Anime localization has been mostly hit and miss in North America and while mainstream titles like Naruto and Bleach enjoy the limelight, lesser known titles remain to be aired in Japan only or simply pirated by fans worldwide. NIS America's localization initiative is a start to bringing these titles to the west with Toradora! being one of the first to see release.
We last took a look at the first volume of the Toradora! Premium Box Set in July, which is now available at select retailers and via the NIS America Store for USD$47.99, and what it offered in terms of value and quality. The video suffered slightly, but NIS America was prompt to fix the issue. As a whole, the packaging, exclusive content, delivery and price was incentive enough to pick up a copy, especially when compared to importing anime titles - which usually begets a black hole in your wallet.
As a reminder, Toradora! is a pretty big rom-com and perfect for those that love good character development, love triangles, drama and let's not forget a good laugh thrown in the mix. It features the likes of famous voice actors Rie Kugimiya and Yui Horie, most well known for their roles as Alphonse Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist and Naru Narusegawa in Love Hina, respectively.
The story revolves around Ryuji and Taiga as they help each other get together with their crushes while figuring out their own feelings. The drama continues after the climax of episode 13 and reaches an even higher point by the end of the series. Here's a quick intro to volume 2,
The high school romantic comedy continues as Ryuji and Taiga slowly begin to understand their feelings not just towards their crushes, but what they mean to one another. After the Culture Festival comes to a close, Kitamura begins to display a rebellious attitude for some reason. To bring him around, Ryuji tells Taiga to run for Student Council President. Christmas pageants, complete with a beautiful song, come and go. During a school trip to a ski resort, Ryuji will learn the truth about Taiga's heart. What will he do with this knowledge? The tiger and dragon stand together, but are they strong enough to face the obstacles life will throw at them?
Much like the first one, volume 2 of the Toradora! Premium Box set comes packed in a hard-box retainer containing both super slim DVD boxes and a hardcover art book. An episode guide, plenty of artworks as well as exclusive interviews with the cast make up the art book, which is a nice collector's incentive.
The quality of the video is much like any standard DVD release. Unfortunately, for fans of English voice overs, there are no dubs in this release. Only the original Japanese audio track with English subtitles, which is also a blessing for those of the pro-original Japanese language camp. The drama of the series is well performed by Kugimiya, Horie and the rest of the cast. It may even bring rom-com fans to tears. I know I shed a few manly ones.
The series could do with a high definition Bluray release like recent titles including Canaan and Black Rock Shooter. But for $47,99, the Premium Box sets offered by NIS America are a hard collection to ignore. The addition of the exclusive art book, character analysis and interviews are incentive enough. Fans of romantic comedies definitely won't want to miss out on this series either. Moreover, if you're just getting into anime, Toradora! is a good and easy one to start with. Not only are the characters loveable, but you may be able to relate to them as well. At the very least, you'll end up caring for each and every one of them.
The Toradora! Premium Box Sets are readily available at the NIS America Store alongside other anime releases including PERSONA Trinity Soul and the most recently released Pandora Hearts.