The dispassionate, transforming assassin Golden Darkness returns to peer deeper into the mysteries surrounding her new life, while a sinister Nemesis manipulates her younger sister Mea from the shadows. Along with their newly discovered mother, Tearju, this previously estranged family quickly becomes the center of everyone's attention. On the other hand, Princess Momo's Harem Plan stands on shaky ground amidst Rito's inability to confess to his longtime crush Haruna, who has grown feelings of her own.
But things aren't as peaceful as they seem; an evil force looms amidst the innocuous commotion, threatening to eclipse the love, happiness, and friendship of Rito and his harem. Only the light of love can hope to banish the shadow.
Note: I am writing this review for those who are already familiar with the To Love-Ru series. Perhaps you had seen the first season of Darkness and enjoyed it, but you're still skeptical of its sequel. Or despite disliking the first season (Darkness), you, for some reason, are still interested. Maybe, even now, you feel ambivalent. I hope this review will help those who are struggling to make a decision. Lastly, I am a huge fan of the series, but I've never read the manga.
"To Love-Ru Darkness 2nd" is just as entertaining as its prequels (To Love-Ru, Motto To Love-Ru, and the first
season of To Love-Ru Darkness); in fact, the disparity between this and its prequels are, in my opinion, little to none. Unfortunately, this implies that many of its infamous flaws are also present in this second season. In this review, I will explore this season's strengths and weaknesses.
To Love-Ru, as a series, has a weak story. After 70+ episodes, there is little character and plot development; for example, much of the content in each episode (addressing the entire series) is Rito stumbling or slipping while female characters are conveniently nearby which results in a perverted scene. He is then chased or lectured, but ultimately forgiven. This exact scene repeats many times throughout this season. I, however, personally enjoy them and laugh occasionally because the show is self-aware that these scenes would only occur so frequently in a fictitious world.
As for character development, if you're here to watch Rito and Lala grow romantically closer, you'll likely be disappointed; there is one scene, but they simply end up reaffirming those same feelings that they had at the conclusion of Motto To Love-Ru. Additionally, more girls are added to the Harem Plan; furthermore, the characters who, originally, never knew about the plan provide their views on the subject. It's interesting to see different perspectives because some conflict with Momo's beliefs, although I had hoped that they would further elaborate on their reasoning. Still, it's exciting to see that the Harem Plan may not be as perfect as Momo makes it out to be. Interestingly, in this season, there is an antagonist (and I don't mean random fodder alien assassins) with a goal (not minor transgressions like kidnapping). I was also pleased that the show didn't feel episodic; there was continuity unlike To Love-Ru and Motto To Love-Ru.
And although it may appear that I dislike the story, I think the lack of progression is justified in some ways. For example, in To Love-Ru's universe, only two years or so (maybe less) have passed since the first episode. I don't know if two years is enough for someone like Rito to suddenly devote himself to over fifteen girls. He's sixteen; marriage, falling in love, and managing the entire universe are things that most teenagers would never think too deeply about at that age. Moreover, Rito is portrayed as an average male student; his only unqiue trait (that is emphasized) is his kindness and reliability when you really need him. So in many ways, I understand why he feels unsure about these things, especially the Harem Plan. The plot makes this clear several times that polygamy is not allowed on Earth; this implies that, for about 14 years, he has been raised with the idea that marriage is between a man and a woman. Maybe he hasn't thought about it until he was 7 or 8, but to ask someone to suddenly change their life values and beliefs in just two years seems improbable. As for character development, I think it's rather realistic that Rito's personality hasn't radically changed. I never expected him to suddenly become a whole new person in merely two years. And yes, several times, Mikan does mention that Rito has changed ever since the arrival of Lala and friends, but it's likely nothing serious as he is still shown to have those same mixed feelings (from the very first season) about marriage, love, politics, and the Harem Plan.
This is simply my opinion, and I just thought some of these things were worth thinking about.
My final note: If you don't like the theme of friendship, you may not like this season.
Compared to the very first season of To Love-Ru, the art has significantly improved (I'm sure many of you reading this know that already). Nevertheless, I don't know much about art; however, to me, the art looks colorful, vivid, and vibrant. I do prefer season 1's art (Darkness Season 1), but Rito's, Yami's, Momo's, Lala's, and Mea's faces are drawn really well this season. (I am in love with everyone's eyes!) Also it's interesting to note that the art is so stunning that when you see even a slight drop in quality, it's rather noticeable. Usually, I have to look for these, but I saw quite a few here -- especially when you're viewing the characters from a far distance (which is understandable). Nevertheless, I was bothered by how bright everyone looked as well.
Another example of good art, I think, is the ending. The planets, Yami, and the flowers are all quite artistic.
I know I compare a lot, and unfortunately, I'm doing it here again. I only give the sound a 9 because I really enjoyed listening to Rakuen Project by Ray. Secret Arms is fine; I never skipped the opening if that means anything. Conversely, the ending, in this season, is far better. Kawada's Garden is amazing; if you have some extra time, I recommend listening to the full version as well. The background music, however, wasn't memorable.
Rito: As I mentioned before, in the story section, I think Rito is growing/maturing, but it appears to be a subtle growth. That said, if you watch the specials (episode 13 and 14 which conclude the season), Rito does something quite surprising and out of character (not because he's drunk or anything like that; it's intentional). I wouldn't call it a serious change, but I like the pace of his growth; it might appear too slow for some, but I think it's fine. One of my biggest issues with the character, however, is his passive personality.
Lala: Learns something new from Momo, and there is one other minor thing with Rito, but saying anything more will ruin it. That's about it.
Haruna, Kotegawa, : Both characters remain static throughout this season, unfortunately.
Yami, Nana, and Mea: These three characters are the highlights of this season. If you like any one of them, you're in luck. The theme is friendship. That's all I'll say. And if you didn't like any of these characters before, you might like them now. You learn quite a bit about each of these characters, and I ultimately felt that they were no longer just one-dimensional characters.
Murasame Shizu: Even she sort of gets her own episode. Again, the theme is friendship.
Rin: There is more revealed about her character as well.
Mikan: Keep on eye out for her. She has some great moments this season.
Momo: I believe Momo is a character that does not need to change (personality wise). Her presence in the story is what drives a lot of these character actions in the second season. If you liked Momo in Darkness season 1, I think you'll appreciate her role here as well. Her alluring mischievous personality is always fun to watch.
Overall, I think it's fine that a lot of these characters are still the same after all these years; at least they're consistent. But until something a little more significant happens to Rito, Lala, and friends, all I can say is that the characters, this season, were good.
As I've said before, I'm a huge fan (Momo and Yami fan) of the series, so much that I ended up watching the first four uncensored episodes and finished the rest of it (along with the specials) in one sitting. Originally, I had planned on waiting until all 14 episodes were available uncensored, but I simply couldn't wait; in fact, I plan on re-watching those 10 episodes again once it's released on Blu-Ray.
To Love-Ru is an anime that truly tests the limits of the ecchi genre; it is the epitome of a borderline hentai. For this reason, you really have to love the characters to continue loving this show. I know I didn't say much, but if you've seen the first season (which I assumed you have) you already know exactly how these characters are. In lieu of a summary, I thought it might be best to tell you what season two has to offer. Honestly, had I not enjoyed the show as much as I did, I'd give this season a 6.5/10.
Anyways, I suggest giving at least the first uncensored episode a try!
I already liked To Love-Ru before (when it was Momo) but this season is so good that I can not stop watching, even went to the manga.
The story is not about the wedding Rito and Lala (protagonists) as in the first season, but it shows more about the other girls. The girls won at least two episodes prominent with Rito, showing why they like him and each showing a different way of acting.
It is impossible not to like the girls, they do not have the same mode of operation as in "certain anime" that all girls like the protagonist and are rubbing it, they show
that like the Rito of different and indirectly.
Despite being a ecchi he can have a good story without disturbing anything, showing the history and how each girl feel about Rito. Many people criticized for not having the same story of the first season, talking about marriage, but the story of Darkness has its purpose and is essential to the history of marriage continue to succeed .If you watched the first two seasons do not waste time and watch this that has the design better and best voices for sure you will see the anime otherwise and you will love it (or else love Momo as all hahaha.)
This is essentially the second season of Darkness, which adds just a bit of plot to the franchise and explains what the title "Darkness" actually means. It has literally been seven years since the original To Love-Ru, and despite the original characters much of the show has changed greatly. What began as a show dedicated to a love triangle between Rito, Haruna, and Lala has now grown to an outright harem large enough to match any competing series out there. The show has increasingly had to rely on blatant ecchi to match the competition to the point where this is essentially soft-core hentai. Moreover, the
original heroines Lala and Haruna feel all but sidelined as the focus shifts towards Momo, Nana, and a new generation of harem members. Nonetheless, the show retains semblances of its roots, be it ridiculous inventions by Lala or Haruna's inability to confess her feelings. If harem-based ecchi comedies are up your alley, this is a pretty easy recommendation. If you've followed the show up to this point, this is probably one of the better seasons so I wouldn't miss out. That being said, the ecchi is so in-your-face that god rays often cover the entire screen, leaving you clueless as to what ecchi act Rito is actually committing; if the ecchi part is what you're looking for definitely wait for the Blu-rays.
The show retains its overall feel from Darkness, though a fair amount of detail has been given to backgrounds and water scenes. The plethora of characters from previous To Love Ru seasons return with the addition of even more characters; I've honestly forgotten some of the more minor characters, and don't expect the show to remind you who they are. As in previous iterations, expect a lot of blushing and skin. I will say though that I have no idea how Nana tucks all that long hair into her tiny twin tails, it must be a gravitational anomaly or something.
The show still has a decent amount of action thanks to former assassins Mea and Yami. I have no idea how the school pays for it but expect tremendous collateral damage repeatedly. As for ecchi, expect it literally everywhere. By now, Rito is the king of accidents and always ends up touching or smelling things that require almost constant god rays. To add to this, Momo literally visits Rito to be groped while he sleeps. It's not just Rito as apparently many of the girls enjoy fondling each other. Indeed, this is among the most shameless shows of the season.
The show opens with a relatively light OP with a fair main melody. The ED feels somewhat nostalgic as Mami Kawada's nice piece reminds me of her previous work on Index and Shakugan no Shana. As in previous seasons, the BGM is supportive but not particularly memorable.
The strong VA cast returns for yet another performance heavy in aroused, elated groans. Aki Toyosaki still gives a great performance as Momo though sister Kanae Itou as Nana gives her a run for her money with an emotional performance. Misato Fukuen also does a great job as Yami; her embarrassed voice is particularly good.
To Love Ru's revival as a somewhat plot-based show continues, and actually improves in this second season. The early episodes are generally mainly episodic, emphasizing either one of Lala's inventions gone wrong or focusing on a particular girl. Surprisingly, a fair amount of minor characters gets center stage including Yui Kotegawa and Rin Kujou. Nana also gets a bit more love to balance out with Momo. The most humorous aspect of it all was that an episode is dedicated to Lala, who finally realizes that she's no longer the center of the world. Despite the episodic feel, the story slowly introduces antagonists and foreshadows events that eventually link the show together. Once you hit the three quarter mark, the show finally decides to get serious and we learn what Darkness really is. To be honest, the first part of the final arc was a bit new but everything after was a tad too predictable. This climax is followed by a likewise predictable and open conclusion. All in all, not too shabby of a run with decent entertainment value throughout, and I don't just mean the ecchi parts.
I think Momo and Nana's characters are finally starting to sink in and feel more like real heroines rather than fill-ins for Lala and Haruna. They, along with Mea and Yami get a fair amount of development. Momo's harem plan seems to be going well as more and more girls seem to be falling for Rito's "nice" comments, despite him matching every nice comment with a not-so-nice grope. I still don't like the fact that the cast is so spread out but it does mean that whatever fetish you have is guaranteed to be covered to some extent by the show, yes including tentacles. The interactions between the girls are still fun as they fight over the idea of winning over Rito vs. submitting to a harem.
I feel like this second season of Darkness fixes many of the sour notes that I had from the end of the last season. This revival of sorts of To Love Ru is turning out to be fairly good, albeit ecchi heavy. If you can deal with the massive amount of blurred frames or are able to patiently wait for the blu-rays, this is an entertaining addition to the franchise. Enjoy the Darkness and may it brighten your day.
I'll try to keep the review as spoiler free as possible, but there are a couple of points I do want to bring up. And this is also not a formal review as Darkness 2nd is a continuation of the series. I'm also assuming you've watched all of the episodes leading up to the current season
First of all, In this season, we continue with the main characters shifting away from Lala and Haruna. The main focus of the series is on Momo, Nana, Mea, and Yami. And for only for a couple of episodes is Lala actually participating. There is a small bit of Lala
love for you fans out there, but the most you see of her is in the Last episode and the Specials.
In terms of Mea, she really begins to develop as a character. We see a lot of exposition of her and a new character. We also see Yami develop as a character more towards the end of the season.
Overall, If you have watched the previous seasons, its worth a watch as there actually is plot to the season, and you must watch the 13th and 14th episodes disguised as specials,
Let's take a closer look at the latest series in this long-running franchise! Just about everything has improved in this season of To LOVE-Ru: the harem is bigger, the plot is deeper, and the animation is much more detailed. Now if only I could find the uncensored version...