August 30, 2015
Yuyuko Takemiya / Zekkyo – Seven Seas Entertainment – 2014 – 7+ volumes
Mmm… Toradora dives into, then sidesteps another cliche when this volume focuses on the school festival. I was a little worried when the characters discussed maid/Chinese/loli cafes, but they wound up doing a (bizarre) wrestling match, and I forgave the story immediately.
The bigger plot point is that Taiga’s dad comes back into her life. Taiga hates him so much she refuses to talk to him, and when he cuts off her funds, she sends Ryuji to talk in her place. To Ryuji, he looks like a nice, caring man who genuinely wants to make amends with Taiga, and wants them to be a family again. But Taiga will not believe Ryuji, nor talk to her father. They fight for a bit, but Ryuji gets genuinely mad, since he’s secretly envious Taiga still has a father. This causes a very serious fight between himself and Minori, and doesn’t go well in general at the end of the volume.
There’s actually not a whole lot of character interaction here, although Ami seems to be softening up, and the other characters take notice. Ryuji also loses his temper rather epically, which is something he berates himself heavily for. He tells himself he always has to be nice, kind, do whatever anyone wants, because fighting only makes him look meaner, and it’s a sad scene. Ami, of all people, brings him out of it. And the fight he has with Taiga ends with Taiga humoring him/believing him, which is all kinds of cute and heartbreaking. I guess I just like the characters a lot. They have different hang-ups than what you normally see in rom-com, and maybe because it was condensed from a novel, the story doesn’t linger over-long on stuff, so serious moments pass and have the gravity they need.
And it ends on a freaking cliffhanger. Of course it does. At least I don’t have long to wait to see that resolved.