Here to rescue us from our blog hiatus blues is Alex of The Afictionado in another installment of My Favourite Anime. She introduces us to the dizzy, dramatic tangle of ToraDora! and gets us all nostalgic over finding that one perfect anime for our school years.
There’s a certain giddy rush you feel—partly validation, partly just reborn joy—when you rewatch something you loved when you were younger and discover that it’s actually still good.
I first watched ToraDora! approximately nine years ago, in a very different time of life, and something about its themes and characters was so emotionally resonant that it burrowed into my heart and has stayed there ever since. I recently rewatched it, and was a little relieved to see I hadn’t overhyped it in my memory—while it’s not a perfect show, it’s still poignant, funny and relatable, even though I’m no longer in high school myself.
In some ways watching while older made it more resonant, since I was able to look back with a degree of self-awareness I couldn’t the first time. And hey, you don’t just have one coming-of-age moment and then wake up as a fully functioning, emotionally sorted out adult—it’s a constant process, which explains the pulling power of a show like this. That, and the romantic comedy shenanigans, which are pretty damn great.
ToraDora! absolutely murdered the young adult love triangle for me. The usual format of ‘one girl caught between the affections of two boys’ looks entirely boring and uncomplicated compared to the tangle of emotions that ToraDora! ends up revolving around. It begins simply enough, with the protagonists finding out that they each have a crush on each other’s respective best friend and agreeing to help set each other up, but oh boy does it spiral.
There are zany schemes as characters attempt to play matchmaker, conniving rivalries, people hiding their true feelings, people falling in love with each other but out of sync so the opportunity is missed, and new love blooming in unexpected places to muddle the status quo. Add in some mistaken identity and perhaps some cross-dressing and this would be a love polygon comedy-drama of Shakespearean proportions.
And the balance of drama and comedy is perhaps where this show shines—it has the ability to be completely whacky and devolve into a delightful trope-fest of high school shenanigans, but it also gets quite dark and emotionally intense, and these two aspects manage to healthily co-exist. The story is one where you get to watch these kids grow, learn some hard truths, deal with a lot of complicated emotions and issues, and come to understand themselves and their place in the world a little better. The character development of the two leads and their slow-burn love story is immensely satisfying, and I’m glad I took the time to revisit this old favourite so it could scoop out my heart with a fork all over again.