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To LOVE-Ru Darkness 2nd – Now We’re Getting Somewhere »« To LOVE-Ru Darkness – 01

To LOVE-Ru Darkness 2nd – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「secret arms」 by Ray

「Unconsciously~頭ふわふわ☆心どきどき~」 (Unconsciously ~ Atama Fuwafuwa ☆ Kokoro Dokidoki ~)
“Unconsciously ~Light Head☆Beating Heart~”

The To LOVE-Ru anime is back, with all the classics: Rito being clumsy, Momo scheming, zany hilarity that doesn’t effect the status quo, and intrusive whiteout censorship. Basically, it’s another season that’s telling us to buy the BDs, though the second half was hilarious.

The Elephant in the Room: Whiteout Censorship

Shows like these always inspire a rant in me, so I’m going to get it over with quickly: whiteout censorship is storytelling poison. That doesn’t mean I always demand that the boobs and panties be seen—many anime (and American broadcast TV) have long been comfortable with implying the naughty bits, and that’s fine. Using the old shoujo trick of fading the screen to black when the characters go to bed is very effective. But if you’re going to show the naughty bits, get your show aired on AT-X and show them. Whiteout censorship is bad not because it obscures the naughty bits, but because it shatters immersion. It’s a constant scream of, “Hey! This is fiction! Don’t get too sucked into this world, it’ll rot your brain!”, which is more than a little annoying.

That’s to say, the ultimate question of this series is this: Should you just wait to see the season on DVD/BD? Yeah, probably. But there are things that To LOVE-Ru is still good at, which the broadcast censorship cannot destroy.

More of the Same

The first half of the episode was the kind of blatant re-introductory episode that annoys me. It was so clearly ticking off the boxes (He’s clumsy, she’s tsundere, she’s an idol, there’s the harem plan, Haruna still hasn’t confessed, etc.), and the problem was that it both took too long and wasn’t funny! Gatchaman Crowds Insight did a better job with its episode 00, where it just bluntly narrated everything and got it over with inside of two minutes. That was blatant too, but I didn’t feel like it was wasting my time, whereas I was bored during the first part of this episode. The lesson here, To LOVE-Ru: Darkness, is best encapsulated by something a wise man (Ron Swanson) once said: Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing. If you’re going to do something, do it all the way, and don’t waste our time.

A Surprising Leap

But once you get past all that, the second half is hilarious! Having someone get drunk on juice—erh, “sports drink” rather than booze isn’t anything new (also, trope!), but that doesn’t mean it can’t be funny! I still always remember the last episode of the first season of Minami-ke, where Hayami-sempai keeps maintaining that it’s only “high-grade juice,” even though every character was hammer and every viewer knew it was booze. That’s one of the ways to get away with the trope and dodge the censors, but we saw the other here: Have the drunk reaction come from something that kind of makes sense, but doesn’t work. Hence, space sports drink. Not originally, no, but it ended up being a lot of fun.

Selecting pictures of Haruna getting wet and flirty for linking purposes reminds me: The animation got a serious bump up this season. I’m actually impressed, since I thought the production staff would phone it in. The entire drunk scene was great, mostly for the same reason the opening scene was—getting to hear a high-grade seiyuu say all these silly and ecchi lines. There was one notable plot element, though: Momo actually told Haruna about the Harem Plan, and she seemed amenable to it. Not totally on board, but not totally against it, either. For a series so wedded to the status quo, that’s practically an earthquake.

Looking Ahead – To Wait For the BDs, or Not To Wait

The question remains: Should you wait for the DVD/BDs, or watch it now? I honestly don’t know what I’ll do. Most of the titillation comes from the scenario, and the gags, as overused as they are, are still there, but that censorship just snaps me out of the story every single time. The season looks like it could be fun, so I might watch it as I go, in the full knowledge that I, personally, probably won’t catch up to it if I leave it ’till the end (I have bigger fish to fry on my backlog). If you want to see the series right, though, I’d suggest waiting until those damn pink blobs go away.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The first half was slow, whereas the second was hilarious. The whiteout censorship, though, was uniformly vicious #toloveru_d s2e1

Random thoughts:

  • Look, it’s Beavis and Buttface.
  • Lala really is my least favorite Tomatsu Haruka role. She’s way too happy and … well, dumb-sounding, to be honest.
  • It is sad how easily I can call the beats in this show. “He’s going to fall into her crotch.” (That one’s a gimme, it’s always happening) “She’s going to get drunk from that.” “He’s going to trip and spill that water on her.” “She’s going to sober up at the worst possible second.” I don’t know if it’s comforting or lazy.

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: How to save Twitter, The secret to enjoying a long life, Story Review: Mad Max Fury Road, and How to not get butthurt when others insult stories you love.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「Gardens」 by Kawada Mami

Preview

July 7, 2015 at 11:44 pm
40 comments »
  • July 8, 2015 at 12:10 amTassadar

    To Love-Ru will always be my most guilty anime pleasure. As you said Stilts, it’s predictable, it’s lazy, it’s full of tropes and it’s BD bait to hoard more sales. Still, I have no regrets..!

    Also, alongside Issei, few guys deserve a harem more than Rito, even if he still freaks out with the first nipple he sees!

    • July 8, 2015 at 5:54 amKyral

      Amen to that.
      I don’t know why, but To Love-Ru always makes me come back, craving for more.

      • July 9, 2015 at 9:14 amPetit Orenji

        Err… because sex or sex-promises always makes men come back, craving for more?

    • July 8, 2015 at 1:33 pmYanDaMan

      Only reason I read the manga, other than for the guilty pleasure, is due to Kentaro Yabuki’s amazing art, since I loved Black Cat.

  • July 8, 2015 at 12:27 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Without spoiling anything specific from the manga, I can say that things will remain relatively the same as this for quite a while (not that I’m complaining), but other characters, like Rin, are put in the spotlight more, and things do get a bit more interesting later on.

  • July 8, 2015 at 12:53 amdaikama

    Guilty pleasure, nostalgia (read the TLR manga years ago) – whatever the reason, decided to give TLR Darkness 2nd a try. I followed the series (manga/anime) for quite some time, but lost interest bit by bit. Not sure exactly way – just did, and I didn’t finish the first season of Darkness. Excluding the censorship issue, Ep. 01 of Darkness 2nd seemed fine/typical TLR fare to me, and the little bit of intro helped (especially since I didn’t finish the first season). Frankly, I couldn’t remember if Haruna had confessed or not. Also, good job anime staff for NOT using some nonsensical math symbol or punctuation abuse to indicate season two, three, etc.

    Not much to say really. Pretty much the same ‘ol TLR. Either you like it or you don’t, but if you do, I suspect this season will be an enjoyable watch… if the don’t censor the crap out of it.

    —————

    @Stilts: “Whiteout censorship is bad not because it obscures the naughty bits, but because it shatters immersion. It’s a constant scream of, “Hey! This is fiction! Don’t get too sucked into this world, it’ll rot your brain!”, which is more than a little annoying.”

    I’ll be honest. “Hey this is fiction/it will rot your brain”, etc. never crossed my mind with censorship. Always just thought “OK, can’t show boobs/ass/whatever on broadcast TV”. That is it. Just like if they bleep out/dub over some cuss word when broadcasting an “R” rated movie on TV. It just so common. If I’m in a more cynical mood, then I might think “OK, here’s the not so subtle hint to go buy the BD/DVDs”.

    I do agree with you that the censoring was annoying and to the point I also started to question whether it’s worth watching now or wait for the BD version. According to the official website, Darkness 2nd is supposed to be broadcast on AT-X, it’s just delayed a week. Why? No clue, but perhaps viewers will not have to wait for the BDs to get an uncensored version.

    As for “status quo”, my impression (again, been a while since I read Darkness) is that Darkness has more plot (yes plot, not PLOT) than TLR did and more plot progression/less absolute status quo.

    • July 8, 2015 at 1:00 amStilts

      Censorship doesn’t eject everyone out of the experience like it does for me. Though granted, most people don’t try to get as far INTO the experience as I do, either. But either way, having that meta thought of, “Ah yes, they can’t show that on TV,” IS breaking immersion, even if you weren’t terribly immersed in the first place (because, ya know … it’s To LOVE-Ru).

      I guess what I’m saying is, the immersion break is more annoying to me, mostly because it’s so friggin’ unnecessary.

      Good to know it’s airing late on AT-X, though. Maybe I’ll just wait for those. I’m always behind on everything anyway, so being behind on purpose would be a nice change.

      • July 8, 2015 at 3:24 pmdaikama

        @Stilts: Perhaps my comment was not phrased as clearly as it could have been. It’s not that I don’t find censorship, especially when done in a ham-fisted manner, irritating and distracting. I do. It’s that I’ve never considered censorship some form of overt commentary as to the quality of what I’m watching as in “…it’ll rot your brain!” if I immerse myself too much in some fictional story which is what your statement suggests to me. Not a big deal, just something I never considered.

        Anyway, hope there is an uncensored version aired on AT-X. Not very fun to watch TLR Darkness 2nd (or any show) with all the “light beams” and such.

      • July 8, 2015 at 4:29 pmStilts

        Ahhhh. I was just always figured that’s what the censorship laws were supposed to be telling us, every time the creators were forced to comply with them. Of course the production team is more in a, “We just gotta do this, sorry,” situation.

  • July 8, 2015 at 1:07 amRaiu

    Might I recommend you a rather “exotic” ecchi anime to introduce (and hopefully blog), Stilts, Bonafide Ecchi Anime Master Specialist Extraordinaire.

    Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou.

    With Knights of Sidonia and Tsumugi on indefinite leave, let the monster girls of Monster Mususme fill the fetish that Tsumugi started.

    • July 8, 2015 at 1:38 pmStilts

      I’m not even planning to watch Monmusu, so I wouldn’t go expecting me to blog it. And I’ve always been on Team Izana, not Tsugumi, even if I do think (tagged for Sidonia theorizing) Show Spoiler ▼

      • July 8, 2015 at 7:25 pmRaiu

        T’is a sad day for me as a reader and commenter in this blog site…

        Here you are getting tired of the usual ecchi anime (THAT YOU STILL INTRODUCE OR COVER) but when you’re presented with something that has an entirely refreshing take of the ecchi genre, it gets ignored.

        But I guess monster girls isn’t your thing. If anything, the male MC and monster girls of Monster Musumu puts Issei and his haremettes in DxD to shame.

        I read the manga way before and really enjoyed it. And the anime adaptation made it even more enjoyable.

      • July 8, 2015 at 7:51 pmdaikama

        @Raiu: “ If anything, the male MC and monster girls of Monster Musume puts Issei and his haremettes in DxD to shame.”

        Well, HS DxD Season 3 was… not good, but in term of the series (LN), don’t agree with that. There’s really not much to the Monster Musume ML beyond “is a really, really nice guy who doesn’t discriminate based upon species”. Well, that and he can take physical damage which would kill any normal person. Granted JMO, but I think Issei is a better ML and I can think of other harem ML as well in that respect. As for the girls, the MM girls (and Ms. Smith) are fun, but I don’t think they are necessarily any better than the HS DxD girls let alone put them “to shame”.

        I think the anime did quite a good job adapting the material, and I certainly can see why those who dig monster girls like the series/anime. There are some some funny moments (IMO – comedy being subjective and all) along the way, and in general it’s fun read, but to say “an entirely refreshing take of the ecchi genre” IMO is a bit much.

      • July 9, 2015 at 12:49 amStilts

        @ Raiu

        Putting my normal “I-I’m not the ecchi blogger!” tsundere schtick aside, I’ve been falling out of love with ecchi anime. It can still be fun, but too much of it is blah, and I find it all blurring together in my mind. When I realize I’ve seen a bunch of ecchi series, and I can hardly remember a thing that separates them, I feel like I’ve wasted my time.

        That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them, or won’t. It just means I’m putting a higher bar on whether I’ll watch them. If something doesn’t immediately tickle my interest (hur hur hur), I’m probably not going to bother. And while I have heard good things about Monmusu, andI did consider watching it after hearing them, I’m just not interesting in the whole monster girl thing. Since it seems kind of silly to force myself to watch an ecchi series, of all things, I doubt I will.

        On a related topic: I’ve also been falling out of love with magical-fantasy-action-harem anime. (You won’t see me blogging Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei no Kyoukan either.) The reason there is different, though: There has been such a tsunami of crap that I’ve tired of them. I love magical-fantasy-action stories. I write the friggin’ things! But so many have been bad, I’ve started to get pickier.

        Hope that explains my reasoning.

      • July 9, 2015 at 3:39 amRaiu

        I apologized to sounding like a d*ck and looking like I’m pointing all the blame to you, Stilts. I’m just a bit saddened by the fact that only one blogger from RC was interested in even watching the anime adaptation. Forget introducing or blogging it altogether. I don’t even know if it will even get a monthly impression.

  • July 8, 2015 at 1:26 amfoshizzel

    ToLoveRu ftw <3 I am happy this got another season cause I needed more Momo in my life! Yeah it's censored but I read the manga so I know whats up and don't really need to see boobs and I totally don't blame anyone for waiting for the Blrays instead, probably for the better.

  • July 8, 2015 at 1:35 amGinobi47

    For some unknown reason, I simply cant find the will to watch To Love Ru or any of its sister series.

    Pervertion is suppose to be up my alley, yet I steer clear of TLR like it was a plague or something…. yet despite this, Im following Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai (C*ck-a-doodle-p*ssy!!!) and Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou (Centaur girls…. time to search some doujins!).

    The mysteries of a perverted mind is truly an enigma T.T

    • July 8, 2015 at 5:12 amMagnus Tancred

      Because TLR’s fanservice is too much “in your face”?

      A male dojikko is not amusing at all, and the “face in someone’s crotch” routine gets old really fast.
      Rito-instigated fanservice only nets me a tired sigh and the occasional cringe.

  • July 8, 2015 at 1:55 amWorldwideDepp

    Yeah this heavy Censoring whats the point in that beside just being Baits for the “serious Fans”? They will buy the BD anyway. But perhaps to censoring instant cutting out, to fill the Time slot. So, in the end it is really just BD Baiting stuff

    But then, this give this Anime the “just BD selling Hentai stuff” aura

    • July 8, 2015 at 2:01 amWorldwideDepp

      But yeah, giving Golden Darkness the deep background, the special of this show is how well their motives is worked, give them enough time to reveal her/his Story. but here for the Anime, it seems they focus on “BD Selling” Baits. I just hope the next Episodes is not full of Censor, and they give Plot progression and bonding’s (no not H-Bonds) enough time. You not selling Baits, or you loosing your Roots. at the Start some Ecchi scenes was the Spice. Now the Scenes is nothing special anymore, an spice that lost its power

  • July 8, 2015 at 5:36 amGp1301

    Speaking of perverted show’s, Who’s covering Monster Musume? I didn’t check the memo.

    • July 8, 2015 at 1:41 pmStilts

      No one has plans to blog it, and I don’t think anyone is planning to introduce it. Since only takkun is even planning to watch it, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

      • July 8, 2015 at 5:38 pmBROOKLYN otaku

        Such blasphemy!!!

      • July 8, 2015 at 5:59 pmJust Nobody

        Why? Seems to be well received elsewhere — and if you (collective you) are blogging “same-old-harem done to death 10000 times before” anime, you could at least consider something a little different…

      • July 9, 2015 at 12:53 amStilts

        My full response is above, but I’ll expound on one point: The reason I blogged this is because I watched it. I watched it because it’s familiar and it’s easy—no, that’s not the best reason to watch something, but just like slice-of-life shows in general, sometimes it’s nice to watch things that are familiar. Monmusu could totally become that, if I was interested enough to watch it, but it had the misfortune of coming out when I’m burned out on ecchi series, so I doubt I will.

        Oh, and to clarify: If I watch the first episode of something, I try to make sure it gets intro’d, and I’ll do it if need be. There have been several times I regretted not introing things (Bahamut comes screaming to mind), which I don’t like. But if I’m not planning to watch it, it doesn’t bother me, even if I do some back to it later on and realize it’s awesome. That’s my reasoning.

  • July 8, 2015 at 6:12 amDvalinn

    This series will always stay a guilty pleasure for me. Sure, it has plenty of flaws, like lazy writing and its complete predictability, but I can always appreciate the colourful cast and how utterly unashamed it is of what it is. Not to mention the manga has meta-entertainment as well, in the form of ‘let’s see what creative ways the mangaka has used to get some stuff past the censors again’. Never gets old.

    Regardless, the censorship in the anime always gets on my nerves. I despise all the sunbeams and black bars – not just because it takes you out of the viewing experience, but also simply because it’s ugly and it makes you feel like you’re only watching fragments of a show. Yeah, ATX had better pull through, or it’s BD-time again.

    Least there’s Monster Musume to hold me over, that one escaped getting massacred by the censors.

    • July 8, 2015 at 1:44 pmStilts

      Getting crap past the radar trope! is one of the forms of meta entertainment I most enjoy, like the Minami-ke episode I mentioned in the post. When author and audience alike are in on the joke, it can be a lot of fun.

  • July 8, 2015 at 6:19 amzztop

    It’s good Yabuki Kentaro can still maintain the humour, especially given his marriage crisis a few years ago.

  • July 8, 2015 at 6:38 amJ-Luke

  • July 8, 2015 at 6:59 amtruth342

    The animation in the first season was abysmal

    When even the blu-ray OP is constantly off-model things ain’t looking good

    Stick to the manga methinks

  • July 8, 2015 at 7:45 amShinwinds

    i’m a fan of this series when i’m just 13 year old boys. :v
    But, let me tell this straight, the manga is just better. Even though the animation get an upgrade than the first season but i never enjoy this series in animation fully. Because i adore the art in the manga better than in the anime. And censorship make it just worse.

    At least i hope the story didn’t take the route like the first season where it just end abruptly.

  • July 8, 2015 at 9:52 ams_w

    “I don’t know if it’s comforting or lazy.”

    Lazy.

    The show is *slightly* more interesting if you add your own subtext to it– Rito is simply FAKING being that clueless, and every crotch-face-plant is CALCULATED! He’s really NOT dithering over which girl he wants, BECAUSE HE WANTS ALL OF THEM.

    THAT would be a far more interesting show IMO.

    Also, adding the subtext of “Jessica Fletcher is a serial killer,” makes “Murder, She Wrote” watchable.

    Not going to suffer through another season of TLR. I’m jumping on the MonMusu bandwagon.

  • July 8, 2015 at 10:25 amkanade

    Nope. I hate light beams

  • July 8, 2015 at 3:22 pmkuuma

    how many more times can this dude possibly have his mind blown by being touched by boobs? you’d think he would have a little swag after like 10 years of this.

  • July 8, 2015 at 5:36 pmRed HeartGold ZX

    Fuckin’. Love. That. Kawada. Mami. ED.

    Also, Ray back for the OP. And the plot moving forward. Sh*t. Too much goodness here.

  • July 8, 2015 at 5:42 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    Seriously this cheese gets blogged over and over but monster harem gets the cold shoulder??? ….what? Nobody wants to wave the beastiality stick!? lol!!
    All the sudden we have standards ahahahahahahahaha!!!!?

    • July 9, 2015 at 12:56 amStilts

      It has nothing to do with standards. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, and I will freely admit to watching anything I want, and will blog anything I watch. I honestly don’t give a fuck. I’m just not interested in watching Monmusu. If I was, I’da blogged the first episode. Since I wasn’t, I didn’t.

      More responses to this same question here and here. Now please respect my decision to do what I decide is best with my free time, and don’t be rude. And if you didn’t intend to be rude and were instead joking (these things don’t always come across well in text, after all), I apologize for getting a little heated. Thanks for understanding.

  • July 8, 2015 at 8:01 pmmonsterandyamilover

    Monster Musume is decent and worth to blog same goes with ToLoveRuDarkness.

  • July 9, 2015 at 2:29 pmDuzz

    That’s right Rito, like the hell out of that tail! But yeah for those that read the comic, the dude get’s even more bad ass! He want from annoying harem protagonist to owning that shit with skills.

    I quite enjoy it.

    Momo Harem plan, I’ll support it.

  • July 17, 2015 at 12:47 amRS456

    Are all the sub groups missing it. It seems like there is an AT-X broadcast of this that started on July 13. Seems because I can’t read Japanese but by AT-X the Japanese line that supposedly is the anime name and episode matches up with the line by air date of the censored version.