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To Love-ru Darkness PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 03 April 2013 00:00
If you've seen the previous installments in the To Love-ru series, you'll know that it likes to play on the risque side of things. The latest incarnation of the series, To Love-ru Darkness, in theory has an emphasis on the antics of everyone's favourite loli intergalactic assassin. In practice, though, it's more of an emphasis on certain aspects of the show's female cast...

Life for Rito continues much as it had last time we saw him - he's got a house full of alien girls, and a knack for finding them naked. Which in Momo's case at least seems to be worryingly convenient. Golden Darkness is still keeping a close eye on him, too - which, since she's supposed to kill him when she gets the chance, worries Rito a lot. So you would think that Rito's life couldn't get much more stressful - but it can...

Two main problem for Rito, mainly: Momo's ongoing pursuit of her 'Harem Plan' which if successful would see Rito 'paired' off with every female character in the series (and which hot blooded male wouldn't want that? Uhhh, Rito...); and Yami's indecision over whether she wants to be the flawless assasin she was created to be, or settle back into something more akin to normal human life. A decision that isn't made any easier by the appearance on the scene of first her 'sister' Mea, and then her 'mother' / creator Tearju.

Mea is Yami's 'sister' insofar as they were both created to be killing machines - the difference between them is that Mea is the newer model. She presents herself to Rito and friends as the cute new transfer student, keen to make friends with the gang - but she's under the control of an unseen enemy, someone who's determined to force Yami to give up her happy new life and retuen to being what she was born to be. Which all sounds a little serious and potentially heavy, as far as subject matter goes. Fear not, though - this is stil To Love-ru, and while there are a few moments of dark and conflict scattered through the series, it doesn't take long for Mea to fall under Rito's spell, get a spot in Momo's Harem Plan, and for the series to slip into what we know it best for: a fanservice-packed comedy that's heavy on misunderstandings and physical humour.

A lot of people will stop right here, having decided that they've seen enough of T&A-heavy harem shows. That's entirely fair enough. I have to say, though, that Darkness is one of the more enjoyable examples of the genre. While there's very little in the way of originality (something that died in this genre probably way back in Tenchi's day), the execution is decent, let down only by heavy use of Censorvision. If that bothers you (and there's enough of it here that it almost certainly will), wait for the home video release.

TV-edit issues aside, though, while there's not a hell of a lot to really praise Darkness for, there's not too much to be outright critical about, either. Given it's the third installment in an ongoing series, anyone starting it will know exactly what they're letting themselves in for, and by comparison with its predecessors, this sticks to the formula while ramping up the fanservice a little. It makes no pretentions about being anything it isn't, and simply sets out to entertain as best it can with the limited tricks at its disposal - and by that measure, it works. I enjoyed watching it, despite myself. New additions Mea and Tearju (a shy woman who transfers in as a teacher at the gang's school) both bring something to the series, and the small amount of backstory that the two of them provide for Yami is a welcome development. To Love-ru Darkness is unlikely to be a show we'll remember in ten years time, but as a passing piece of disposable entertainment? Go for it.

Rating - ***