Toradora! Ep. 21 - Love Drama
Episode 21: No Matter What
Toradora!, the anime that makes you look stuff up on Wikipedia. Plenty of punches to go around for everyone. Only four episodes to go.

[Image: toradora21.jpg]
Unlike the last summary picture, this was a cinch to do.

Recap from last time:
Despite the trip being modified from a six day five night stay in Okinawa to a three day three night stay at a ski resort, Ryuuji promises himself to confirm Minorin's feelings.

Key plot points:
  • The class are in their gear ready to ski, with Yuri-sensei in the lead to encourage them off. Everyone is able to ski with varying skill, Ryuuji, on the other hand, is receiving training from Yuusaku. While Ryuuji begins to get the hang of it, he messes up and falls over. In the middle of complaining that it's not fun to fall over, Taiga, on a sled, collides with Ryuuji.
  • Apparently, Ryuuji isn't the only one in his class who can't ski. Taiga decided to take a sled instead, thinking what's the point of going around in the snow with planks on her feet. Despite their skill, both question each other on why they aren't receiving training on how to ski/sled from the ones they like. When they hear Maya talking to Yuusaku about joining him, Ryuuji asks Taiga about why she isn't going into murderous rage about it. Eventually, Taiga tells him about events occurring about her shrine visit and bumping into Yuusaku to later go to a cafe to drink tea.
  • Meanwhile, a chain argument begins between Noto and Maya regarding Maya's tricks to be in company with Yuusaku. Minorin tries to bring peace into the argument but Yuusaku followed by Ami and Kashii Nanako (friend of Maya) join in. The argument stops once Maya begins to cry.
  • At dinner, Ryuuji reminisces to himself about how he can't believe the first day ended the way it did with the argument and how he couldn't confirm Minorin's feelings. At this rate, he thinks to himself, he'll never be able to confirm her feelings. Ryuuji then excuses himself, lying to go to the restroom, and is sitting in a lounge thinking about how Yuusaku didn't mention to him about visiting the shrine with Taiga.
  • Minorin walks into the lounge and sits across from Ryuuji. She's been waiting for a private moment like this, Ryuuji as well, and explains that she wants to stop the fighting between Noto and Maya. She thinks Noto has a misunderstanding that Taiga likes Yuusaku, and wants to stop Maya from interfering. Just then, Minorin takes out a hair clip, the same one Ryuuji bought, and puts into her hair. When asked, she explains it was a gift from Taiga and she'll treasure it forever.
  • Time jump: Ryuuji's in his assigned room and is thinking to himself that no matter how hard he tries, he will never be able to get Minorin to accept his feelings. Just like the night before Christmas, he didn't get a chance to confess and after the winter holiday, Minorin pretended like nothing happened between them. Meanwhile, Yuusaku, Haruta and Noto come in asking if Ryuuji's asleep. In a joint plan to check if he's really asleep, Haruta and Noto begin to shout about why Yuusaku is stripping and near Ryuuji's futon. When Yuusaku explains he has this mysterious gas about to come out and "releases", Ryuuji jumps up only to find that Yuusaku was blowing into his arm to make the sound.
  • Ryuuji explains to the guys about how he has always loved Minorin, but that he was rejected by her before he could even say anything. When asked about the reason of why he was rejected, Ryuuji doesn't know why he was rejected. With this, Yuusaku quickly formulates a plan that they will barge into the girl's room and find out. The plan is simple: do exactly as foretold in the classic Japanese revenge story Chushingura ― in other words, Ryuuji (playing role as Asano Takumi-no-kami Naganori) is to stealthily infiltrate and capture Minorin (playing role as Kira). They find that the girls are not present and that the room is very messy. Yuusaku attempts to calm Ryuuji down when his eyes begin to sparkle when seeing the mess.
  • While guys are picking up various items, Ryuuji is sorting someone's sock pile. When Yuusaku didn't know Ryuuji had that sort of fetish, Ryuuji denies any of the sort citing he dislikes an odd number of socks and is attempting to pair them up. Just then, they hear someone about to enter the room and they quickly hide in the closet. Taiga comes in with a drink and accidentally spills some of it on a tatami mat and quickly cleans it up with a towel she has on her head. When she hears a noise from the closet, she opens the door only to be distracted by the rest of the girls about to come in. Ryuuji sees a golden opportunity and pulls Taiga into the closet then begs to Taiga not to make a sound.
  • The folks in the closet hear everything happening in the room regarding about how Ami lets slip to the girls regarding how Minorin rejected Ryuuji on Christmas Eve. An argument slowly churns between Minorin and Ami until it's end when Maya wants the argument to end. When the girls begin to worry about why Taiga hasn't yet returned to the room, they all go out looking for her. The group in the closet burst out, Yuusaku thinks it was a bad idea to hear the girl's conversation and Taiga asks them to just forget about whatever happened that evening.
  • The next morning, Ryuuji bumps into Ami who's packing up snow on the ground and apologizes. She explains about how she had an argument with Minorin and that she may be the reason why Minorin rejected Ryuuji. Suddenly, Taiga and Minorin on a sled are collide with Ami. Ami is pissed off and argues that Minorin purposely collided with her, even though she apologized about not being able to stop. Soon, they begin punching each other with Taiga and Ryuuji as bystanders until they step in to restrain both of them. Yuusaku looses his restraint on Ami who punches Minorin in the stomach which causes her hair clip to unclip and soar below a hill; Taiga witnesses this and runs down toward it. Yuri-sensei arrives and questions what's wrong with them, but Ryuuji realizes that Taiga's not present.
  • In the evening in the lounge, worried classmates wondering about the whereabouts and condition of Taiga, even though the ski resort staff are out looking for her. Minorin, in her winter outfit, says she's going out to look for Taiga only to be shortly joined by Ryuuji and Yuusaku. Outside, Ryuuji notices something glimmering in the distance and notes it to Minorin. When Minorin begins to walk off, Ryuuji stops her and will go down the hill instead.
  • Ryuuji finds Minorin's hair clip on a tree branch and not too far away is a snow-covered Taiga who's still alive. Apparently, she slipped and fell down the hill to result in a cut/scratch on her forehead. When Ryuuji hoists her on his back and begins his ascent up the hill, Taiga thinks she has been rescued by Yuusaku and accidentally tells Ryuuji that the love charm he cast shortly after the shrine visit didn't work and that she can't stop her feelings for Ryuuji.

Episode thoughts:
Well, can't say that this was as much a shocker for us as it is for Ryuuji's sake, since we've known probably from the beginning or episode 19, whichever comes first, that Taiga has feelings for Ryuuji. Yup, it looks like we're going down the cliched path of the two main characters getting together. Before I get into that, I'd like to talk about the love drama in this episode. Everything building up since then and now is finally piecing together: Minorin may have feelings for Ryuuji but is unable to voice them; Ami feels hate against Minorin because of this and hates Ryuuji because of his indecisiveness; Ryuuji likes Minorin; Taiga used to like Yuusaku and now likes Ryuuji. A very conflicting predicament we have here that can only get even more ugly if it isn't resolved soon enough.

Minorin sure wasn't herself in this episode, she was more angry then she was gloomy during the school festival episodes. Ami, her usual self, talks about herself in the third person (a character trait since her first introduction, by the way) and suggests to Minorin in their room that she should just resolve this whole conflict by telling Ryuuji that Minorin hates him. I thought that Minorin was pushing her feelings down even deeper when she replies to Ami to do whatever she likes. The confrontation between the two was just as intense but not as epic as the Sumire vs. Taiga fight. On a lighter note, Haruta is his usual self of not understanding what was going on. Haruta, you're an interesting...character, to say the least (and you sound like a certain character from Chaos;HEAd, but, hey, I'm not complaining!).

OK, now going to, what you could say, Taiga's confession to Ryuuji who she thought was really Yuusaku but was really Ryuuji rescuing her. Um. Yeah. What else can I say? This is quite the screw up/quandary. I found that the ED music, Orange, was fitting during Taiga's confession ― I mean it does have the phrases "it makes me cry" and "[but/therefore] I love you" in it. I disliked the credits rolling at the point, but oh well. However, I'm sure that Ryuuji will undergo a long thought process about what to do then eventually confirm his feelings to...someone, but the odds are they'll be Taiga (alright, I cheated, it'll happen in ep. 24 judging by the episode title Big Grin). Ah, with that:

[Image: preview22.jpg]
Hey, wait a minute...are the pictures getting smaller?

Episode 22, kimi no iru keshiki or The Scene with You. Ryuuji wonders why Taiga is choosing him, Minorin calls him a player, but denies this fact.

End Note: Yeah, there's a good reason why the pictures had to be smaller. To fit everything. Yup, a good reason why.
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