Needless to say, you’re required to watch the anime series Toradora! before playing this game, or you’ll be completely lost. If all you need is a guide, you can take a look at the one I’ve written here.
Continuing right after the Christmas episode of the anime series in an entirely original arc, the psp visual novel Toradora portable puts a spin on the series’ plot by causing our protagonist, Takasu Ryuji, to wake in a hospital devoid of past memory…
Ryuji wakes up in a hospital a few days after Christmas to Taiga’s concerned face, while forgetting everything since birth – to the extent he scares himself when he first looks at the mirror.
A typical visual novel, the game gives you multiple endings, most of which would require you to play from a very early save (or starting a new game), so you’ll be spending quite a bit of time if you’re looking for a 100% completion.
Oh. And you should be used to my reviews never being spoiler-free by now. ============================================================
Aisaka Taiga (V.A. Kugimiya Rie)
The tora of toradora, Taiga has a few possible endings in this visual novel, depending on which route you’re on. Seeing that the plot takes place shortly after Christmas, Taiga and Ryuji are already rather close, and she’s determined to help Ryuji rediscover his love for Minori, even at the cost of her own…
Taiga has 2 main endings worth 75 and 100 points, which you can take to mean her normal and true endings. In her normal end, Ryuji has not completely recovered his memory, especially of that incident with Minori, and Taiga refuses to tell him more until he does.
In Taiga’s true ending, Ryuji fully regains his memory, and discovers that love is something that cannot be remembered, but felt. He confesses that he could no longer see Minori as he used to, because he now loves Taiga. Years pass, and the couple move to Mirano, Italy, where Ryuji works as an interior designer, and a mature Taiga narrates their return…
Kushieda Minori (V.A. Horie Yui)
Minori’s route is really something you need to play to truly appreciate. There are many scenes leading up to the finale that I left unexplained which contributes much to her story.
What would you do if you knew your best friend also loves the same guy as you do? That was the dilemma faced by Minori during the anime, and it continues in the visual novel. She continues to believe that the way for them to proceed forward would be to stay the best of friends, but is that truly the best method…?
Ryuji regains his memory in Minori’s 70-point normal end, but similar to Taiga’s route he finds out that he no longer has the same feelings for Minori as he did before, and he puts the past behind him. With Ryuji’s silent murmur of “goodbye”, they stay as friends.
In her true end, Ryuji now knows what happened during the eve of Christmas, yet he couldn’t help but fall for her again. This time, he confronts her about her intention of “not taking Ryuji away from Taiga”, pointing out that she has only been using her best friend as an excuse. A heated argument and an appearance by somebody later, she finally decides to listen to Ryuji’s confession and accepts him, handing him the gift she never managed to give him that fateful night. In the epilogue, Takasu Minori is now a player for the national baseball team, and Ryuji supports her as her manager.
Kawashima Ami (V.A. Kitamura Eri)
Ami’s story in Toradora portable is the likely favourite of many players (mine too). And it isn’t hard to see why either; she gets the least screen time in the anime, and usually puts up an angelic facade, even with her friends, only dropping the pretense while faced with Taiga. Again another route that would be hard to feel for unless you played for yourself.
How would you feel knowing that you’d always be the third person in a relationship, never to be noticed? Ami had hoped that such an opportunity would be granted to her, to “start all over again”. And now that it has, she still can’t bring herself to be honest. Which can be costly…
Costly indeed, since she’s the only heroine in the visual novel given a (somewhat) bad ending, but on the flip-side gets one good (90 point) and one true ending. The good ending sees Ami going abroad to realize her ambitions of being an actress, with Ryuji promising never to forget her again. In the epilogue, Ryuji has moved to Italy to become a chef, and by coincidence meets Ami, who was in the city for a movie shoot. Much to their embarrassment, Ryuji admits he thinks of her every so often, so as to keep that promise. Ami asks to visit his restaurant, and the two of them head towards it, hand in hand.
In Ami’s true end, Ryuji convinces her that she was better as herself than any of her other facades. She leaves to become an actress, but returns to Japan three months later after her movie shoot ends. She plans to stay permanently, so as to be with Ryuji, who has “given more to her than just the realization of her love for him”.
Every visual novel game would have their own set of extras, so it’s the same in this case.
You’ve got quite a few mini-games for extras. A chibi Taiga side-scrolling fighter, a breakout game and a card-matching game. On top of that there’s a BGM player, CG viewer, a Yasuko-themed clock, a list of all the items you’ve obtained while cleaning and Toradora! PSP themes. So it’s quite an impressive list.
This was one of the first anime series to be given the PSP visual novel treatment, which allowed for other shows such as Ore no Imouto to follow suit. For being one of the pioneers it was actually done very well, with fluid storytelling and plenty of additional content for those not satisfied with the anime, providing an excellent closure to much of the ambiguity found in the anime.
The extras are quite satisfying, and it will take you a good number of hours to clear the main game. The routes are of course not just limited to the main three mentioned above, but most of the side characters do get pretty decent stories themselves.
Overall score: 8/10