The central theme in the Japanese light novel/manga Toradora! (とらドラ!) around which the entire story unfolds is the love triangle between the male protagonist Takasu Ryuji and his two girl friends, Aisaka Taiga and Kushieda Minori (Minorin). At the beginning of the story Ryuji has a crush on Minorin, and Taiga likes Ryuji's male friend. The story then brings Ryuji and Taiga closer, but also makes hints at Minorin's possible concealed romantic interest in Ryuji.

I am interested in Freudian or other psychoanalytical interpretations of the story. Possible connections are evidenced by the constant references and comparisons to a nuclear family made by their friend Kawashima Ami that Ryuji is like the father, Minorin the mother, and Taiga the daughter. Ami also never fails to remind Ryuji because of the way Ryuji--and to a lesser extent Minorin too--cares for Taiga, their entangled and twisted relationship is doomed and people will eventually get hurt. I thought there might be a clear Oedipal tie (more accurately an Electra one) between Ryuji and Taiga. Taiga's parents are absent. Her dad abandoned her. Her mother only makes an appearance once in a blue moon. I am having difficulty taking it further from here. Maybe it is too direct a tie to expand on further in a Freudian reading? Of course Ryuji doesn't constitute an overpowering and stern father figure to Taiga.

The three people in the love triangle are accused by Ami of playing house. I thought that was interesting, but haven't figured out where to put it. Also interesting is a line by Minorin early in the story. "I think I might like girls." (私、女の子のほうが好きなのかな) This indicates Minorin may be gay, despite the later heteronormative plot development. Immediately Freudian penis envy (Penisneid) springs to mind, considering her reported maternal role in the mock nuclear family. (Disclaimer: penis envy is an old idea, not without fatal flaws in the face of newer feminist thought.)

Oh almost forgot to mention later in the story Ryuji starting to identify Taiga with his mother because they both like to say to Ryuji "It's fine. Don't worry." Too many love interest/parent allusions.

I am looking for answers that explain the plot in a psychoanalytical or feminist framework. Freudian theory is not a must, as it is deeply flawed. Answers borrowing from Freud and drawing on feminist theory would be even better.


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