[Review] Love Tyrant – episode 1

Guri is an angel with a mysterious item that turns any two people who kiss into a couple. She appears before a high school boy named Seiji Aino. However, there is a yandere high school girl named Akane who loves Seiji.

Source: Anime News Network

I feel as if I have been on a journey, readers. I would like you to accompany me on it, that you may truly understand my feelings.

Guri as a cupid, with angel wings. Subtitle: "I'm getting in on this, too!"

The opening credits attempt to provide a warning for unwary travelers, crash-zooming into the breasts of one love interest while providing us a loving close-up of the other’s panties. Because it is a generous series, it makes sure we see these highly rendered undergarments from both front and back, while the opening theme poorly attempts to mask the drill coming towards the viewers’ skulls.

Seiji accuses and then apologizes for kissing Guri, looking flustered and embarrassed as she stays calm with closed eyes. Subtitle: "B-But that was because you were being misleading! No... I'm really sorry!"

After that, we reach the episode’s highest peak — which comes approximately two minutes in, before the last vestiges of hope have died in the viewer’s brain. An apparent Shinigami has come to our everyman’s home with a “Kiss Note,” which protagonist Seiji cleverly recognizes is a ripoff. Because it is aware of its own laziness, you see, the script thusly elevates itself to art.

The girl, whose name is Guri, accidentally wrote Seiji’s name while trying to get two BL voice actors to kiss. This is very funny, because Guri is a fujoshi, and Seiji finds her aberrance disgusting. By contrast, he is a red-blooded man who is happy to kiss this stranger without her consent, and then accuse her of leading him on in a comical fashion. But don’t be alarmed, viewer. Despite accusing him of sexual assault, Guri also admits she enjoyed the kiss. You knew that her accusations were merely a tsundere-esque front, didn’t you? Love Tyrant knows that you did.

Seiji and Guri spy on Akane from behind a bush. Subtitle: "Oh! So the one you want to kiss, whether she's willing or not, is Hiyama Akane-san!"

But kissing Guri doesn’t lift the danger, as her name was not written next to his. Nay, they must venture to the school to find someone else to kiss without their consent. That someone turns out to be Akane, who is introduced as athletic and popular in order to trick us into not seeing her major character trait: her breasts, which have their own sound effect as they swing, pendulously, from side to side. We will also see her panties before the next five minutes are up, drawn with a crisp attention to detail the series often cannot afford to its cast.

Akane's panties, with frills and bows, as Guri crouches behind her legs and laughs.

Prepare yourselves, now, for there is a further layer of hijinks to be revealed. Akane, you see, is a yandere. But before she can stab the everloving fuck out of both of the protagonists we have come to care ever, ever so deeply for, Guri writes Akane’s name next to Seiji’s. Then she adds her own, because what would a comedy aimed largely at a young, heterosexual male audience be without at least two fetish-derived young women fighting for the bland self-insert’s affections.

Guri's manager, a human face on a cat with a bright blue bow around its neck. Subtitle: "For now, I am borrowing the body of your family's pet cat, Blue-san."

This has the side effect of making them all immortal, because Guri is actually a cupid who enjoys Shinigami cosplay. And both Akane and Seiji will have to help her make love matches, because the plot demands a hook. Guri’s manager (whose eyes, those cold, dead eyes, remind you that there is no joy or light left in this world) is very happy that levelheaded, heterosexual Seiji will be there to help Guri take her job more seriously, instead of doing frivolous things like creating queer couples. We can only hope that, with time, Guri will see the true light of real, heterosexual love. Love Tyrant understands that queer relationships are only the embarrassing hobby of heterosexual young women, who will soon grow out of this degenerate folly.

Guri, excited about Yuzu's confession while Seiji just looks embarrassed. Subtitle: "Whoa! It's yuri! Real-life yuri!"

Also, because they are now immortal, it means that Akane can stab both Seiji and Guri whenever she likes without consequence. This is very funny, and remains so every one of the dozen times this single episode recycles the gag.

As a final twist, one more person appears from the woodwork to protest this Kiss Note business. Her name is Yuzu, and she is in love with Akane. This turn of events is, I suspect, to punish me for my hubris of wishing for more queer content this season. For Yuzu is also Akane’s blood sister, which only makes sense. Queer women, you see, are merely strange fetishes for otaku in the same way that incest is. Love Tyrant, in its wisdom, combines these things for maximum fappability. Yuzu also looks somewhat like Nanami from Revolutionary Girl Utena, which is the point at which I began to suspect this anime was punishing me personally.

Yuzu confesses her love to Akane with tears in her eyes. Subtitle: "Is it because we're the same gender? Or is it because we're blood sisters"

Yuzu is then written into the Kiss Note as well. The opening credits imply that there will be more bodies thrown into this ever-growing meat grinder of endless, loud, unfunny slapstick. I find that I can only be bitter that Guri was not actually a Shinigami. Maybe she could have released me from this agony. Instead, I had ample time to remember that I will one day die. That, indeed, we are all hurtling through space on a rock, inching ever closer to our own lonely demises. But at least most of you lucky bastards won’t have seen Love Tyrant.

Read the ANN Preview Guide review.

 

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Vrai is a queer author and pop culture blogger; they have achieved misery transcendence. You can read more essays and find out about their fiction at Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories, listen to them podcasting on Soundcloud, support their work via Patreon or PayPal, or remind them of the existence of Tweets.

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  • Belaam

    On the bright side, the anime produced this review, which is easily the best thing about the show. 🙂

    • I agree, but I’m afraid this might be a “Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” situation, where Vrai has to suffer unspeakable torments in order for the rest of us to be happy.

  • smashman42

    I’d read the manga before seeing the show and initially thought they’d taken all the harem tropes and turned them up to 11 in the name of satire.

    Nope, no satire, just trying to be edgy or something.

    • GreyLurker

      Yeah I’ve read the manga too and thinking about it. Pretty much every male character in the series is just about worthless. Teacher in episode 2, Guri’s dad, Akane and Yuzu’s dad, the current Devil, the angel possessing the cat.

  • alecksis

    I knew this show would be garbage, I was just hoping it would be enjoyable garbage… I would really like a good otaku related show minus the incestuous relationships and fujoshi. Sigh. Hard pass on this one, thanks for the excellent review!

  • GreyLurker

    It’s kind of wierd that between Schierke, Farnese and Sonia, Berserk may end up being one of the more progressive series of the season.

  • Ryoken

    Good review, and this is coming from someone who enjoyed the show!
    I find it endearingly funny and kinda like how fast paced it is; besides, the faults of the show are pretty much faults of anime/manga in general, and also the different view/traditions of Japanese pop culture and society.
    I just hope AF doesn’t turn into an “all non PC/feminist shows must burn!!” site; so far, the staff and contributors have been very level headed and fair in their reviews and articles, but lately, they have shown a rather condemning streak…then again, considering the show’s so the season, I can see why.
    Personally, as long as a show/manga does not show itself to be discriminatory or mean spirited, I don’t really care if it comes out as too fanservicy or politically incorrect.
    There are far more vile and damnable stuff in the medium than these of the mill, harmless rom-com series.

    • ImaniToo

      ‘just hope AF doesn’t turn into an “all non PC/feminist shows must burn!!” site’

      I find AF writer at pains to acknowledge that fan service has its place, that they aren’t pushing for censorship at all etc in a way that I completely understand but also find annoying lol. Of course, they anticipate and are no doubt overly familiar with their criticism being framed as extremist rhetoric.

      Discrimination and fan service are not mutually exclusive–it’s often an integral element from what I can see, which I assume is why we have a site like AF. And I think the kind of shows that need so-called condemntation are often the ones who masquerade their relentless erasure and objectification in humorous, light fare, rather than the more obvious “vile” stuff. That’s a general comment: I am not interested in any shows which offer more detailing in a panty shot than a character’s face.

      • Ryoken

        Yes, I can see their struggle handing that Fan service problem.
        I just hope they find a balance, and focus more hostile criticism on show and issues that are more important to raise and discuss among fandom.

    • I actually enjoyed Love Tyrant much more than Vrai did, but that’s partly because my straight privilege blinded me to the massive amounts of queer erasure and homophobia it packed in. I wouldn’t have written Vrai’s review, but I respect the points they raise and back it 100%. There’s a lot of good stuff this season, but much of it is wrapped up in sequels and established properties, which we don’t review, so we’re probably coming across as more condemning than we actually feel about the season as a whole!

      The point of these reviews is, as it always has been, to provide our target readers (many of whom DO care about fanservice and appropriate treatment of minorities) with enough information for them to decide for themselves if they would like to see the show. It’s not telling you that you have a moral obligation to watch/not watch and never will be; if you go back to last season you’ll see plenty of premieres I reviewed negatively that I actually went on to really enjoy – anime is historically terrible at first impressions! One person’s view is never enough, hence linking to the ANN reviews at the end of each one, so that our thoughts can be put in context. For a show like this, I would rather showcase one queer person’s more negative opinion than my more positive opinion made from a position of privilege.

      The eventual aim is to be able to do what ANN does, have a bank of reviewers who review as many premieres in the season as possible so you can see a full range of views on the page, which would automatically give that balance you want to see from us. However, our Patreon needs to be about double where it is now to be able to pay enough people for that! Reviewing a full fortnight of premieres on top of day jobs and other responsibilities is gruelling, and we absolutely need to pay people for that work. Hopefully we’ll get there soon though!

      • Ryoken

        Good points. I’ve supported AF through Patreon since it’s start, and will continue to do so, even if I don’t always see eye to eye with its content; different views and criticism it’s important to have in media.
        Vrai raises several interesting and valid points, but I do think most of these shows that poke fun at otaku culture in Japan are more comedic than mean spirited, much like the usual depiction of nerds and geeks in western media, an then again, Japanese society and culture is very different to our own when it comes to taboos, gender and sexual identity.
        There are shows that depict otaku culture much better and realistically (say, Genshiken), and there are shows that have either hidden or actual malign views/opinions.
        But mostly, we must take into account that anime is pretty much made for a Japanese audience, and while raising issues with its content is valid and necessary, we must be careful not to cast aspersions on it based on our western perspective.
        Keep up the great work, everyone!