What They Say:
Rito Yuki’s latest close encounters are starting to resemble a straight out invasion! While intergalactic romance is out of this world, attracting such high voltage vixens is not unlike being a fork stuck into an anti-matter engine to retrieve a plutonium bagel; it definitely messes with your head and heart. Rito struggles to grasp how he can love more than one girl at once, all while his inability to confess to his human paramour, Haruna, causes Devilukean Princess Momo’s Harem Plan to come to a standstill. On top of that, the transforming assassin, Golden Darkness, is still interested in killing him, but she has her own family issues to deal with. Not to mention, a different darkness lurks among the innocent pandemonium.
The audio presentation for this release is simple and straightforward as we get only the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The series has a good mix of dialogue, wacky dialogue and action pieces to it that keeps it lively and flowing. The nature of the show is one that fits your standard romantic comedy with slice of silly action material well as the forward soundstage moves well through as we get a good range of material which does some decent placement at times and certainly with plenty of faster pieces as they move across the screen. The big action pieces aren’t exactly huge in a way and they lack a lot of punch but they fit for this kind of show. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this fourteen episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The series is spread across two discs with nine on the first and five on the second. Animated by Xebec, who has handled all the seasons so far, the series definitely holds up well compared to the previous ones and takes it to the next level in terms of overall quality. The colors are very rich here with a lot of beautiful shading, a lot of great detail to be had throughout and some great solid backgrounds with the colors that hits all the right marks. The series really works the fanservice in this season and having something that just pops out in such a big way with the transfer here definitely makes it worth it. It’s a great looking release that will make fans very happy.
The packaging for this release brings us a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the single disc inside. This season works a similar look and design as the previous releases, making for some nice continuity as the cover has a good black framing which makes the various pinks stand out all the more. The logo looks good as well as we get the same style as before with the rich colors that lets it stand out nicely The character artwork is what dominates as we get all the girls here, though mostly as headshots, and an amusing bit with the twins together in a costume they only wear briefly at the very end. The piece has a lot of great detail and looks slick overall. 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 through the lower middle that shows off the character designs as best as you can with a small space. 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 menu design for this release is a pretty colorful and engaging one with what it does as we get pink and blue swirls dominating the background done in a light way. It’s got a kind of softness to it but it’s just so vibrant that it doesn’t feel weak. The character focus is on different configurations for each disc so we get some variety, though there’s no real rhyme or reason with how they’re grouped together. The artwork looks great with lots of pop to the color and detail overall while playing up the sexuality just a bit. The right side provides the menu navigation strip which is essentially just the episodes by number and title which has a lot of pop as well with the pink, black and white while the second volume has a touch more with the extras submenu. The release has no language options and the whole thing moves smoothly and looks good when used as a pop-up menu.
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)
Based on the manga written by Saki Hasemi and illustrated by Kentaro Yabuki, To Love Ru Darkness -Trouble- 2nd is the second anime season of this part of the overall franchise. The manga series is the second one that was started and it has sixteen volumes so far since beginning in 2010, offering up plenty of material to work with overall. It’s been over two years since we got the previous season of this adaptation and the new season brings back most of the main staff with Atsushi Ootsuki writing and directing it once again at Xebec. Having enjoyed the previous seasons of the show, I only dabbled lightly with the simulcast because of the blurring done to deal with the softcore porn that we get here. As much as I watch the show for the fanservice, I also like the story and character elements so it’s not something that knocks it out of the running for me to watch from time to time. Even with the heavy light and steam aspects used to protect the innocent.
Naturally, Rito’s life has not eased at all since we last saw him. With his house having more people there over time, he’s coping as best as he can, but you still get characters like Momo waking up in his bed where he gropes their tails in his sleep. Groping is one thing, but it’s amusing to see him licking her tail and the reactions it causes. It’s familiar to be sure with the other seasons, but it reminds that the show is staying true to what it’s been. Rito’s life is populated with a lot of cute girls and we get a good re-introduction to them as it moves along here and they get their school day going along. It’s over-populated of course, and you hope they get a discount on the color pink. But there’s a pleasant lightness to everything that brings us back into things, though Rito’s running into Yami as Golden Darkness is never a good thing for his health. And for good reason, considering how badly his accidental groping tends to go. With all of this being part of Momo’s “harem plan,” you do have to feel a little sympathy for Rito. A lot of it is just going to be jealous though.
Momo’s plan is one that she starts putting out there publicly a bit more as the interactions go on, though she says it just to some of the other girls like Sairenji as something that’s normal out in space where making only one person happy isn’t the norm, but rather being able to make lots of people happy. That has Sairenji questioning herself if she’s just focusing too much on her own happiness and not that of all of them. The idea of not having to compete quite so much is intoxicating for her, though some of that comes from the drink of alien nature that Momo has. With Sairenji being a favorite of mine, I like that she gets some good attention here with Rito taking her home from school since she’s pretty drunk. It naturally turns pretty sexual when he gets her back to her house and she’s even more eager to be all over him, which is made worse by the way he tries his best to be respectful and get out of the situation as it seems to keep drawing him in all the more.
And honestly, this kind of material is what largely dominates the season. The cast has grown a fair bit and that means they’re able to shift things around a bit. Lala is actually a very minor character here overall and I don’t mind all that much since the other characters have some decent fun. The push that comes along the way here is an interesting one that would actually solve a lot of problems in a lot of series as some of the girls talk about how groups/polyamory is considered a lot more normal out in space among a range of cultures. That doesn’t fly for some of the younger women in this group since they’re looking for that special one person and believe that it’s Rito, but considering how they all live together for the most part and are terribly playful in very sexual ways individually, there’s something that could be workable there. This doesn’t truly progress anywhere in this season of the show but it’s a subplot that’s brought out several times with varying reactions to it that makes it a curious approach. I’d actually really love to see a series tackle this in a big way as it would be the kind of different that we need in storytelling.
The big arc for this set doesn’t hit until the last four episodes or so, though it’s set up a bit earlier with some regular nods to it at times throughout. With Mea being in service to Nemesis and Nemesis wanting to unlock Darkness so she can cause widespread war across the galaxy, there’s a lot of watching and nudging going on throughout the run. So when it does hit that Darkness is unlocked and goes all powerful destructo mode, it’s not a surprise and out of the blue. I like Nemesis well enough but she’s never given enough time to really feel grounded enough as an opponent since she’s mostly a puppet master. The background bit with Nemesis and Mea is interesting as it plays out because there’s a good dynamic between them, and you’re partially waiting for Mea to just shake her off and take control of her own destiny. When it comes to the final battle, well, it’s spread over a few episodes and goes about how you’d expect.
Which, with this series, is pretty freakin’ erotic. While I’ve enjoyed past seasons of the show and know what to expect from it with its fanservice, this season feels like it’s moved over to softcore porn. And I’m fine with that because we need variety in what we get. But man, the things these characters get into is just crazy. With the tail ends serving as genital substitutions that lets the animators make it just as richly designed as the real thing, there are a lot of highly erotic sequences that just work beautifully because of the attention to detail, quality of animation, and color work. There are a couple of minor white light moments, mostly related to younger characters, but beyond that it’s pretty freakin’ blatant. Tops are torn or moved constantly, Rito ends up as a mouse within Darkness’ top at one point, and there are so many instances of crotch grabs and more that it’s just over the top in a way that makes it even more delightful and enjoyable to watch. It’s simply wacky how far they go and I love it because of that.
There’s no guilt here, just pleasure. While I would have liked more story material in some ways, To Love Ru Darkness is all about the wacky and pervy situations that come up far too easily for Rito that just cause all kinds of hella sexy problems. This set feels like it takes things further than previous seasons and that makes it all the more worthwhile. Simply put, I adore the quality of the work here as it shows beautifully through this high definition and uncensored presentation. There’s so much fun, sexiness, silliness, and pervy moments alongside highly erotic material that it delivers exactly what I wanted. Yeah, it may not be high storytelling, but one must consume variety and appreciate many different things. And there’s a whole lot to consume and appreciate here. I wish we had a series like this every season as opposed to every year or two.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: November 1st, 2016
Running Time: 350 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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.