|Their Remarkable Encounter|
Part of the fun with covering so many shows is that you tend to find little gems you wouldn’t think you’d enjoy at first glance. I’m usually pretty picky about the shows I choose to watch, so if something doesn’t catch my attention I just skip it.
Love Lab is set at the Fujisaki Girls Academy, a prestigious all-girls middle school known for having a very proper and elegant study body. They even have the shoujo sparkles, natch. It focuses on Riko Kurahashi (Manami Numakura), a tough tom-boyish girl who nonetheless has her fair share of admirers. After accidentally witnessing the popular and refined Natsuo Maki (Chinatsu Akasaki) practice kissing with a pillow, she’s unwittingly roped into teaching her about romance. From then on, it’s nonstop comedy about a girl who has absolutely no idea what love is like in real life, and the girl who’s forced to pretend to know everything about love.
From that description alone, I would have normally passed and gone on to watch something else. Will even threatened to call the cops on me for watching a show about middle school girls practicing intimacy with one another (jokingly, one would hope). Actually, describing the show in that way made me want to watch the show even LESS. It’s 2013, for Pete’s sake. You would think that there were better things to be made than another YuriYuri-esque slice-of-life filled with 24 minutes of awkward prepubescent moments.
And yet, here I am laughing at Natsuo’s ridiculous delusional rants. Everything she does is such a contradiction to the image that people have of her. While she may look like the perfect model student, even she is prone to having wild fantasies of what it’s like to fall in love. It’s such a common thing to have happen to someone at that age, but the show takes it to new heights with just how off-base her assumptions can be.
Even the jokes are funny, even if they are familiar. The whole scenario where you bump into your true love while running to class with a piece of bread in your mouth has been parodied many times, such as this scene from Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou. I started laughing once Natsuo’s rant about the perfect scenario started getting a little too ridiculous. Natsuo goes through trope after trope, from dropping her handkerchief to trying to make mistakes, and each time gives it a fresh spin once the absurdity levels begin to rise.
With all of the nonsense that Natsuo brings to the table, Riko acts as the Kyon to Natsuo’s Haruhi. Someone had to be the straight man in this show, and it’s fitting that they chose the biggest tomboy in the entire school. As the “love expert”, she acts as the reasonable one and is quick to point out Natsuo’s strange behaviors, despite the fact that she has zero experience in relationships. It must be rough being friendzoned your entire life just because you hung out with boys a lot.
I’m pleasantly surprised with Love Lab so far. It’s really funny seeing all those familiar anime tropes being turned on their heads and poked fun at. This might be this season’s Hataraku Maou-sama for me, because of how well-written both shows are so far. They both know exactly what kind of story and humor they are going for, and are just running with it for as long as they can. With 12 more episodes to go, I really hope they can manage to keep the jokes strong. Once they run out of popular tropes to make fun of, we’ll see just how well it can hold up on its own.
- Have any of you ever practice kissing with a pillow?