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To Love Ru Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

11 min read

What They Say
The bathroom is the most dangerous room in most people’s houses, but when Rito Yuki’s washroom becomes the site of an unexpected close encounter, the fabric of the entire galaxy might unravel! That’s because fabric’s the one thing that Princess Lala of Deviluke isn’t wearing when she teleports into Rito’s tub, and on Deviluke boobie-touching is a proposal of marriage. Suddenly Rito has an alien girl with a tail moving in, a potential father-in-law who looks like the Devil, and, oh yes, Rito’s going to be the Prince of an alien planet if he can survive all the challengers, rivals, assassins, femme fatales and alien hangers-on who start showing up on his doorstep! At long last the complete series that answers the question “What do you say to a naked alien?” is available in the ultimate epic & UNCENSORED release of collection of TO LOVE RU!

The Review!
Audio:
Despite this series being released over four seasons, the audio quality is fairly consisted and, ultimately, extremely well-done. Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. I have no idea if its because of this high-tech-sounding audio type, or if the audio editors were just really focused on doing a good job, but everything from the sound effects to the voices were excellent.

Video:
1080i is considered the epitome of high quality definition. The video in To Love Ru is really clear with great line quality and color. However, it’s obvious that the quality increases as time goes on. The first To Love Ru came out around 2007, I believe, and so there’s a clear difference in quality between To Love Ru and To Love Ru Darkness, which came out in 2014 and 2015. The quality for To Love Ru Darkness is far better than the first season of the series, with a much crisper line definition and clearer colors that don’t blur during scenes with a lot of movement.

Packaging:
Contained in a giant ass blue box, To Love Ru the Complete Series features the FMC for the first season, Lala Satalin Deviluke, on the front. Of course, this is an ecchi/harem series, and so Lala’s chest is barely being covered by her bikini, the straps of which have been undone. She’s holding the clothing up with her hands, causing her breasts to squish. Her eyes are closed and it looks like she’s leaning in for a kiss. The title is at the bottom, and in the upper right and left hand corners is the basic information regarding the series like the number of episodes and discs. The back features Lala and Haruna on the upper right corner and the blur in the upper left. Below that are screenshots from the four seasons in the series: To Love Ru, Motto To Love Ru, To Love Ru Darkness Season 1, and To Love Ru Darkness season 2, along with a list of special features. Basic anime information is below that.

Menu:
Since this involves several different seasons, the menu is hard to pin down, but all of the discs feature one or more of the main female characters for this series. You select which episode you would like to start watching from. Some of the discs also come with a special features option, which offers you the clean opening and closing theme songs for that season.

Extras:
I’d like to say the extras are strong in this one, but the special features are sadly bland. They have the opening and closing theme songs plus trailers for more Sentai Filmworks anime. The OVA episodes, which I had been hoping this Complete Series would have, were not present.

Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
To LOVE Ru is the forerunner when it comes to perverted harem anime. While there were plenty of harem series that came first, and some like Love Hina and Tenchi Muyo even had a good deal of fan service, To LOVE Ru is the series that took fan service to the extreme.

The story begins with Rito Yuuki, our titular character and the most unlucky loser in anime history, trying to confess his feelings to his crush, Haruna Sairenji. Sadly, the universe is against Rito confessing his love. Everything from a flower pot landing on his head to a stampede of elephants running through the city stands in the way of him and true love. Depressed from being unable to tell the love of his life how he feels, Rito sulks in the tub when, with a flash of light and a boing, our female main character appears before him, naked.

Lala Satalin Deviluke is, in my opinion, the greatest female character in ecchi/harem anime history. She was the character who got me into the waifu craze. She’s an outgoing and rambunctious alien who is dead set on becoming Rito’s wife. Of course, not only is this girl an alien, she’s also the daughter to Gid Lucien Deviluke, the ruler of the entire universe. Gid has heard that his daughter wants to marry Rito, and so he’s set a task for our wayward and very unlucky protagonist—protect Lala at all costs from her other suitors to prove his worth, or the Earth will be destroyed. Considering Rito is quite possibly the wimpiest protagonist in history, this is a very tall order.

While the series is supposedly about Rito defending Lala from her suitors, that doesn’t really happen. Sure, a few suitors show up and are defeated, but most of the first season for To Love Ru is driven by the insane shenanigans of the main and supporting cast. Each episode is ridiculous and hilarious. One episode might be all about Rito trying to grope Lala’s lalas so he can break off their engagement, while another will be about a giant octopus and squid fighting each other in the school’s Home Ec classroom. With each episode comes more and more ridiculous situations, all of which are solely happening for the purpose of delivering ecchi and harem shenanigans.

One of the more interesting aspects to note about the anime is that the first season diverges a lot from the source content, aka the manga. I would say that nearly half of the episodes have literally nothing to do with the original series. Meanwhile, there was a good portion of the manga that got cut from the first season. One of the bigger differences was actually Gid Deviluke. In the manga, he’s pretty easy going about Rito marrying Lala. In the anime, he challenges Rito to prove himself in a perverted race with the Earth’s safety on the line, and I say perverted instead of deadly because this is a harem series at heart and every potentially deadly situation quickly turns ecchi.

The biggest problem with To LOVE Ru, the first season, is this strange sense of time dilation. There are some episodes that “feel” like they span over the course of days, weeks, and even months. The episode that introduced Ren, Lala’s childhood friend, is one such example. In it, Ren decides to become manly and does so by training. Somehow or other, his training to become manly catches on with the population and he becomes super popular, a literal TV sensation. He goes all around the world, battling bears in the arctic and racing against an American motorcyclist. It feels like months pass in the anime, but it’s really only been a few days. This problem with certain episodes feeling like they span more days than they really do is a pretty huge deal since it creates discontinuity issues.

Motto To LOVE Ru is the second season of the series, and it doesn’t quite pick up where its predecessor left off. The Complete Series skips over the To LOVE Ru OVA and dives straight into Motto. The episodes found in Motto To LOVE Ru keep more in line with the source content. All of the episodes feature a sequence of three shorts that animate chapters of the manga series. This is both good and bad. Many of the events that happen in Motto happened earlier in the manga, meaning that a lot of the episodes feel out of sequence and non-linear, especially because a lot of these events have a strong impact for specific characters.

A good example of this are the episodes that focus on Kotegawa Yui, the head of the school disciplinary committee. During season 1, Yui is introduced and goes on a quest to rid the school of shameless behavior. In doing so, she runs afoul of Rito and decides that he’s too perverted to leave alone. She gets the principal to create a rule that says no girls can talk to Rito, but then she soon comes to discover that she had actually been wrong and Rito wasn’t the perverted one. Motto To LOVE Ru then goes back in time, negating a good portion of the character development to reenact her introduction scenes from the source content, which creates a juxtaposition in her character.

While there are a number of issues with Motto To LOVE Ru—not the least of which is that we are missing several key pieces of information because we don’t have the OVA—I like that it attempted to regain what the first season lost by diverging so far from the manga. Like the first season, it retains the over the top ecchi comedy. However, it focuses a lot more on the characters rather than just the comedy, which I think gives the second season a more focused feel.

If To LOVE Ru and Motto To LOVE Ru focused primarily on the comedy, then To LOVE Ru Darkness is all about the ecchi. The previous two seasons might have been uncensored and featured numerous scenes with exposed breasts, but Darkness is like ecchi on steroids. Almost every scene delivers an ecchiness that’s so high-impact and intense it’s like watching softcore porn without the sex. The number of times Rito has accidentally fondled the breast of various female characters is incalculable, and it’s gotten to the point where his falling habit is so over the top that when Rito falls over, he doesn’t just grope their breasts. Sometimes his face will plant itself in their crotch, while other times his hands will slip inside their shirt and expose their bare chests. While the ecchi in the first two seasons was light, the ecchi found in Darkness is the kind of fanservice that most people would never admit to enjoying unless they were shameless like me.

Though Darkness has an extremely high focus on T&A, it also has a much deeper, more complex, and more mature plot. The main story deals with Golden Darkness, an assassin who was introduced in the original To LOVE Ru. Her main purpose for coming to Earth was to kill Rito. However, after learning that she had been lied to about Rito being a tyrant, she decided not to kill him. That said, she still claims that he is her target and she’ll kill him some day.

Several new characters are introduced that pose a problem for Golden Darkness. Mae and Nemesis. Mae Kurosaki is another trans weapon like Golden Darkness, meaning she has the ability to transform her body into any weapon she desires. While Golden Darkness seems to focus on transforming her hair into swords, Mae has a preference for guns. The appearance of her and Nemesis pose a question about whether or not weapons should live in a place like Earth, which is peaceful. Nemesis is of the belief that weapons cannot survive on peaceful planets and is trying to disrupt Golden Darkness’s life and turn her back into the assassin that she used to be. Mae tries too, but she gives up after awhile because she likes it on Earth. Her friendship with Lala’s younger sister, Nana, helps.

Ultimately, while I liked Darkness a lot, especially because the fanservice was off the charts stimulating, there are a lot of things about it that I didn’t like. I don’t appreciate how Lala was replaced as the Main Female Character by her little sister, Momo. To be honest, Momo’s character bothers me a lot. During the first season of Darkness, she introduces the harem plan to Rito, which is a plan to form a harem of all the girls who have fallen in love with Rito. To accomplish this task, she sneaks into his bed every night, creates numerous perverted scenarios between him and one of the female characters to try and unleash Rito’s “inner beast,” and generally causes a lot of problems. My issue with her isn’t that she does these things, but that she A) replaced my favorite character and B) Momo feels more like a plot device than a character until the end of Darkness Season 1. By the time she develops enough that I no longer think of her as a plot device, I’m so frustrated that she replaced Lala that I don’t even care anymore.

Of course, that said, I wouldn’t say I dislike her. In fact, all of the characters in To LOVE Ru are extremely likable. Even Haruna, who I like the least, isn’t a bad character that I can find myself outright disliking. Part of what makes this anime so great as a harem series is that you can never truly dislike any of them, meaning you want to root for all of them. The fact that the female cast is so diverse and varied in personality and design merely help emphasize each character’s strength. There are definitely favorites, and I’m sure anyone watching will prefer at least one of these girls over the others, but it doesn’t change how easy it is to fall in love with all of them. I myself have fallen in love with Lala and Golden Darkness.

In Summary:
Even though I would love to recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of harems and ecchi, I sadly cannot—and the reason is not because this anime is bad. It’s great. The problem is that the Complete Series is nowhere near as complete as Sentai Filmworks would have you believe. To LOVE Ru the Complete Series is missing every OVA episode from the original first season up to Darkness season 2. While this wouldn’t be a problem if these were just extra episodes with no relevance to the story, the OVAs in this series are all derived from the source content, meaning they are necessary parts of the story that you have to see in order to understand the plot. In fact, the To LOVE Ru OVA, a 6 episode series set between To LOVE Ru and Motto To LOVE Ru, is the series that introduces Lala’s younger sisters, Momo and Nana. Anyone watching the Complete Series is bound to get confused when these two characters show up randomly in Motto To LOVE Ru without having ever received an introduction. If you’re curious, this anime has 4 different OVAs; To LOVE Ru OVA (6 episodes), To LOVE Ru Darkness OVA 1 (6 episodes), To LOVE Ru Darkness OVA 2 (3 episodes), and To LOVE RU: Multiplication (1 episode). This means that there are 16 episodes missing from To LOVE Ru the Complete Series. Sadly, because 16 episodes are missing, I can’t give this series the A+ grade I had been hoping to.

Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: F

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: December 19, 2017
MSRP: $129.98
Running Time: 1600 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, generic bluray player


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