Rating: 3/5 – The Fanservice Favorite Comes to This Side of the Pond
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow
To Love Ru has a reputation that precedes it with fans of the genre. I’ve said on here before that if you want to read a harem manga – where a group of young pretty girls fawn and compete over a hapless male protagonist – you should really just pick one and stick with it. That said, when I heard these books were getting translated and hitting this side of the Pacific, I wanted to see if the “legends” were true. They were. Basically there’s enough fanservice packed into a volume of To Love Ru (or its sequel To Love Ru: Darkness) to make any reader more than qualified for a job at Victoria’s Secret. You will come away with such a deep, all-encompassing knowledge of the panty that you could probably write a scholarly thesis about them.
To be sure, there are far more perverted manga (and anime) out there, but To Love Ru has a bit of a following and given that the artwork comes from Kentaro Yabuki, who did the excellent Black Cat series, it’s worth checking out. The story, as mentioned, is likely nothing you haven’t encountered already, albeit with a bit more nudity and underwear. Tenchi with boobs, if you want to think about it that way. Manga of this kind tends to need someone more than capable with the pen and brush, and if you read Black Cat (which you should), Yabuki brings that same level of skill. Yuuki Rito, the male lead in the book, manages to not be completely buried amid the sea of breasts and lingerie, but only just barely.
Where the misstep may occur is in Seven Seas’ decision to release this series and the sequel series at the same time. Fans will likely not care, but if you find yourself interested in the plot, Darkness will either spoil what’s yet to come in the other book or utterly lose you amid all the new characters. That said, Darkness seems to be having a bit more fun than its predecessor, all but breaking the fourth wall as lead character Momo openly admits she’s planning to create a harem for Rito. Indeed, she seems pretty well-versed on all the stereotypes and trappings of this kind of story, which gives the sequel a bit of an edge over the book that spawned it.
If you’ve followed manga/anime culture for any decent length of time, chances are you’ve heard about To Love Ru. You may have even seen the anime or wondered about those strange statues in the back of the Previews catalog. You now have an opportunity to check out the manga that started it all, and with Kentaro Yabuki at the helm on art chores, you could do a lot worse. With the original series coming out in a two-in-one edition and the sequel being released alongside it, you certainly won’t want for material to read. If this is the harem manga you choose to follow – again, you really only need one – it’s certainly not a bad choice as long as you know what to expect going in.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow (email@example.com)
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