I think this is the first title I’ve tried from Seven Seas. Toradora is a cute but not very original shonen romantic comedy manga adapted from a light novel series. Ryuuji is a marshmallow on the inside, but he constantly seems to be glaring as his natural expression. As a result, his classmates all fear him as a fearsome juvenile delinquent. Ryuuji starts school making a horrible impression on his classmates yet again, although he has one male friend named Kitimura. Ryuuji also has a hopeless crush on one of the girls at school, a cute and outgoing girl named Minori. As with most protagonists who want a “normal high school life” Ryuuji’s dreams are shattered when he meets the “Palmtop Tiger,” a tiny, insane, ill-tempered girl named Taiga.
While the students quail in fear about the prospect of being glared at by Ryuuji, they dive out of the way to avoid encountering Taiga. An accidental encounter turns into a confrontation when Ryuuji discovers that Taiga accidentally let a love letter for Kitimura in his backpack. Taiga’s response to this accident is to break into Ryuuji’s apartment in the middle of the night and attack him with a wooden sword.
The unlikely duo agree to team up to help each other target their objects of affection. But Ryuuji’s plans to bring him closer to Minori and Taiga closer to Kitimura always seem to end in disaster. There’s plenty of slapstick action and exaggerated emotions in this manga. While the situation and plot in the manga is fairly typical, Ryuuji’s interior live and motivations are well-portrayed, probably because this was adapted from a novel. The art is well done, but not distinctive. It was a little odd but not unexpected in a shonen comedy that Ryuuji’s mother (who works as a bar hostess) seems to spend most of her time lounging around her house in lingerie. Overall, Toradora is a solid entry in the shonen comedy genre. Toradora is the type of manga I’d be happy to check out of the library, but it isn’t likely to make it into my regular reading rotation, especially when there’s genuinely absurd shoujo comedy like Oresama Teacher currently being published.