To Love-Ru

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therik's avatar By therik 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
triplestrike's avatar By triplestrike 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
xxjacobxx3's avatar By xxjacobxx3 on Mar 12, 2012

The story is crap mainly because the main boy is a weakling and indecisive (cant make his mind up as to which girl he likes). They even leave it that way at the very end. Obviously he would like to have lala and haruka, but yet he feels some type of moral negative at the same time.

The animation/quality and ecchi is wonderful.

The sound fits. I especially like the opening.

Most of the characters are typical, although have enough uniqueness so that they are not totally annoying. lala is annoying because she is sqeaky and clumbsy. haruka is annoying because she just likes to blush and never accomplish anything.

Overall: The story which was comprised of annoying characters fails. I skipped from like episode 10 to 24 and watched the ending. I am glad I did as the ending did absolutely nothing more than what the rest of the boring annoying series did.

Excuse me for my totally emotional venting. lol peace

2/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
2/10 characters
4/10 overall
DavidWP's avatar By DavidWP on Mar 19, 2011

The anime has a great premise and the first 7ish episodes are very well done, but then the anime seems to run out of idea's and keeps on introducing random characters, who get pumped off at the end of the episode (making that episode pointless); To Love-Ru just has too many filler episodes for me to recomed it, however it has a great lead female and a very funny suporting cast as well as some scenes of subtle character development.

More in video review, this review is the first episode of my series 'Sex God anime reviews', I got the idea from B Gata H Kei to do a Sex God and he first appears in that review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR0tPoiGpq4

4/10 story
5/10 animation
8/10 sound
4/10 characters
5.5/10 overall