On Love Lab

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Lately I’ve been watching Love Lab. The synopsis makes it sound meh, but it’s pretty darned good. A lot of people reluctantly go “this show has no business being as good as it is!”, but they’re fooling nobody. (It’s okay to like these kinds of shows, guys!)

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What’s surprising is that when I brought this up in the office, I learned that both men and women watch it! Why? Despite the cute aesthetic, the show is earnest about its characters’ struggle to find love. It’s a motivation everyone can relate to. We want to cheer Riko and the rest of the student council as they help other girls find romance as well, hiding from the watchful eyes of teachers. It also helps that the animation is cartoony and vibrant.

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The show has character chemistry in spades. I don’t think anyone other than Maki could own a dakimakura without coming off as creepy–she retains that pure-pure naivete despite her insatiable appetite for romance. Riko is the Ciaphas Cain of love, bluffing her way into the Love Expert position with no way out. I relate to Eno a lot (up to you to guess why), and Sayo and Suzu have a lot of character to show for.

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One important caveat is that this isn’t really a yuri show. It looks like Yuruyuri, and the director is even the same, but the undertones are kept a minimum. It’s not gay, it’s just incredibly girly in a fun way that isn’t pandering to otaku. They sure aren’t moeblobs! At first I was flabbergasted that there would be boys, but somehow their appearance improved the show. The punchline is the boys are just as clueless as the girls are! It’s funny and realistic–while I went to a co-ed school, I sure as hell didn’t know how to interact with girls as, y’know, human beings!

PS: I wonder what would happen if the cast of Love Lab and The Daily Lives of High School Boys (the boy contingent, at least) were to meet. Girl Tadakuni and Makio, anyone?

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7 Responses to On Love Lab

  1. omo says:

    Heaping positive adjectives aside, I think the most important thing that Love Lab did right is adding a visible narrative backbone to the story. Yuruyuri is a good example of when this is not the case, for a point of comparison.

    Of course, the end result is more or less the same thing–cute girls having a good time, character development, friendship and bonding, manzai comedy, whatever. But having a visible storyline of some sort help to hone the attention of the audience and get everyone on the same wavelength much faster and with more ease.

  2. IKnight says:

    I may have this wrong — I am /definitely/ not a manga expert — but I believe the magazine in which the Love Lab manga runs is a sort of soft-conservative family-values outfit which is aimed at men and women — or possibly even primarily at women. So possibly its success with both in your office is designed. But as I said, I may have that wrong.

    • schneider says:

      I checked out the art of the manga and it looks shoujo-ish (although with a modern flair). The anime looks closer to Yuruyuri because of the staff and studio. But that’s interesting to hear!

  3. Artemis says:

    I only ended up watching this show after dropping several others of the summer season that didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped – but I’m so glad I did. Judging from the synopsis I was expecting unspired cliche characters, cheap ‘lesbian’ fanservice, and maybe one or two jokes that accidentally hit the mark. What I got was actually quite a smart but vibrant show that didn’t shy away from poking fun at itself, and didn’t resort to panty shots every time they needed to fill in a few seconds between sketches. Which I guess just goes to prove that you can’t always judge a series by its summary.

    “Girl Tadakuni and Makio, anyone?”
    Haha, that would be comedy gold.😄

  4. DoctorBaronvonEvilSatan says:

    I lost count of how many times we had to pause the show because we were laughing too hard at Maki’s antics.
    Maki is the best character. Also, Daki’s outfits. If you pay attention, they take the time to put him in an appropriate outfit for each meeting. Or I should say, Maki probably does. It explains the walk-in closet at least.

  5. sadakups says:

    If the boys of Daily Lives and the girls of this show meet, there will be so much awkwardness among the characters, and that will be fun to watch.

  6. Justin says:

    “I wonder what would happen if Love Lab and The Daily Lives of High School Boys (the boy contingent, at least) were to meet–”

    You evil person. How dare you even think of suggesting such a crossover? Something like that would decimate people’s wallets and convince people that we can get good things, except we all know anime fans cannot get good things!!!

    *sniff* now I’m going to imagine just how much I’ll be laughing in a span of 22 minutes if those series ever end up together.

    (On another note, I’ve been proclaiming Love Lab’s goodness since the series started. I have no shame in saying it’s great.)

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