We Remember Love has lavished attention on Toradora! I think it’s the anime that has gotten more attention here aside from Macross and Gundam. I’ve even been one of the few fans that have taken Kitamura seriously. In the most recent episodes (13 and 14) Toradora! I believe has elevated itself. I’m a big fan of Hachimitsu to Clover, and the second season of that anime, while not as highly regarded as the first has one of the most beautiful and sad moments in the anime that I’ve seen. Toradora! is directed by Nagai Tatsuyuki, the director of the said second season of Hachimitsu to Clover (interestingly enough, he also directed an episode of Gundam 00).
The last 2 episodes for me felt like the world just opened up. If you’re familiar with console RPGs like the Final Fantasy series, Toradora’s episode 13 felt like an important mid-story boss battle. After your characters defeat the boss, important dramatic scenes ensue and move the story forward. Episode 14 felt like the world map just opened.
In such games, the early stages are ‘contained in a small world’, meaning your characters travel and explore only a smaller vicinity of the whole world within the game. This is usually the home town, city, or country/continent of your characters. Events that happen in this stage, while belonging to the main storyline, only act as both exposition and set up for the main gaming experience: that is to make your characters powerful while exploring the gaming world.
Episode 14 felt like that. How so? It’s due to the ‘pulling out’ of the lens from focusing on Taiga and Ryuuji. It happens precisely when the insert song plays, showing us a montage of the five main characters – in their various states of melancholy. It’s quite awesomely done. It doesn’t feel cheap, forced, nor does it call too much attention to itself as a directorial artifice. That’s what I feel anyway. The second half of the season presents us the possibilities and fulfillments of the sub/secondary plots for the different characters. And Kitamura by the steps was a good moment, understated and restrained the way I like it.
Hachimitsu no Clover was my introduction to contemporary slice of life, having seen only Umi ga Kikoeru beforehand (you should all see this anime from Studio Ghibli). And Toradora I believe continues exploring the genre’s (if it could indeed be called that) frontiers.
On a personal note, I wish I could be writing the above paragraphs about Macross, all the time. I don’t have anything for Macross at the moment, but I will leave you with this MAD. Forgive the bad joke, I do find it awesome in my fanboy way.
Some things I need to be told about:
- What other anime do you think is representative of Slice of Life?
- In what ways is this genre growing, in terms of innovation (plot, characters, execution), or there’s really not much to expect beyond what’s already been shown?