Love Tyrant is a 2017 Supernatural Romantic Comedy anime series from the Japanese animation studio EMT Squared. While a lot of anime fans may not recognize this studio, they may realize a couple of their backlog of creations, including The Highschool Life of Fudanshi, Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, and ALICE or ALICE. This series stands out for potential viewers because it’s classified as a Supernatural and a Romantic Comedy anime series, which those two genres tend to not come together with. Will these series be worthy of watching and perhaps gaining more viewers into the respected genres, or will they succumb to the problems that come with being too adventurous with mixing genres?
When a strange girl named Guri comes knocking at Seiji Aino’s door, he quickly finds himself thrust into a world of romantic troubles. Guri’s pleas of desperation are misunderstood as pleas for love, claiming that she will die if he doesn’t kiss someone within 24 hours, leading Seiji to kiss the cute stranger that came barging into his house. In actuality, it turns out that this cosplaying cupid is the wielder of a Kiss Note, in which any pairing of names she writes will kiss and become a couple. Guri explains that she misspelled and accidentally wrote Seiji’s name while indulging in her yaoi fantasies, but their kiss was meaningless because she had yet to pair him with anyone. Even worse, Guri reveals that if Seiji is not coupled with anyone soon, not only will she die, but Seiji will remain a virgin for eternity!
Eager to escape his fate, Seiji sets his sights on the beautiful and popular Akane Hiyama. But after Akane hears that he kissed Guri, she reveals the obsessive and psychopathic feelings she holds for the unfortunate boy and viciously attacks him. In the ensuing confusion, Guri can pair Seiji with Akane in the Kiss Note, temporarily saving Seiji from further bodily harm and potential death. But to complicate matters, even more, Guri’s newfound feelings lead her also to pair the two of them with herself. Just when the situation could not get convoluted, this new coupling with Guri has turned Seiji and Akane into temporary angels, forcing them to assist the cupid with her work of pairing humans, lest they be cast into hell. With all semblance of normality snatched from his life, Seiji gets to work at matchmaking with these eccentric girls by his side.
If viewers are familiar with the popular anime series Death Note, they will immediately be able to recognize that Love Tyrant is a lowbrow parody of the former. While the story is not based on parody, which is a huge plus, the satire was well done. The series does not try to be more than what it is, which is a positive with so many aspects due to too many anime series thinking they are more significant. Along those lines, the pacing is well written and does not lend itself to being too fast or too slow.
One positive aspect of the story that was a bit surprising was that Love Tyrant did not overplay either the generic supernatural gimmicks and romantic comedy genre-based cliches. The characters mostly have a decent to a good amount of development, which was surprising but welcomed nonetheless. Though they had multiple opportunities to step over that line, and at times they walked beside it, the story never did too much.
However, as expected of a series of this caliber, the story had many negative aspects going against it, which are very quickly identifiable. For starters, fans of Death Note thinking that Love Tyrant will be similar in characteristics to the former will be hugely disappointed. Out of the twelve episodes, the parody is inconsistent to the point that it becomes irrelevant. The fact that outside of the first episode, the parody does a hard stop shows there was no point in calling any reference to Death Note whatsoever.
Another negative towards the narrative of this series is that it recycles every joke and character dynamic multiple times throughout each episode. While the first couple of episodes is potentially funny, they lose their luster as it’s the same thing without any differentiation from one another. While viewers hopefully know that comedy is subjective, they’ll be happy to know that in both versions of the series, the humor and jokes feel forced, and for the most part, when they are pushing the jokes, the characters fall entirely flat against each other.
The last major negative within Love Tyrant’s story will make viewers question the entire series: why is there so much downtime, filler, and a slice of life moments? If the creators mix multiple genres into a series, at the very least, they can be consistent with those and maybe have sprinklings of drama or slice-of-life was thrown into for transitional pieces. For an anime series that is not, and correctly should not be classified as a slice-of-life anime, it sure had a lot of episodes where nothing supernatural was happening, but a lot of slice-of-life was.
While some viewers may find the story abysmal, the art style is wasted in a series like this. Though it is not perfect, it was nice to look at most of the characters and scenes within the anime. The bright and colorful was a nice touch, and even the characters’ designs will be pleasing to viewers. When the art style switches from its usual style to chibi, it does so in a way that adds to the comedy, unlike most shows that do it just to look cute. If the story were better, this would be amazing, but with what it’s given, it makes the art drag down a bit.
Another thing that Love tyrant had fantastic luck with was the opening and closing animation and theme. While the opening animation was predominantly chibi-centered, viewers will immediately understand the type of harem and shenanigan-focused anime they’re getting themselves into before the episode starts. The theme song is a catchy song that was a proper choice and welcomed as it fits nicely into the opening every time without fail. Overall it was very reminiscent of the American animated television show Hi Hi
However, unlike the animation in the opening, the closing sequence was a bit boring and lazy. While the song was an excellent choice with its cute and poppy tones, there was no animation during the entire sequence, which was much like a Powerpoint slide show transition. Viewers may wish for a better ending sequence, but fans and viewers were lucky enough to get what they got.
As with any harem anime series, the characters are usually what make or break the series, but when it comes to Love Tyrant, they had an interesting cast of characters. Seiji Aino is the main male character in the series. He is a fairly level-headed individual that was just a typical high school student before meeting Guri. Although he only has romantic feelings for Akane, he is shown to care deeply for the rest of the girls within the harem. Though he admits to not knowing much about relationships or love as he has never been in a relationship, he still tries to help anyone who may need assistance with anything, even if it puts his life on the line.
Guri is an energetic, cheerful girl that tends to act on impulse without limit. Although kind-hearted, she often causes trouble for those around her, predominantly Seiji, because of her antics, albeit unintentionally. As Cupid, her job is to use the Kiss Note to create new couples. However, because of her love of BL manga, she mainly makes same-sex couples for her enjoyment. Though she admits to not understanding what love is, she finds herself falling in love with Seiji and not backing down towards her rivals within the harem.
On the surface, she appears to be an airhead, but in reality, she is pretty insightful, as shown multiple times during the series. She is also very forgiving towards people who try to harm her and Seiji on numerous occasions.
At first glance, Akane is a model student, but when it comes to her Seiji Aino, she can change her sweet personality to psychopathic. She would go to the ends of the earth for Seiji, even attack anyone who tries to date or steal him away from her. She is a classic Yandere character by pure definition, and it’s easy to identify within the first episode as it does not try to hide the fact. She is exceptionally jealous of all girls, often stabbing Seiji and Guri due to how close the two are to each other. However, the only woman she doesn’t experience jealousy or hatred towards is Akua Aino, Seiji’s sister.
Yuzu Kichougasaki is the somewhat petite half-sister of Akane. She deeply idolizes her older half-sister Akane to the point of infatuation. Although her romantic advances are always turned down, she is nonetheless persistent in pursuing Akane. Because of her love for Akane, Yuzu initially hated Seiji as a love rival, but her views of him gradually change towards a more positive outlook. She is easily classified as a tsundere character type, but unlike her half-sister, she also enjoys Boys Love manga.
As the series begins, the viewer will potentially be captivated by the parody of Death Note, which was very comical for the most part. However, as the series progresses, the viewer will learn about each character within the harem and how they became the way they are, which was recently written. While some areas were better, this series is an intriguing take on the polyamorous relationship and even had some comical LGBT events that were well planned, though most likely not entirely out. While this will not get another season unless the world goes through another pandemic and the creators need something fast to shove into the audience’s brain, this is easily a one-shot season. In that regard, it was decently average.