To Love Ru
Lala is a fugitive princess who ran away after tiring of endless marriage meetings. Crash landing on Earth, she encounters Rito who mistakenly initiates a marriage proposal. Lala decides to stay with Rito, who is in fact in love with a different girl. From now on it's a steady stream of aliens trying to marry Lala, or assassinate Rito.
Having watched To Love Ru a while ago, I judged it as a simplistic crap ripoff of Urusei Yatsura, which it mostly is. Since that time I've sat on this review and watched more releases in this franchise. To Love Ru is like going to the Walmart of harem anime. You could have gone to specialty stores with better products like hardware, electronics, etc. Instead you went to Ru-Mart where everything is a generic knock off - but highly convenient having everything in one spot. If you (still) watch harem anime, you're tolerant of the same tired gimmicks. The question becomes if you can keep watching them over and over in the same show when often done better elsewhere. To Love Ru starts bad, but gets better; arriving at a kind-of okay spot as a harem show. It's a long trip, with many ups and downs.
The first season is the most painful though. I expected it to be cute, or funny... or something. The characters don't do To Love Ru any favors, but to the show's credit, even with a cast so large, I found some annoying but didn't hate any of them. If you can't find a girl you like among the 30+ regulars, you picked the wrong harem anime buffet. In a very weird turn after watching many many episodes, my favorite girl turned out to be Lala! I always felt a little bad for the girls being perpetually victimized by fan service (well, sorta), but when involving Lala it always takes a humorous spin.
The first season is bland and boring, with most comedy bombing, although parts have potential. After 26 episodes of coma inducing stupidity, you'd think "whew.. that's over". Instead they keep making more and To Love Ru anime. Next comes a 6 part OVA which is on par with the first TV season (not good), but in season 2 things take a turn for the better and I understood the big problem with To Love Ru up to this point.
To Love Ru doesn't have a deep story. It's the same generic silly harem entertainment. Season 2, Motto To Love Ru; better captures the idea by shortening episodes. The problem with season 1 was stretching episodes to excruciating lengths with filler to cover for the story. Motto chapters have their "point", then end. There are 2-4 "chapters" per episode, which works well if you haven't tired of this stuff by now.
When it's short and silly, it's not too bad. The art style changes through the years, but looks good. To Love Ru has one thing going for it which works well: Lala's arsenal of weird inventions highly conductive to harem-anime plots. Teleportation but removing clothes, people stuck together (for at least a day), body swapping, etc. In more intelligent shows it wouldn't work, but To Love Ru isn't serious enough for that problem.
Mentioning the over-abundance of fan service in a harem anime is like going to a steak house and complaining about the vegetarian menu options so not worth discussing. It does get more trashy as it goes, so be prepared. To Love Ru hasn't ended, but it has no plot progression because there's no real plot. Originally I intended to package To Love Ru Darkness in this review, but a few things are changed up later on, although it doesn't achieve a net gain.
Is it worth wading through all this junk for just another harem anime? Probably not, depending if you watch the first season or not. You could get away with watching the first 6 episodes, then skipping into Motto. There's no shortage of anime harem stuff, which include things like a story; so I wouldn't say there's much to support this anime. It's hard to justify the time investment when you could be watching something else, but if you're still interested by this point, may be worth a shot to kill time.
Saki: Out of respect for your roach-like ability to survive, I will leave you for today.
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