What They Say
Rito Yuki has more women in his life than he knows what to do with. As if it wasn’t enough to have three Devilukean princesses living in close quarters – now, alien girls from throughout the galaxy are enrolling in his school also! When the addition of a particularly strange girl threatens someone he cares for, Rito and the girls team up to fight an overwhelmingly powerful opponent!
Surprisingly, the audio for To LOVE-RU Darkness season 2 is pretty good. This might be due to the lack of music and sound effects being around to overpower the dialogue. Even so, when music or sound effects DO happen, Xebec did an excellent job of making sure it was never too loud or too soft.
Despite not being bluray and only 480i, the video quality for this is fairly good. The lines never appeared blurry, and the colors never seemed to fade, smear, or pixelate, which has sometimes happened in DVDs of poor quality. It was an overall enjoyable experience to see the second season of this anime from start to finish.
The black case that To LOVE-RU Darkness Season 2 comes in is marked on the front by Rito’s upper body standing in the center of several up close shots of various members from his harem, including the new villain, Nemisis. Yami, aka Golden Darkness, is in the upper right corner, while Mae and Nemisis are on the opposite corner. Down below, from right to left, are Nana, Momo, and a loli version of Lala—the three Deviluke sisters who live with Rito. The title is below them. For some reason, in the far upper left corner next to Nemesis are the words Season 4, which could ascribe to how this is the “fourth” season of the entire To LOVE-RU franchise, including the original To LOVE-RU and Motto To LOVE-RU. Meanwhile, the back has several rectangles with various ecchi scenes from the season, and below those is the blurb plus Golden Darkness, Nemesis, and a sexy Doctor Tearju Lunatique in a bikini.
The menu for each disc features three of the female harem members. Disc one has Momo, Nemesis, and Mae wearing kimonos. The second disc features Nana, Momo, and Rin in maid outfits, while the third has Golde Darkness, Mikado, and Nemesis.
There aren’t many extra features here. The first disc has the opening and ending theme songs without lyrics and text, so clean opening and ending. It also has a “also from Sentai Filmworks” selection, which shows the preview to several other shows that are being sold by Sentai Filmworks.
Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
In a world where harem fanservice anime are a dime a dozen, there are a few series that stand above the rest. Shameless. Perverse. Taking the ecchi genre to unprecedented levels and turning it into something that you couldn’t look away from even if you wanted to. These anime are the epitome of guilty pleasure for fans of ecchi and harems.
To LOVE-RU has, since it was first created back in 2008, stood at the top of the harem pyramid as an uncontested force in perversity. The original To LOVE-RU had a lot going for it. While the plot wasn’t unique, there was an irresistible charm for fans of the harem genre thanks to the varied cast of female characters, who were all wildly different from each other and therefore appealed to many different tastes.
To LOVE-RU Darkness, season 2, doesn’t have the same charm that made the original or the first sequel, Motto To LOVE-Ru, so great. However, it does have its own unique plot with enough fan service to give any horny male a raging hard on. What’s more, the plot has a lot more depth than the previous two series.
The artwork in season 2 is, like season 1, phenomenal, especially in terms of character design. All of the female characters are drawn to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. There are a large variety of different body types, from busty characters to loli characters. Not only does this give the series mass appeal for the many different types of harem fans, it shows the skill of the staff when it comes to illustrating the female body.
Xebec has been the leading animation studio when it comes to fan service laden ecchi/harem anime, and season 2 shows just how far ahead of the curve they are. All of their shots that don’t deal in fan service are wide, panning still-frame shots. There isn’t much movement or animation during these scenes. This allows them to maintain a high-level of quality in their artwork, while not spending their budget on unnecessary animation. Further proving their talent, a lot of their ecchi scenes start with a close up, either of a woman’s breasts, crotch, or Rito when his face is shoved into one of those. The close ups means there is less to animate and illustrate, which also helps use the mass of their budget to animate the more dynamic shots.
In terms of its story, To LOVE-RU Darkness season 2 has a lot more depth than the previous season. While season 1 introduced Mae, Golden Darkness’ sister and fellow transformation weapon, it didn’t do a whole lot more in terms of further developing the story, other than making short mentions of Mae’s master.
The most intricate part of the story for this season was the introduction of Mae’s Master, Nemesis, who is a dark-skinned woman with a childlike body. Similar to Mae and Golden Darkness, Nemesis is a transformation weapon. Where Mae creates guns and Golden Darkness tends to turn her hair into swords, Nemesis’ abilities seem to run more along the lines of changing her appearance and clothing. I have yet to see her actually make a weapon. However, she has changed the size of her bust several times.
Despite being the primary antagonist this season, Nemesis seems more like mischievous cat than a real villain. This can be chalked up to To LOVE-RU Darkness being a harem series whose primary function is to deliver fan service. The few times she shows up, what we get are not villainous plots but harmless pranks whose sole function is embarrassing and humiliating Rito Yuuki, the protagonist, and Momo Deviluke, the duotagonist of the series.
While the ecchi is over the top erotic, some of the reason I dislike this more than the first two series is because Darkness’ main female protagonist is not Lala. My love for To LOVE-RU came primarily from Lala Satalin Deviluke, an upbeat girl who is outgoing and personable, who only really wants to make friends, and whose inventions tend to create any number of awkwardly sexual situations. I really loved Lala’s personality, and her smile was one of the biggest reasons I kept watching.
The main female protagonist of Darkness, Momo, feels less like a character and more like a plot device to drive the ecchi and Harem Plan forward. While Lala could stand on her own as a person, Momo cannot do that for many of the episodes. This makes her development later on feel more like an afterthought. Of course, I do understand that without her, the story for To LOVE-RU Darkness would likely never develop. As the creator of the Harem Plan, it’s only thanks to her that we get so many ecchi situations, which are this anime’s primary purpose. I still wish that Lala had remained the main protagonist and Momo merely stuck to creating these situations on the sidelines.
If I had to rate this series, I would probably give it a 10/10 in terms of art style, animation, execution, and the amount of fan service, but it would only get a 6/10 in personal enjoyment. While not a bad series, at least half of the reason I enjoyed watching it, that being Lala Deviluke, was sidelined and relegated to mere fan service girl. This has made my personal enjoyment of the series wan. However, if you’re a fan of ecchi/harem anime, then you could never go wrong with To LOVE-RU Darkness, which is what all harems should aspire to be.
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Running Time: 350 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i
Aspect Ratio: 16×9 Anamorphic
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player