Taiga Aisaka is the main female protagonist of the Toradora! series. Due to her often snapping at others in brutal ways and her short stature, she is given the nickname "Palmtop Tiger". Essentially, Taiga is meant to be a deconstruction of the tsundere, showing rapid mood swings, being emotionally unstable, and making poor decisions based solely on emotions.
Why She Is A True Tiger
- Taiga is one of the most well-written and iconic tsunderes in anime, and her characterization helped revitalize the romance genre.
- Compared to most tsundere characters in media, Taiga has the most in terms of depth and backstory.
- She may be fierce, sarcastic, and smart-mouthed, has an aggressive attitude and socially awkward, but she is warm-hearted, adorable, and someone the audience can relate to. Having her own individuality.
- Even with her tendencies to figuratively bite back, Taiga's not very good with socializing when she's not with Minori, and majority of the time she's a klutz, which means she's sometimes a clumsy introvert.
- Her design itself is very small, cute and is as huggable as a cub.
- Since Toradora! mainly focused on Taiga's interactions with Ryuuji, the "Dragon" to Taiga's "Tiger", and how they view each other as equals, the fact that they are honest with each other about who they are and deal with each others' insecurities and flaws allow them to form a deep bond. And how subtle it fleshed out and developed as lovers throughout the series:
- Both have a reputation for the wrong reasons amongst other classmates in school, considering Ryuuji has an appearance of a delinquent, while Taiga is only known for having the title as the "Palmtop Tiger", a name that she always hated.
- Ryuuji always hated how he had the looks of his father who left him, and Taiga has a strained relationship with her parents.
- After finding out that the love letter was a misunderstanding, she and Ryuuji discover each other's crushes. Taiga and Ryuuji will help each other get their crushes together, whilst not knowing that the two would eventually fall in love with each other.
- The major irony is that both originally plan to pair up with their respective love interests (Ryuuji for Minori, and Taiga for Kitamura) only for their supposed love interests to pair up the main two leads up in the end.
- During the time after being rescued at the ski resort by Ryuuji, Taiga subconsciously said her feelings out loud again in a delirious confession to Kitamura. Ryuuji assures Taiga that Kitamura saved her and that what she said was in her dreams, but after Taiga mentions the dream to Kitamura, Minori is angered that Ryuuji lied, and after confessing her feelings, eventually lets Taiga have Ryuuji.
- Both Taiga and Ryuuji are oblivious to each other's feelings, while everyone around them already knew that they are a couple.
- After Ryuuji and Taiga find themselves in the same situation, confronted by their mothers who disagree with the life choices they've made, they run to a bridge and are prepared to confess, Ryuujji concluded that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Taiga.
- Character development: She started as a fierce, mostly quick to anger, but a socially awkward and a very clumsy loner who'd rather be alone than be a burden to others, lives in a messy apartment and mostly relies on Ryuuji, and Taiga has now changed to being responsible and a much kinder person who now has friends to look after, and interact. Taiga wouldn't be mature and responsible by the end of the series if Ryuuji didn't bump into her on the first day of school.
- Each time she and Ryuuji are on screen, it shows that the chemistry between them is sweet and genuine.
- Her name alone is very iconic. Being named after one of the most ferocious animals is what made Taiga live to that title.
- Since she's voiced by the famous Rie Kagamiya (Shana from Shakugan no Shana, Juuzo Suzuya from Tokyo Ghoul, Formidable from Azur Lane, Kiana Kaslana/Herrscher of the Void/Unknown God from Honkai Impact 3rd/Genshin Impact), her performance has brought life, character, and personality to Taiga.
- Same would go as well for Cassandra Lee Morris, who had voiced Suguha/Leafa from Sword Art Online, Nero Claudius from Fate Extra/Lost Encore, Ritsu Tainaka from K-On!, and Morgana from Persona 5. As boyish as she sounds, it matches her attitude and personality.
- Taiga is extremely loyal too, as she is willing to sacrifice her dignity and fight tooth and nail to protect her loved ones.
- Saved Ryuuji from drowning in the pool at the cost of her victory against Ami.
- Picking a fight with Sumire for humiliating Kitamura on stage and not acknowledging his feelings.
- Going after Minori's hair clip (since it was a gift from Ryuuji) from the bottom of the cliff in the middle of a heavy snowstorm.
- Even at that moment she donated children at the orphanage toys for Christmas.
- Helped Ryuuji come to his senses that it was never his fault that his mom fell ill from being overworked, and having the two temporarily take her place in selling chocolates.
- What made Taiga's character stand out is her development and growth, her relationships with other characters, her opening up to other people other than Minori, managing to cope with her problems with the help of her friends, improving herself, and controlling her hostility in school, even if she was raised poorly by her parents.
- Similarly to Ellie from The Last of Us, Taiga's development is like how a real kid learning the good nature of the world and the people around her and escaping the harsh nature of her family's history.
- She may not have decent swordsmanship, but she's able to pack a punch. Upon acknowledging that Taiga wasn't called Tiger for nothing!
- The entire Christmas arc was heartwarming just seeing Taiga being so happy and content for once, that she got to spend time with Ryuuji who was dressing up as Santa Claus was also one of the most emotional scenes in the show. She was already aware that Ryuuji was in a Santa outfit, but she didn't mind. Her quote: "It doesn't matter if you grew up without parents, and it doesn't matter if you don't believe in God. There's someone out there watching over you." proves that she's strong enough to handle reality.
- While both Taiga and Ryuuji have their differences, her feelings and relationship with Ryuuji begin to change as she spends more time with him throughout the series. Eventually, he and Taiga become a couple and they got married (which now makes her Taiga Takasu) so in that way, they can both be adults.
- More... (Mou ichido...)
- The lovely angel of romance, Taiga, will lend you her aid.
- It doesn’t matter if you grew up without parents, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in God. There’s someone out there watching over you.
- Her kiss with Ryuuji became the best scene in the show, if not, the best kisses in anime.
The Only Bad Quality
- Her uncontrollable anger in the beginning can sometimes make her a difficult person to get along. Although it is understandable as it is a result that she was a victim of negligence all her life and a basic foundation for Taiga's character to grow into what she is now.
- Also, the part where Taiga decides to stop running from her problems by returning home to reconcile with her mother and step-family and make her worthy for Ryūji confuses many fans as that choice of hers felt rushed and out of nowhere, as she leaves without bothering to tell Ryuji, that she transfers out of the high school, and the fact that she is not seen again until the last few minutes of the show. When she finally reunites with Ryuuji, she headbutts him by accident and embarrassment because he said he loved her.
- Toradora!'s author Yuyuko Takemiya wrote Taiga's character is because she liked short-statured tsunderes.
- Taiga's name is the Japanese pronunciation of the English word tiger, the kanji in her given name means "large river" which is ironic given to her short structure.
- Taiga bears a strong resemblance to Louise Francoise le Blanc de la Valliere (of Zero no Tsukaima) in both appearance and attitude. Both also nickname their male partners (Ryuuji Takasu and Saito Hiraga) 'dog'. They also have the same seiyuu. She also resembles Shana (from Shakugan No Shana) and she has a somewhat similar attitude to Aria in Aria The Scarlet Ammo. All girls share the same voice actress, Rie Kagamiya.
- When Taiga is in angry, she often shouts a call that sounds like 'ora' but she rolls her 'r' so it resembles a tiger's growl (ora means "come on").
- Taiga appears to be very proficient with a katana and exhibits evidence of having had advanced training in kendou. One must assume this has been from private lessons in the past or else from paying attention in PE class; but it is never explained in the story.
- Taiga rarely eats anything healthy until Ryuuji begins to cook for her. Despite her well-endowed trust fund, she cannot cook and has subsisted on convenience-store food and rice for about two years beforehand.
- Taiga admits that she has always loved Christmas and has been helping the sisters at her old Catholic school by sending presents to the orphans marked 'From Santa Claus'.
- Taiga hates her figure as it appears in a swimsuit.
- Taiga does not know how to swim.
- Taiga hides a lot of scars on her knees with her long socks (revealed at chapter 6 when Ryuuji tried to clean Taiga's wound).
- Taiga is a playable character in the 2D arcade fighting game, Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax. Along with Ryuuji Takasu as a support character.
- Her birthday is on July 27.
- Taiga does share the same similarities with Ellie from the The Last of Us:
- Both have attitudes and demeanors to present themselves as tough, but at the same time, they're both loyal and kind hearted.
- Both have brown hair.
- Both have determinations to survive.
- Both have acquaintances that later turned into their allies (Ryuuji becoming Taiga's boyfriend and future wife, and Joel becoming Ellie's foster father).
- The Taiga/Ryuuji and Joel/Ellie duo can sometimes feel like a father and daughter relationship.
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