|Romaji Translation||Kushieda Minori|
|Debut (Anime)||Toradora! Episode 01|
|Appears in||Light Novel, Manga, Anime|
|Voice Actor (Japanese)||Horie Yui|
Minori Kushieda is a girl in Ryūji's class and is initially the object of his affections, and she is also Taiga's best friend. She is also known by the pet name "Minorin" (as a form of friendly affection). In contrast to the violent nature of Taiga, Minori is always smiling and cheerful. Her parents are always out working and she has a younger brother whom she takes care of.
She is very athletic and is the captain of the girl's softball club at school, and in the later part of the series, the captain of the merged boys and girls softball team, though at the same time she holds many part time jobs. Minori has worked as a mobile phone stylist, a waitress at a family restaurant, and a clerk at a convenience store, steam boat store, and at a karaoke box (she says that she's working hard for the Labor Revolution Files, a reference to Sayounara Zetsubou Sensei, but later on in the series, she reveals that she is working hard because she does not want to hinder anyone and because she wants to save lots of money, then get into a sports university and aim for the national softball league). She is a glutton when it comes to food, but is also constantly combating with dieting, calling herself a 'diet warrior'. She gets a thrill out of being scared. Despite her air-headed tendencies, she is very perceptive, and is one of the few people to see Ryūji for the gentle person he is, and is also not fooled by Ami's acts of innocence. She also sees and knows that Ryuji and Taiga love and care for each other deeply despite Taiga's acts of pushing Ryuji and Minori to be together. It is implied that her air-headed tendencies may be a facade.
Summer Break ArcEdit
During their summer break, Kitamura, Ami, Ryuji, Taiga and Minori all go to Ami's villa to spend their summer there. During their stay, Ryuuji takes this chance to get to know Minori better. After dinner, Minori and Ryuuji talk about ghosts and love over ice cream. She tells Ryuji, "I believe ghosts exist in this world but I've never seen them. I don't believe people who said they've seen them. I've also thought about this in the same way: I believe in the future, I'll fall in love, get married, and become happy. But actually, I've never had that feeling for anyone before. I feel distant to those who talk about love in this world. That's because I can't see it. Since ghosts don't exist, I'll never see them". She is implying that she knows that Ryuji is interested in her and likes her, but because he has never acted on his feelings, she doesn't believe it. She is trying to tell Ryuuji that if he is interested in her he needs to tell her. She follows the ghost comments at the beach by a comment about maybe looking for UFO’s with him, which implies that she want’s to get closer to him. At that point, she isn’t in love, but she is hinting that she is interested in him.
Taiga's Father Return ArcEdit
In episode 12, when Ryuji tells Minori that Taiga and her father are beginning to reconnect, Minori gets angry and argues with Ryūji that Taiga should not have anything to do with her dad; while Ryūji feels the opposite. Taiga tries to calm things down by making the two shake hands, but Ryūji walks away angrily. During the festival, Taiga's dad does not show up, and Ryūji does not apologize to Minori. Just as Taiga makes a dramatic appearance in the beauty contest, Ryūji receives a text from her dad saying he would not be able to live with her. Taiga wins the beauty contest, despite the sadness that her father did not show up. A race is held to determine who will dance with Taiga, and Ryūji, finally understanding Minori's warning, is determined to win it, using short cuts and stepping on top of other participants. Minori also decides to run the race for her best friend, even surpassing Ryuji. Near the end of the race, two boys pushes Minori down and she throws a baseball at them. She also throws herself towards the last four participants and provides an opportunity for Ryūji to win. However, he goes back for her. They hold hands as they cross the finish line together, forgiving each other.
Christmas Eve Party ArcEdit
In episode 17, Minori becomes disoriented during a baseball game because of what Ami had said about Minori's feelings of guilt, and makes a mistake that causes her team to lose the game. After Ryūji 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 Ryūji ask Minori to go to the party with them, but she vehemently declines. This causes Taiga and Ryuji to worry about Minori. As Christmas approaches, everyone is helping with the Christmas party and helps put together an artificial Christmas tree topped with a glass star that Taiga brought, which she says is her most valuable Christmas ornament. Everyone is pleased with their efforts and awed by the site of the tree lit up. However, a stray softball crashes through the gym window and knocks over the tree, smashing the star. This sends Minori into deep regret and she forces it upon herself to fix the broken star; despite her protests, Ryūji helps her out. The baseball club apologizes and Minori leaves, still declining Ryūji's offer of going to the party as she feels she would not be welcome after the accident. Despite hearing that, Ryūji promises her that he will wait for her. On the night of the party, Taiga brings over a suit for Ryūji to wear while he still attempts to convince Minori to come. The party begins with a special Christmas song performed by Taiga and Ami. Following the song, Ami informs Ryūji that Taiga has left the party. Taiga decides to go home in order to wait for Santa Claus, stopping by Minori's house on the way to convince her to go to the party. Ryūji, figuring she would be alone, goes to Taiga's apartment dressed up as a 'Bear Santa Claus' in order to help Taiga realize that she is not alone. Afterwards, she tells Ryūji to go back and wait for Minori. Ryūji leaves, despite initially resisting. Taiga begins crying uncontrollably, thinking that with Ryūji together with Minori, Ryūji and herself can no longer stay together. Taiga rushes after Ryūji, calling for him, but he is already gone. Minori, who was heading to the party, witnesses this.
When Minori meets Ryūji at the school, she tells him that she "does not want to see ghosts and UFOs with him after all, and would rather not see them" implying to him that she does not wish to have a boyfriend at this point in time. Ryūji interprets this as being rejected and collapses onto the sidewalk.
Ski Field Trip ArcEditLater in the year, their class is scheduled to have a ski field trip. Taiga points out to Ryūji that this would be his last chance to confirm Minori's feelings before classes are rearranged. Ryūji catches up with Minori, who is still a bit disheartened from Christmas, and Taiga provides an opportunity for the two to start talking again. Later, Ryūji, Minori, Yūsaku, Ami and the other students go to Taiga's apartment to discuss plans for the trip. Ryūji and Minori talk in the kitchen, where she constantly praises Ryūji for the way Taiga has become. She wishes that things would stay the way they were forever, while Ryūji knows that it would not be possible, and becomes determined to confess properly. During the ski trip, Ryūji has a brief talk with Minori and Minori puts on the hairpin Ryūji supposedly got for her during Christmas, saying Taiga gave it to her. He realizes that no matter what he does, Minori's feelings for him will not change. When confronted by Yūsaku, Hisamitsu, and Haruta, Ryūji reveals he has a crush on Minori. Later, they investigate the girl's room in order to find out the true reason behind Minori's rejection, only to end up hiding in a closet along with Taiga, when Ami, Minori, Maya, and Nanako come in. Ami brings up the topic of Ryūji's rejection by Minori, and the two get angry at each other. Minori tells Ami that she shouldn't judge her because the other couldn't see or read her heart and Ami tells Minori that she was really good at faking. The next day, Taiga and Minori accidentally run into Ami on their sled. Ami feels that they did it on purpose because of last night's argument and engages in a physical fight with Minori. Minori drops her hairpin on a nearby slope and Taiga goes to search for it by herself, but ends up falling down without the others noticing. When Taiga does not return, Yūsaku, Minori, and Ryūji search for her. Ryūji contemplates his feelings for Taiga as he realizes he left her alone again. Ryūji finds her at the bottom of a hill, bleeding and covered in snow. As Ryūji carries her back, a barely conscious Taiga thinking that he is Yūsaku, apologizes and confesses that she cannot stop loving Ryūji. Ryuji tells Yusaku later on to lie for him and say that it was Yusaku who saved Taiga instead of him.
Valentine's Day ArcEditAs 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 Taiga believed Yūsaku rescued her from the ski trip instead of Ryūji, she becomes angry. She confronts Taiga, with Ami and Yūsaku blocking the exits, trying to get her to show her true feelings. Taiga says she only wanted Minori to be happy, but Minori says that happiness is something only she can decide for herself. Taiga runs off and Minori decides to go after her, asking Ryūji if he will go after her too. Ryūji decides to help Minori go after Taiga. While running to catch up, Minori shouts that she has always liked Ryūji but held back because of her friendship with Taiga and because Taiga needed him more than she did; she also says that Taiga has to obtain her own happiness as well. Afterwards, Minori confirms Ryūji’s love for Taiga. She tells Ryuji that this was a giant goodbye and then she places her fist in his lips and when Ryuji leaves her in the infirmary to run after Taiga, she presses her fist to her lips as an indrect kiss; her first and last kiss with Ryuji. Yūsaku calls up and asks them to go to Ami's house. Minori, Ami, and Yūsaku do not agree with their plans but decide to support them. Minori ends up lending all her life savings to the two. When the others leave Ami's house, Minori stays and there she breaks down and cries. Ami asks her, “Are you upset that Taiga took Ryuuji away from you or….”, but before Ami finishes Minori says she doesn’t know but she learned one thing "If you trip while running down a hallway, you’ll get a nosebleed. If you trip in life, you cry." When Ryuji comes back to school without Taiga, Minori is happy that Ryūji lets her leave but he has come to terms with everything. Taiga sends everyone a mail with a picture of the night sky and a single star, and Minori feels that this is supposed to encourage them to do their best. Everyone gets together to send a group picture to Taiga.