ToraDora Ep 16: The Melancholy of Yusaku Kitamura pt 2

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With this episode of ToraDora, we bring the Kitamura story arc to a close. The ending was unexpected, and played out very nicely. It continues to surprise me how this show manages to take cliche themes and make them feel fresh again. I couldn’t think of a creative title this time, but no big! Let’s summary/review underway shall we.

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After wasting some time with Taiga’s student council campaign, we learn the truth behind Kitamura’s depression. As expected, the student council is leaving him forever. What was unexpected was that she was going to America to become an astronaut of all things. While I’ve never heard of high school students being recruited by NASA, the ridiculousness of the situation works well considering her outrageous personality. Fitting it in with the stars theme from the last episode is also a cute touch.

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The story of the two meeting is also interesting. It turns out that after getting rejected by Taiga, Kitamura was almost immediately recruited into the student council by the president standing triumphantly on the roof. How she got a ladder and up there without him noticing is a mystery to me, but I love how awesome they make her in this episode. I really felt that she would have been entertaining had they given her more screentime through the first dozen episodes. But her antics may have seemed similar to Minorin’s, so it should have made both characters get old fast.

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Continuing with her awesomeness, the president finally kicks Kitamura back into his groove with a push down the stairs. While I felt that the metaphor of taking a step forward symbolically and literally is completely unoriginal, it had to be done if just to give Kitamura the courage he needs to take the next step forward.

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Kitamura finally confesses his love to the president. It was over dramatic, and his failure was epic, but the only way to reach a person as outrageous as the president is to be even more outrageous. As you can guess by the post’s opening image, he is rejected, but the president’s roundabout manner of doing so probably hurt him more than the rejection itself. His feelings are understandable though.

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I’d like to take a moment to discuss the animation quality in this show. While I still believe the quality has gone down since the first 5 or 6 episodes, I now believe that the director or whoever controls the money is just choosing to emphasize certain scenes. For example the image of Taiga with her sword above looked really good. It was only a couple of seconds, but they really made her point clear using a combination of angles, lighting, and movement. On the flip side, the following image looks really strange and cheap. However, I think it was another conscious stylistic decision. The fight is gritty and hectic, just like the quality. The characters lose a distinct outline, and the angles used emphasize the brutality. While not the best fight scene of an anime, I am still impressed with how well it was made for a romance drama.

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Moving on with the plot, Taiga decides to take matters into her own hands and confronts the president as her way of saying thanks for his constant support. While Taiga has softened up considerably, she is still rough around the edges, so in an almost G Gundam fashion, she can only express herself through her fists. After the brawl, the president reveals her insecurities, and how she cannot idiotically make irrational decisions like Taiga, tying into the step forward metaphor made earlier this episode. Once again, ToraDora brings up the character duality theme that has pervaded this series.

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One of the final moments of the episode is a look at Taiga’s student ID. Here we see the famous picture of Taiga and Kitamura dancing, but there is another mystery image that was almost revealed. Whatever is in it, it make Ami feel jealous and Minorin less guilty. Odds are, it’s a photo of Ryuji, but I can’t recall a time he got his picture taken. I’m starting to get annoyed trying to figure out what Minorin’s secret is. She probably knows about Ryuji’s feelings, and suspects that Taiga like Ryuji, so she may not want to betray Taiga by getting too close to him. Whether or not she has feelings for Ryuji is another mystery.

So while this episode was full of cliche moments, I still loved it. Even though a bunch of new stuff is coming out ToraDora is still the highlight of my week. Until next time readers, take it easy.

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