Moments of 2009: Do We Really Want Time Skips in Real Life? Toradora! Finale

toradora! 25 taiga in a locker

I must say I’m a big fan of time skips. I love how Turn A Gundam used it in its epilogue, showing Loran with longer hair that somehow sold the image of his ‘maturing.’ I am thrilled at how Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann used it after the Tepellin arc. I felt that I was watching a new show, with the same characters. What was awesome about it was that it happened right in the middle of the story, and that the time skipped was quite significant (7 years).

In the Toradora! finale only a year passed, and given that it was the final episode there’s very little there for me to ‘feel’ not only the passage of time, but also the consequence of it. The characters didn’t really change: that happened in warp speed during the peak of the drama. But if not this, why do I feel that it’s so special?

It has to do with the actual decision Taiga and Ryuuji made. They thrust themselves headlong into marriage, but just before they actually did it, they performed remarkable restraint. It’s just a year… but really, can we really say that?

I’ve never been apart from anyone I’ve loved very much for an extended amount of time. I don’t even want to consider it. I’m older and supposedly more able to handle this kind of thing better. These characters are in the throes of their adolescence. It could not have been easy at all. It’s very well easy for me to sometimes say “I wish I could skip the next [value x time units]” but do I really really ever mean it? This means skipping part of my life bringing me closer to my eventual death. I don’t really know, you know?

Consider how they made the decision just when they were finally together. They had just fully revealed themselves to each other. In another kind of story, an external force will keep them apart. Not here. They made the choice themselves betting that it’d be for the best. Given how lonely they both are, I think that it’s even more difficult.

But they did it, and that kiss felt very meaningful and significant in the end.

toradora 25 taiga x ryuuji not quite the kiss

Yes I did mean this kiss. Tell me about your own favorite moments in the show!

Further Reading

Reflections on what one can take from Toradora! and feel awesome about [->]

Toradora! to me shines as a show about friends and friendship, and during its middle episodes it was truly amazing as such. My wife sybilant takes note [->]

Meaty post on Toradora! and a great roundup of opinions around the sphere as well from Behind the Nihon Review (Sorrow-kun 2009/08/09)

It’s way ahead of the parameters of the project, but this post is in support of CCY-senpai’s 12 Moments in Anime 2009 he does for the 12 days of Christmas.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in moments of 2009, Toradora! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Moments of 2009: Do We Really Want Time Skips in Real Life? Toradora! Finale

  1. Such an amazing ending, loved the fucking shit out of it.

    I totally believe the time skip, because Taiga and Ryuuji are so much more than just ‘lovers’. If this were any other anime couple fresh out of courtship, I might have said ‘no way’ but these two have a deep trust and friendship that make it believable. Ever since Taiga rubbing her feet on Ryuuji’s back in episode, I knew these two would never fall apart, and with their trust and love so powerful by the end, there’s no way a mere year could tear them apart.

    You know back in the late ’02 early ’03 area is when Funeral and I used to hang out constantly (I would have been 12 and he 16 and we were obsessed with anime). From the summer of 03 into 04 then Funeral became a lot more busy and didn’t hang out with us as much. In 04 my family moved a few cities north and we didn’t see Funeral at all. We had seriously gone from talking on the phone every day and always seeing each other on weekends to no contact whatsoever for years. Over the course of those years I think we met maybe 3 times, and while we were still acting more or less like we knew each-other it was a little strange because we knew we would only be hanging out for a couple of hours and then not see each-other again for another year or so, especially because Funeral then moved a few states north with his dad.

    In December 07 I got a phone call from Funeral out of the blue one day and we found ourselves talking for four hours – nothing had changed. We just had a whole lot of things to catch up on. We were still the same old best friends with all the same interests, and over the next year he would drive down once a month to hang out, kept contact with me on AIM all the time, and the two of us were making all sorts of plans together and stuff. Then by January 09 he moved in with us and we’ve all been a family like we always were.

    I think that when you’ve reached a certain depth of trust and understanding with someone, it is a bond that can’t break as long as you live. The bonds I have with my friends are strong enough that we can always pick up where we left off with a full understanding of each-other and where we are, with just a quick fill-in to be had to make everything easy to grasp.

    I want to believe that Taiga and Ryuuji have this connection. It is my belief that they do that makes Toradora one of m favorite anime of all time.

    • Thanks for sharing your touching story. My best friend and I only see each other a few times a year even though we live in the same metropolis… but we find it easy to talk whenever we’re together. This is remarkable in that we are so different now — or we always have been only now it’s more pronounced (he’s on TV hosting an interior design show).

      This certainly makes a case for your theory on how Ryuji and Taiga just picked up from where they left off in the final moments of the show.

  2. Ryan A says:

    Taiga and Ryuuji in the cold, at the bridge. lol, good moment.

    Timeskips! You did not mention Towards the Terra‘s timeskip! D: I’m not sure, I don’t think I’d want to time skip, there something sad (物の哀れ) about the passage of time, but that doesn’t mean the in-between is void. So curious.

    • I haven’t finished Terra e and while I do remember being impressed by the time skips (there are many), I haven’t been won over by the show. Watching it feels a lot like pulling teeth for me.

      I wouldn’t want to miss anything either.

  3. lelangir says:


    But yeah…in terms of narrative chronology, Shigurui’s is nice. Manabi has a really great time skip coda too ^_^.

    • LOL.

      I tend to forget about Shigurui because of the medias res (or before the very end) nature of the narrative. The prologue begins with the final (?) confrontation between the rivals, and then flashes back to the beginnings of the respective characters and their circumstances.

      Time skips often come at us as a surprise — we don’t really expect it, even if it seems commonplace and predictable. Shigurui set it up in that time skips are almost inevitable.

  4. Rakuen says:

    I really liked the confession bit on episode 24. Though it didn’t really leave that “desirable mark” on me, it really kept me satisfied. And then there’s that part when they both ran away and went to Ryuuji’s grandparents to confront Yasuko. At that part Ryuuji introduced Taiga as his bride. KYAAA! I don’t know. I guess it’s one of those sloppy house work that you just want to overlook— that time skip. I’ve nothing against it, but I wanted to know more about the time when the two were apart. That could’ve been an interesting bit.

    Time skip in real life? That’s a no-go for me. What if I suddenly wake up and I’m already in the slums. Zenzen dame da! I want to watch and experience every bit of life. I’m already pretty sure that I won’t last to 50 years old.

    You know, I’d like a time-reverse plot on anime sometime in the future. That would be nice and interesting.

    • Hmmm, I do think there’s a case that time skips can be evidence of sloppy plotting, but I don’t know if this is the case in Toradora!.

      Rather, I find it’s time skip similar to scenes wherein two characters (often romantic pairings) are shown to talk to each other (in a dramatic moment), and yet none of what they say is audible to us. We just see their mouths move or something indicative of conversing — but it’s as if whatever they say is between just them — and that our voyeurism is suddenly artificially curtailed.

      Sometimes I think it’s an inability to write good dialogue, but truthfully I find these things rather touching and awesome. (See the film Lost in Translation for a powerful example).

  5. Shance says:

    I think I’ll have to second lelangir’s notion on CLANNAD. They used time skippping to the point of absurdity there, and even mixed a bit of symbolism to screw the show some more.

    As for the time skip IRL topic, it is kind of hard to pick up where you left off, especially if the span of time is long enough for you to forget things. This applies to “suspended love” the most. You confess your love to each other, one of you leaves, and one of you waits. Time passes, you two meet again, and try to warm up to each other again… or maybe not.

    I think the “not” case applies to one of the manga ghostlightning recommended to me: Bakuman. He tells of the protagonist’s (the nephew is the protagonist, right?) uncle, writing to his love that he won’t confess until he makes a manga that becomes an anime. Time passes, they exchange letters, until the lady suddenly gets married, just before the uncle made a manga that became an anime. Time skip wasn’t elaborate, but we see how much time was given for them to maintain the warmth of the relationship to the point of destroying it.

  6. glothelegend says:

    Toradora was completely awesome, and was even part of my top ten for a while. I’ve got to say that my favorite part was at the end of the snowstorm episode, when Ryuuji is carrying Taiga back to the lodge, and Taiga, not realizing that it’s Ryuuji, and instead thinking it is Yusaku, exclaims her love for him [Ryuuji]. That actually made me pump my fist and get out of my seat. I actually feel like watching that episode [21] now.

    The show I’ve watched, with the most time skippage, was Mnemosyne. They aren’t afraid to skip over 20-30 years between episodes. The show overall was decent.

    • That was a good moment indeed. Some people began to mind the histrionics in the narrative especially at that point, but that scene in particular was very well done I think. I may just rewatch the thing myself, now that you mention it!

  7. Hanners says:

    You know, there are so many fantastic scenes in Toradora that this post made me realise I’d actually forgotten all about the ending!

    The moment that still sticks in my mind is the big climax to episode sixteen, which remains one of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever seen in anime – So much anger, love, hate and outright emotion bundled into a few intense minutes. What started out as a problem for Kitamura alone ended up sucking in Kanou and Taiga, and then the viewer… It left me in tears when I watched it for the first time, and I still get a lump in my throat just thinking about it. It probably remains my most memorable anime moment of 209 as a whole, truth be told.

    • Yes that was rather powerful. I like Toradora! best during the trip to the beach. For me it captured that fleeting moment when friendship at its most perfect in the context of having fun together and caring for each other in an innocent and yet powerful way was present.

      We know this to be fleeting because relationships change so fast. We know this to be fleeting in Toradora! because that friendship was never the prize, they came to the trip… nearly all of them, with agendas. The innocence was accidental, because they all had their plans, tricks, and manipulations.

      Somehow, the whole thing turned out to be magic, and I still remember Minorin talking about wanting to believe in aliens, and how for someone like Ryuji… that was enough.

      Shit, I can’t stop talking. The adult in me would never be satisfied with something like that… but the scene, the characters, they sold that turn so well. I just knew and remembered all the times in my life that I would have taken that outcome.

      • gloval says:

        Episode 9 was the most lulzy episode for me. The earlier episodes have provided comedy, but I was getting tired of the antagonistic act between Ryuji and Taiga. My interest was renewed at the end of episode 8 with the “Ryuji is mine!” and episode 9 cemented it for me, especially when, aside from the silliest antics, there was that serious conversation with Minori. For me, episode 9 onwards was a succession of solid episodes.

  8. gloval says:

    My favorite moment would be the school festival race in ep 13. Coming into it, emotions were due to misunderstanding and disappointment, but there was resolve to set things right. Add in some crazy unpredictable elements, and in the end everything turns out fine. I have called it an edifying display of friendship.

    • Oh my how could I have forgotten about that. It was quite the episode and how very powerful indeed. I think there were people that didn’t appreciate how ‘cartoony’ the race turned out, but I think the break from realism — the ridiculousness of the laws of physics bent makes me think not about the race — it’s silly indeed, but rather focuses me on the things at stake, which were very important indeed. Great stuff!

  9. 2DT says:

    I couldn’t really buy the fact that Taiga and Ryuuji hadn’t seen each other even once in the interval. If I were in Ryuuji’s position, I’d eat instant ramen for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a month to save the cash for a weekend visit. And I’d probably tell her that I loved her right then. But then it risks turning into 5 Centimeters Per Second, and with the Toradora cast that would just break my heart.

    My favorite part was probably when everybody is getting worried about Taiga, and Yuri-Chan-Sensei gives the typical “I’m sure your feelings reach her right now” speech, and it almost looks like it worked… And then the kids bust out their cell phones and start texting. It was perfect.

    • Is this you in your 20s? I too tend to forget that the cast are high-schoolers. The delaying of gratification is a tremendously mature act and it does seem highly improbable. But you know what, it can be like that. I have no trouble imagining it. I’m sure Ryuuji had his moments when he almost said “Fuck it, I’m visiting her.” Maybe Ya-chan talked him out of it. Maybe Kitamura did. Maybe Minorin did. Hell, maybe Ami did. We aren’t privy to this and part of what’s charming about it is exactly that… it was kind of not our business.

      I remember that scene. I think it was really cool and perhaps a turning point in the history of anime in the use of mobile phones adding genuine value in a narrative. It was significant in Hoshi no Koe, but somehow the use of mobiles (with cameras too) in this show was pervasive and effective.

      It makes shows like Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 feel more ‘at home’ or accessible — seeing Mirai being so dependent on her phone. I could very well be missing better examples, but these are what comes to mind at the moment.

      • digitalboy says:

        Turning point? I think not. Japanese novels and movies and such have been basing so much on cell phones these days it’s ridiculous, because cell phones are so insanely huge there. Hell, some of the bestselling novels in Japan in recent years were ‘textnovels’ written through damn text messages. This is the same for manga and anime, you just have to know where to look – such as the manga ‘Doubt’ which is centered around a cell-phone game craze as a good example.

        It is true that romance stories have had a tendency to ignore cell phones because they are the biggest way to cancel out the drama born through just not knowing what people are up to at all times, and anime has all sorts of funny ways of avoiding their use, but I think there are plenty of stories, especially coming out of Japan, that use the cell phone to their advantage. Which is glorious.

        • Gotcha, but would you know what these shows are? I want to keep it within the anime tradition. I remember the Beck and Nana mangas make a good fuss about mobiles, but as far as anime goes, what stands out for you?

  10. DonKangolJones says:

    Favorite moments from Toradora!…wow! I have to say the most moving moment for me was at the end of the pageant, when Taiga was all but abandoned & they had that big race. Seeing Ryuuji & Minori come to her side was good stuff. It was crazy, exciting & uplifting. It wasn’t that they were running for a best friend or lover. I think in retrospect, both of them were running for a family member. They were running to show Taiga that they were her family even when her own blood relatives were not there to fill that void. I can’t watch that episode without tearing up.

    A very close second would probably be the infamous fight that occurred after the infamous confession. After that episode, I said, “this is some good sh*t right here!” Quality anime through and through!

    P.S. It feels good to be posting in this blog again, like home. I love Twitter, but nothing beats the comraderie of good old fashioned blogs & MAL. But that’s just me.

    • Yes, THAT RACE. I think in Ryuji, remorse was done very, very well here. Not quite War in the Pocket levels of remorse, but then again, it’s not exactly life or death — though not to say Ryuji’s remorse is far less significant.

  11. maAkusutipen says:

    Well, Im am not a fan of time skips. I think it should be executed well for it to be effective. I am apprehensive of stories using tried and tested tropes without some sort of subversion. But in Toradora, I was not appalled. Maybe because like you, I liked how they restrained themselves from getting married.

    I was still in the process of reconciling what I saw in Studio Ghibli’s Mimi wo sumaseba. There the characters basically became fiances with one another when they were still in middle school I think.It was also a deliberate decision between the couple and not the forced marriage that is all to familiar but tolerable/reasonable for me. I just could not wrap my head with that concept. My reasoning as an attempt to brush off that disagreement with what the film presented is that the movie was from a time very different from ours and that affected the its fundamental values.

    As for Toradora, I don’t have a favorite scene. It is more like I like the whole series. It is the only one post CCS moe show that I can really tolerate. Well technically it isn’t a moe blob but being Taiga designed to be such a moe character I consider it to be one.

    • I’ve yet to see that particular Ghibli work. I really should go out of my way to watch the gaps in my viewing (Pom Poko, Only Yesterday, etc).

      Oh I agree that it needs particular deftness in execution. Tell me though, what are the shows with skips that you felt didn’t do it well.

  12. X10A_Freedom says:

    I do definately want a time skip to retirement (with the cash included)!

    • I’ve considered that, but then I’d have aged too and missed out on all the opportunities to get better at tennis. By the time I do retire I want to be a very strong player at my level, whatever that is.

  13. Shinmaru says:

    I like your points about the restraint shown by Taiga and Ryuuji in their year apart. What really sells this for me is that I can see where Taiga is coming from with her need to spend a year apart from Ryuuji. She loves him to the point where she doesn’t want to be the type of person who depends on him to an unnecessary or unhealthy degree. Everyone needs that person to lean on every once in a while, but in that year Taiga really gets a feel for who she is as a distinct entity apart from Ryuuji. When she returns, she is not so much different as she is someone who has a clearer vision of herself as a person and a partner to Ryuuji instead of someone who absolutely needs that crutch (despite the fact that Taiga is plenty strong throughout the series).

  14. soulassassin says:

    Watched the Tagalog version, but even then I really loved the ending (and I also recorded it for posterity): “At doon na nagsimula” (And this is where it started).

    I will not be surprised if a live-action adaptation comes up, moreso if someone’s insane enough to create a Tagalog live-action version (the storyline certainly sounds familiar).

    • You know, I can actually imagine a Tagalog film version, or even a soap version. It could very well be horrible, but that wouldn’t be the fault of the source material. Who would you cast?

      • soulassassin says:

        In a fantasy scenario, if they were much younger (around the age of the protagonists), Maricel Soriano would be cast as Taiga, and then Robin Padilla as Ryuji. The whole adaptation should be directed by Jeff Jeturian or Marilou Diaz-Abaya.

  15. uhhhhh about those images…. i dont remember Taiga using that outfit or being in a locker!

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