|This article contains HEAVY spoilers. Please view at your own risk.
Taiga Aisaka (逢坂 大河, Aisaka Taiga) 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."
- 1 Appearance
- 2 Personality
- 3 Background
- 4 Plot
- 5 Non in-universe appearances
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Quotes
- 8 Etymology
- 9 Trivia
- 10 References
Even though Taiga is a teenager, her very short height makes her look like a younger child. Ami frequently teases her about this.  Taiga has long, curly light brown hair (inherited from her mother) that falls past her waist in waves, with large, dark amber eyes which are inherited from her father. She is "flat-chested" and is very ashamed about it, but often she makes up for this fact by her typically constant glare or menacing words. She was also describe as insanely beautiful, by others.
Taiga is usually seen wearing the school uniform, or long dresses, when outside. She wears long coats on top of dresses and is seen wearing a pair of stockings under long coats. She is a very well-dressed girl, coming from a rich family, and even her pajamas are elegant.
Taiga's personality at the start of the series earns her the nickname "Palmtop Tiger". She easily gets upset over small things, especially her underdeveloped stature for a girl of her age, and reacts aggressively to people, except her only friend at the time, Minori Kushieda, and her crush, Yusaku Kitamura. Taiga is also very klutzy, a trait that others notice and she herself admits. In fact, it is her klutziness that leads her to attack Ryuuji Takasu twice, the second time in his own home which is next door to Taiga's. Initially, Yusaku takes advantage of Taiga's crush on him, to calm her down whenever she starts acting aggressively.
Due to her background, Taiga first appears unable to handle domestic chores, and initially relies on Ryuuji to do them for her. She also starts going to Ryuuji's apartment herself to have meals cooked by Ryuuji for her, but after her behavior softens, and in an attempt to get Ryuuji closer to Minori, Taiga stops going and begins to clean up after herself. She remains unable to cook anything besides basic rice balls, thus relying on takeout food in Ryuuji's absence.
When in competition with fellow classmates, especially Ami Kawashima, Taiga will often resort to underhand tactics to win. Taiga is a fan of mixed martial arts, and her suggestion of a valetudo brawl to win over Ryuuji was overlooked in favor of Ami's suggestion of a swimming race. Nevertheless, Taiga is able to fight in the professional wrestling show that her class stages during the cultural festival. Although Taiga is able to fight with her own hands, she sometimes carries a wooden sword with her. The second time she uses it in the anime, to fight Sumire Kano, she is handed a two-week suspension from school, after which her behavior changes for the better. By the end of the series, Taiga acknowledges her own struggles and is committed to her own relationship with Ryuuji.
Despite coming from a well-to-do family, her life with her family is very difficult because of various problems. Following her parent's divorce, she lived with her father for a time, but could not get along with his new wife. Eventually, she told her father that she wanted to move out, and her father's ready acceptance of this led Taiga to realize that he had chosen his new wife over Taiga and didn't want her there either. This led to her getting her own apartment, though her father still gives living expenses monthly.
Love Letter Arc
After Taiga accidentally gives Ryuuji Takasu an envelope that contained a love letter that was meant to be for Yusaku Kitamura, she breaks into his home in an attempt to reclaim the letter and to wipe out Ryuuji's memory of ever reading the letter. However, when Ryuuji tells her that the envelope was empty, she stops and collapses from exhaustion and hunger.
After feeding Taiga, Ryuuji shows Taiga his collection of love letters, music, and other ideas of how his first date is going to be like but since he can't manage to let his feelings out he can only simulate what he's going to do. Upon reading one of his love letters in one of his notebooks, Taiga realizes that Ryuuji has a crush on Minori Kushieda (Taiga's best friend). After noticing how late it was, Ryuuji made a promise to Taiga that he would help her win Yusaku's heart if she left right at that moment so they could both have enough sleep for school in the morning.
Ryuuji and Taiga's Plan Arc
During basketball shooting practice, Taiga and Ryuuji Takasu plan to knock out Yusaku Kitamura's partner with a basketball so that Taiga can be Yusaku's partner. However, Taiga ends up being knocked out instead. She tries to make cookies, planning to give them to Yusaku; unfortunately, she falls off the stairs, throwing them out of the window in the process. Ryuuji breaks her fall, and Taiga calls herself clumsy and feels depressed. Ryuuji eats her cookies and says they are great (despite tasting horrible) and encourages her to try making cookies again. Since Ryuuji and Taiga are often together, a misunderstanding begins among their classmates that Ryuuji and Taiga are going out. This causes Taiga to rage and wreak havoc in the classroom. Taiga sets the record straight the next day, and confesses her love to Yusaku. However, he wants only to continue being friends.
Meeting Ami Arc
After accidentally spilling Ryuuji Takasu's drink on herself, Ryuuji offers to clean her dress if they go to the restaurant where Minori Kushieda works. However, when they get there they find out that today was Minori's day off. As they are looking at fashion magazines, Taiga notices that a girl coming into the restaurant is pictured in the magazine, a model named Ami Kawashima. To their surprise, Yusaku Kitamura is also there with her and tells them that they are childhood friends and she has come to visit for a while. Ami seems innocent, kind, polite, and a self-proclaimed airhead; but Taiga learns she only acts that way to get what she wants. Ami begins taunting Taiga to the point that Taiga slaps her. Seeing Yusaku and Ryuuji coming she starts crying. Yusaku apologizes for what happens and takes Ami home. The next day they find out that Ami will be in their school, even in their very class.
With Taiga's habit of referring to different people disparagingly as dogs, Ami soon earns the nickname "Stupid Chihuahua" ('baka-chi').
Christmas Party Arc
After Ryuuji Takasu tells Taiga that his relationship with Minori Kushieda has not progressed, Taiga declares the need to play Cupid for him, since she wants to be good for Santa. The next morning at school, Yusaku Kitamura announces that the student council will organize a Christmas Eve party to boost romantic feelings among students. Taiga and Ryuuji ask Minori to go to the party with them, but she vehemently declines. This causes Taiga and Ryuuji to worry about Minori.
As Christmas approaches, the whole class helps in preparing for the Christmas party, including setting up a large artificial Christmas tree. Taiga contributes a heavy glass star for the top, which she says is her most valuable Christmas ornament. Everyone is pleased with their efforts and awed by the sight of the tree lit up. However, a stray softball crashes through the gym window and knocks over the tree, smashing the star. The baseball club apologizes and Minori blames herself for losing control of the ball. She leaves, still declining Ryuuji's offer of going to the party as she feels she would not be welcome after the accident. Despite hearing that, Ryuuji promises her that he will wait for her.
On the night of the party, Taiga brings over a suit for Ryuuji to wear while he still attempts to convince Minori to come. The party begins with a special Christmas song performed by Ami and Taiga. Following the song, Taiga leaves the party to go home in order to wait for Santa Claus, stopping by Minori's house on the way to convince her to attend the party. Ryuuji goes to Taiga's apartment dressed up as a 'Bear Santa Claus', cheering her up so that she realizes she is not alone. Afterward, she tells Ryuuji to go back and wait for Minori and after some resistance-- for apparently he would rather spend the evening with Taiga-- he leaves. Taiga begins crying uncontrollably, thinking that with Ryuuji together with Minori, Ryuuji and herself can no longer be such close friends. Taiga rushes after Ryuuji, calling for him, but he is already gone. Minori, who was heading to the party, witnesses this.
Ski Trip Arc
The school is supposed to have a field trip in Okinawa, but the hotel where they were going to stay burned down. As a result, the trip is reorganized at a ski resort. Ryuuji Takasu blames himself for this because earlier he had wished everything would burn just to make his worries disappear. One night, Ryuuji, Yusaku Kitamura, Kōji Haruta and Hisamitsu Noto go to the girls' room to check on them but find the girls are not there. When they hear the door opening, they all dive into the closet to hide. After finding out that it was Taiga who came in, they snatch her into the closet before the other girls come in.
From the closet, all four boys and Taiga overhear an argument between Minori Kushieda and Ami Kawashima about Minori rejecting Ryuuji. The next day, Ami tries to apologize to Ryuuji about what happened last night (unaware that Ryuuji heard everything). Then, Minori and Taiga, in a sled, accidentally hit Ami; as Minori and Ami fight over the blame for it, Minori's hair clip goes flying. Taiga leaves to search for it and when the fight has been broken up the others realize she is missing. Ryuuji, Yusaku and Minori decide to find her themselves. A snowstorm has begun but near the place where the fight took place Minori discovers an opening in the fence. Ryuuji descends the hill to look for her, spying the hair clip sparkling in one of the trees. Not far below he discovers Taiga lying inert in the snow with a head wound. As he carries her back uphill, Taiga mumbles that she wants Ryuuji and Minori to be together but admits she cannot stop loving Ryuuji. Ryuuji realizes she believes Yusaku is carrying her; and once Taiga recovers he makes Yusaku promise to deny the truth and, to spare Taiga the embarrassment, to allow her to believe Yusaku had indeed been the one to save her.
Yasuko Takasu (Ryuuji's mother) collapses from exhaustion while working a second job at a bakery. To help Yasuko, Taiga agrees to take her shift at the bakery, with Ryuuji agreeing to work there as well. Taiga and Ryuuji were selling chocolates for the bakery for Valentine's Day. Taiga gets the idea to call Ami to the bakery and have her help sales by providing testimonials how much she loves the chocolates there. Ami argues with her about it but eventually takes the box of chocolates and advertises how much she and her model friends love the chocolates. Taiga and Ryuuji meet their quota and Taiga buys the rest of the chocolates.
Valentine's Day Arc
As Valentine's Day approaches, Taiga decides to make everyone some chocolate as thanks for the things they have done for her. However, when Minori Kushieda notices that she believes Yusaku Kitamura rescued her from the ski trip instead of Ryuuji Takasu, she becomes angry. Minori confronts her, with Ami Kawashima and Yusaku blocking the exits, trying to get her to show her true feelings. After violently denying the likelihood that Minori is telling her the truth, Taiga admits she only wanted Minori to be happy, in which Minori tells her that happiness is something only she can decide for herself. Taiga runs off and Minori decides to go after her, asking Ryuuji if he will go after her too.
On her way out of the building, Taiga hears Minori shouting that she has always liked Ryuuji but she held back because she felt Taiga's friendship with him was based on a stronger emotional need. She also says that she has to obtain her own happiness as well. Later, at work, she finds Ryuuji is waiting for her and agrees to talk to him after the shift. However, after work, Yasuko Takasu (Ryuuji's mother) and Yuu Aisaka (Taiga's mother) confront their children and Ryuuji and Taiga, each seeing that their mothers are acting out of immature selfishness, decide to run away together. At a bridge, they stop to talk. After Taiga told Ryuuji that he has to live on, she accidentally pushes him into the river. Standing in the freezing water Ryuuji yells up to Taiga to admit his plan of running away and marrying her in two months. She also jumps into the river; but just as they agree to say 'I love you' to each other, Yusaku calls and asks them to meet at Ami's house. Minori, Ami and Yusaku do not agree with their plans but decide to support them. Minori and Yusaku lend them some cash and Ami lends them the key to her family's chalet.
Ryuuji and Taiga pack for a long trip; but when Ryuuji spies Yasuko's note he realizes she had run away, like a child, and he convinces Taiga that they should visit his grandparents. Taiga leaves a dramatic message on Yasuko's phone, tricking her into believing Ryuuji is in danger, and Yasuko shows up at her parents' door for the first time in ten years. Taiga is impressed to see Ryuuji's family so swiftly healed.
When she arrives back at her apartment and hears her mother's emotional voicemail messages, Taiga decides to break the promise to Ryuuji and to change her ways, preferring to mend the breach with her own mother rather than to go on fleeing and avoiding all her problems. She leaves Ryuuji a note on the table, sends him two text messages reminding him that he never did state 'I love you' to her while following it up with 'stupid', and disappears from school, but she sends everyone a mail with a picture of the night sky and a single star, representing Minori's belief that one's future belongs entirely to one's self. Minori feels that this is supposed to encourage them to do their best. Everyone gets together to send a group picture to her with the artificial star that she left for the Christmas Eve party.
Graduation Day Arc
A year later on Ryuuji Takasu's graduation day, he spies Taiga in the windows of the homeroom classroom they shared and runs upstairs to discover her hiding in a cupboard, dressed in her new school's uniform. She claims she had wanted to surprise him. He admits she appears taller-- probably because he had not seen her in more than a year. She replies she has not grown even a single millimeter. Finally, he says the three words 'I love you' to her, without the slightest hesitation. But, true to character, she claims that he has terrible timing and should've picked a better place to say "such embarrassing things", giving him a headbutt that sends him flying to the floor.
Ryuuji is 18 by this time so one can assume he will endeavor to fulfill his promise to marry and support her.
This section appears in the anime during the last half of the credit sequence; it's easily missed if one tunes out at the start of the end title.
Non in-universe appearances
- Taiga, along with Minori Kushieda and Ami Kawashima briefly appear in episode 8, when they are featured as potential candidates for Chūtarō Nezumi to marry, but are immediately rejected. They are also shown with the girls from A Certain Scientific Railgun as all three series share the same light novel publisher, Dengeki Bunko.
- Taiga makes a brief appearance in a montage during the fifth episode, saying "You stupid dog!" when Takasago Tomoe discusses heroines to inspire Eromanga Sensei. The montage also features Shana from Shakugan no Shana as both Shana and Taiga share the same Japanese voice actress, the light novel covers for Shakugan no Shana and Toradora are featured in the Eromanga-Sensei anime and all three series share the same light novel publisher, Dengeki Bunko.
- Taiga appears in episode 20 as a figurine that fights with Holo from Spice & Wolf during the explanation of the origins of the Yellow Scarves.
- In episode 25, Erika Karisawa mentions that Taiga and Ryuuji Takasu are the best couple.
The story alludes to its title, Toradora!, by mainly focusing on Taiga's interactions with Ryuuji, the "Dragon" to Taiga's "Tiger", and how they develop into a full-fledged relationship. Both characters were known among students due to their quirks - Ryuuji due to his face, and Taiga due to her behavior. They first bump into each other at a corridor at school. Taiga responds by flooring Ryuuji with a punch and walking away. After a misunderstanding later in the day which involved Taiga sneaking an empty love letter into the wrong bag, she and Ryuuji discover each other's crushes. In an attempt to get Taiga to return home, Ryuuji promises to "do anything" to get Taiga closer to her crush, which begins a one-sided association where Taiga treats Ryuuji like a slave and calls him a dog. Eventually, their entire class suspects that Ryuuji and Taiga are going out together, including their own crushes, Minori Kushieda and Yusaku Kitamura. Taiga decides to dispel those rumors by confessing to Yusaku when she gets the chance. When that fails, Ryuuji starts calling Taiga by her first name in order to continue helping her.
Taiga's reaction to Ami Kawashima making contact with Ryuuji while the two were on their way home, which involved her throwing a bin at Ami, is the first sign of her falling for Ryuuji. This becomes more apparent during the swimming race with Ami - during the race, Ryuuji had come to Taiga's rescue after she suffered a leg cramp while swimming. After letting her continue swimming, several boys are pushed into the pool and fall on Ryuuji, causing him to drown, but Taiga saves him, berates the others for not paying attention, and screams that Ryuuji belongs to her, although afterwards, she clarifies to Ami that Ryuuji is her dog. During their stay at Ami's beach house, Taiga admits to Ryuuji that the dream she had of being married to him wasn't as bad as it seemed.
Eventually, Taiga is no longer bothered about rumors of her and Ryuuji being together. It becomes public knowledge to the rest of the school, such that when Taiga picks a fight with Sumire Kano, the first person that Sumire's class looks towards to restrain Taiga is Ryuuji himself. After returning from suspension, Taiga changes her own behavior in order to get a visit from Santa Claus during Christmas, and thus becomes more proactive in getting Ryuuji closer towards Minori. After performing for the Christmas party with Ami, Taiga goes to visit Minori to convince her to attend the Christmas party so that Ryuuji can confess to her. She then waits at her own apartment for Santa Claus, who shows up in a bear costume and hugs Taiga. Though she is at her happiest, Taiga is quick to figure out that Ryuuji is wearing the costume, and tells him that Minori is on her way to the Christmas party. After seeing off Ryuuji, Taiga notices the scarf that he left behind, and realizes her own feelings for Ryuuji before leaving her own apartment, barefoot, out into the night calling for Ryuuji in a state of frenzy that leaves her in tears. Minori notices this, so when she finally sees Ryuuji, she rejects him in the most ambiguous way possible.
Despite the setback and her own feelings, Taiga does not give up. She stops visiting Ryuuji's apartment, and starts cleaning up after herself in her own apartment, in order to keep him focused on getting closer to Minori. However, after being rescued at the ski resort by Ryuuji, Taiga subconsciously voices her feelings again in a delirious confession to Yusaku. Ryuuji assures Taiga that Yusaku saved her and what she said was in her dreams, but after Taiga mentions the dream to Yusaku, Minori is aghast that Ryuuji lied, and after confessing her own feelings, eventually lets Taiga have Ryuuji.
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 to each other in their all-or-nothing states, but are interrupted by Ryuuji's phone ringing. After temporarily refuging at Ami's home, they elope. Ryuuji decides to take Taiga to his grandparents' place first, where he introduces Taiga as his wife, to which Taiga blushes. Taiga then lures Yasuko Takasu to her parents' place by informing her that Ryuuji had an accident. After seeing how Ryuuji's mother made up with her parents, Taiga decides to do the same with hers, so that she'll accept who she is in order to love Ryuuji.
It is established early in the series that Taiga has a crush on Yusaku. Her attempt to sneak a love letter into Yusaku's bag, only for the envelope to end up in Ryuuji's bag without the contents of the letter, starts the main plot of the series, where Ryuuji would help her get closer to Yusaku. Taiga quickly makes the decision to approach Yusaku and confess to him upfront, only to botch her confession by referring to Ryuuji several times, which makes Yusaku think that Taiga only wants to be friends with him.
Taiga's other attempts to get closer to Yusaku include taking pictures of him, only for said pictures to turn out blurry as her hands shake when she sees him. Ryuuji eventually notices how awkward Taiga acts around Yusaku, and Taiga eventually admits that she had turned Yusaku down a year ago, but developed feelings for him since. At Ami's beach house, Ryuuji finally gets Taiga to spend time with Yusaku, by having him treat her stomach ache. After the cultural festival, Yusaku gets to dance with Taiga. But when Yusaku breaks character and bleaches his hair in an attempt to avoid his student council duties, Taiga admits she couldn't cheer him up the way Yusaku was able to with her, and cries over this. After encouragement from Ryuuji, Taiga herself runs for the student council presidency in order to motivate Yusaku to return.
After getting a suspension for attacking Sumire, Taiga lets go of Yusaku and focuses on getting Ryuuji with Minori. On her first day back, Yusaku appears in front of Taiga in "full prostration" and pleads for Taiga not to pick another fight over him.
It is quickly established in the series that Minori and Taiga are best friends that care for each other dearly, as Minori has never been the target of Taiga's violent outbursts during the series. They also call each other by first-name basis. There are times when even Minori herself admits that she falls for Taiga.
When Minori first notices the amount of time Taiga has been spending with Ryuuji, she brings them to the school rooftop, and then pleads for Ryuuji to take excellent care of Taiga. However, Minori isn't aware of Taiga's attempts to get her closer to Ryuuji until the third-from-last episode. This is the only time she gets confrontational with Taiga. She resolves this by finally letting go of her own feelings for Ryuuji. After seeing off Ryuuji and Taiga on their plan to elope together, Minori breaks down and cries.
After Taiga transfers out of Ohashi High School, Minori initially appears to be deeply hurt by the news, to the point where she slaps Ryuuji and blames him for letting Taiga go. However, when Taiga gets back in touch by sending a picture of the night sky to Class 2-C, Minori was the first to realize the significance of said picture, which reaffirms her friendship with Taiga.
Taiga was hostile towards Ami since their first encounter at the restaurant, when Ami picked on Taiga's height. After transferring into Class 2-C, Ami encountered Taiga again, alone, and made her believe that Yusaku no longer liked her after what happened at the restaurant. They would then compete for Ryuuji's affections by having a swimming race, which Ami "won" because Taiga went back to save Ryuuji from drowning in the pool. Even after returning from the former's beach house, Ami and Taiga continue to be hostile towards each other for different reasons. However, after Taiga returns from her suspension in time for Christmas and changes her own behavior for the better, the hostility all but disappears - Taiga expresses her gratitude when Ami brings the unassembled Christmas tree to school for them to assemble, and then, during the Christmas party, joins her on stage to perform a Christmas song.
Taiga usually calls Ami "baka-chi" ("dumb chihuahua" in the dub), initially as an insult, but it eventually morphs into an affectionate nickname.
- "It's alright, I can stand up again all by myself. Even if I'm all alone, I will survive."
- "Shut up, you mongrel."
- "The thing you wish for the most, is something you'll never get."
- "It's not about being right or wrong. There are more important things than that. That's why apologies and forgiveness become necessary."
- "A dog's happiness is measured by how useful he is to his master."
- "How can I know what I want to do later when I don't even know what I want to do right now?"
- "You're just a coward! You're just afraid you'll hurt others or you'll get hurt!"
- "Having someone saying you're okay as you are and being needed by that person.. It was nice to have someone like that.."
- "Why doesn't anyone understand us? Even when we're so troubled, why doesn't anyone support us?"
- "That star... It's hidden and lonely... Just like me."
- "I hate waiting, but if waiting means being able to be with you, I'll wait as long as forever."
- "That’s why people hesitate. In front of all the choices, one could lose hope and try to run away, because no excuse could be used. No matter how dangerous the long journey in life was, or how one admits to being dealt the short end of the stick, everything was the result of one’s own choices, it was a road chosen by oneself. Even if this path is hard, and there’s no chance of changing past choices, one cannot place the blame on other people. No matter how angry or frustrated one was, one would be alone on that path, for no one to replace you."
- "I won't be able to... Stay by Ryuuji's side anymore... I won't be able to walk by his side... The one beside Ryuuji... Won't be me... I don't... Want that..."
- The name Taiga means "big, great" (大) and "river, stream" (河) (ka/ga).
- Taiga is the Japanese pronunciation of the English word "tiger", but the kanji in her given name means "large river" which is ironic given to her short structure.
- Taiga's surname Aisaka means "meet, greet, tryst, date, rendezvous" (逢) (ai) and "slope" (坂) (saka).
- Her married name Takasu means "tall, high" (高) (taka) and "ought, by all means, necessarily" (須) (su).
- 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.
- 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 noodles 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 appears as a boss in the Nippon Ichi game 'zettai hero project'. After defeating her, one gets a costume to dress exactly like her.
- During Taiga's ending on the PSP, she marries Ryuuji (which now makes her Taiga Takasu) and becomes pregnant with triplets, in which this ending is also how presumably it would've gone in the anime.
- 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.
|Ryuuji Takasu • Taiga Aisaka • Minori Kushieda • Yusaku Kitamura • Ami Kawashima|
|Inko • Yasuko Takasu • Sumire Kano • Maya Kihara • Nanako Kashii • Yuri Koigakubo • Koji Haruta • Hisamitsu Noto • Sakura Kano • Kota Tomiie|