Despite being first released in the North American market during the latter half of 2010, the Toradora! TV anime adaptation has continued to remain prominent in the western market for much longer than many other series. From NIS America’s inaugural Premium Edition release back in 2010 to Hanabee Entertainment’s Australian release in 2012, there have been three separate reviews of the series on The Otaku’s Study. All three of these have come up with the same conclusion: that Toradora is a fantastic anime series with a certain charm that hasn’t been lost since it first aired on Japanese TV back in 2008. Because of this, I won’t be doing another review of Toradora! which would ultimately come up with the same conclusion as every other occasion.
While most older anime series after this period of time would risk being dropped by publishers as licenses expire and hype for the series sometimes dissipates when they are overshadowed by newer and more creative series, NIS America have bucked that trend by commissioning an English dub for the series which has been in demand since launch. This mini-review seeks to answer the question: “Is the English dub good, and worth repurchasing the series for?“.
Nippon Ichi Software America’s voice actor and actress ensemble is a mix of seasoned veterans and relative newcomers to the industry, with a majority of the major roles going to those who have worked with the company on other works. Erik Scott Kimerer (Alibaba – Magi: The Kingdom of Magic) and Cassandra Lee Morris (Kyuubey – Puella Magi Madoka Magica) take the lead roles as Ryuji Takasu and Taiga Aisaka, and do a decent job of matching their Japanese counterparts in voicing the characters. Christine Marie Cabanos, Johnny Yong Bosch and Erika Harlacher, all three of whom have worked with NIS America on projects previously, voiced Minori Kushieda, Yusaku Kitamura and Ami Kawashima respectively. Joined by other voice actors / actresses such as Wendee Lee, Karen Strassman and Mela Lee, the talent was enlisted and present for this new dub.
Toradora’s English dub isn’t what I would consider anything close to ground-breaking, however as this is a modern-day Romantic Comedy, a simpler dub without anything overly elaborate felt more suited to the series. While I considered it satisfying, they still include the original Japanese dub for those who decide to either repurchase the series due to its availability on Blu-ray or are first-timers to the series.
There is one issue I treat with some scepticism however. This review is based on the Australian release of Toradora! from Hanabee Entertainment (Out tomorrow), which comes with an online sale price of $74.99-79.99 (AUD) and contains the entire series on either DVD or Blu-ray. Given the series was only released as a collection just last year, and that the publisher doesn’t seem to be distributing the Japanese-dubbed edition any more, this may still be an attractive collection given there was minimal price change between the sets.
But in North America the series has been on store shelves as standard editions for many years now, and with a Premium Edition RRP of $129.99 (Standard Edition: $119.98 for complete series), one must wonder if that will push many fans who already bought the series within the 4 year timespan to re-purchase it solely for the English dub and bonus episode.
I personally hope I am wrong in this scepticism. I do think however that investigating the possibility of English dubbing is a fantastic move from NIS America, and I hope to see more English dubbed series in the future, provided it doesn’t encroach on the dubbing budget for their video game releases (Especially since most of their English dubs are above average). For newcomers however, the English dubbed re-releases would easily be my purchase recommendation.
If you have not yet watched Toradora! but enjoy Romantic Comedies, I can happily recommend giving it a try. Those in Australia can also give it a try through Hanabee’s new anime streaming service completely free of charge!
For more commentary on Toradora!’s storyline, design or music, please consult my earlier reviews: