Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp
Publisher: NIS America
MSRP: $59.99 US
Running Time: 295 minutes
Release Date: Available Now
The Palm-Top Tiger sings a song of true love.
Having enjoyed NIS America’s two successful attempts at bringing us quality anime, the first volume of Toradora! quickly became a fan favorite among the office so you can bet we have been looking forward to the second and final part of this series. As it turns out, Volume 2 Premium Edition of Toradora! is not only a bit more serious and dramatic than the first part, it’s also a more interesting and fun final half as well.
After the successful school festival in the first part of the series, the aftermath of the even finds Taiga in good spirits since she not only got to dance with the boy of her dreams – Kitamura – but rumor around the school is that they’re both in love. As a result of her happy attitude, another rumor spreads that Taiga brings good luck to those looking for love … hence the new nickname Palm-Top Tiger of Happiness. Of course, she’s not thrilled that people are looking to her for some good luck by rubbing her head.
Still, despite her current happy state, the upcoming student council elections makes Kitamura act strange to the point that he practically lets out a frustrated scream during class. The next day, the boy shows up with his hair dyed blonde and he later tells Ryuji that he has run away from his house. He doesn’t even want to show up in class or want anything to do with running for President. All signs point to something that occurred between Kitamura and the present President of the student council. It doesn’t take Taiga and Ryuji too long to realize that the problem might be of a romantic nature.
In one of the most memorable scenes in Volume 2, Taiga actually confronts the President who is not only avoiding Kitamura but insults the fact that Kitamura is acting like a child. Their confrontation leads to an actual fistfight between the two. Then, in order to help Kitamura move forward, Taiga runs for the position but in a way that has the entire class begging Kitamura to reconsider. In the end, Kitamura makes a most interesting confession.
Expecting Taiga to be devastated by Kitamura’s sudden confession, she decides to put all her efforts into helping Ryuji win the heart of her oddball friend, Minorin. Ryuji is still very much in love with the girl who has been a spirited girl but lately has been distracted and depressed. While she tries to put on her familiar cheerful face, Minorin starts failing her softball team and she also seems to be avoiding Ryuji.
During the Christmas holiday, Kitamura comes up with the idea to hold a Christmas party with couples in mind. It’s a fun event that has some surprising twists such as Taiga and Ami teaming up to sing a song on stage. Then things change when Ryuji – having asked Minorin to the party – gets shot down by the girl he likes but unknowingly because Minorin happened to have been a witness to Taiga’s outburst as the girl suddenly comes to a sudden realization about her relationship with Ryuji.
As a result, the series takes a very dramatic turn when Ryuji, Taiga and Minorin finally reveal feeling that they have been hiding from each another. Then there’s Ami who also has a crush on Ryuji despite the fact that she knows that she has no chance with a guy who has feeling for two different girls. On top of that, Ryuji finds himself wondering what to do with his life after High school. While his mother wants him to study, he doesn’t want her to push herself as she takes on two jobs and collapses under the pressure of working too hard.
The serious tone of Volume 2 does add an interesting element to this romantic-comedy series but it never loses sight of the comedy either. There are still plenty of genuinely comical moments throughout the series and even when things get too serious there are funny bits that lighten things up. This is a good thing seeing as the final three episodes push things in an intense finale.
An intriguing dramatic twist to the story just serves to make this fun series even more interesting as things change between Ryuji and Taiga in the Premium Edition of Volume 2 of Toradora! Without losing the elements we loved about Volume 1, this second volume simply makes for an utterly compulsive must-not-miss set to a series that will not fail to win you over by Episode 1.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Things are starting to look up between Taiga and her crush, Kitamura, but as the holidays come around her relationship with Ryuji suddenly changes in a very drastic way. Things get more complicated as a love triangle is revealed and a confession changes everything.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
The animation in this series is simply some of the best and the series looks spectacular on DVD. The chibi version of the characters in the Toradora! SOS! Hurray for Gourmands are also cute.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The voice acting is, one again, at the top of their game with Rie Kugimiya providing the best performance in an impressive cast of voice talent. On top of that, the score is lovely and the new opening theme song is great but the closing theme song – “Orange” – is a classic.
The Premium Edition comes with an awesome hardcover book that serves as an episode guide but there are some interesting character bios and fun interviews with the voice cast. Besides the book and great box, the second disc comes with clean opening and closing theme songs as well as two short episodes of Toradora! SOS! Hurray for Gourmands that is fun to watch.
Taking a more dramatic turn without losing the funny moments of the first half of this series, Volume 2 of Toradora! is true compulsive romance/comedy gold that fans of the genre will gladly sink their teeth into from start to finish. Sure, Volume 1 was great entertainment but Volume 2 has everything you can ask for in a shoujo anime series.
Review copy provided by NIS America