To Love-Ru

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therik's avatar By on Nov 26, 2008

Story

Oftentimes, the arrival of a pink-haired, amply bosomed alien girl would be cause for great joy and celebration amongst the male population of the globe. Quite how To Love-Ru takes this premise and turns it into an unsatisfactory 12 hours is anyone's guess. I suppose, with my stall set out thus, you might expect a brutal savaging of the series, but it is my nature to at least attempt to give balance to my thoughts, so I will begin with the show's strengths.

Ostensibly, To Love-Ru is a love-comedy, based around a love triangle, epic awkwardness on the part of the male lead, and relentless bucketfuls of ecchi. As a formula, it is certainly successful, and the show rarely strays from the comfortable ground of wacky, improbable shenanigans and accidental head-breast contact. Beyond any doubt its greatest strength is that it does not - at any time - pretend it is anything other than what it is. WYSIWYG, if you will.

Further to this, nothing in the show is absolutely intolerable or offensive (unless, I suppose, feminism is a value close to your heart). In fact, the show meanders pleasantly enough along its path without once giving you cause to dislike it, let alone drop it. So why the scathing bile at the start? It is because, in all honestly, To Love-Ru's strengths are also its greatest weaknesses. Formulaic shows are one thing, but for an anime to stick so ruthlessly to the tried and tested is another thing altogether. It is about as adventurous as a geriatric aristocrat, and only slightly more interesting.

Each episode begins positively enough, with an upbeat theme and images of the girls in various states of undress, which is, I am not afraid to say, quite pleasant. However, there comes a foreboding sensation that something is wrong, and you can't quite put your finger on the exact problem. Fortunately, the credits help you out with this as the katakana-literate become aware of someone being credited with "character design". I have no desire to be unkind, but To Love-Ru's primary character design innovation seems to be taking pre-existing characters and making them nakeder. This is hardly rocket science and leads one to wonder about the rest of the show given how little effort was clearly put into to creating the drones that inhabit it.

Distressingly, the body of the episode inevitably follows suit, wagging its tail, and with a dumb smile on its face. The "alien from space" premise and all the material that could come from this are gleefully discarded in favour of the usual high school setting. This overused basin of normalcy plays host to plots which are bizarre enough to obliterate any suspension of disbelief, but too banal to generate any interest. Instead, it takes an agonising middle road somewhere between Seen It All Before Avenue, and Don't Honestly Care Lane. In the process, the writing cruelly compacts any promise that the To Love-Ru's theme may have offered into a series of bizarre "inventions" which are so ascientific, they may as well have "Deus Ex Machina" scribbled on them in indelible marker.


Animation

I have no quarrels with the animation. It's functional and the females are drawn in a way which complements their undoubted stock-character allures. Indeed, the second ending credits contains some delightful artwork. This said, certain animation devices are overused to the point of rabid frustration on the part of the viewer. Rito's head, by way of example, seems to spend half its time filling with blood and steaming, like some sort of badly broken kettle.

However, I guess this is all besides the point, as I can imagine the question you may be asking, and the answer is no. For all their patent desire to draw the curvaceous and the erotic, the animators stick to a strictly PG policy on nudity. This, in all honesty, frustrates to no end. The anime's target audience is clear and - with this in mind - such pre-watershed teasing is unforgivable. Perhaps I need to retake the unit on Japanese cultural norms.


Sound

Again, there is really nothing wrong with the sound. Every individual has a voice which befits their character, and Lala manages to strike a balance between getting on my nerves and not getting on my nerves with her high-pitched, permanent excitedness. No sound effects are overused and no music is fury-inducingly annoying or overplayed. In fact, I'd go as far as to say the themes are catchy, but my opinion is worth little on this matter. I actually like J-Pop, for crying out loud.


Characters

Surprisingly, not only every idea in the anime, but also every character has been done before, and has been done better. The pathetic, self-insertion vessel of a male lead, the wackjob pink-haired extra-terrestrial, the nurse whose breasts are so pendulous one could imagine them being used to measure time - it's all old hat. The nearest we get to "interesting" or "character development" is the semi-tsundere disciplinarian Yui Kotegawa, and even her character is a pale shadow of those which it so barefacedly rips off. Indeed, To Love-Ru's main problem is not so much that it follows a tried and tested formula, but that it follows a tried and tested formula without offering so much as a modicum of novelty and - in so doing - finds itself infinitely inferior to most shows of the same genre.


Overall

Perhaps the most damning indictment of To Love-Ru is that the best episode is one where 22 of the 24 minutes are taken up by another show (Magical Girl, Kyoko Flame, or some such) which the characters are watching. If this is not a clear indication that something - anything - else is better than watching this hodge podge of ill-executed madness and abyss of characterisation, then I don't know what is.

If it all still sounds like your cup of tea - I can't blame you, I thought I'd enjoy it too - then can I recommend you watch Shuffle! instead. It's the same thing but better. Plus you actually get to see nipples. If you've already watched Shuffle!... watch it again, ahead of this.

2.5/10 story
6/10 animation
7/10 sound
2/10 characters
3/10 overall
quamp's avatar By on Nov 26, 2014

I had heard so much about To-Love-Ru and how good it was when it came out, I had to see it. Boy was that a mistake! As a long-time anime fan (since the late 1980s,) I have never seen such a blatent rip-off of an anime by another anime. This anime is just a blatent rip-off of the classic Urusei Yatsura. I think the people who really enjoyed this one never heard of Urusei Yatsura. At least in Urusei Yatsura, the jokes were funny. 

0.5/10 story
9/10 animation
6/10 sound
2/10 characters
2.5/10 overall
animeman93's avatar By on Oct 28, 2014

i came into to love-ru very nearly completely blind, but after just one day, i'm actually kind of getting pissed off with it, and that's coming from someone who thinks that the fucking star wars prequels were quite good. i've watched half a season now, and i have to say, i'm really not rooting for much in it anymore. because the main plot device throughout the series is awkward situation after awkward situation after awkward situation, over and over again, it was funny the first couple of times, but it's just getting old now, because there's nothing more unfunny than a joke being told about a thousand trillion times over.

as for the characters, i have absolutely no characters that i actively like, there are some characters i'm ambivalent towards, they're just "meh" to me, there are some i just find annoying, and there's some that i absolutely fucking loathe. most of the main characters fall into the "annoying" category, like haranu and rito, the resident awkward pair who love each other, but never getting there.

to bring it back to the awkward situations thing, haranu is the main target for most of these awkward situations. this scenario has happened so many times, something happens beyond rito's control, and he ultimately ends up face down in her crotch area or his hands on her boobs. and that's where the characters get annoying. haranu stupidly believes it to be an act of perversion, instead of a misunderstanding, even if rito is blatantly giving off signs of it actually being a misunderstanding. then she assaults him, leaves him heartbroken, and he just lies there and takes a punishment he doesn't fucking deserve like a little bitch, never once going to any kind of lenghts to clear his name, and another thing that annoys me about rito is that 14 episodes in, and he never once stood up for himself and took what he wants, there's only so long that people can take this kind of shit, even the people who are absolutely spineless.

and the characters that i absolutely loathe, like the evil, popular bitch who doesn't want anyone stealing her spotlight, and will go to great lengths to try and stop them if they do, i know they were written to be the most annoying little fucknuts we've ever seen, but for one thing, they are more than annoying little fucknuts, they're the sort of people who unleash the inner sadist within me, they're the sort of people who i want to see get their extremely satisfying comeuppance, but we do get a comeuppance, but never as much a satisfying one, just a few embarrasing wardrobe malfunctions, and an unseen arrest and hopeful public humiliation on tax evasion charges. and unfortunately, "hopeful" is all we get. another thing is that we need a balance of these characters and characters that everyone likes. but, once again, no favourable characters.

so that's to love-ru, it's a show with a good concept, and a good story, but it falls flat because of the endless awkward situation jokes, which is all it eventually becomes, just a show dragging itself on with the same plot device over and over again, eventually destroying all humor because i'm left feeling sorry for the amount of shit this VERY unlucky bastard has to go through.

7/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
4/10 characters
2/10 overall
GeniusPotato's avatar By on Oct 24, 2014

**** THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE SO DON'T WORRY ****

To Love Ru? what can i say, words can't even describe the feelings and emotions that dwelled within me throughtout this series. Others would have different opinions torwards this series, and i accept that, but this has to be one of my favourites.

Story - 9:

The main plot line in this so sincere it kills me metaphorically and literally. As the story develops and you understand more on what's going on, you finally get an insight on what you think. The way how this story is unique and stylish makes it perfect; now i do understand that were dealing with one of our main characters, Lala, and our main protagonist, Rito, the 2 main characters in the series, play an amazing role. I understand that rito is not the man you think he is, he's odly not desparate, clingy with Lala and worried about her as you could say.

Animation - 8:

The animation is surprisingly good for a 6-7 year old Anime series. The fps (frames per second) is at an average level of 30-60 frames regardless of what scene were talking about here. The animation never tries to delibarately speed up to keep in tact with the sound or the movement.

Sound - 8: 

I will not lie here, but the souns is amazing. Nice intro and outro's that can make your dance to or even sing to, nice sound effects for 'action' scenes you could call it and a nostalgic like soundtrack that will literally get stuck in your head. The sounds and soundtrack is also unique in this series, it uses the right sounds or 'music' at the right place at the right time, when i say that, i mean they use similar sounds or music to the current concept that would be happening, take Episode 11 for example.

Characters - 10:

Oh, where do i start. The characters are fantastic and remarkable in any way shape or form. I know some people might suggest other wise, which i can accept, but the characters in this, are amazing. Lala Deviluke is one of the 2 main protagonist's in this series, i know that she is a pink haired, big cup sized alien, but doesn't matter, her personality is pretty well made; she is a care free person, never stops trying in everything, and i'll say this once, always happy and never gets or rarely gets agitated or sad, so she's not scared to walk around in the house, topless with no dignity. Rito, Which is one of your main characters and main protagonist, is not the kind of man you'd think to be at age 16-17, He's rarely ever aroused when Lala is topless somewhere or sleeping in his bed, naked, literally, no arosuing there.

Overall - 10:

In a overall statement, this Anime series deserves a 10/10 with it's unique story line, stylish Animation, beautiful sound and a Love inducing relationship with the characters, I can say with pride that this anime series changed my life for the better, and i'll never regret that 

9/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
triplestrike's avatar By on May 14, 2012

This will be one quick review. Basically, this anime is pretty terrible however, it is kinda sweet and totally silly at the same time. Main character somehow gets himself married to a chick from another planet and if he doesn't marry her the planet will be destroyed but he likes this quiet chick at his school. Yeah, very ecchi. Boobs in face/ boob jokes/ random reason to look at girls boobs events happen all the time. Somehow I still like this show. The intro song is fun and great. 

But really, this anime is super wacky and fun and somehow better than a lot of other ecchi. It is surprisingly sweet and kinda cute. Most episdoes are 100% filler, which sucks big time. They jump around the main character actually making a decision and give you floaty ending, however the show did get continued so maybe they'll do something there, although unlikely.

7/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
8/10 characters
7.9/10 overall