Toronto's Japanese Animation Club

Toradora! is an anime TV series based upon a popular series of light novels (short Japanese novels for teenagers). The series centers around the lives and relationships of a group of Japanese teenagers. The plots in the series are similar to those found in such American media as Archie Comics rather than the usual anime plots Americans are familiar with.

The main character in the series is Ryuji Takasu, an awkward seventeen year old who has a hard time forming relationships with girls. The name of series comes from a combination of the names of Ryuji and his best friend Taiga Aisaka. Ryuji means son of dragon in Japanese and Taiga means tiger so the Toradora! can be translated as Tiger Dragon.

As with Archie Comics the central plot in Toradora! centers around the relationships between teenagers. A great deal of comedy is generated by Ryuji’s pursuit of Minori, a beautiful classmate who does not returns his affections. Like the central character in Archie, Ryuji eventually gets caught in a love triangle between two very different girls the fiery Taiga and the air-headed Minori.

There is also a cast of supporting characters who embody various levels of Japanese society. At least one of these, Koite Tomiee is the main character in a spin off called Toradora Spin Off.

Toradora! Anime

Toradora! first appeared in a series of 10 light novels released in Japan between March, 2006 and 2009. The light novels were bestsellers in Japan, the Manchi Shinbun newspaper reported that over three million copies of Toradora! novels had been sold in that country.

Around 25 episodes of a Toradora! Anime were produced by J.C. Staff and shown on Japan’s TV Tokyo in 2008 and 2009. The series has been shown on several other Japanese TV stations and broadcast in the Philippines as well.

Since the market for anime in the US is limited the series has not been shown on any American TV networks. Instead it was released on DVD in the US as two sets each containing a half season’s worth of episodes. It remains to be seen whether American audiences will respond to anime that does not contain a lot of violence, magic or robots. It should also be noted that teenaged girls the prime audience for Toradora! traditionally don’t watch animated television shows in the US.

Toradora! in Other Media

The series was also turned into a Manga and an internet radio show in Japan. Namco Games created a Toradora! video game for the Sony Play Station. So far none of the other Toradora! media appears to have been released outside Japan.