Hello everyone (all 5 of you who read these reviews) first an announcement, going forward all the episodic ‘To Love-Ru’ reviews will be single episode collaborations with Irina from I Drink And Watch Anime. Why? Because I felt I was spreading myself too thin by doing solo reviews and collab reviews of the same episodes, plus I felt the writing in the collab portions hasn’t been up to scratch which wasn’t really fair on Irina (or the readers). Anyway, basically all that means is we’ll be getting through the show a lot quicker than originally scheduled which is good for everyone! Announcement over!
The Episode Review:
Hello Irina! Here we are with episode 5 and almost immediately we’re introduced to a new girl! ~the harem expands~ Her name is Saki Tenjouin, and she fits pretty well into the cackling rich-girl archetype. What’s your opinion on this type of girl in anime? It’s one of those silly tropes that doesn’t seem to exist at all in real life. You see it a lot in older shows but its been a while since I’ve seen a new one pop up except as a punch line. Maybe it’s out of style?
I like these types of girls (but then again I like pretty much every type of anime girl) so no surprise I like Saki. What did you think of her introduction into the narrative, being annoyed that her spot as ‘most adored by the male students’ has been taken by newcomer Lala? I have to admit this just seemed like another sort of standard anime trope. It’s not my favourite cliche but you see it so much that it just blends into the background for me. I think my favourite part about her whole character is how willing she is to ‘lewd’ herself to get attention. I mean sure that behaviour in real life might be more the result of some deep-seated issues but in a comedic ecchi it works!
One of my favourite throw-away jokes is about midway through the episode when Saki has started the ‘Miss Sainan’ competition in order to lure Lala out and have them compete and one of Saki’s flunkies (her name is Ayako but I don’t know if the show bothers to name her this early on) picks up Rito with a crane in order to use him as bait. Rito exclaims–much like the audience might–why is there a crane here, and Ayako gives a deadpan reply about having gotten the proper permits. I don’t know why but that kind of ‘logical’ explanation in a series that’s pretty far-fetched always strikes me as inherently funny. It was really nice dead pan joke. They have a lot of those absurdist moments in the series so far and it’s a very fun aspect. I hope they keep it up.
That aside did you enjoy that Lala stayed obliviously ambivalent to Saki’s desire to compete? Lala didn’t really do anything this episode. It would have been nice to see her a bit more. Actually we didn’t really get any development for the established characters and just concentrated on the new girl so I guess it makes sense. This episode could have easily devolved into a 20 minute swimsuit competition but instead decided to take a more high-concept finale!
Zastin, fearing that Saki’s attempts to ‘get’ Lala are akin to an assassination attempt decides to increase security at the Yuki household, outfitting their yard with laser tripwires, machine-guns and pitfalls filled with tentacle monsters (of course) all which Saki, Ayako and third flunky Rin fall into while attempting to sneak into Rito’s house to get some “dirt” on Lala. This segment is very slapstick and cuts back and forth between the would-be intruders hardships and Lala and Mikan having a bath for the sake of comedic contrast. Did you find this series of events fun, Irina? It sort of looked like an excuse to make a tentacle rape allusion for viewers that might be familiar with hentai. I think it would have worked better if we had established the characters more. All I knew about two of them is that they are highschool girls. For me the joke didn’t quite land because I started to just associate them with 13 year olds I know and then it was a bit uncomfortable. Well I mean they’re second year high schoolers, so 16 years old, but fair enough. I stand corrected. I do have a friend with a 16 year old daughter I can use that as reference material – much better!
Somehow Saki manages to find herself directly inside Rito’s room and so hides under his desk when Lala walks in from her bath, hoping to get some info she can use on her. Instead, things escalate again and the Saki inadvertently hits a switch which sends the entire room “ejecting” into space–another security measure installed by Zastin without anyone’s consent or knowledge! Did you expect this level of shenanigans to transpire when the episode started so down-to-earth? Yes. I actually thought there would be more. This is the most down to earth (pardon the pun) episode so far. I mean we had a naked fish riding Lala flood an aquarium, a better version of the tentacle monster joke in the cooking episode, the pretty crazy intro and I know I’m forgetting one. Anywho this seemed sort of tame on the zaniness scale but still fun!
Anyway Zastin mobilises the Deviluke fleet to rescue Lala and Saki who are hurtling through the sky in Rito’s bedroom and it’s a surprisingly well-animated sequence! Saki falls out of the flying room and begins falling back to Earth–all seems lost–until Lala swoops in to save her, there’s a touching moment as their fingers miss a few times but then finally touch and she holds her in her arms. I almost ‘shipped them for a moment there.
But, this being a comedy Saki awakens on the street, in the nude, surrounded by onlookers as Lala accidentally dropped her at some point, leaving her stranded and Saki vows revenge! The End. I felt so bad for that poor blonde girl. Second time she is forcibly stripped in public and humiliated. And those onlookers were all men and all leering at her very suggestively as the scene cut. No one even tried to help her a little. It was a scary scene, I hope she’s o.k. I’m guessing we don’t hear about anything bad because it’s a comedy but you never know. Sometimes they go *dark*.
One of the (unintentional?) running gags is that every boy is completely in love with Lala based on how cute she is but all the female characters use the same model with hair and clothes swaps so it just comes off surreal. She probably has secret space pheromones or something. Or the pink hair makes her seem exotic or something!
I think Crunchyroll is censored. There were no nipples this episode despite a few times where there clearly should have been some. It’s a little eerie seeing breasts as smooth lumps like that. Is the original anatomically correct? I fired up the VPN and checked Canadian Crunchyroll and it’s the same version as the “uncensored” version on Australian AnimeLab. I showed Irina this screenshot and she’s still not convinced we had a whole discussion about it through Twitter DM’s I mean, sure its a bit foggy but there’s definitely nipples on Lala there! Speaking of… time to move onto the Fan-Service portion of the review! I’m a little worried Matt has never seen nipples…..
(I took screenshots from both versions, Lala has nipples damn it! Back me up readers!)
The Fan Service Review:
The tables have turned! Since my brand of pervy is different from Matt’s brand of surprisingly chaste, fog covered pervy, I’m going to be doing the interrogation this time around! Interrogation huh? Wait, what are you doing with those handcuffs?!
We had a little DM conversation about the nipple question and one thing that came out is that apparently Mikan is confirmed nipple-less until season 4, when she miraculously grows some! I have no actual question here, I just thought it was delightfully weird, so I wanted to share. There’s a proper reason for it! She was/is a fan favourite and drawing out her ‘nipple debut’ in the manga is apparently a tactic in Japan to prolong sales—not especially romantic or sexy reason but it’s still a reason! But we see her full breasts already! It’s nutso – why am I enjoying this so much?
I mentioned in the review proper that the character models all look alike. Body-wise – would you agree? Maybe in this first season but come ‘To Love-Ru Darkness’ there’s painstaking attention to detail to make all the girls look different. Where this season most the money went into the sci-fi elements, in future seasons all the money goes into the fan-service! Curses, I was hoping you would disagree. I had this whole elaborate set up planned! You win this round Mr. Matt, but you won’t be so lucky next time!
So far, the fanservice in the five first episodes, tends to be variations of the same 4 scenes or so. I kind of like that. The audience knows what to expect and the production gets to hone its skills into a fine mastery. What are your views on fanservice diversity? A fine mastery is a pretty good way to put it, it knows what works and sticks to it, it will increase in more outlandish scenarios as it goes along though even within the space of the first season!
I know you are a lover of Lala, but she really had to share the spotlight with Blonde girl this time. More specifically, it was the latter that was suddenly stripped instead. Any strong feelings on that? More girls nude = more better!
Up until now, I thought the fanservice in To Love-Ru was a lot of fun, but the last scene of this episode really freaked me out. Any thoughts on it? Obviously, you’re not going to put yourself in that girl’s place like I did, so the impact is probably way different. I know what you’re talking about but I guess I know what kind of show this is and know that despite the lecherous looks of onlookers no girls in this series are ever in any real danger. Kind of like the tentacle scenes, it’s the equivalent of walking through a spider-web—unpleasant in the moment but ultimately harmless. (P.S. I’m not minimising the emotional impact a scene like this would have on a person in real life I’m simply stating it’s different in a show like this)
I remember liking this episode in my first watching but I loved in this second-time through, though I was surprised how much I forgot, I didn’t even remember any of the stuff that happens in the second-half and yet it was my favourite thing about the episode now. I feel like it was a lot more heavily comedic than the show had been–Haruna barely got a mention–but it worked for the sake of the show, it allowed a full character introduction of a new character and integrated them into the series very well. How did you find the episode overall, Irina? I thought it was the weakest one yet. Then again I am still chuckling about the cooking scene. It was a hard act to follow. The character they introduced and spend most of the episode on just seemed a bit boring and 2 dimensional compared to everyone we’ve met so far so I would have liked to get more development on the existing characters instead.
And this episode did make me uncomfortable at several points so I didn’t enjoy it as much. I look forward to going back to absurdist, nudist fun. For the sake of completionism, I’ll give my scores for the episode and the fan-service, for the episode I give it 89/100 and for the fan service I give it an 80/100.
And that’s Episode 5 done, hopefully this came out a bit better than the previous reviews, I certainly enjoyed writing this without the added strain of not repeating myself from the solo reviews so expect this format to continue going forward for each episode. Thanks for reading!
Previous ‘To Love-Ru’ Reviews:
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