love tyrant box art

  • Genre : Harem, supernatural, comedy, romance
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: EMT Squared

 

Seiji is just a boring average guy. No really, super boring and super average. He’s a harem protagonist after all. And he goes about he’s super boring average high school life at stereotypical anime high school, when out of the blue a fujoshi cupid knocks on his door and turns his whole life upside down. It seems that Guri is an angel who makes love bloom in the hearts of men (mostly men, occasionally women too) but is still a little iffy on the concept. She’s hoping that by sticking close to Seiji while pairing him up with various lovely ladies, she can finally understand the true nature of love. Then things get a little complicated…

I have seen a few harem shows but I can’t pretend to be much of a connoisseur. Arguably one of my very favorite shows is in fact a Harem. However, I’m not sure Steins;Gate really embraces that many tropes of the genre. This said, to my untrained eye Love Tyrant seemed like pretty much what you would expect out of the genre. At first, I really didn’t get why it had such a lower rating compared to the average (can we agree that average MAL is 7.5 rather than 5?), and then I started to figure it out. Humor me if you will as I make grand and completely unfounded assumptions about anime audiences and demographics.

yandere
we’re off to a great start…

First it should be noted that while Love Tyrant doesn’t look bad, there is a visible bargain budget aesthetic going on. For one, the designs are fine but rather uninteresting and undetailed. The only one that stood out in any way to me was Shikimi and that’s really only because of her heart shaped pupils. I’m very easy to please. Backgrounds were similarly proforma. The entire world felt a little empty, not much in the way of extras moving around or detailed vistas. You got what was needed to convey the scene and not much more

To be fair the animation itself was decent but frequent use of chibis and single colour backgrounds just gave the entire thing a bargain basement feel. Sound design and acting were both decent but not good enough to balance out those lackluster visuals. Again, I must stress that Love Tyrant doesn’t look bad. It’s simply not the type of show you would watch for the production values.

sadistic anime girl
they probably sell heart shaped contacts, right?

So what would you watch it for? Well this is where it gets…confusing. The base premise of Guri randomly pairing people together and carelessly saddling Seiji with a Harem that he doesn’t know what to do with is cute enough. The girls are exaggerated stereotypes of the genre but they manage to make them fairly likable and the school slice of life format is tried and true for this type of story. Love Tyrant really has all the basic elements needed for a Harem and it presents them all fairly well. But then, it starts heaping on random disparate elements, that had me thinking – who exactly is this show for?

It had all the girls throwing themselves at this guy (for once the plot gave us a pretty good reason for it) and heaps of occasionally insistent fanservice, that’s bound to turn detractors of the genre off. But the, 2 of the 4 main girls are a pretty extreme yandere and an actual sadist as such these cute girls are definitely not sticking to doing cute things. There is quite a bit of cartoon violence that can from time to time become a little uncomfortable.

love tyrant anime boobies
I’m just not sure what I should be feeling here…

We also delve deep into the incest trope with Seiji’s sister being a classic tsundere with brother complex but the her storyline also includes a large demonic penguin who occasionally appears and tries to force his love on the terrified girl. This is probably meant as a surreal joke of some sort but Aqua (the younger sister) who’s normally a self assured tomboy, immediately breaks down into sheer terror at the thought of being raped by a giant penguin and finds herself barely able to do more then huddle in a corner trembling and sobbing. It’s very odd.

If you happen to be just fine with both heavy male gaze fanservice and weirdly unpleasant plot points, then you have the sacrilegious side. Guri is the daughter of god, who we see portrayed as a Hawaiian shirt wearing slacker who seems a bit too into his daughter. We find out that Guri is in fact only half angel because her mother was a demon and she left god when he cheated on her. Meanwhile the devil is shown to be a manipulative trickster and also a hardworking executive who runs hell like a business. I have no issue with borrowing and reshaping elements form religions, but I have to imagine this will alienate some folks. It’s a much more direct parody than something like Black Butler for instance.

love tyrant penguin
this really doesn’t do it justice

There are a lot of surreal elements that can be hit or miss and some odd supernatural additives. We see several magical girl transformation sequences. A lot of the adventures are surprisingly action heavy making it occasionally feel like a classic shonen jump series. And it’s not just the angels and demons that have powers, a lot of the girls have unexplained supernatural gifts and will often lapse into full on showdowns. I particularly enjoyed a fight between two of the girls’ mothers. There’s really nothing wrong with that but it’s an unusual mish mash and if you were really set on a romantic comedy, this is probably not what you had in mind.

Finally, a running gag is that Guri is an unrepentant fujoshi. As such she constantly pairs men together. This is obviously used as a joke but the joke is on her lack of self control rather then the resulting couples which are shown to be happy and respectful and very openly romantic. At one point Love Tyrant even goes out of it’s way to show that even though Guri’s kiss note (yeah) is destroyed and theoretically the couples she created are no longer compelled to be together, the men chose to be with each other out of genuine love. In this case again, I don’t think it takes anything away from the show, I found a lot of those couples quite sweet in fact. But some people may not be up for it. In case you’re wondering there’s also a major Yuri plot point between two of the main characters.

love tyrant guri angel
Guri is definitely doing great work!

Basically the show just tries to hit ALL the tropes. There’s even a tonal shift at the end where it tries to go for suddenly earnest and touching. I guess it’s a way of ensuring that everyone will find something they like but it almost guarantees that everyone will be pit off by something as well. No wonder most people gave it a 6 (pure garbage by MAL standards).

Personally, I didn’t hate it. It’s clumsy at best but this bizzare amalgam of storylines and tropes is something I hadn’t come across before. Even shows like Animegataris basically stuck to parodying fan and anime culture. Love Tyrant occasionally show Lynch levels of incoherent weirdness for no apparent reason. Part of me is impressed by that.

love tyrant chibi
I have acquired tastes…

You on the other had can probably skip this show.

Favorite character: Akane

What this anime taught me: Seems I like yanderes now.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe”

Suggested drink:  Cupid’s cocktail

  • Every time Akane stab s anyone – take a sip
  • if it’s Seiji – take a deep breath
  • Every time anyone says homewrecker(s) – gasp
  • Every time Seiji protects someone – clap
  • Every time we hear the bouncing boobies sound – take a gulp
  • Every time Yuzu gets annoyed – take a sip
    • if it’s at Seiji – nod knowingly
  • Every time Guri pairs up a couple – take a sip
  • Every time Blue shows up – take a sip
  • Every time Guri’s hair antenna twitches – wonder if it’s meant to be cute
  • Every time Yuzu falls – take a sip
  • Every time Akane says little monkey – raise your glass

 Love tyrant akane with knife

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