I’ve been quite enjoying reading the posts at Ogiue Maniax for a few weeks now; it has just the right balance of silly and serious to keep my attention and it makes me feel a little more in-touch.
A couple of weeks ago, they ran a fun article that compared fanservice and chocolate, and mentioned a show called “To-Love-Ru” as the anime equivalent of binging on chocolate.
I’m still kind of getting over the ending of School Days, so that sounded good.
After watching the dozen or so episodes, well, it’s an awful lot like a “re-visioning” of Urusei Yatsura. That’s not a bad thing – I love UY, and it’s been a few years since I’ve seen a good take on the “alien princess winds up engaged to normal guy, chaos ensues” story.
Plus, yes, it’s heavy on the fanservice, but it manages to ride the fine line between comedy and voyeurism. Yes, most of the characters wind up sans culottes on a regular basis, but there’s always a conveniently placed object, steam cloud, or blinding sunbeam to keep things tasteful…ish.
It helps that the main character seems like a genuinely nice guy, which does separate it from the UY model a bit. Part of the fun of watching UY episodes is waiting for Ataru to do something stupid and get electrocuted, which also means that he’s stuck in perpetual lecherous-idiot mode until the end of time. It’s hard to root for Ataru, but you can’t help but feel for Yuuki.
And, not that it affects the quality of the show or stories or anything, but I’m quite fond of both the OP and ED songs, which is pretty unusual. Both got put on my MP3 player and into heavy rotation.
So, after finishing the series, I have an overall positive impression. If I have one complaint, it’s that there were a couple of filler episodes in the second half that I could have done without, particularly the “let’s produce a full episode of the show-within-a-show” episode, but that’s a pretty mild rebuke to a series that had me genuinely laughing on a regular basis.
I was initially a little disappointed with the ending, but a night’s sleep changed my mind. In the end, it seems like everyone is, well, happy, and they deserve to be. It stays open-ended, so it’s tempting to say that nothing really gets resolved, but what’s really happened is that the characters are able to move forward, freed from the Unwieldy Plot Device that tossed them all together in the first place; they’ve become friends and don’t need an artificial reason to stay together.
Oh, as a final note: Apparently the steam clouds and blinding sunbeams that I praised for keeping a modicum of taste in the show were only present in the broadcast release, and are removed for DVD. Not actually sure if that’s a positive.