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Old 2009-03-28, 03:43   Link #1
relentlessflame
 
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Toradora! Writers Challenge: Unraveling the Riddle

This is a new experiment -- I have no idea how this'll work out, but let's give it a shot.

Topic:
In the spirit of fostering more discussion on the symbolism in the show, and particularly in the last episode, I would like to pose this question:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Episode 1 Opening Narration/Episode 25 Closing Narration
There's something in this world that no one has ever seen.
It's something kind and very sweet.
If people could see it, they would probably want it.
That's why the world hid it;
So that it wouldn't be so easy to find.
But someday, someone will definitely find it.
The one who is supposed to find it, will be the one to find it.
That's just how it is.
The above riddle was presented as the "book-ends" in the anime, providing the context that framed what the story was all about. Having now seen the entire show, what's the answer to this riddle? What is "it"? Use evidence from the show (anime only!) to support your conclusion.

Challenges/Suggestions:
  • Try to write your entry before you read the entries of others
  • If you've already written one answer, try to see if you can think of another that is also justified by the story (perhaps from the perspective of a different character?)
  • Consider trying for something other than the more obvious (but not necessarily best) answer.
  • Bonus: Tie in more than one of the show's analogies/symbolic elements.

Rules:
  • This is NOT a final impressions thread. Do not give your opinion about the show; write only to the topic at hand. Off-topic posts will be deleted.
  • Present your own argument/proposal rather than debating what others have written. Combative or unproductive posts will be deleted.
  • Use evidence from the anime only to support your argument. No spoilers from the novel! (However, any scene from the anime is fair game -- no spoiler tags required for that.)
  • This is NOT an fanfic thread! You must use actual evidence from the anime to support your argument, not conjecture or imagined events.
  • You are welcome to post your responses to your blog, of course, but please put the actual post in this thread, and not just a link to an external site.

There are many possible right answers to this question, even if some are a bit easier to defend than others. (And even if everyone does end up choosing the same answer somehow, there is lots of different evidence that can be used.)

I'm looking forward to seeing if people can rise to the challenge! I'll try to have my own contribution in soon as well. As an added challenge for those viewing this thread shortly after it was posted, maybe everyone should try to complete their entries before the "Overall Impressions" thread is created this Thursday.

Last edited by relentlessflame; 2009-03-28 at 12:36. Reason: correct typo -- thanks!
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Old 2009-03-28, 06:40   Link #2
wistfulloner
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My theory is that "it" for the characters refers to each other, and for us it actually means camaraderie and true friendship.

Allow me to dissect the individual parts of the narration...

Quote:
There's something in this world that no one has ever seen.
This one is tough. How many things are there in the world that people actually have not seen before and which Toradora has introduced? I can only say that while not entirely correct, real and uncompromising friendship is what many have not seen or experienced before. It is something special, like what the five friends mean to each other.

Quote:
It's something kind and very sweet.
Yes, true friendship is kind, and sweet. All of our main characters grow to be (or have been from the beginning) genuinely concerned and strongly caring for each other.

Minori is a good example. Giving up Ryuji to Taiga for her happiness is quite easily the kindest thing she has done. Taiga can also easily come into this category, since she was to one insisting Minori take him even after painfully realizing she indeed loves him.

Ami, once the evil queen with a facade of goodwill, has changed to become so much more willing to help her friends, especially Taiga whom she felt she couldn't not help. At the end she realized she couldn't let go of the others, and stayed behind for the rest of the year. While seemingly apathetic, we all know she has her friends' best interests at heart.

Quote:
If people could see it, they would probably want it.
That's why the world hid it;
So that it wouldn't be so easy to find.
Remember in EP14 when Ami called back home, telling them she had found good friends and would like to stay? Being together in the gang of five was probably what encouraged her to remain there. It was somewhere she felt comfortable, somewhere she liked, somewhere she had true friends. Ami also mentioned that even though she hated herself for creating the facade, she was happy that one person understood her.

This also applies to all the other characters who felt the need to have a real down to earth friend like Taiga. She mentioned that she thought she would never be loved, until she found Ryuji who took care of her, comforted her in bad times and who was generally the person she wanted.

It never was easy for the characters to realize that they were a kindred group. Only when one by one they started falling apart or leaving, (like kitamura going nuts in EP11-13 or when Taiga and Ryuji decided to elope) did they realize they needed each other and felt a lack of motivation to go on. It's something like never knowing how important someone is to you until he/she is gone. That's what makes real friends so difficult to find, because you never see them when they're right in front of you.

Quote:
But someday, someone will definitely find it.
The one who is supposed to find it, will be the one to find it.
That's just how it is.
Superficially, you can say this was in the last scene when Ryuji "found" Taiga in the locker.

Otherwise, examples would come from our five heroes when they find each other as close friends and Taiga and Ryuji as soul mates.

Quote:
...it ends off Taiga and Ryūji saying ''"That's how its created"'' referring "it" to their eternal love.
I don't disregard this statement entirely. In my opinion, taking "it" to be love is the most obvious and reasonable definition to anyone after watching the series. Taking "It" to be true friendship is simply my opinion.
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Old 2009-03-28, 07:23   Link #3
yezhanquan
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"There's something in this world that no one has ever seen."

Friendship, as perceived by your friends, as opposed to your friendship with the same band of friends, from your perspective. No one has seen their friendship from other angles (most of the time. Even if they could understand this, it is difficult to remind yourself of it all the time). What you enjoy from your side may not be the same as what your friends enjoy from being around you. Minori and Taiga is but one pair of friends who are like this.

"It's something kind and very sweet."

Friendship. Friends being together are touched by one another, though the actual thing which moved your friends may not be what you expect.

"If people could see it, they would probably want it."

Being able to see relationships from other points of view is a rare and valuable gift. Acting on this knowledge could change the lives of all those around you.

"That's why the world hid it;
So that it wouldn't be so easy to find."

As mentioned earlier, one tends to see relationships solely from their own viewpoint.

"But someday, someone will definitely find it.
The one who is supposed to find it, will be the one to find it.
That's just how it is."

In Toradora, many characters got to see their relationship with their friends, from the other viewpoints. Be it Taiga, Ryuji, Minori, Yusaku or Ami, they eventually found out how the other side(s) felt about the same relationship, and they grew and thrived on it. Sometimes, what friends need to do (but are often too afraid to do) is to be honest with each other.
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Old 2009-03-28, 07:48   Link #4
typhonsentra
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I always assumed it was simply "Love". Seeing as how it's the main two characters stating it in tandem I doubt it's merely about a friendship style bond, especially considering that they state that it's rare to find and is "Hidden". Aisaka says that part in the first episode and that fits her perspective on love too, in that she doesn't believe she'll experience it because of the family she comes from (Episode 23).
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Old 2009-03-28, 07:53   Link #5
yezhanquan
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Hmmm... yes, love would come, after the friendship had solidified. There aren't many lovers out there who weren't friends previously.
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Old 2009-03-28, 08:35   Link #6
wistfulloner
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Yes, love is a very apparent theme throughout the whole series. It is a possibility for "it".
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Old 2009-03-28, 09:51   Link #7
puretsundere
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When I first heard the riddle, I thought the "it" was a lot more general than love or friendship. To me the "it" is "true happiness", of which love and friendship are definitely components.

There's something in this world that no one has ever seen.
It's something kind and very sweet.
If people could see it, they would probably want it.

To me, it is impossible to "see" true happiness, especially other people's true happiness. Everyone has different masks and personas, so what we perceive as true happiness might not be so. Also, I believe true happiness is different dependent of the individual. So, you can't just "see" a single entity of "true happiness." It doesn't exist. I think more importantly we don't "see" true happiness as much as "feel" it. If Taiga, Ryuuji, or anyone could have seen "true happiness", then of course they would want to "feel" the same thing.

That's why the world hid it;
So that it wouldn't be so easy to find.

Of course, true happiness is not easy to find no matter hard we try. We work jobs, build relationships, live our lives in the "pursuit of happiness". But life is really hard. Really hard. Ryuuji didn't have a father, Taiga had family issues, Kitamura has love problems, Ami had honesty and stalker issues, Minorin and Taiga had their conflicting feelings for Ryuuji against their feeling of friendship towards each other.

But someday, someone will definitely find it.
The one who is supposed to find it, will be the one to find it.
That's just how it is.

Although we live our lives in the "pursuit of happiness", we don't specifically look for true happiness. We try to surround ourselves in an environment where I feel "true happiness" can blossom. We overcome the obstacles that lead us away from happiness. We have our friends, family, hobbies, interests, and many other positive aspects of our lives. But in the end, only we ourselves can determine how happy we really are. I remember one of Minorin's lines in Episode 23, "My happiness can only be... can only be made with my own hands." Taiga couldn't "see" Minorin's true happiness, because only Minorin could feel her "true happiness." Only YOU are supposed to find OUR OWN "true happiness." If you are supposed to find it, you will.


I think in the end everyone found their own degree of "true happiness." Taiga and Ryuuji. Ryuuji and Yasuko. Taiga and her family presumably. Kihara and Noto. Haruta and his girlfriend. Ami and Minorin. Kitamura going overseas. Each individual is making their own true happiness. Taiga herself grows so much from separating herself from family and not even thinking of love to finding out she is able to love and presumably reconnecting with her mother. Although she had a lot of help, she herself made her own "true happiness."

So for me, the "it" is "true happiness."
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Old 2009-03-28, 12:20   Link #8
Deathscyther
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Hmm, seems like a nice challenge

Quote:
There's something in this world that no one has ever seen. It's something kind and very sweet. If people could see it, they would probably want it. That's why the world hit it; So that it wouldn't be so easy to find. But someday, someone will definitely find it. The one who is supposed to find it, will be the one to find it. That's just how it is.
I'll give a long summary first of the anime. This is kind of how I percieved the story:

Spoiler for story summary:


"There's something in this world that no one has ever seen."
"It's something kind and very sweet."


I think friendship and love are indeed possibilities, but I think there's a even bigger meaning to it. What about happiness?

Friendship could be something what would make someone truly happy, while other people wouldn't really care about something so trivial. Same with love. Some people live to find their significant other and to start a family.

So I'd say the meaning of these two sentences will differ from person to person.

In Toradora! both Ryuuji and Taiga felt like nobody understood them and that nobody wanted them.
- Taiga was abandoned by her family and was living alone. She created the 'Palmtop Tiger' in order to save herself from being hurt ever again;
- Ryuuji didn't have a father and a childish mother. The people who didn't know him were scared of him. He thinks he brought his mother only misery and sadness by being born.

When Ryuuji and Taiga finally met each other, they realized that they were the same. They did understand each other. It wasn't much, but it was enough to continue on the road of life.

In time and after many problems along the way, they made friends, fell in love with each other and found out that they were happy with just being together.


"If people could see it, they would probably want it."
"That's why the world hid it"
"So that it wouldn't be so easy to find."


There is no such thing as true happiness. Happiness depends on the individual. You have to make/grasp your own happiness.

You can't see the happiness of another person so easily, because if differes from person to person. Often people even have trouble finding out what would make themselves truly happy. Only life experience and just trying your best will help you with this quest.

If there was something which could be seen and what would make everybody happy, then people would indeed fight over it, because everyone wants to be happy, right?

In Toradora! everyone was just searching for happiness as well:
-Ryuuji and Taiga just didn't want to be alone anymore and wanted to be understood;
-Minorin wanted to achieve her goals and to see her friends happy;
-Ami wanted people to see and accept the real her, even if it wasn't love.

But it wasn't always easy. An example: Even though Taiga tried to help Minorin by giving up Ryuuji, her own happiness, she didn't realise that this wouldn't make Minorin happy. Minorin has her own goals and has to grasp her own happiness.


“However, someday, someone will find it.”
“The person who deserves it the most will definitely find it.”
"That's just how it is."


Happiness won't fall out of the sky if you just wish for it. You'll have to work for your happiness. Everyone has his/her own problems in life and sad things will happen no matter what. If you just stand by and watch, nothing will change. But if you work hard enough, you'll find the happiness you deserve. What is the happiness you deserve? Only you yourself can determine how happy you are.

In Toradora!:
-Ryuuji and Taiga worked hard to get people to understand them and to be there for each other, in the end they managed to make up with their families as well;
-Minorin was working hard to achieve her goals in life;
-Kitamura was working hard to be with his love and for his friends;
-Ami worked hard to make others notice and accept her real self after meeting Ryuuji and co;
-Yasuko was working hard for her son's happiness, which in turn would make her happy;

So yeah, my answer is happiness.
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Last edited by Deathscyther; 2009-03-28 at 12:42. Reason: typos :/
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Old 2009-03-28, 13:19   Link #9
Kaisos Erranon
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I think unravelling it is kinda missing the point...

There is no one true answer, it's different for everyone. It only makes sense when you've found it for yourself.

For Taiga and Ryuuji, it's something along the lines of "love", yeah.
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Old 2009-03-28, 13:41   Link #10
BetoJR
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I'd agree with Kaisos Erranon on this one. The "it" is something different for everyone. I just think - in the two protagonists' case - it is, actually, true love.
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Old 2009-03-28, 14:17   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaisos Erranon View Post
I think unravelling it is kinda missing the point...

There is no one true answer, it's different for everyone. It only makes sense when you've found it for yourself.
On the contrary -- that is the entire point. I didn't create this thread expecting someone to give me the "One True Answer". I created this thread because I expected that each person could provide a different answer that could be justified using the story as evidence. There are many, many different ways of seeing it. That's why it's a topic worth writing about. If I just wanted "The Answer", I would have posted in the Q&A Thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaisos Erranon View Post
For Taiga and Ryuuji, it's something along the lines of "love", yeah.
Too vague; cop-out answer. What is the difference between this "love" and other kinds of love? What evidence does the anime provide to justify and support that argument?

In other words, if all you can give is a vague answer about the show's message ("it means whatever you want it to mean"/"it's something about love"), then I think you probably missed what the author was actually trying to say. The story's message has much more substance to it than that; the entire plot is evidence that supports the moral of the story. That's the challenge in unraveling the riddle.
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Old 2009-03-28, 14:41   Link #12
typhonsentra
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Yeah there's a lot of ways you can interpret the piece but like a lot of poetry, I feel like overanalyzing it will often lead to missing the message which can (And in many cases is) much broader.
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Old 2009-03-28, 15:08   Link #13
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I figure the majority would say 'love', but because I don't think love is 'kind', I'll go with companionship. Being next to that someone that empathizes with you; accepts you; helps you; all w/o the intentions of doing it because you 'love' the person. It's not limited to a 'lover' either; close friends and family as well. There were times were Ami/Minorin/Kitamura tried to help in their own way. The notion of love in instances such as Ryu/Minorin and Kita/Taiga weren't kind or sweet at all, but the companionship they shared, such as when they when to Ami's villa, or the summer festival, all felt more like 'kind' and 'sweet' moments were everyone was(at least on the outside) happy. This instance[for Toradora] there might have been 'love' at the end, but it was not simply love from the beginning. If it was something as 'simple' as love, things would have worked out with the Ryu/Minorin and Kita/Taiga pairing(if you consider THAT love >_>).

I wanna write more, but I'm just to **** lazy .

Last edited by frubam; 2009-03-28 at 15:19.
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Old 2009-03-28, 18:28   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by typhonsentra View Post
Yeah there's a lot of ways you can interpret the piece but like a lot of poetry, I feel like overanalyzing it will often lead to missing the message which can (And in many cases is) much broader.
Well, then, perhaps it's better to provide "one" answer, and not pretend like it's "The Answer". All I'm getting at is that the piece has to mean "something" to you, and the challenge is in trying to describe it. There's little point in people providing opinions about "it" if they can't really explain what "it" is. That sort of thing, anyway; no sense taking it to extremes either.
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Old 2009-03-28, 20:14   Link #15
yezhanquan
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Personally, I thought that having only true love without the friendship of others is a tad cruel. Very few things can beat that feeling of being together with a bunch of people who will, as Vexx put it, "take a hand grenade for you".
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Old 2009-03-29, 01:41   Link #16
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I'll answer this question be quoting Joseph Campbell. "Follow your bliss, and doors will open where you did not even know there were doors." Is that answering a riddle with a riddle? I don't think so - I think that's an answer that's an answer.

I don't think you want to analyze stuff like this too much. To again use a quote (this time paraphrased from Seinfeld): "Riddles are like gossamer. And one does not dissect gossamer."

I see some suggested friendship, others love, and other happiness. Well - they're all correct.
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Old 2009-03-29, 01:44   Link #17
yezhanquan
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They're all correct because they build on one another. To quote Anna Karenina:

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
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Old 2009-03-29, 23:09   Link #18
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By the way, this thread wasn't actually about the riddle at all. The riddle is just a symbol; a representation of the story's theme, moral, and message. With all this "let's not analyze the riddle too much" and "there's no right answer/they're all correct", we risk missing the forest for the trees.

Consider the great lengths people go through to analyze, dissect, and critique the various aspects of the plot, the characters, the writing, the adaptation techniques, the directing... The episode threads are full of such pedantic trivialities. In a few days, there'll be an "Overall Impressions" thread where, I'm sure, people will write pages upon pages discussing all this stuff in almost-mind-numbing detail. They won't hesitate to tell us all the things they liked, all the things they didn't like, and all the reasons why the show wasn't what it should/could have been. And yet, when it comes to what's really important -- the actual purpose and meaning of the show's message; the main thing the author was actually trying to say -- people say "let's not think about it too much; it means whatever you want it to mean". Reams of opinion, pebbles of insight.

Doesn't that mean that the author completely failed in their attempt to communicate?

Toradora! isn't just a well-done tale about "something about love, happiness and friendship". They spent 25 episodes providing specific evidence so they could drive home exactly the message they wanted to deliver about it. What is that message? What does the show mean? Or at the very least, what does it mean to you? If you can't figure that out, then all the time you spent watching the story basically amounts to a string of random disjointed events featuring a cast of enjoyable characters that (presumably) left you with warm feelings at the end... but that's it. You took it all in, but learned nothing from it other than "well, that was a nice show". And if that's really all stories are to you... well, then I guess there's nothing to say in this topic after all!

Food for thought, anyway. If it doesn't mean anything to you, then just ignore it. But what I'm really asking in this thread is "What is the moral of the story, and why?" The riddle was just the symbolic framework for the question; a way of thinking about it.
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Old 2009-03-29, 23:51   Link #19
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Of course, it's easy (well, in a sense, and it'll hurt your fingers I'm sure) to write loads and loads in response to that prompt... I know if I get started that's what I'll end up doing, and I'll beat around the bush and mention everything that I saw and all the themes and little messages and ideas that occurred to me...

What's hard is to reduce all of that to a sentence that encompasses the real essence of what's being delivered.

I've thought about this show a lot... and any concise way of describing it has thus far escaped me.
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Old 2009-03-30, 00:01   Link #20
Kaisos Erranon
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I think a lot of Takemiya's point behind Toradora was that true love is fostered through long-term closeness and friendship rather than a high-school crush.

It's a really feminine, rather non-anime way to look at things, which I really appreciated.
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