Meanwhile, back at the lab…
We keep the First Impressions coming with maybe the funniest opening episode of the season from Love Lab. So join me and Foshizzel for what we thought of this opening episode of the adventures of a love-seeking group of girls.
Time to join Highway for a first impressions look at Love Lab which looks like the usual generic slice of life comedy anime or will it do something different? I certainly hope it can do something interesting to fill the void left by Yuyushiki from the previous season for me anyway!
Student Council President’s Secret
Ah yeah, sucking face with a dakimakura
When Kurahashi Riko gets sent to deliver some papers to the perfect student council president Maki Natsuo, she accidentally walks in on kissing practice with a dakimakura. Somehow she gives the impression that she knows about love, and from there, Maki goes pretty far off the rails getting advice and pressing Riko into practicing different aspects of love. Maki’s almost perfect in every way, but doesn’t quite understand how to get a boyfriend, or really how to deal with other people in normal friendly ways. She’s not nearly as dysfunctional as a lot of smart and capable girls, but she is an overachiever.
Practicing the oldest shoujo cliche ever
On the other hand, Riko is a bit of a tomboy, unique in the school for her less put together style. But since she’s been drafted into being the ‘special advisor to the Student Council President’, she’s getting regular comparisons to Maki, and not really in favorable ways. But for whatever reason, Riko and Maki do seem to be getting along more than you’d expect. Riko is generally the Tsukkomi in the pair, but doesn’t overact as much as, say, Natsuki from Kitakubu. But the biggest problem is that Maki can’t let anyone know about her secret longing for love.
Crazy Art in Motion
I think we have all seen our fair share of hilarious reaction faces found in just about every other comedy anime from stuff like Acchi Kocchi, Nichijou, Gj-bu, Yuyushiki and I could go on and on, but one series pops into my head with Love Lab because it shares the same character designer Chiaki Nakajima that worked on the Yuru Yuri anime series. That said the original artist is simply known as Namori while Chiaki just adapted Namori’s artist style for both shows and you can find all of Namori’s original artwork on her twitter page, Pixiv account and personal website. So why do I love these character designers? For starters their design work looks simplistic on the characters themselves but most of the animation budget is spent focused on the over the top facial reactions because they have to relay certain emotions to us watching! So what character had the best reactions to certain things? I think that prize goes to Natsuo Maki who jumps around from super excited, afraid, sad and surprised at breakneck speeds; however every goofball character needs a sidekick to cause those kinds of reactions and Natsuo has the “wild” Riko Kurahashi to cause her freak out over everything. It is quite early to say who I like watching more since we only have two characters but it appears that the next episode will introduce the other student council members! I can’t wait to see how Maki and Riko react next time.
Besides the characters, the rest of the show is put together well. The show uses a lot of art shift to keep track of the moods of the characters, and does a lot of embellishment for effect, like sparkles around all the bishoujos or hearts for eyes as the other students fangirl over Riko and Maki. There’s also a lot of thought and dream sequence interaction, including waving it away, so the show is very much in its own moment. Music and sound effects are nice, and don’t over-intrude. The OP and ED are ok, but nobody’s going to accuse them of being very original (the OP really reminds me of the Minami-ke Tadaima opening from winter).
Maki gets all sparkly like Syrop
This is also a show without a big name seiyuu cast, with probably the most well known artists being Akasaki Chinatsu (Nibutani Shinka from Chuu2koi, Harusaki Chiwa from OreShura) as Maki and Manami Numakura (iDOLM@STER) as Riko. The others are up and coming, and really haven’t appeared in the show yet.
More Fun with Love Lab!
Not a whole lot to say about this episode since it was more of an introduction to how Riko and Maki meet for the first time and how the two of them interact, but since this shares a lot in common with Yuru Yuri I will probably become a huge fan because I just love watching the characters run around doing random things while making me laugh. I just want to know what this series has planned in the long run because I kind of get the feeling that Love Lab is aiming for something obvious like friendship blooming between two different girls, as it stands I don’t really get any yuri-ish vibes from this series right now, but I kind of hope it stays out of anything serious like romance between Maki or Riko and continues to focus on the comedy aspects even though I know that Maki has a real goal of getting a boyfriend eventually. So what did you love about this first episode and what direction do you think Love Lab will go?
This first episode was hilarious. Just outright gut-busting. I really like the setup, and really like Riko’s reactions to Maki’s odd personality, so I hope the show can keep that up as more and more people are brought into the secret circle of Maki’s experimentation. Definitely a show to keep watching!