Taiga’s Santa Claus Childhood Memory Wasn’t A Dream

Like many other beloved romance anime, Toradora! is a series filled with classic shonen tropes, comedic moments, and holiday-themed heartwarming episodes. During episode 18, viewers learn that tsundere protagonist Taiga Aisaka has a special affinity for all things Christmas. Shown as a flashback in the episode, Taiga recalls a fond childhood memory when she was visited by her favorite mythical holiday figure, Santa Claus.


Viewers, her love interest Ryuji Takasu, and even Taiga herself generally assume her memory was a dream. Nonetheless, some believe Taiga’s alleged dream was a real-life experience. Although it hasn’t been confirmed, fans believe the mysterious Santa Claus was actually his father, Rikurou Aisaka, in disguise.

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Taiga’s relationship with her father, Rikurou, is… complicated

Throughout the series, Taiga’s relationship with Rikurou is complex and ever-changing. Rikurou is portrayed as a selfish father who began neglecting Taiga early in his life, shortly after divorcing his mother. After remarriing a young woman named Yuu, he arranged for Taiga to live alone, as she did not get along with his new wife, further damaging his already strained relationship with his daughter. After a long period of no communication between the two, Rikurou makes a feeble attempt to reconnect with Taiga but inevitably fails prove that he is able to support her in any way in addition to ensuring her financial security.

Despite this, Taiga and Rikurou weren’t always at odds. Although not apparent outside of a few glimpses of Taiga’s childhood, Rikurou was once a loving and caring father and husband. In Episode 18, “Under the Tree”, Taiga recalls describing to Ryuji the time she met Santa Claus as a child. While she and Ryuji conclude that it was most likely a vivid dream, certain details in her story indicate that it could have happened. Some fans believe that Taiga’s mention of her parents’ marital status at the time was a hint from the author that she once lived in a happy and healthy two-parent family that indulged in holiday festivities and traditions.

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Rikurou is the main character of Taiga’s love interest Ryuji

At first glance, dressing up as Santa Claus to surprise Taiga with a gift on Christmas Eve seems unusual for Rikurou, but considering the romantic relationship he had with his family at the time, the fan theory doesn’t seem so. wacky as it seems. Fans also pointed out that Ryuji’s decision to later recreate Taiga’s fond memory was another indication that Rikurou was Santa Claus when he first met him. It’s clear that Rikurou and Ryuji are analogous characters in the series, and that’s supported by Taiga and Ryuji. dynamic father-daughter relationship before the development of their romantic feelings. The circumstances of her occurrences with Santa appear to directly parallel each other, giving viewers a clue as to who the Santa character from Taiga’s past is.

Whether or not that’s true, fans can agree that this theory is sound. With the bonds between Rikurou and Taiga, now a young adult, nearly severed due to his self-centered tendencies, it gives viewers hope that Rikurou was once a selfless man who truly cared about his daughter.

Sharon D. Cole