I wonder how many people will read this post, let alone reply to it. This post is about the 6th ToraDora book published, and its stories take place between the end of the mid-semester exams and summer vacation. If you’re still here, it means you’ve either read the book or wants to know a little more about the ToraDora series. Welcome! Don’t worry about spoilers if you’re watching the ToraDora anime – I would eat my shorts if the anime ever get to these series of short stories.
Tomiie Kouta is just about the most unfortunate person around. Let’s start at his birth, shortly after which he was dropped by his incompetent fuckwad of a doctor because his mother needed taking care of. Just before the entrance exam from middle school, Kouta was hit by a bike and fell 10 feet into a river. On the day of his high school entrance exam, he was hit by a car and hospitalised. He managed to attend the second round of exams and got into a good school, but on the day before the opening ceremonies he got food poisoning and was hospitalised for a month. As a result, he failed to make any friends in a class where cliques were already forming and turned to extra-curricular activities – unfortunately, recruitment time for clubs have gone and passed, too.
Then a ray of hope – a position in the student council opens up. He joins the student council in the hope of making some friends in the same grade, but all he found were eccentric sempai’s who entertained themselves at his expense – such as sending him on a quest to find the “Palm-sized Tiger of Happiness”. Anyone who’s read this far can probably imagine how THAT ends, so let’s skip over it and move on to the really important bit – his meeting with Sakura.
Kanou Sakura, a naturally coquettish girl, the younger of the Sakura sisters. The younger sister of the perfect, indomitable, manly Kanou Sumire, the student council president who has never gotten anything less than 500 in her exams (that’s out of 500, folks). Well, unfortunately for Sakura, the genes weren’t fair when handing out intelligence – she failed all 5 of her mid-semester exams, and must pass all 5 re-takes or be forced to change school. In one of the oldest anime story-telling tropes ever, Kouta is recruited by Sumire to be Sakura’s tutor, and the two’s fate began to intertwine.
Phew, was that as boring for you as it was for me? If it was, I failed, because I’m trying to convince you that this book is worth reading. If you’re still here, thank you, and read on.
Unlike the main story of ToraDora, Cherry-coloured Tornado of Happiness is a very typical high school romance story. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl falls in love with boy, happily ever after. There is barely even any tension, because simply by reading the title you KNOW the boy gets the girl. What sets it apart then is its simplicity and straight-forwardness, and the clarity and intensity of each character’s emotion.
The majority of the relationships in manga and anime feel forced and contrived, probably largely because writers are expected to drag on their series indefinitely as long as it remains popular. The greatest offender here is probably School Rumble: what made it great for many others killed it for me. The relationships are unnecessarily complicated, the ensemble cast diluted the focus of the story, and in the end the story didn’t end up anywhere. With just a cast of two main characters, two side characters and a handful of red shirts, CCToH was able to keep the story intensely focused and give its characters and relationships the development they deserve.
The second strength of CCToH is also the strength of ToraDora as a whole and the strength of its writer Yuyuko Takemiya. She can bring out vivid and powerful emotions with her words, and she can make your emphasis with them. Whether it is in dialogue or a paragraph of descriptive thoughts, she can convey emotions with astounding clarity and intensity. There are numerous moments that stand out through-out this volume, but in particular the scene where Sakura explains why she insists on staying at the school when its way above her standard and Kouta running through the school after he finally makes up his mind about Sakura takes the cake.
In the end, the main appeal of Cherry-coloured Tornado of Happiness lies in how well it identifies and presents the feelings of being in love for the first time in your life. Whether it is the uncertainty surrounding a yet-to-blossom relationship or the joy of finally finding mutual love, CCToH fills your heart with warmth and, as its name promises, happiness.