Yes, this is another post about Aisaka Taiga. Let’s call this a Taiga Weekend Carnival.
Previously, I’ve established my belief that moe is tied to empathy, it is the connection of viewer to character in regards to some type of weakness, though the character may not necessarily be weak, physically, mentally, or emotionally. Think of it as a character having relatable character traits-which-may-be-interpreted as flaws. In this regard, Aisaka Taiga, the tora in Toradora, is one of the most effectively moe tsundere characters I have ever seen, a tsundere moe on the level of Ogiue. Tsundere has become a very common trope in otaku-oriented media, so to describe what makes Taiga a very moe character is to explain why she stands out from her peers. And to explain that is to explain why Taiga is tsundere.
Taiga is a girl who has difficulty expressing her own emotions. When Taiga speaks, her words are the culmination of 1001 battles fought inside of her mind. It’s a violent battle, and the victor emerges not without a few scars. The result is that Taiga comes across as rude, blunt, perhaps even shy. Unlike many of her contemporaries at Tsundere Academy, who use their brash attitudes to actively hide how they feel, or Ogiue, whose tsundere is caused by years of deep-seated self-loathing, Taiga’s outward attitude is the consequence of falling short of a greater goal, that of being able to accurately express one’s feelings through words. Taiga is tsundere, but only because she can’t help it.
Clumsy, socially awkward, unable to convey the proper meaning in words when talking to others, this describes more than just Taiga, this describes a feeling that hits close to home for me and I’m sure many others. Even if we’ve gotten better over time, we can still remember the days when talking was one of the most difficult things we’ve ever had to do, and are reminded constantly that for us introverted folk, being social is not a natural talent but one that has to be learned and built upon. It is from the people watching that Taiga truly generates her moe.
Tsundere characters, be they the traditional type which slowly turn from tsun to dere, or the modern type which switch back and forth constantly, are generally girls to be sought, to be pursued. They are the goal. Taiga is not the goal. Taiga is us.