Andressa Andrade

Andressa is a freelance writer who specializes in creating quality content for young audiences. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading (books, manga, and fanfic, obviously), playing games or watching anime. She started watching anime when she was 3 and never really stopped. Who would? ;P

Toradora anime review
AnimeAnime ReviewsOpinionReviews

Toradora! The Tale Of The Tiger And The Dragon

Andressa Andrade

“Since ancient times, the dragon has been the only beast to equal the tiger.”

Toradora! has everything it takes to be considered a shoujo classic. Based on the light novel series by Yuyuko Takemiya, the anime premiered in Fall 2008. But don’t worry! In case you haven’t seen it yet, all 25 episodes of the English dubbed version can be found on Crunchyroll!

The Tiger and the Dragon

The Dragon

Takasu Ryuuji from ToradoraRyuuji Takasu is your regular high school student. Except for one thing: his eyes. Being the son of a gangster, Ryuuji took after his father’s looks. His intimidating eyes make everyone in school assume he is a delinquent. Even the teachers are scared of him.

But in reality, Ryuuji couldn’t be kinder. He loves cooking and doing chores. Actually, he has an obsession with cleaning that’s almost creepy. He spends his time at home looking after his mom, Yasuko, who works at a night house and sleeps for most of the day. In contrast to her, who behaves more like a teenager than a mother, Ryuuji is very mature for his age.

Takasu Ryuuji from Toradora cleaning GIF

(NOTE: The kanji “ryuu” in Ryuuji’s name means “dragon”.)

The Tiger

Taiga Aisaka is known throughout the school as The Palmtop Tiger. And there is another reason for the nickname, Aisaka Taiga from Toradorabesides her uncommon name.

(NOTE: “Taiga”, written in katakana, is how Japanese people pronounce the English word “tiger”).

Taiga is very short for her age, even for a Japanese girl. But in spite of that, she has a ferocious temper. She won’t think twice before beating up anyone who tries to make fun of her. Or anyone who gets in her way, actually. Because of that, Taiga has almost no friends in school. Not even the teachers dare to talk directly to her.

 

tiger Aisaka Taiga (Palmtop Tiger) from Toradora

 

After Taiga’s parents got divorced and formed separate new families, she refused to live with either of them. So her wealthy father rented her a luxurious apartment, where she lives alone. Unlike Ryuuji, Taiga couldn’t care less about chores and good nutrition. Her house is a complete mess and she has been living on snacks all this time.

The deal

The other students watched in shock when Ryuuji Takasu walked straight into conflict with Palmtop Tiger on the first day of their junior year. Truth be told, he only bumped into her because she was so short he didn’t see her. But everyone was expecting a big fight. Taiga had a reputation for not forgiving anyone.

But the fight never happened and the two walked their separate ways. Later, we find out they are in the same class.

Ryuuji ended up staying after class that day with his best friend, Yusaku Kitamura. When he got back to class to get his bag so he could go home, Taiga was there.

Ryuuji tried to ignore her but ended up having to fight her for his bag, which she for some reason wanted to keep. After he managed to retrieve it, he ran away, deeming Taiga insane.

Only back at home, Ryuuji would understand what had actually happened. When he opened his bag, he found an envelope. It was a love letter from Palmtop Tiger to Kitamura. She had put it in the wrong bag.

The meaning of the anime Toradora

Conveniently, Ryuuji had a crush on Taiga’s best friend, Minori Kushieda. Thus, a pact was born: Ryuuji would help Taiga with Kitamura, and in exchange, she would get him closer to Kushieda.

But Ryuuji, being so kind and easily influenced, ended up over-promising. As a result, Taiga began to treat him as a “pathetic dog” (in her own words).  Ryuuji found himself cooking, cleaning and acting as a general servant for her.

The crushes

The student council member

Yusaku Kitamura from Toradora Yusaku Kitamura is Ryuuji’s best (and only) friend at school. He doesn’t care about Ryuuji’s delinquent appearance and can see beyond that. He appreciates him for his kind heart.

Kitamura is a dedicated member of the student council and is often busy with its activities. Because of that, he and Ryuuji do not get to spend that much time together anymore.

He’s also the object of attention of most girls in his class, but seem completely oblivious to it. Ryuuji can’t understand what Taiga likes about him. In spite of being a straight-A student, he sometimes shows a serious lack of common sense.

The cheerful softball player

Kushieda Minori is your typical over-excited sporty character. She’s always cheerful, always trying to make everyone Kushieda Minori from Toradorahappy. In fact, she’s tireless when it comes to it. If you need help with any kind of festive activity, count on her!

She is the only person who’s not afraid of Palmtop Tiger. Taiga adores her and acts more like a kitten when she’s around her. Kushieda can see the fragile girl that hides behind Taiga’s ferocious attitude and is very protective of her.

Ryuuji thinks Kushieda is the cutest girl in school and has had a crush on her for a while now. But he doesn’t know how to approach the energetic girl. He’s afraid he’s going to end up scaring her away, as he did with every other girl he liked in the past.

The rival

There’s at least one more character who deserves to have her place in this review.

Kawahima Ami from Toradora Ami Kawashima is a famous supermodel and Kitamura’s childhood friend. When she comes into the story, she promises to be a tough rival for Taiga, who’s immediately jealous.

But there’s more to Ami than just her fame. Behind that “super cute” face, there’s a complex personality full of equally complex needs. Ami is not your typical dumb airhead model. As the story develops, she’s the first to see behind people’s walls. She poses some important challenges to both Ryuuji and Taiga.

Enjoy the animation. But beware of the catchy songs!

The animation is very well executed for most of the anime. It has all the beauty and the delicate features that are necessary for a good shoujo. The characters are the same as they are in the manga. The animators have taken their time in studying and working hard to make it justice. The result is a gift to the fans.

I should alert you, though: the opening and ending songs are contagious!

The first time I watched this anime was seven years ago. I had to abandon it then, due to schoolwork. After all these years, I was surprised to find out that I still knew the lyrics to the songs by heart!

Toradora opening GIF

I promise you, you’re going to annoy your friends by humming those all day. I’ve warned you.

Honestly, though, the songs are pure fun. You’re not going to want to skip them. They’re amongst the best anime openings/endings I’ve ever seen. They’re going to stick with me forever.

Final thoughts

The tale of the dragon and the tiger will touch you. It could make you cry but more often it will make you smile. It will help you see the fragility of strong people and the strength hidden in those who think they are weak.

 

 

If you love a good and fun romance, you have to watch Toradora!. The characters are unforgettable, the kind that stays with you through the years. And the ending of the anime was considered one of the most memorable of all time. Definitely worth it!

 

Have you already watched Toradora!? What did you think of it? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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An anime character helped another to get up.
Special Features

11 Real-Life Situations Where Anime Helped People

Andressa Andrade

November is here and with Thanksgiving coming, it’s only natural that we begin to think of all the things we have to be grateful for.

If there’s one thing we here in Unime.tv are thankful for, that’s anime. But why? If you’re an anime fan, the answer probably feels obvious. But for people who don’t know this incredible universe, it might not be so self-evident. What good can animation bring to people’s lives?

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Chronos Ruler is an anime about time and memory.
Anime Reviews

To Rule Time Or To Be Consumed By It?

Andressa Andrade

Do you wish you could turn back time? Think again!

In the world of CHRONOS RULER, that’s a very dangerous wish. When regret sets in and people desperately want to go back, that’s when the horologues attack. Time-consuming monsters will literally eat your lifetime. It doesn’t sound like that bad of a deal to look a couple of years younger, right? Or take another chance on things you have let slip by?

But horologues are insatiable creatures. So they’ll just keep on eating your time until you become a baby, then a fetus, then… nothing. You’ll turn back into inexistence.

So? Still want to relive those good ol’ days?

To be a Chronos Ruler

To every chaos, there’s a sort of rule and structure. CHRONOS RULER focuses on the battle between the two factions, creating a black and white world. The horologues pray on humans remorse and steal away their time, promising they will return things back to the way they were. But there’s no “devils contract” stopping the demons from eating up too much and eventually killing.

As Victor struggles to survive and the monsters hold on him is slowly taking its toll, he gets to meet people who call themselves Chronos Rulers. A secret organization that not many people know about is struggling alone to keep people safe. As their numbers are drastically declining and not many are left, they are joined by Victor and Kiri.  Understanding time and appreciating it gets a whole new meaning.

Victor and Kiri’s story

Chronos Ruler Victor PutinVictor Putin’s regrettable actions, such as gambling and neglecting his family caused him to come in contact with a strong horologue. It stole Victors time and ate it, together with his precious memories. Now Victor, who should be 39 years old, barely looks 15. Not only he didn’t get to save his wife, but now he’s on a quest to find that horologue and claim back his lost years. To do that, the blue-haired boy uses his Oath Of Time, a tool that allows him and other Chronos Rulers to control the time around certain elements. For Victor, those are gambling cards, which he uses both to attack his adversaries and to attract cute girls with party tricks.

Kiri and Victor Putin, the Chronos Rulers

Victor’s companion in this adventure is Kiri. The smart, red-eyed Chronos Ruler uses his Oath Of Time to control water. He has sworn to get Victor’s time back no matter what. He’s also the responsible adult around, making sure Victor and his reckless attitude don’t put their mission — or themselves — in danger.

To new and old acquaintances

The Chronos Ruler Mina Later, Mina joins them. This young and cute Chronos Ruler can control air and swears she’s Victor’s long-lost wife. Of course, Victor has no memory of that, but that won’t stop Mina from doing everything in her power to protect her darling.

This review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Blaze! This hot-tempered Chronos Ruler likes to play with fire — literally. He has set off to be the world’s biggest villain and will leave no stone unturned in the way to achieve that. Blaze, the Chronos Ruler of fire

The party of four sets out together from the Chronos Ruler headquarters to find the horologue that ate Victor’s time. As each of them has a different ability and fighting style they complement each other rather well.

No time wasted in the first season

CHRONOS RULER first season has just ended — it aired between July and September this year.  It served only 13 episodes and man, we can’t wait for the next one!

Having watched one too many anime where the production seems to waste a lot of time with pointless subplots and filler scenes, watching this one was quite a relief. Every little scene and dialogue serves a purpose. You’re always learning something new about the characters and the plot continues to move forward every minute. The creators of the series clearly know the value of time, and they honored it.

The characters have proven to be very charismatic, making it one of the best traits of this anime. It is impossible not to love Victor and his childish manners. And the others don’t fall behind, with well-rounded, complex personalities that we didn’t expect to find in such a short anime.

Victor Putin is a Chronos Ruler with an eternally childish heart

CHRONOS RULER adds more depth in the later episodes, making us see the emotional bonds as it were our own everyday life. The bond between a father and son, a husband and a wife and the most painful to watch – between a mother and a son. All the regret, shame, and pain gathered in some intense moments really made us love this show.

When memories fade away

As much as this show seems light-hearted and fun, there’s a slow transition to a more complex anime by the middle of the season. Episodes that depict the raw human emotions and the decisions that follow them have been the most satisfying to watch. As stated before, these parts of the anime are never stretched out and fillers, but rather bridging elements. CHRONOS RULER ended up being more of a family anime than one of friendship. The connection and relationship between Mina and her older sister and the whole Putin family often take the spotlight but rarely disappoint. The way things are developing in the first season makes many wonder if getting the years and memories back is still a good idea.

We need more time. And better music.

Not everything is perfectly shiny in this anime, though. Looking at it objectively, there are some aspects of it that need improvement. Many viewers commented that the show is just too full of plot holes and has some major logic issues, plus lacks structured continuity. Not to say that these comments are irrelevant or untrue, some scenes really don’t need too much explanation as this anime serves up a supernatural world.

As for the graphics, some scenes were poorly executed, especially noticeable at the beginning of the season. Later on, the overall look of the anime improved and stayed like that until the end of the season.

Music is always an essential part of any anime. With this one, we get some very interesting combination that might not be to everyone’s liking. The jazzy kind of music during fight scenes felt anticlimactic, like purposefully trying to detach the viewer from the violence. We hope that potential next seasons will get more time and develop the anime even more, with a greater care for the details.

Time stands still

The story mixes up the exact amounts of action, drama, and comic relief.  Along with some great laughs, it also made us shed a few tears. This anime may appear light and trivial at moments, but it does have a lesson to teach us. Instead of making mistakes and thinking we can always just fix things later, it pushes forward the value of time and memory. It makes us want to seize the days with more passion and make the best of them.

The ending of the season was very satisfying. They managed to close every arc that had been opened, without rushing things nor leaving loose knots. But they also made clear that Victor’s tale is not over, and we can’t wait to see what awaits him in the second season. While that is not possible, we recommend that you check this first one. All 13 episodes are available for streaming on Crunchy Roll.

 

Have you watched CHRONOS RULER? What did you think of it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! And be careful with what you wish!

 

Andressa & Polona

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Rin Okomura, Satan's Son
InterestsSpecial Features

Speaking Of The Devil: Demons In Japanese Culture And Anime

Andressa Andrade

If you, like me, come from a religious family, you probably had a hard time explaining to your relatives that there’s nothing “evil” about anime. It’s difficult to get them to believe it when many shows have demons as characters. Not to mention the likes of Mr. Satan, who are really difficult to explain.

People often fail to understand that Japanese culture has a completely different view of devils and demons. In Western culture, those creatures are always linked to evil and nefarious actions. In Japan, that’s not the case.

Religion in Japan

It’s impossible to talk about demons without mentioning religion. After all, it is often religious beliefs that create demons in the first place.

The first religious tradition to be established in Japan was Shintoism. It is the faith of the Japanese indigenous people, so it is as old as the country itself. Until this day, Shintoism remains the largest religion in Japan, alongside with Buddhism.

It’s important to notice that in Shinto, there are not absolute values of “good” and “evil”, “right” and “wrong”. That means that things are not as “extreme” as they are in the biggest monotheist religions. There are evil spirits and good spirits. But there isn’t the one worst being (like Satan) and the one best being (like God). Shinto doesn’t even have major gods — each family has their own protecting gods (the kamis), which are often their dead ancestors.

Buddhism arrived in Japan in the 6th century, and after some initial conflicts established a harmonic relationship with Shintoism that lasts until this day. Most people in Japan consider themselves either Shinto or Buddhists or both.

Buddhism is often considered a philosophy system, instead of a religious one. It is based on the teachings of The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama of India. Like in Shintoism, good and evil are not extreme values. Buddhism doesn’t speak of gods and devils. It focuses on personal development and enlightenment.

Lucky Star characters during a traditional temple visit.

Christianity arrived in Japan much later, in the early 16th century. Even though Japanese authorities were initially tolerant with the Portuguese Jesuits, that changed later. The Christian missionaries were often intolerant with Shintoism and Buddhism and were involved in slavery issues. Because of that, Christianism was ruled out during the Tokugawa Shogunate and was only accepted back after the Meiji restoration in the early 20th century. Today, only 1% of the population consider themselves Christians.

As you can imagine, the influence of the Christian faith and its extreme views of God, angels, and devils is not very significant in the Japanese culture.

Not all demons are the same: oni X bakemono X yokai

While in English we have only a couple of words to refer to demons and devils, in Japanese, things are not as simple. There are at least three different words worth mentioning here, all of which you’ll remember to have heard in anime.

The oni are more like our “demons”. They are mostly evil. At the very least, they are mischievous and like to create trouble.

The word bakemono is usually better translated as “monster”. The word has a negative conception around it, so it’s usually assumed to refer to an evil, scary being. But that’s sometimes not the case. As it is in English, creatures referred to as “monsters” can be actually good or funny or even cute.

The yokai are the hardest category to explain. The word originated from Japanese paintings known as jigoku-e, which portrayed hell and its creatures.

An youkai - a demon from the 12th century
This picture is from the 12th century and shows a youkai that resembles an insect.

In spite of being originally hellish creatures, the yokai are not always bad. The one shown above, for example, is Shinchu, the Divine Insect that eats evil onis, keeping them away. He’s actually a good guy, at least for us.

This broader view of demons ultimately creates a culture where any creature that’s not human but shows characteristics or actions that are human-like can be considered a “demon”. In other words, in the eyes of Japanese people, Mickey Mouse could be considered a “demon”. Even the adorable Pokémon are demons for them. And they love Pikachu.

Pikachu is definitely a cute demon

Demons in anime

It is not a surprise, then, that we see dubbed and subbed anime that mention “demons”, “devils” and “demonic” things all the time. It’s important to understand that those words are not nearly as “heavy” for the Japanese people as they sound to our Western ears.

So otakus are more than used to seeing demons around. Sometimes we hate them, sometimes we love them, and sometimes we even root for them.

 

A demon from anime One Punch Man
One of the demons Saitama faced in One Punch Man.

 

Evil demons

These are the demons that behave just like you’d expect a demon to behave. They kill people, destroy things, and often don’t seem to have any emotion at all. They are your typical antagonist and sometimes don’t even have names. We just know that they are bad and we want them destroyed. Quickly. Better call One Punch Man!

Good demons

Demons Elsie and Haqua from 'The World God Only Knows'
Devils Elsie and Haqua from ‘The World God Only Knows’

There are times when demons are on our side and we want to see them winning. A great example of this is the anime The World God Only Knows. In it, “Old Hell” gives way to the “New Hell”, which is full of good devils who work day and night to keep the old evil spirits away from the human hearts. Not only these new devils are good beings, but they also look like cute human girls. What’s there not to love?

 

 

 

Happy, a kawaii demon from Fairy Tail.
Happy from Fairy Tail.

Cute demons

I have already mentioned Pokémon. But animes are full of other cute “demons”. We have Digimon, Doraemon, several other “mons”… And also characters such as Happy from Fairy Tail, Kon from Bleach, Mokona from XxxHolic (and other CLAMP anime), and Kero from Sakura Card Captors. They are extremely kawaii, yet still “demons”. Even if they don’t call them that in the show.

 

Silly demons

Koro-sensei: a not so silly demon.
Koro-sensei: a not so silly demon.

Koro-sensei is one of the funniest anime characters there are. With his octopus appearance and his plans to blow up Earth, he could definitely be considered a demon by Japanese standards. And even though we know that he is not really that silly, we must admit that he acts like that a lot of the time. And he’s only one of the silly, comical demons we have in anime.

 

 

Ryuuk, one of the demons from 'Death Note'

Ambiguous demons

The Shinigami from Death Note are “death gods” but they definitely have a devilish look. And the question of whether they are good or evil is difficult to answer. Ryuuk seems to only want to have fun, while Remu might be “good”, depending on your point of view. In fact, everything depends on whether you believe what Kira does is good or not. As in the whole anime, the character of these demonic creatures is ambiguous and subject to discussion.

Another example of ambiguous demons are the bijuu in Naruto. They have killed a lot of people and destroyed whole villages. But they also give immense power to whoever controls them and often protect their jiinchuuriki. They have feelings of their own, and you can argue and come to a consensus with them. Are they really that monstrous, after all?

 

What is your favorite anime demon? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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