Veritably being the main character of To Love-Ru, Rito eventually garners the affection of most female characters in To Love-Ru. His status as main character, which can also be called male lead, initially comes somewhat as a surprise given Rito's initially seen personality traits. For one, he is the epitome of clumsy. He accidentally trips over himself and lands in boobs. He trips over himself again and lands in the panties of another familiar female character. Then to top it off, he is shy and reserved, and if that doesn't tell you how much of a lost cause Rito is, then this life-changing event will: he confesses his love to the wrong girl. Thinking of that and his other clumsy events, his clumsiness is seemingly limitless. It's to the point where it makes this unremarkable youth who simply enjoys television, gardening, manga, and occasionally soccer and crane games, a technically remarkable person. Unfortunately, being remarkably strange isn't enough to be a main character.
Rito's clumsiness in constantly accidentally groping female characters causes him to be erroneously viewed as a pervert. All girls except Haruna, his love interest, view him as a slime because of this misunderstanding, making it so Rito doesn't have a close relationship with most of his classmates. He does have a close friend in Kinichi Saruyama; however, it's too bad we are the sum average of our friends, for Kinichi is a blazing pervert who harasses his female schoolmates and blames it on Rito when caught - too bad indeed. Even sadder, and more amazing, is that Rito can't handle these kinds of situations, mostly because he gets flustered, but also because he is disgusted by the perversions of others, especially of Kinichi. Also, and this is the cause of Rito's adventures, Rito tries to confess his love to Haruna, but accidentally confesses his love to Lala who appears in front of him. This is a frustrating moment for many of us who follow the series, as Rito does not accomplish the task which we had been rooting for him to accomplish.
You could say these clumsy moments of his are pure coincidence, perhaps even divine irony, but you could also say it is entirely Rito's own fault, and that his clumsiness is a product of his less-than-stellar traits. These traits are his daunting shyness and carelessness. Because Rito is shy, he doesn't make it a task to look Haruna in her eyes as he confesses his love to her, thus allowing the mistake of confessing his love in Lala's direction, and thus giving Lala the false impression that he loves her and wants to be in a romantic relationship with her. Likewise, you could say that because Rito doesn't actively make it a task to avoid clumsy situations or even properly explain the accidental incidence of the situation to his victims, that he is careless. And he is - he lacks the ability to think about these situations before they happen. To top it off, when Rito does decide to confess his love to Haruna in hopes of completely shattering the wall that separates them, he decides to confess it out of the blue. Although Haruna is interested in him, he doesn't actually know that, nor is he actually close to her, making it a bad idea still. Generally, it is bad idea to confess your love to someone you are not close to beforehand, because it is likely they won't know who you are as a person; you would be leaving it up to chance - that they had been watching you and had fallen in love with you. Life lessons, friends.
However, fortunately, Rito has nice traits blossom that solidify both his remarkableness and his main character status. It's Rito's strength of character, his bravery seen in confessing his love, his respect for people, kindness, and understanding that allow him to be loved by us and his classmates. He causes us to see the value of bravery and direct confrontation, and amazingly, Rito is even able to improve some of his less-than-stellar traits when he is thrown into fantastical fights for the sake of his life, family, and friends.
Haruna Sairenji is Rito's love interest. She's a cute girl, a goddess, a queen, shy, quiet, and respectable, making her a kindred spirit and life partner to Rito. But what do you get when you put two shy people who love each other in a room together? Apparently not much. Rito hardly talks to Haruna, nor does he get close to her, and she does the same. The moment that contains the greatest incidence of a bond between the two is when Haruna stands up for Rito, in eighth grade when classmates falsely accuse Rito of sullying the school garden. Haruna's principled act of kindness catalyzes Rito's love - it comes out of the blue and shows the simplicity of falling in love. However, even after this event, the distance between them is hardly shortened. They still call each other by their last names, and don't talk to each other.
Haruna shares one of the same weaknesses as Rito: shyness. She chooses not to leave her comfort zone and nurture a close relationship with Rito, and she doesn't confess her love, making her confront the situation similarly to Rito. I mean, she could have at least given him a lunchbox, right? So neither of the two know they have a mutual love, and thus seems the fate of the shy; but the shy have their ways. That is to have others help them, although Haruna and Rito only slowly become closer.
Although Haruna is the main love interest, a female lead, a heroine, she lacks the presence that other characters have due to her quietness, making the time she does show us a strong presence as something of a treasure for her fans to enjoy. However, she is also in a position where she doesn't require such a presence to be important or likable, because she is supported by some of the more energetic minor characters; and because, more importantly, she is the main love interest of Rito, the male lead, allowing constant mentions and situations of her. Haruna is the one being chased by Rito's turtle pace, and this adds an aspect to the show where at least the male lead is chasing someone. This constant chase makes Rito a guy with a goal with obstacles, and not just a guy who many girls like but has no end game with any of them and is completely oblivious or asexual - although that would be interesting; instead we get the idea that Rito is focused on Haruna and thus doesn't have thoughts for other girls, for the time being. Haruna is essentially in the way of love blossoming between Rito and other girls, but she also has enough humble charisma to be liked by those girls, which comfortably locks her position as a love interest. Seriously, Haruna is an angel.
Lala Satalin Deviluke
Lala is the type of character who causes grand changes in points in history, and that's what she does when confronted with potential arranged marriages set by her powerful father. Lala is the eldest princess daughter of planet Deviluke, and is known to cause headache due to her genius inventions and troublemaking. So when her father stands to control her love life, it's normal for her to rebel against and destroy her father's wishes by finding her own suitable man. Coincidentally, Rito is that suitable man, a cowardly lion that sometimes transforms into a brave one; and when Rito accidentally causes Lala to pursue him relentlessly after he accidentally "confesses his love" to her, it sets off a chain reaction of dangerous events. Rito is often chosen to confront dangerous and sticky situations directly, including Lala herself, thus making Lala a mode for great change for Rito and for the people around him.
This is considerably positive for Rito. When faced with the unfairness of a forced engagement to Lala, the likes of which is akin to a shotgun wedding, and when having to face off against Lala's suitors, both from fear of death and planetary destruction, Rito has to confront these situations directly, like the Hulk - we get to see his strengths on a grand scale that he must face while on the edge of death. After facing off against the suitors and assassins, Rito has become closer to his friends by showing them he would risk his life for them. More importantly, it couldn't have happened without Lala.
Lala cares for others and is charismatic. Using these skills for the sake of Rito, she becomes close to his classmates and shows them how Rito is a great guy. She does this out of her own wishes, which could have given her the impression of naivety and recklessness if she failed; however, it works out, thus instead giving Lala the impression of charisma, and increasing Rito's networking capabilities. Well, she increases Rito's bonds with his classmates, making him a bit more socially adept.
Lala's weakness is that she doesn't understand the emotions of others, is reckless, careless, and seems to be oblivious to the consequences of her actions, or at the least does not fear the consequences. On one hand, this is why she has a history of causing mass mayhem with her inventions, causing trouble for others. On the other hand, it allows her to have a positivity that keeps her happy and bubbly, which in turn hinders her empathy for the pain of others. It is an attribute that causes her to be misunderstood, and to even be the source of Rito's anger at times even though Rito is kind and understanding. Furthermore, no one seems to understand Lala on a deep level, but she seems to just want to have fun with the people around her. As the saying goes, "girls just wanna to have fun."
Nonetheless, Lala is lovable and intends to only help when it seems like she always harms. She is straightforward, confronts with certainty, is intelligently inventive, and wears a robotic costume - which is somewhat reminiscent of Iron Man if he was a cute magical girl. Moreover, she fulfills a soul mate role for Rito by giving him tasks to overcome, tasks like overcoming his aversion to perversion and strengthening his bravery.
Run and Ren Elsie Jewelria
Run Elsie Jewelria and Ren Elsie Jewelria have a weird trait: they are each a different gender in the same body, and when they sneeze, they can miraculously turn into the opposite gender as an effect of a trait developed by the evolution of the royal lineage of planet Memorze. It's a trait that seems to come in handy when dealing with perverts, unless it's a person like the Principal - it's "fine" with him. Anyway, when first introduced to this multi-gendered entity, Ren is the outer gender for a while, making us believe he is the only gender, making us suspect nothing of his gender-bending power. During his introduction, Ren reveals himself to be acquainted to Lala, and surprisingly as someone who Lala agreed to marry, with the latter not being something Lala remembers.
Ren loves Lala, which in turn causes Ren's hatred and jealousy toward Rito, for Rito is engaged to Lala. Throughout the anime, we see Ren continually seek to prove his manhood and coolness through stereotypical masculine things like increasing his muscle mass or having contests of strength and physical capability, all superficial. This superficiality is an attempt to woo Lala, and it's a testament to how he has no internal motivation for change. His only motivation is to impress Lala, thus you may begin to question his self-worth. Is he trying to impress Lala, or is he determined to seek happiness? The former seems likely since he constantly tries to prove and to change something about himself, but never seems satisfied. He never seems happy, but rather seems on edge most of the time.
After all of Ren's nonsense, Ren sneezes, now causing his transformation and revealing Run to be the female gender of Ren. We later learn that the trouble Lala causes Run and Ren in their youth with her experiments, gadgets, and general antics, causes Run to harbor hatred for her. To top it off, Lala is engaged to the man Run unsurprisingly falls in love with, Rito, further increasing Run's hatred. However, throughout the series, Run grows as a person as she begins to see and accept the bond between Rito and Lala, thus decreasing her jealous feelings. After all, jealousy is just the fear of losing something, but Run cannot lose anything because she never had the same bond Rito and Lala have. That bond is something special solely between Rito and Lala, and cannot be shared with anyone else. Moreover, this is a fact we all eventually may come to realize when harboring jealous feelings. And we can either choose to grow and control this feeling, or let it flourish and destroy us.
Now that we have their background, we can delve into an interesting concept about these characters: their ability to invoke gender topics like transgenderism, gender differences, gender roles and gender stereotypes. To explain, we must first see how Run and Ren possess different gender personalities; because of this, they act differently, but can feel at all times their main bodily condition and can use the same memories. This begs the question of how connected they are. Is it a mind connection, or is it just a physical connection and they are two separate people? Ultimately, it's left to the author's choice. However, it's not fully answered in the anime, thus we have room to question this idea. Presently, we know Run and Ren can speak to each other mentally, causing one to believe they are separate entities, which would mean they have separate consciousness; but they - it - this multi-gendered entity, could just be talking to itself. We see that Run has girlish hobbies like being an actress, idol, and vocal musician. Ren competes with Rito in tests of manhood and tries to become manlier for the sake of Lala, so both Run and Ren fall into typical gender stereotypes. They also both subscribe to a number of typical gender differences - for instance, Ren is a bit more assertive and aggressive, whereas Run is seen as passive aggressive when we see her playing pranks. Moreover, does this make them different people? Again, it's up to the author, but it's an interesting concept.
Nana Aster Deviluke
Nana is similar to Lala in that she is a princess of Planet Deviluke and is also the daughter of Gid, though she is also very different. Nana knows she is one of the less-endowed of the three pink hair sisters trio, which makes her self-conscious of her features when compared to her buxom mother and sisters. This self-consciousness is a negative trait, and makes Nana envious at times, though not often, and invokes negative body image. Don't worry; you're all beautiful - so long as you shower.
Nana has her good points. She is knowledgeable of all animal species across the galaxy, and can speak to them. This attunement to animals is a sign of introversion, and considering Nana is the more reserved of the sisters, and considering the time she spends with the many animal species in her artificial ecosystems, her own world, the idea that she is an introvert is not unfounded.
Also, her angry outbursts and dislike of perversions show an immaturity that is similar to most other characters in the series, but she also continually grows - only mentally - although is currently still prescribed to her immature traits and aversion to perversion, making her still view Rito as a "beast."
Risa Momioka and Mio Sawada
Risa is an openly lewd female and conversationalist, often seen grabbing the breasts of female characters and obtaining the background information of different characters along with her friend Mio Sawada. Those are her defining features. She also supports Haruna, Rito, and Lala. She fondles Haruna's breasts, giving Haruna something to break the ice with, while giving Rito something to think about at night. She also gives Lala perverted advice that allows her odd situations with Rito, which in turn strengthens their relationship
Mio, friend of Risa, is likewise a lewd female of To Love-Ru who loves to grope the breasts of women. She is rather low-key and appears often with Risa to fondle breasts and tease Rito or Kotegawa. She is a humorous addition to the anime, and her lack of stage presence contrasts and highlights the more frequent appearance of other characters.
Furthermore, the boob fondling these two girls do to girls is often seen as harmless teasing by most of the characters besides some victims like Haruna or Yui Kotegawa. Conversely, no male could do such fondling without harsh punishment and ill-treatment, and thus it's an effective tool to give us full-on boob grabbing fanservice. Unfortunately, it does show gender bias, because it's essentially telling us girls can more comfortably fondle girls breasts because they are of the same gender; however, we know that girls can fondle breasts in sexual ways, and the fact that boys can see breasts being jiggled is essentially sexual harassment to them and to the victims. Rito can also grab boobs without much incidence; however, it's not the same as when Risa and Mio grab boobs because they grab them intentionally, whereas Rito grabs them accidentally. He also has male lead powers of attraction - which is important.
Gid Lucione Deviluke
Gid, ruler of Planet Deviluke, is father to the trio of Deviluke princesses Lala, Momo, and Nana. When he travels to earth and reveals himself to Rito, you will notice his small, childlike stature. The reason for this appearance is that he used too much of his energy in an attack in the Galaxy Unification War. Any type of extreme utilization of energy apparently causes Devilukeans to shrink to a child form as a side effect. In summary, Gid fought hard, turned into his child form, and won the war, ending intergalactic war in his own galaxy.
Gid's permanent reversion to his childlike form can be interpreted as he used some of the years of his wartime age in ending the war. And now that he has completed his daunting task throughout his childhood and adulthood, his child form is somewhat symbolic of being allowed another childhood - perhaps a fountain of youth for his hard work. In fact, it could parallel to real life; because in a way, after we have completed an important goal, many of us long to go back to a previous time so we can live it again along with our goal fulfilled, and we can live a relaxed life without worries. That's what Gid does - he lives a relaxed life - but wants even more. He wants to live an even more relaxed life without politics, and thus seeks to find a successor to the Deviluke throne. As lazy as he sounds, this wouldn't be a bad idea, seeing as though he is better at fighting than he is at ruling.
Gid, much like his eldest daughter, doesn't seem to understand the emotions of others, and is careless and reckless. These traits are evidenced by how he would recklessly destroy an entire planet for the sake of testing one boy, and would arrogantly fry that boy with his crazy power. Also, being as he is, an aloof ruler, he carelessly spends only little time with his daughters and leaves them to their own devices. Then as a sign of his inability to understand the emotions of others, he would show little empathy in trying to force his daughter into an engagement with strangers.
Basically, Gid is a socially inept ruler and father of three. However, his zealous determination to end war does show heroic bravery, if not heroic recklessness. So he does have good qualities, right? I mean, he is pretty cool. Also, given how he shares some qualities with his daughter, he could also be misunderstood, which could mean he actually has deep love and care for both his daughters and for the throne - making him a lovable violent chibi who is essentially the main character of another time.
Oshizu is a ghost that has the power to read the emotions and memories of the person she is possessing. She can lash out with psychic powers under fear or stress, which allow her to blow apart things and send boobs and panties flying into Rito's face, by accident of course.
Oshizu possesses Haruna, allowing her to sense and understand Haruna’s feeling for Rito, so that now Oshizu feels the need to support her. Oshizu shows some parallels to Haruna: they both have an extreme fear for an object the other possesses; Haruna ironically has a fear for the supernatural, which Oshizu is, and Oshizu has a fear of dogs, which Haruna ironically owns.
Oshizu could be a representation for mentally sensitive people. A sensitive person in general would be one who is able to sense the emotions of others through observation of body language or almost by a sixth sense. The two abilities are nearly identical. However, the difference between the abilities Oshizu displays and the ones a sensitive person does is that Oshizu can purposely and directly read emotions and memories. She can actually enter a person's body, while a normal sensitive person cannot - they can only guess them from external observations - so her powers would be symbolic in nature, if the idea is truly related to her. Added with her social awkwardness, which is how she misinterprets people and goes on conversational tangents, the idea takes shape since sensitive people are notoriously awkward due to their inability to handle the emotions and energy they inadvertently take on.
Saki Tenjouin, Rin Kujou, and Ayako Fujisaki
Saki Tenjouin, the daughter of a wealthy family, is a go-getter. She constantly seeks the competition of anyone who would outshine her, and because of this, she treats Lala as her rival. However, Lala is not interested in competition, even with her having genius intellect, inventions, and charisma, so Saki only has an unrequited rivalry. Although Saki can be antagonistic towards Lala and other “rivals,” she recognizes and confronts the greatness in others. It's another take on her obsessive rivalry, but it's true that in order for her to see someone as a rival, she has to understand their abilities. Without recognizing the abilities of others, she wouldn't be so fervent in confronting anyone, and may instead be envious of them; but she accepts the challenge, causing her rival spirit to be a strength that constantly challenges her to be great.
Rin expressionlessly guards Saki as part of an organization and family that has guarded the Saki family for generations. She doesn't show much interest in socializing with others outside her group, not even Ayako, given by how she doesn't talk to anyone. She will, however, punish the occasional pervert.
The only time we see her is when she is with Saki or is training her sword skills. Rin is essentially a monolithic swordswoman who guards her princess. She also has acrophobia, a fear of heights, which could be a symbol for her lack of desire to be anything higher than Saki's guard. However, what she lacks in character, she makes up for in strength in body and sword skills; although she doesn't actually show her skill in combat, we can guess she has physical capability greater than the average human and most of Lala's suitors.
After being protected by Saki from a pack of wild bullies, Ayako develops an idolization for Saki, and thus is constantly seen in close proximity to Saki. Coincidentally, she drives and operates heavy machinery, highlighting her working class status. Basically, Ayako's purpose is to drive heavy machinery and give Saki the idolization she desires but does not get from anyone else - not much else, making her essentially an extra.
In a nutshell, these three inseparable girls are what I see as a group dynamic that is similar to, and parallels, many societies, including Western and Japanese society. You have Saki, who has both money and the desire to be above others, thus representing the top 1% wealthy of society. Then you have Rin, who represents the government since her only desire is to guard the top 1%, Saki. Then finally, you have Ayako. Because of her relegation to work heavy machinery and idolize the top 1%, she must represent the general population who often highly respect and idolize the famous and wealthy. Basically, the group dynamic Saki, Rin, and Ayako display parallel societies with a wealth gap or caste system.
Now that we have covered some of the very interesting characters of To Love-Ru, and have seen some meaningful perspectives, we can revel in the greatness of a show that has fun with characters that you could say are somewhat complex and satire aspects of everyday life and social constructs. We can also see how it's all fun and entertaining.