Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking back at Motto To LOVE-Ru

Motto To LOVE-Ru, AT-X broadcast source, 848x480 h264 AAC encoding, fansubbed by Doki-Chihiro

A beach episode? In an anime? Imagine that.

Well, it's over. My most anticipated anime series of 2010, Motto To LOVE-Ru, has come to it's conclusion. Did it meet up with my expectations?

Sure did. Review (with some spoilers) after the break...

Even though I really enjoyed the first TL-R series, this one was better for a number of reasons. First and foremost of those was that, unlike the first series, Motto followed very closely to the original manga, without inserting additional plot points (in that way, it was much like the TL-R OVAs). Each episode is split into three sub-episodes, with each one of those covering a particular manga chapter; for the most part the sub-episodes are actually named after the chapters on which they are based with a few notable exceptions --  more about this anon.

The major liberty taken from the manga was the inclusion of the entire cast from the get-go. This was not necessarily an issue, as it took some 162 chapters of the manga to get Yuuki's entire harem assembled. Most character explanations and backgrounds are taken care of -- briefly -- in the first sub-episode (Once More, From the Beginning) through exposition. It is assumed that most viewers of the anime are already mostly familiar with the basics of the TL-R universe, and the series serves to fill in the gaps that may have been left by the first anime series. Also notable is that the chapter order bears no real relation with the order of the episodes; characters are sometimes added as needed, but seamlessly. 

The reason this works is that the chapters used for the anime were more the side-stories and not in the major plot arc (i.e. no appearance of King Deviluke and Zastin only shows up briefly once or twice) of the manga series. The only real "arc" in the series as a whole is the developing friendship/crush/romance between Mikan and Yami, dealt with in several episodes. Yui's feelings for Rito are given some multi-episode treatment as well; the Haruna/Lala/Rito triangle is taken as obvious (at least to the viewer) from the get-go.

Mikado-sensei, Nana, Run and Yui react to Rito's surprise confession. Of course, Rito probably ought to keep his eyes open when confessing to Haruna, y'know?

The final episode is, fittingly, the final four chapters of the manga, encompassing the "I Love You" story arc (at the pool with the slime monster), and ends with the same hilarious ambiguity as the manga. Of course, this leaves space for more series in the future (TLR Darkness animated, perhaps?) but only if they can find a way around the Otaku-ban.

One can hope.

Finally, as a special service to anyone who is interested (and to assuage my own OCD tendencies), I have compiled the following list, comprising the episodes and their associated manga volumes/chapters. I have noted where the title has changed:

01: Once Again, From The Beginning (original, character explanation and exposition.)
02: War At The Baths (Vol 10, Ch 87+88)
03: The Sound of Ticking Love (Vol 13, Ch 107)

04: Things That Move In The Dark (Vol 17, Ch 146)
05: Welcome to the Yuuki Household! (Vol 7, Ch 54)
06: Slumber Party (Vol 9, Ch 76)

07: Special Love Medicine (Vol 14, Ch 120)
08: Seeing You Through The Lens (Vol 13, Ch 109)
09: My Dear Beloved Cinderella (Vol 12, Ch 106)

10: Yami-Yami Fashion (Vol 7, Ch 61)
11: Wonderful Love (Vol 12, Ch 105)
12: Twins Escape (Vol 13, ch 108)

13: The Queen Of Love (Vol 10, Ch 81)
14: Let's Play! (Vol 10, Ch 85)
15: The Flavor of Chocolate Is A Sweet Sensation (Vol 16, Ch 136 "Boys and Chocolate and...Me" plus Ch 137, same title as the episode)

16: Beach Girls (Vol 13, Ch 113 plus Ch 114, "Watermelon Panic")
17: Late Night Tutor (Vol 8, Ch 70)
18: Master of Love (Vol 10, Ch 80)

19: Yami's Clinic (Vol 6, Ch 45)
20: The Antagonist (Vol 14, Ch 123)
21: A Strange Haruna (Vol 8, Ch 64)

22: Get Bigger! (Vol 18, Ch 156)
23: Wan-derful Life (Vol 5, Ch 43)
24: The Trance of Feelings (Vol 16, Ch 139)

25: For Whom The Bell Tolls (Vol 15, Ch 130)
26: The Troubling Rampage (Vol 18, Ch 153)
27: Loving Idol (Vol 18, Ch 154)

28: Pollen Telepathy (Vol 15, Ch 129)
29: A Girl's Feelings (Vol 17, Ch 147)
30: Doki-Doki Mail (Vol 18, Ch 155)

31: All Quiet On The Sister Front (Vol 18, Ch 157)
32: False Love (Vol 18, Ch 158)
33: Predicting Love (Vol 14, Ch 116, "Dandy Man Dog", plus part of Vol 14, Ch.
122, "Friends United By Love")

34: I Love You, part 1
35: I Love You, part 2
36: I Love You, part 3
(Episode 12 is composed of Vol 18, Ch 159 "Summer Memories", Ch 160 "Those Thoughts... Those Feelings...", Ch 161 "The Person I Care About the Most" and Ch 162 "I Love You ♡" reorganized into three parts; furthermore, the prologue for this episode is a continuation of end of the previous episode, taken from Vol 14, Ch. 122.)

As far as the subbing goes, both Doki and Chihiro are among my favourite fansub groups and they have done their usual great job with this series. I am in the midst of replacing the AT-X broadcast episodes with their BD counterparts as Doki and Chihiro release them, so obviously no criticism there. Support 'em, they rock. 

Motto To LOVE-Ru gets a "Most Recommended" rating. But that should be obvious by now.

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