29
Mar
09

ToraDora -=Final=- 24~25 [Orange Farm Archive]

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Kids these days.

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Bro-Mode-Alert-ON!

tl;dr: Ami’s a real bro.

Kinda cool for a J.C. Staff show.  Since those normally suck.  YEAH WHAT?  WHAT? I went there.

This series was quite a fun train ride.  I think it’s watched for a lot of reasons, and most of those reasons are misunderstood.  I don’t think ToraDora would of been as successful 5-10 years ago as it is now.  The general anime-fan base is used to the cliche “Harem” setup, and ToraDora – a traditional high school drama and romance – is a bit unexpected.  It hit a lot of drop lists early on being deemed as cliche, and that is very, very true.  But, sometimes – a traditional or cliche story can be a fresh breath to an outrageous normal standard.  Something Otaku are rather good at setting.

That being said, I can say I genuinely enjoyed ToraDora.  It was pretty low on my list when I started this season and at first I found it hard to believe I enjoyed it the most.  Maybe it was the modern-day setting, but something made ToraDora easy to watch.  Identifying what exactly makes ToraDora unique is hard to describe.  I think the characters had alot of depth, but they’re all nothing that can’t fit a generic character archetype.  Loser friend, unobservant male lead, tsundere, energetic…but there’s one character that I think lies outside of this standard.

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“If there’s at least one person who understands me, I think I’ll be okay…even if it isn’t love.”

A lot of people are quick to throw Ami into the “mai bitchu” category.  They couldn’t be more wrong.  A lot of the culture she likes is artificial, and by the end of the series she has no problem telling people what she doesn’t like – this much is true, but the character is much more dynamic than that.  Kawashima Ami has a persona, and a role to fill.  She understands a persona part of her job and will affect her personal life.  She also has a role of being a real bro (friend).  She understands and values this.  She also has a responsibility to her own happiness, which is what she struggles with.

Ami is really a selfless girl.

Stop laughing.

When we were given Ami early on, I instantly liked her.  I mostly watched to see her development, similar to my own.  Those three roles to her job, her friends, and herself – are all treated with two different persona’s when we meet her.  She has the persona of the celebrity who gets what she wants, and her own inner person.  After she meets Taiga…or more accurately, understands Takasu’s and Taiga’s relationship, she begins developing that third persona, which is the Ami we all know and love.  At first she wants what Taiga has, that forward inner person.  The ability to tell anyone what’s on her mind with no guilt.  She only knows how to be forward about her celebrity persona, which must be loved by others, not herself.  For me, ToraDora was about the struggle for Ami to understand her own happiness.

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“You’re really leaving me here with the emo bitch… -_-“

The show was boring without Ami.  Before her, the only entertaining thing was the comedy and Minorin’s-out-going-attitude.  It makes sense that Ami is attracted to Ryuuji.  For the first few episodes, she convinces herself she wants nothing more than the relationship Taiga has with him.  Thusforth, begins her conflict with Minorin.  Minorin is Ryuuji’s natural attraction, and Taiga is useful to him.  Ami has no choice but to use her money (the villa trip) and looks to attract him.

The villa arc changed ToraDora into what we know it as now.  Ami gets to see by living with everyone their relationships first hand – and that their group isn’t as tight knit as she thought it was.  She also realizes how much effect she had on the love square.  She realizes she really doesn’t want what Taiga has, but rather be part of this group.  Thusforth, she begins her bromance with Takasu.  Takasu is the main character.  He’s Kitamura’s friend, Minorin’s love interest, and Taiga’s partner.  At around episode 14 she gives up on attracting him and begins helping him.  She sees him similar to himself because he doesn’t really know what he wants, and neither does she.  By the end of the series they’re both able to come to terms with what they want.  Ami wanted a place to belong, and she obtained it.

The conflict with Minorin was a big part of Ami’s character.  They’re radically opposite ends of a spectrum.  Ami felt like she owed something to Ryuuji and Taiga, but not Minorin.  Ami helps her out since she’s Kitamura’s, Takasu’s, and Taiga’s friend – but in the end their own differences forces her to hate Minorin.  Ami has more insight into the situation that Takasu does, and knows Minorin likes him.  It annoys the living hell out of her that Minorin tries to ignore her feelings – which strings Taiga and Ryuuji along on a path of painful indecisiveness.  Maybe Ami thought that if she could get Takasu to understand what he wants, she could figure it out for herself too.

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End it.

All in all, like most people, Ami desired a sense of belonging.  She wanted an important place, and she obtained it.  Since the relationship was so romance-centric when she got there – she took part in it, but soon grew out of it.  Her desire to see a simple, honest, end was brought forth by what Taiga had instilled in her – that your personal life shouldn’t be full of your persona(Though we later find out Taiga was the most dishonest one of all).  Persona’s are required and fun things to have – or could be important for a certain role – but they’re for entertainment and socializing, not to live by.

Midway through the series the strength of the characters switches.  If they were playing a card game, Ami would hold the weakest cards but she would know what everyone else had.  She wants to see the game end.  This is why Takasu sees her as childish.  She’s trying to just do everything herself, and not let things flow forward.  Other people admire her reaction as maturity because they can’t see past their selves.  The fundamental difference between Takasu and Ami is that Ryuuji wants to see the game through, and Ami just wants the result.

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Moving on…

Whether she gave up on Ryuuji is a matter of her not wanting to get hurt and moving on, she deciding it wasn’t her place, or both – we’ll never really know.  Maybe no matter the reason, because this option allows her to keep the group close to her while keeping her future open, it’s more favorable.  I really wish we had a more Ami-centric spinoff, OVA, or epilogue to learn more about what she thought about the whole story, because she’s more complex the main character himself.

In the end, she really was a generous person – she had to learn how to be happy with herself and take care of herself first, which is something she had to learn before being able to help anyone else out.  There lies the key reason she wasn’t able to fundamentally help the rest of the group until she understood herself.  The fact that she decided what she wanted was helping out everyone else, and accepting that as her happiness…

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…man, what a real bro.

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9 Responses to “ToraDora -=Final=- 24~25 [Orange Farm Archive]”


  1. March 29, 2009 at 7:55 PM

    Ah… A thoughtful ode to Amin. Very nice.

    I’d have to say that the “End it.” moment was one of my favorite of the series. I had the sense that Ami would demand closure, and I was pleased that she got it. It was also very adult of her to demand it instead of pretending like she didn’t need it.

    I think it was that action that revealed that she was fundamentally acting for herself. Ami KNEW that she would have to get resolution to justify the pain and frustration she was causing herself. I don’t want you to think that she was childish for being selfish. Instead, Ami was second to learn the lesson that “You can’t be anyone other than who you are.” It’s huge, difficult, and life-changing.

    On other notes, I loved the night-time kiss scene more than any similar scene that I’d seen. To my eyes, there was a sort of heartbreaking vulnerability to it. Instead of being a climatic event, the repeated kisses really made the whole thing into an anti-climax, which both fit perfectly with the series, and rings true to my personal experience (more on that NOT available as comments on your blog).

    In the end, I was a little disappointed that Taiga’s leaving to live with her parents was the solution to Ryuuji’s problem. I didn’t buy it. To me, the message (“shine on your own”) was not only a little indirect, but extremely cruel. The idea that Taiga’s absence would cause Ryuuji to move forward seems thin to me. I’d think that the high school kid would drop into depression. I can buy that Taiga needed to move home in order to resolve her own personal issues, but Ryuuji’s apathy only really seemed to vanish in Taiga’s presence. Meh.

    For me, the jury is out overall. I had a blast watching the thing and cheering for Ami, but I’m not sure that I’ll be so quick to seek out more drama/romance anime in the future. Besides Ami’s actions, which I really understood quite well, I had a hard time following the Minori-Taiga-Ryuuji triangle’s plot logic. On the flip side, I thought the art was great, the humor–when used–was sublime. Maybe my problem is overall with this sub-genre. Not sure.

    Well, I hope I haven’t bored you. It’s been nice to have someone to analyze the show with, it goes a loooong way toward maintaining my enthusiasm for anime.

  2. 2 komidol
    March 29, 2009 at 10:54 PM

    Yeah, well I’ll have to agree with you for the most part other than that being my favorite scene with Taiga. Like you said, I didn’t feel much for the Taiga-Ryuuji-Minorin. Minorin went from one of my favorites to my least liked character. I can understand highly passionate/emotional people, but I favor action. Personally, I see alot of myself in Ami – which being the narcissistic prick I am – attracted me to her alot more.

    Anyway, as for your last comment, that’s what being an Otaku is about. Anime is great – but it’s really the community, the analyzation, the meme’s, and the fan material (both doujin art and games) that keep it interesting and can change a person.

    I try to bridge the gap between Otaku and casualfans in my writing. Glad I could bring something interesting to the table for yah. What are you watchin this season, Patchy?

  3. March 30, 2009 at 5:31 PM

    Hehehe. I read your response this morning but spent the entire day doing adult things (zug, zug).

    The only NEW stuff I’m watching is Chrome Shelled Regios, because it seems like everyone is, and Soul Eater (which will end this week?). I’m open to any recommendations.

    On the other hand, I have four more episodes of the first Higurashi to work through and the 3 three of the original Nanoha series, so it’s not like I’m left without anything to pass the time… ^^;

    If you want to stop cluttering this space, I’m reachable either on my blog (follow the link on my name) or on twitter at (Surprise!) the_patches. TTFN!

  4. March 30, 2009 at 7:00 PM

    No. I like clutter. I feed off dem comments.

    Anyway, Yeah you need to watch Nanoha. I’m waiting on the Higurashi OVA’s, and KnK, as normal. Just don’t know what to tackle this season.

  5. April 8, 2009 at 6:21 PM

    I have a spring list for you! Normally, I watch no more than 1 series, chain-mode at a time, so we’ll see if I can keep this ambitious schedule up along with all of the other stuff I’m interested in:

    Winter Carry-Over:
    Chrome Shelled Regios
    Maria+Holic (I was waiting for a good “Maria Watches over Us” parody!)

    New For Spring:
    K-ON! (Lucky Star is my favorite series of all time. K-ON! looks to be like a lot of fun, the opening and ending themes are great, I love the art style, a all-around win for me).

    Pandora Hearts (has been reviewed well, looks interesting. Can’t say much more at this point)

    Hayate no Gotoku!! (Another confectionary show. The large ensemble cast and over-the-top humor are my kind of thing)

    I probably should be watching FMA and Phantom, but with Dollhouse, I feel that I’m getting my sci-fi assassin fix taken care of.

  6. 6 darkslime
    April 9, 2009 at 9:17 AM

    I’m actually watching Pandora Hearts and Asura Cryin’ (because I’m a mechafag), as well as Shin Mazinger.

    I don’t know what people are all hyped up about K-ON! for, though. I watched the first episode, and while the animation was, of course, beautiful, it didn’t interest me at all. :/

  7. 7 Anonymous
    February 5, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    I completely agree on Ami being a bro, she basically saved the show for me.

    One of my favourite girls ever.

  8. 8 Wrds
    March 14, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    eh…I can’t disagree with you, everything is true for the most part. However, some of her unchecked cynicism created most of the conflict in the show. I’m sort of bias because I can’t stand cynical people. After finding out Ami made Minori feel guilty for having feelings for Ryuuji I was ready to hate her forever. I don’t take the excuse that Ami was frustrated because Minori wasn’t being honest about her feelings, not much of her business anyways. Still coming into the equation she found out like you said that she had to be the bro for everyone…she took her sweet ass time getting there but when she got there she was pretty cool…

    In reality Ami was a bad person(or at least a cynical person who was made that way by her upbringing then later reinforced by the modeling world because she had to fake who she was) who inadvertently flung herself into a situation where she had to be a good reliable wise person, and when she finally got around to it she adjusted beautifully.


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