The Episode Review
What’s the show? To Love-Ru, Episode 2.
And how’s this episode? Remember how in the previous episode review I made the comment that after my very first watch I was “intrigued but not blown away” by the show?
Let’s pretend I remember anything you say, so why do you bring that up? Well I think in hindsight Episode 2 may have been the true source of the problem.
Oh? I don’t know if this is just ~modern day~ me being influenced by ~modern day~ harem/ecchi anime standards but ‘To Love-Ru’ spends a long time (at least in this episode) elaborating on concepts which are pretty standard. Rito is suddenly engaged to Lala, an alien princess, but he doesn’t want to be because he’s in love with his classmate Haruna. But he can’t break up his engagement because it will upset Lala and in turn her father, who would probably destroy Earth in revenge for this slight against their name. Seems to me by Episode 2 most harem anime would have covered these ‘basic’ plot points and be already on to introducing girl 3 and 4 to the harem.
So what you’re saying is… I’m saying this episode is slow to get to the ‘status quo’–i.e. The harem shenanigans and sci-fi action silliness which is going to maintain the series going forward. That’s not to say I’m not glad (in hindsight) the show takes its time to get a look into Lala’s personal feelings on this engagement and why she’s so gung-ho and ‘all-in’ on such a “bland” human like Rito. The problem is that the road getting Rito to this point feels like padding to fill up 20ish minutes–not bad padding per-se, just somewhat unnecessary.
Wow, this kind of feels almost like a semi-negative review for a show you’ve called your “favourite of all time”? As far as the series as a whole goes, Episode 2 is probably among the Top 5 Weakest Episodes and even the best shows out there have less than stellar experiences, it’s just a shame that ‘To Love-Ru’ has an episode like this at such a make-or-break time. And bear in mind when I say ‘Weakest’ this episode is still going to score an 82/100 this is by no means a disaster. But for viewers who aren’t as enamoured as I am with this series going from a 93 for episode 1 to an 82 for episode 2 could very well be the difference between continuing a show and dropping a show.
Why do I have a feeling you’re about to regale me with a story of your first viewing again? Not me, specifically but rather the irlwaifu–we watched these first two episodes and after the second she shrugged and said “I don’t think this show is for me”. I was saddened but not undeterred–I took a month break from the show before returning to watch Episode 3. I won’t get into too many spoilers but Episode 3 was such a fantastically fun experience that over the course of a week or so I goaded her into resuming the show and it was if the previous episode was just a speed-bump in the journey rather than the brick wall it could have potentially been. ‘To Love-Ru’ is now one of her favourite shows too and it almost never happened because of Episode 2.
I mean, that’s certainly a ringing endorsement of the ‘3 Episode Rule’ if nothing else. Also I can’t help but be bothered that you’re getting ahead of yourself again–you’re supposed to be reviewing this episode not the next one! Hey, this is the first time I’ve reviewed a show after it’s out–I’m used to seasonal episodic reviews or full season reviews–it’s hard to not talk about the ‘whole’ when just reviewing a ‘piece’.
The Fanservice Review
Right and so how does the fan-service fare in this episode, does it also take a quality hit? More accurately a quantity hit, there’s very little, what there is is mostly flashbacks to the previous episode–though we do get our first (and second) scenes of Rito waking up next to a naked Lala–which is just about a dream come true (for me at least!).
Oh, so is this going to be a shorter “fan service review” section? Unfortunately, yes. The scenes with Lala waking up beside Rito are beautifully framed, then there’s a bit of teleportation shenanigans when Rito has to escape an angry mob of his peers who learn about his engagement to Lala. She uses one of her gadgets to have them “warp” away, but of course her device doesn’t teleport clothes so they end up naked and in the girl’s changing room in front of Haruna!
Classic. Anything else? We get a brief shower scene that kind of goes nowhere and also there’s a clothed ‘jiggle’ compilation that’s pretty nice but aside from that things remain pretty tame comparatively throughout.
You must be so disappointed. Devastated.
Final thoughts and score for ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode 2? This second episode, while more flawed than the first (and most to come) does still warrant its existence, not just because of the aforementioned scenes which help establish Lala’s ‘instant’ connection to Rito but some genuinely funny comedic moments between Mikan (Rito’s little sister) and Zastin (the commander of Lala’s royal guard). Episode 2 works as a part of a committed binge watch, it somewhat falls apart though as viewed as an episode by itself. My score for the episode is 82 out of 100, my score for the fan service is 70 out of 100.
Previous ‘To Love-Ru’ Episode Reviews:
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