Although I remember reviewing both Volume 1 and Volume 2, I forgot how much I enjoyed the series the first time. For more a more in-depth look at the series, check out the links above. Although the series didnít prove to be as memorable in the long run (though this could simply be a by-product of watching a lot of NIS releases), my views havenít really changed much from one viewing to the next. The series still manages to tread a lot of familiar ground, though also finds a way to make the typical teen romance story a little more interesting than the numerous other shows following the same path.
Thereís a definite uptick in quality between seasons, primarily due to the first seasonís insistence on cramming in every character detail possible into the first few episodes. Surprisingly, this was something I enjoyed on my first viewing, but on second reflection I think I would have preferred if the character moments had a little more breathing space in the first few episodes. Though a bit rushed, Toradora! is still one of the few series to actually develop its characters beyond a handful of stereotypes.
The big question surrounding Toradora! Premium Edition is whether it is worth a double-dip if you already own the previous two volumes. Aside from a beautiful Blu-ray transfer, NIS has added an English voice dub alongside the original Japanese voice track. Dubs have long been a point of contention for some anime fans, though NIS has done a stellar job. The new voice work really fits the characters and doesnít distract in any way.
Also included is a short OVA "Bento Battle," where Ryuji finds himself locked in fierce competition with a housewife to create the better Bento Box. The episode is a stand-alone, so it doesnít necessarily fit with the rest of the series, but is great for a laugh. Rather than focusing on character development, it is just a collection of comical situations woven into a fun story.
The new case size doesnít mean the books are gone. Toradora! Premium Edition comes with a new 68-page book. Rather than pulling content from the previous two books, NIS included some new material, such as new interviews with the directors and an overview of the OVA. Some artwork and the always crucial character relationship chart are also included.
Without question, Toradora! Premium Edition is the definitive version of the series. The only drawback is the price (well over $100), so it ultimately falls on fans as far as a repurchase is concerned.