What They Say:
The insanity that began when a very naked (and very female) alien teleported into Rito Yuki’s bathtub (while he was in it) continues. And even though Princess Lala has finally started to admit her true feelings for the young man she’s inexplicably engaged to marry (as a result of what happened in said bathtub and Develuke customs), her sometimes erratic technology and the snags and snarls of intergalatic politicse and intrigue are still causing major problems.
That transporter? Yeah, it still has the nasty habit of leaving the clothes behind. Alien bounty hunters? Yep, even more of them and they’re even more devious. Add body switches, alien skunks, a bathroom that changes size and shape, the inevitable sleepover that you just know it’s going to go horribly, horribly wrong (spoiler: it does). Worst of all, there’s Valentine’s Day, and even in space you’ll be able to hear Rito scream!
The audio presentation of this release is a pretty standard monolingual release with the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded at 224kbps. To Love Ru has a good bouncy mix to it with its music and the way the dialogue plays out as there’s a lot of frenetic energy at times. The mix here captures that well as the characters are outgoing and feel it. There’s a good bit of directionality throughout it with the way the characters bounce back and forth – or get thrown about – and this mix does a good job with it. Dialogue has some spot on placement and depth in key scenes and everything comes across clean and clear throughout.
Originally airing in 2010, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The two disc set has thirteen episodes across it in a six/seven format. To Love Ru has a very bright and clean look to it with colors that pop well off the screen. Costumes are particularly good here, whether they’re school uniforms or the things that Lala wears when she comes up with new costumes or her usual attire. Backgrounds have a good real world feel throughout but without a huge amount of detail. They’re not minimal though which is good as the extra detail gives it more life. Backgrounds maintain a solid feel outside of a few scenes that have some noticeable noise and there’s only a few hints of line noise during a couple of panning sequences.
This season of the series mirrors the first in some basic ways with how it looks as it contains the two discs that the season runs in a single sized keepcase. The cover has a good black framing which makes the various pinks stand out all the more, which would normally be a problem, but the combination of the two here looks really good. The character artwork is certainly appealing with its bright vivid colors that lets the skimpy nature of Haruna and Lala’s look be the main focal point, which is both a good and bad thing. The back cover follows the same layout with the framing while bringing in one piece of character artwork that looks really nice. There’s a lot of shots from the show strewn about here that showcase all different sides of it, but you see more of the fanservice than anything else. The summary provides the usual comical look at the premise of the show while the rest is given over to the production credits and a clean accurate technical grid. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus for Motto To Love Ru are cute enough as they take a lot of familiar elements from the cover with the designs and colors. Each of the main menus for the two discs use different pieces of character artwork along the left side, using the good looking designs and ample characters to flesh it out well with lots of smiles and fun a part of it. The layout is simple and pared down with just the top level individual episode access and a special features section. The menus have a good upbeat bit of vocal music to it and the colors are filled with the pinks, purples and blacks that make up the shows’ theme in general. Simple but effective is the word of the day here as it sets the mood well. What little submenu access needs to be done is quick and problem free.
The only extras included in this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the really big fun of the huge guilty pleasure series that was the two season run of To Love Ru, a follow up single season of twelve episodes takes all of that and just runs with it. With the first series that we had, it was a lot of fun and while at times it felt like the two seasons might be a bit much overall, it continually left me laughing and enjoying the situation that everyone had gotten themselves into. It populated itself with basic characters and connections that wouldn’t surprise anyone whose watched such shows over the years, but it executed it well and it was one of those times where everything just clicked right for me. It delivered laughs, fun characters and plenty of sexiness that almost makes you cringe but doesn’t quite go that far. And this series is essentially more of the same.
With episodes broken down into three parts each, it lets it do a lot of short run comedy in a very engaging way without having any of it overstay its welcome. One of the bigger problems for a lot of comedy series is that they get an overall gag for an episode and the run it into the ground over the course of that episode, or focus on the cliches repeatedly during it where the characters don’t really change. Here, the characters aren’t changing but they adjust who is involved on a regular basis so that it’s just not a constant. And doing three short tales in the episodes helps to make that flow a lot better, even with Rito as the main character getting into a whole lot of trouble. His life as a young man with girls who really do know how to mess with him is priceless. He’s practically got the keys to many kingdoms but the girls keep it just out of reach or he’s not entirely into them and focusing on others. But these near-successes on a regular basis doesn’t hurt the show in the long run which is a saving and surprising grace.
Much of this season is pretty much as you’d expect since all the heavy lifting was done in the previous seasons. Because of that, they just go for the fun with the silly stories that involves a lot of fanservice, from pool scenes to compromising situations that that gets Rito involved with the girls. Often you get the sisters getting involved, mostly just Momo though, and there’s some cute tail stroking that comes into play. The same can be said of Yami as she continues to try and get to know what it’s like to live a normal life on Earth while still in the background keeping to her main reason for being there of, well, killing Rito. There are some fun bits with Yami that helps to soften her a bit here as the two spend time together and as Mikan gets to befriend her a lot. Yami also ends up going through a bit of body switching in an episode that has several of them doing that but she also later gets her whole personality softened to the point where she offers herself up to Rito. It’s cute how the two play together though it’s never a relationship that you really want to see come to fruition.
While this kind of material does dominate the series and it’s incredibly fun, it also does start to work the relationship quandary more towards the end and culminates in a final episode that dedicates it all the the phrase of “I Love You” in a good way. With this season focusing on the way Rito gets to understand that Haruna has feelings for him, it comes in interesting ways, including some time spent as a dog and getting to live with her a bit which includes a whole lot of licking. I really like the whole Rito and Haruna relationship angle and seeing it unfold here is wonderful. His relationship with Lala never quite clicked as well as this, but you can see how he’s the type that cares for both to different levels and a lot of it with Haruna is that he’s been into her for awhile and hopes to seal the deal. Seeing them work through this in the final episode is great since it finally gives us a call back to his potentially being the King of the Universe and what he can do because of it, but also because it goes the angle that I honestly wish more series would of the harem nature in that when you all do get along, there are options.
When it comes to shows like Motto To Love Ru, it’s easy to see why it gets a fair bit of derision and a sign as what’s wrong with anime these days. When I watch it, it’s the kind of show that definitely has its place in the world of anime and it continually made me smile throughout. The show plays up the fanservice in a big way and it really doesn’t hold back when it comes to camera angles, the amount of skin shown and that it goes the distance with the whole nipples aspect. So many shows avoid that. Here, it plays it up and does it with great looking fanservice but also characters that I can’t help but to enjoy watching run around and getting into trouble. And a huge amount of the fun comes from the fact that it doesn’t run the gags into the ground and never takes itself too seriously, even when it gets down to the “end story” to bring things to a close. Very fun and a great way to add a little more to the franchise overall.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 3rd, 2012
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.