First off, I want to say To LOVE-Ru Darkness is not for everyone.
This show is NOT for people who hate fanservice and/or harems. This show IS for people who love tons of ecchi, harems, and more ecchi. To top it off, To LOVE-Ru Darkness actually has... wait for it... a plot. *Gasp* Really?! Yes, it does. It's not just mindless fanservice (although that's cool too). You should definitely watch this show if ecchi is your thing.
...But you all probably knew that since this is the third season of the To LOVE-Ru series and you've seen the first two seasons (To LOVE-Ru and Motto To LOVE-Ru, respectively). If you haven't, then there really is no point in reading this review! Go check out the first two seasons!
Now, there are a few things I want to go over about this show:
1) Story - 7/10
You claim all ecchi shows have no plot? Think again! At first glance, the To LOVE-Ru series might seem that way, but in reality it has many arcs that keeps pointing in one direction. Sure, it's not going to be some mindblowing masterpiece like Death Note, but how can you even compare TLRD to something so different?! We have to realize that the main goal of the show is to make us go crazy over which heroine the male protagonist will choose in the end. So far, it has done that well.
However, like I've said before this show does have a bit of a story. I mean, there are two girls from outerspace trying to accomplish different things with the male protagonist. Conflicting things, if I might add. Then you get to see many girls on earth who show interest in the male protagonist. Well, it doesn't stop there because in TLRD there are even more girls from outerspace trying to accomplish things with...you guessed it: the male protagonist.
Of course, if you are Momo Bella Deviluke such troublesome things look more like a great opportunity. So for an ecchi-harem, To Love-Ru should please many (in more ways than one ;)).
Don't get me wrong -- Yeah it does have a story but it's still considerably weak. It isn't anything compelling but there are moments where it leaves you wanting more. It's enjoyable nonetheless. I'll leave it at that.
2) Art - 10/10
The To LOVE-Ru series has come a long way in terms of artwork. In the first season, the visuals were great for its time. But damn, the second season and third season turned it up a level or two. The scenery, the characters, even the small background objects look amazing. However, I remember reading forum posts and reviews criticizing the second and third season's artwork. You see... when the studio colored the characters, they added this shiny gloss to them to give the illusion of rounded body parts (i.e. the chin, elbows, knees). Not a lot of people liked it but personally I loved it. I think the studio made a good decision keeping the artwork for TLRD the same as the second season.
So overall, I think the show has beautiful art.
3) Sound - 8/10
Since it has been a year or two since the last season finished airing, To LOVE-Ru Darkness may come as a surprise to you in the sound department. Beginning with the OP song, I found it to be very good. It's called "RAKUEN PROJECT" by Ray. It's sort of a mix of electronic/dance music with rock. It threw me off a bit because the first few seconds sounded like the last few seconds of an ED song. I literally said "Damnit, this isn't the real version of the episode!" However a few seconds later you get to the "actual" part of the song. It's a really good song. Kinda stuck in my head now...
About the voice actors - You may find that you dislike the chosen voice actors for some of the characters in the show. I remember when I watched the first episode... I was wondering why the girls sounded so much younger than they looked. I thought for a second maybe they changed voice actors since the last season because I didn't remember them sounding like this. So I did a little research but found out they used the same voice actors as last season. I shrugged and decided to just watch through the first episode and hope that the voices grew on me. Well what do you know? By the end of the episode I wasn't thinking twice about having someone else voice the characters. You might appreciate the voices even more when you get to the "naughty" scenes ;).
The background music was very good too. Subtle, but good. There is usually a ballad playing when it gets to storytelling time and an upbeat soundtrack during the rare intense scenes (fighting, heated dialogues with enememies, etc.). There aren't many sound effects besides the occassional boob/ass grab. Even I found that hilariously good.
I'm not particularly fond with the ED song. It's called "Foul Play ni Kurari" by Kanon Wakeshima. It is a fast-tempo song with a string orchestra. A good song, don't get me wrong but for an ending it's a bit too 'cutesy'. I would have preferred a rock song with a bit of a ballad-edge to it but this song is good, too.
4) Characters - 9/10
One of the first things you will realize in To LOVE-Ru Darkness is the lack of Lala Satalin Deviluke. In the first two seasons, she was the main heroine but she has since dwindled into just another heroine subject to equal competition. Actually, she doesn't even get as much screentime now. I really miss her and I find myself happy just being able to see her even for a second.
Sadly, because of all the new characters the show has pretty much changed from being a harem that ends with a relationship between just two people into a harem that strictly aims to create a harem ending. I have mixed feelings about the change. On the one hand, I want Lala to win but on the other hand I'm starting to see myself change opinions because of the numerous interactions the other characters have with Rito.
Let us begin with the male protagonist. Yuuki Rito. He's a pretty typical character. He's clumsy, thick-headed sometimes, but a good person inside. Many girls like that about him. What makes him stand out though is the fact he's notorious for getting into situations that end with him being on top or under a girl. Sometimes he's naked. Sometimes the girl is naked. Sometimes they're BOTH naked! Top that off with just plain dirty and awkward hand positions like breasts/butt-groping, face-in-crotch/butt/breasts and you have one lucky bastard (minus the fact he usually gets punished for it after).
Then we have Yami the Golden Darkness. Yami for short. Yami is a quiet kuudere/dandere whose mission is to kill Yuuki Rito - although she doesn't really seem to want to do it. In the first two seasons, we didn't get much of her. She was just another character in the story for the most part. However, in this season it focuses on Yami and uncovering her past. This goes back to me saying that this show has a story!
Mea Kurosaki will be the first new character you'll be introduced to in this season. She is an assassin who was sent to earth by a master to monitor Yami's actions. By the way, Yami and Mea are sisters. They both have the ability to transform their hair into weapons and such. Although she appears to be nice (and sometimes curiously perverted) on the outside, she has a dark heart just like Yami. She's like the second best character in the show IMO. I really like her dirty schemes haha. You get to see more of that later on.
Now...Momo Bella Deviluke. Oh my goodness...she is AMAZING.To me, she's the best character in TLRD. I even dare say she is one of the best female characters of 2012. Not many will agree simply because they don't know about the show but those who have watched To LOVE-Ru Darkness will agree. They have to! I mean, c'mon she's what fuels the fire in the season. The perverted tactician would be a suitable title for her. We mostly see the story from her perspective. Her main goal is to be with Yuuki Rito, but she's okay with Yuuki Rito ending up with every girl. Wait. She isn't just okay with it - she WANTS it to happen. She ACTIVELY pursues that goal! That's why she is so entertaining to watch. And just wait until you see her extremely perverted delusions. It's hilarious!
I'd talk about the other characters but there isn't much to say. That is not to say they don't have any character development because they do. Run/Ren Elsie Jewelria is one good example of a character with good development. There are a few more characters that have yet to be introduced but I don't want to spoil it and say what happens so just watch the show!
5) Enjoyment - 10/10
Let me keep it brief: I enjoy this series so much. It is definitely the best ecchi/harem series I have watched in the past two years of my anime life. This show is so damn hilarious and entertaining to watch. I even end up watching it as soon as it comes out despite not having subs! All because I'm impatient and want to watch the show as soon as it comes out.
It's not that bad for me to watch it raw though because I'm up to date with the manga and know a bit of Japanese so I know what's going on. But anyways, 10/10!
6) Overall - 8/10
Overall, I find To LOVE-Ru Darkness to be refreshing. Even though the show does an extremely good job at it, ecchi is not the main reason why this show is good. The main reason why this show is good is because of the story, artwork, and characters. Without those three, the ecchi would lack a lot of substance. I know it's weird saying that because people think those who watch ecchi are pleased with just boobs and butts but NO. We want more! And where do we find it? In To LOVE-Ru!
So go ahead and watch To LOVE-Ru Darkness. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good ecchi show. Perhaps even those who don't watch ecchi that much but have an open-mind. Try it out and see.
Thanks for reading my review. Thank you even more if you read everything I wrote and not just skim through it. Yes, I consider them two different situations. You know it's true. :)
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