiny mode of 500 Days of Summer . It's about high school kids actually falling in love because the situation is ripe. And making emphatically real decisions on what to do with this love. Here, characters actually change. It's a bittersweet mixture of real life and magic. Which is what I think love is all about. Dammit, cheesy again. Oh my god, I'm going to break into a song any minute.

It's J-pop. And I'm making up the Japanese lyrics.



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