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
tollie01's avatar By on Jan 17, 2016

Allright. It's been a while since I've done something like this so bear with me as I try to find my way again.I did quite a lot of them in the past on a different website which you can find here: http://legendsofsatura.net/index.php/forum125/6-reviewing-guild.html

....They probably aren't very good though but please do stop by if you have the time and inclination. Originally the site was for writers, mostly original but also fanfiction.

Also I'm Dutch so there will be spelling errors. If you find them annoying give me a shout and I'll try to fix them.

Oh, I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum but there will be some. Usually the worse I rate an anime the more spoilers this will contain. You have been warned

So, you have probably already read what the animation is about in the discription given by Anime-Planet, which is the same as on the box. I will therefore try not go into the story that much unless I'm ranting about something (spoilers).

It is never a good thing when the only emotion that the anime you are watching brings forth in you is rage. This anime pissed me off in ways I have not experianced in a very long time. I have seen a lot of anime and I plan to watch a lot more. A precious few a great, some a good, many are meh and than there are anme like this. Suffice to say that there will be many spoilers in this review. Usually I try to minimize it but for this piece of crap....nope, do not care.

So what is the problem with this anime? What is it that so pissed me off about it? Short story is that the entire anime is utterly pointless and a waste of time. Let me go back to the story here: Yuki is a young boy in highschool who wants to confess his love to the girl of his dreams, Haruna. Every time he tries something happens to keep him from doing so (gets run over by car, hit on head by washing bin, trampled by elephant or nearly hit by crashing spaceship .... yes, this is actually in the anime). After his recent failure he is at home taking a bath when a naked alien girl, Lala, appears in the bathtub with him. In a funny (not really) coincidence he proposes to her and she accepts. Yuki only wants Haruna and prceeds to try to out of the engagement and hook up with his dream girl.

This is supposed to be fun but is instead rage inducing because it is utter bullcrap. First of all, Lala, is every man's dream. She is beautiful, smart, kind, gentle, sleeps in the nude with her fiancee, has no issues with being nude, will do anything for her fiancee and is the heir to a fast galactic empire. Speaking of fast galactic empire.... her father will destroy the planet if Yuki breaks off the engagement or if he makes Lala sad.

Let me repeat: HE WILL DESTROY THE WORLD IF YUKI BREAKS OFF THE ENGAGEMENT WITH LALA OR IF HE MAKES HER UNHAPPY!

The second he learned of this his first action would be to dive into bed with Lala and do his utmost to make her as happy as she can possibly get!

But no, his love and only love is Haruna so let us take look at Haruna, shall we? ....Erm.... Well.... Where to begin? ..... She's very.... Uhm..... Nice?

Yes, Haruna! The love of Yuki's live. The utter blanc slate, the piece of plywood, the back ground character that shows up everywhere who is very nice!

Seriously! When you try to create a love triangle you need 3 characters who you can feel for and care for. You want to see Yuki with either one or both of them. There is nothing about Haruna that makes her a interesting character, let alone a partner for Yuki.

She is nice! 26 episodes and that is all you learn about Haruna! How the F%^& do you manage that! The only bit of background you get about it is a 2 minute scene where Yuki overhears a classmate talking to Haruna where they talk about him. In this conversation the unknown classmate asks Haruna what she thinks about Yuki after that 'thing' he did (sorry but that 'thing' is never explained in the anime and never comes again either). This 'thing' is appearently a big thing as Haruna looks very uncomfortable and takes her time answering but eventually stated that she doesn't believe Yuki to be a bad guy.

And there you have it. The reason that Yuki is head over heels for Haruna and refuses any other woman to get in the way. No matter if the world gets destroyed in the process he will break up with Lala and marry the love of his life! I want to shoot him in the head and piss on his grave.

So that is the main concept of the anime and it is as stupid as it can get. When the main plot fails like this there is really no saving it and the best episode in the series is the one where none of the main characters appear. Worst of all is that the series is 26 episodes and this is far to long for something as stupid as this but do not despair as there is an actual second season. Yes indeed, the fun continues in a second 12 episode season.

I will not watch a second season as I want to live a long and healthy live and watching it will surely shorten it considerably due to blood pressure related ailments.

But let me rip into this crap pile some more. There were many things more wrong here as well. granted the story was the biggest but not the least.

1: Lala's security detail opens fire on her ship as she tries to run away from home. This is in the first episode and it is made to look like Lala is a escaping criminal to build suspence or something. This scene becomes particularly stupid later when revealed that she is the heir to a fast empire and that her father loves her greatly. Her father loves her enough to threaten to completely destroy the planet of the man who will hurt her. So not only did the security detail fire upon her with the risk of killing her they fired upon their future employer. She is the HEIR, meaning that one day she will sit on the throne and will most likely not remember fondly her officers shooting her down.

2: Yuki should be dead. I mentioned briefly that one time he was nearly hit by a crashing spaceship. All that did was crash next to him and crack some pavement. That is not how it works. You have a multiton object falling from space onto the ground. Even if it was going several thousand miles per hour the kinetic energy should have been enough to wipe the entire city off the map.

3: Why is Haruna interested in Yuki. For whatever reason Yuki is into Haruna I can barely live with but Haruna? With the stuff happening in the anime she should never talk to him ever again but no.... it becomes clear that she actually cares from him as well. Even though he manages to be a total douche around her. He is engaged to Lala and she knows it. She witnesses him falling out of a locker in the girls changeing room naked with am aqually naked Lala. She should spit in his face every time she sees him.

4: The ending, oh God, the ending. Never was I so pissed off at an anime ending as this one. It starts with Lala getting the space flu or something. Normal people get a fever but as she is an alien that means that you get a whole can of bullshit. In Lala's case she develops a different personality every day. And this is what eventually makes Yuki fall in love with Lala. Yes, having her act like a completely different person makes Yuki love Lala. I want him to die horribly.

He accepts that he is going to marry her and than dad shows up and throws a final challenge at Yuki in which he must prove that he is the man for Lala. All the characters show up and help Yuki overcome the challenge. Dad is happy and immediately proceeds with the wedding ceremony only to be stopped by.... Lala?

Yes she stops the ceremony (after Yuk already said yes) and confesses that she knows that he didn't really love her and that the wedding is off. This comes out of nowhere and at no point did she indicate that this is how she felt.

For all I know this was done so that there would be a second season and there is.

0.5/10 story
5/10 animation
5/10 sound
0.5/10 characters
1/10 overall
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Tuckington's avatar By on Sep 15, 2015

To Love-Ru is a story about everyone trying to get a spiky-haired ginger's penis. 

That's it.

3/10 story
6/10 animation
6/10 sound
4/10 characters
5/10 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
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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
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