| This article contains HEAVY spoilers. Please read at your own risk.
逢坂 大河 Aisaka Taiga
145 cm (4'8")
34 kg (75 lbs)
Cassandra Lee Morris (English)
Taiga Aisaka 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". Essentially, Taiga is meant to be a deconstruction of the tsundere, showing rapid mood swings, being emotionally unstable, and making poor decisions based solely on emotions. Her steady progress into becoming sweet and kind defies the "bipolar" stereotype of most tsundere characters, who often switch from moods and show no true character development.
Despite her cute, delicate appearance, Taiga is a sarcastic, cynical, and prideful girl who is easily made angry or upset. She hates when people point out her height or call her the Palmtop Tiger, a nickname she earned because of her petite size and tendency to snap at people. Her broken family has made her act this way. Despite her tendency to be aggressive, she is actually a kind person, especially to people she trusts, like Minori. She is extremely loyal, too, as she is willing to fight tooth and nail to protect her loved ones. She is not afraid to speak her mind and is often bad-mouthed because of her somewhat rude attitude toward people and lack of social skills. Taiga gets a lot of confessions from guys, but turns them down since she's afraid to love someone after of her issues with her parents. At first, she had a crush on Kitamura, but she acts clumsy and flustered around him all the time due to shyness. Because she is often misunderstood and judged, people don't see her kind and loyal personality. Taiga wants to treat everyone kindly, but due to her broken family and lack of parenting, she has a hard time coping with reality. She apologizes to her friends if she accidentally snaps at them.
Even though Taiga is a teenager, her short height makes her look like a little kid. Ami frequently teases her about this.  Taiga has long, curly orange-gold 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 ashamed about it, but often she makes up for this fact by her typically constant glare or menacing words.
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. Even her pajamas are elegant.
Despite coming from a well to do family, her life with her family is very difficult because of various problems. Her parents are divorced and her father has chosen his new wife over Taiga, forcing her to move out and live in an apartment by herself. However when her father's business goes bankrupt and he runs away, she is left in the care of her mother who has also re-married and now has a new family of her own. Taiga has difficulty getting along with her step-father and half-sibling. In the last chapters she admits she is too afraid to return to her mother because her mother has become pregnant again and Taiga fears that, since she is 'sure to have a tall child', she will not fit in and would just be a burden to them.
Love Letter Arc
After accidentally giving Ryuuji 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 wipe out Ryuuji's memory of ever reading the letter. But 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. After reading one of his love letters in one of his notebooks, Taiga finds out that Ryuuji has a crush on her best friend Minori Kushieda, after noticing how late it was, Ryuuji made a promise to Taiga that he would help her win Yusaku Kitamura'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 plan to knock out Yusaku's partner with a basketball so that Taiga can be Yusaku's partner. However, Taiga ends up being knocked out instead. She makes some cookies and plans to give them to Yusaku; unfortunately, she falls off the stairs, throwing them out of the window in the process. Ryuuji breaks her fall. Calling herself clumsy and feeling depressed, Ryuuji eats her cookies and says they are great (despite tasting horrible), encouraging her to try making cookies again. Since Ryuuji and Taiga are often together, a misunderstanding begins among their classmates that Ryuūji 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's drink on herself, Ryuuji offers to clean her dress if they go to the restaurant where Minori works. But when they get there they find out that she had her day off that day. As they are looking at fashion magazine, Taiga notices that a girl coming into the restaurant is pictured in the magazine, a model called Kawashima Ami. To their surprise Yusaku 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 Aisaka's habit of referring to different people disparagingly as dogs, Ami soon earns the nickname "Stupid Chihuahua" ('baka-chi').
Christmas Party Arc
After Ryuuji tells Taiga that his relationship with Minori has not progressed, Taiga declares the need to play Cupid for him, since she wants to be good for Santa. At school the next morning, 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. Afterwards, 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; so the trip is reorganized at a ski resort. Ryuuji blames himself for this because earlier he had wished everything would burn just to make his worries disappear. One night, Ryuuji, Yusaku, Haruta and 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 and Ami 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 snow storm 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.
Ryuuji's mother, Yasuko, 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 notices that she believes Yusaku rescued her from the ski trip instead of Ryuuji, she becomes angry. Minori confronts her, with Ami 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. 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 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, Ryuuji's and Taiga's mothers 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 voice mail 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, 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 artfical star that she left for the Christmas Eve party.
Graduation Day Arc
On Ryuuji's graduation day, a couple months later, 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.
Ryuuji met Taiga after they bumped into each other making Taiga punch him because of her bad mood and attitude.They eventually became good friends because of the controversial love letter that made Ryuuji know that Taiga was planning on confessing her love for his best friend Yusaku Kitamura which made him show Taiga everything about his crush from love letters, music and others since he can't let his feelings out. After understanding everything that Ryuuji had said, Taiga "accidentally" read one of his love letters, making her know that Ryuuji has a crush on her best friend Minori Kushieda.
Ryuuji suggests that they cooperate to win the objects of their affections. Taiga exploits the fact that Ryuuji will do anything to get closer to Minori. She makes him her personal servant, getting him to do all her household chores (cooking and cleaning). Taiga spends a lot of her time over at his house, so much that she could almost be considered a member of his family. The more they spend time together, the more things they undergo together. Ryuuji constantly helps Taiga out, 24/7, and, although this isn't visible unless you look closely, Taiga is "always there" for Ryuuji. Although their initial relationship extends to nothing more then what Taiga would see as a "slave and master" sort of service, Taiga eventually grows to care an enormous deal about him. This is shown prominently when Taiga screams at everybody for not saving Ryuuji when he is knocked unconscious, and later shouts, "Don't touch him.... He's mine!" (Although she later states that it was only because Ryuuji was the only dog to her.) Their relationship is rocky because Taiga can occasionally throw fits for no apparent reason, shown when she furiously screams after Ryuuji helps her learn how to swim, after their conversation slowly builds up, but Ryuuji is often there to help her and is unbelievably patient with her. Taiga acknowledges the fact that Ryuuji would definitely help her in a time of need, and Ryuuji comes to realize that Taiga has always been there for him.
Since Ryuuji spends a lot of time with Taiga, he has opened up to her world and to a side of her that most people do not see. The two also try to help each other improve the way people view them. However, people they know from school start to become curious about their strange relationship and rumors begin to spread about them behind their backs Ryuuji and Taiga start getting along more as things progress with the relationships between the characters and eventually confess their true feelings of love towards each other.
Yusaku confessed to Taiga, saying that he liked her for her short temper and unique personality, but was bluntly rejected by Taiga a year ago before the start of the series because it was very unexpected, so Taiga acted on reflex and rejected him. Yusaku was really broken hearted when Taiga rejected him, but Sumire invited him to join the Student Council to forget about his rejection. However, after Taiga's rejection on Yusaku's confession, she cannot stop thinking about him and realized that she likes Yusaku too, especially because Yusaku was the only boy who had ever liked her because of who she was, not because of her appearance or rich family. Taiga regrets rejecting Yusaku. When Taiga is around Yusaku, she instantly blushes or becomes nervous when he talks to her, although Yusaku is easygoing, casual and nice towards her, just like he is towards everybody else. Taiga's attraction towards him gradually stops when Yusaku confessed to Sumire in front of the whole school. At that point, Taiga realized she was in love with Ryuuji, not Yusaku and sees him as just a very good friend.
Minori and Taiga are best friends, despite Minori's cheerfulness and Taiga's short temper. Taiga is always comfortable with Minori and whenever she sees her, she pulls Minori into a hug. Minori is also very fond of Taiga, showing that she really worries and cares about her. This is shown when she warns Ryuuji about Taiga's father, Minori was afraid that last year's events would happen again: Taiga's father will show up, promise to come for her school's fair but then says that he has some business to attend.
Minori seems to put her friendship with Taiga first than her personal desires. This is proved correct when she turned down Ryuuji, even though she had feelings for him, she turned him down because she wanted Taiga to be happy first. However, even after the huge mess they had gone through together, Taiga and Minori stayed as best friends. They became more fond of each other than they already were.
Initially, Ami and Taiga are seen as mortal enemies and spend every bit of their time fighting. Ami envies Taiga because of her personality and how she can remain true to herself. Ami often teases Taiga about her height, which clearly annoys Taiga. Ami also earned the nickname "Stupid Chihuahua" from Taiga.
Ami is also shown to be sympathetic towards Taiga, often helping her if she asks. This is shown when she helps Taiga on the school's fair, promising her to switch roles when her father arrives. Ami understands the situation between Taiga, Minori and Ryuuji but is not shown dropping hints on Taiga, unlike what she does on Minori and Ryuuji.
Ami and Taiga began to become friends at the near end of the series. They also started to be fond of one another.
- "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..."
- 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 (Ryūji Takasu and Saito Hiraga) 'dog'. They also have the same seiyuu. She also resembles Shana ( from Shakugan No Shana ), and has a somewhat similar attitude to Aria in Aria: The Scarlet Ammo.
- When in anger, Taiga 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 Ryūji 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 Ryūji and becomes pregnant with triplets. This ending is also how presumably it would've gone in the anime.
- Taiga, along with Ami and Minori make a cameo in the eighth episode of Ookami-san To Shichinin No Nakama-tachi.
- She hides a lot of scars on her knees with her long socks (revealed at chapter 6 when Ryuuji tried to clean Taiga's wound).
- She bears resemblance to the character Louise anime series Zero no Tsukaima, with the two having a Tsundere personality and the same seiyuu.
- 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|