I wasn’t expecting much from To Love-Ru Darkness after the dubious sexual politics of the fanservice show’s second season, Motto To Love-Ru. While Darkness is hardly light years away from its predecessors – this is still very much a show that earns the “frequent animated nudity” classification – it’s far more fun and focused than what came before. That’s pretty well entirely thanks to moving Momo, the mischievous younger sister of protagonist Rito’s ‘fiancé’, to centre stage upon which she concocts a plot to build a harem.
It’s patently ridiculous, but it provides the exact shot in the arm that the show needs. The overwrought scenarios of prior seasons now have purpose and tension and occasional laughs amidst all the implausible panty shots and disappearing clothes.
There’s even the exoskeleton of a serialised narrative taking shape, with writers moving much of the fanservice to fantasy sequences that allow for scant character development. When we’re not in dream sequences, Rito’s apparent asexuality is overcome with an apparent lecherousness that only surfaces when he’s sleeping – it’s hardly Shakespeare, but at least we avoid the uncomfortable implications of Rito’s magnetism in this mode. An improvement.