An Anime Review: Love Lab
I do not always like the anime about teenage girls doing cute and adorable things, in fact I often find it annoying or boring. Love Lab, however, manages to be so disgustingly cute and innocent that I was not able to not watch the newest episode every time it came, no matter how much I hated myself for it. It seems so stereotypical in many ways, yet something would just pull me back each week.
Love Lab is set at Fujisaki Girls Academy, a prestigious girls only school somewhere in Japan. Our main character is called Riko, and is the obligatory tomboy of the school, though her reputation is not to her liking. By accident, she stumbles upon the student council vice- president Maki, who is a calm and beautiful girl, admired by all. As it turns out, Maki is secretly training on how to get a boyfriend, of course in the cliché ways possible. She does for example put much thought into exactly how to lose a handkerchief so that a boy will pick it up, thus letting the love grow. The school does not allow for any of its students to have boyfriends(which is apparently a thing schools can do in Japan), so all is done in secrecy.
As Riko discovers the secret, Maki begs her to not reveal anything. Riko agrees, and is half-way forced into joining the student council. Here we get what would be a large part of the serie's plot: Riko lies to Maki about her experience with boys, claiming to be an expert and to have had more boys than you can count. Maki, of course, believes her, and this causes much distress for Riko as she desperately tries to hide her lie. I am personally not a fan of the whole “hiding a lie” plot in TV and movies, and this one is no expception. I simply do not care for the awkward attempts at covering the holes in the lie, the revelation of the lie that has to come, all that. To Love Lab's credit, they do not use it too much, although it is referenced in some way in pretty much every episode.
The fun, however, is more their overthinking about meeting boys, like training for that fateful first encounter, as you can see under. The whole eating bread thing is an old stereotype in Japan, where the girl is late and eating on her way while running to school, when the boy and girl bumb into each other.
The Rest of the Council
But we have more characters, mostly the other members of the student council. We have Suzu, a little shy girl who looks up to both Maki and Riko, and is constantly having her image of the two shattered. We have Eno, the president of the council, who in the beginning tries to remove Maki, as Maki had taken all of Eno's duties, effectively removing Eno from the council. Eno is loud and temperamental, and she brings with her best friend Sayo, who, let us not kid ourselves, is the best of the main characters.
Snarky, sarcastic, unpleasant and obsessed with money, Sayo is constantly mocking Riko, as she is the only one who knows Riko's lie. She is also the only one with a boyfriend(which she does not care about at all), making her Riko's main enemy. And yet, there are several nice moments with her too, mostly concerning her deep friendship with Eno. Also, when the issue is not money, she is clearly the most rational.
So, we get to see these girls antics as they investigate love as much as they can without being discovered. There is some plot to the thing, concerning Riko's lie, avoiding the teachers and finally even meeting some boys, so there is definitely more plot than for example Nichijou. The fun is simply watching the characters talk and do their things, and there is quite a lot of physical humour, hitting each other with fans being struck by flying objects and the like. The interactions between the main characters are the main source of comedy, and while I do not laugh much, I do smile, I believe it is more cute than funny. But it is nice after a long day to just sit there and smile, without having to do any thinking.
And so the boys enter the scene. All are former friends of Riko, which creates even more trouble as the other girls assume all of them are her former boyfriends. I especially like Yan, a sort of mean-spirited guy. I think the sugar-level sweetness of the rest of the show just makes the cynics like Sayo and Yan stand out. There is some talkin with the boys, but no real attempt at flirting is ever done. More research is appearantly needed. Before that, we have to deal with Riko's secret anyway. I really hope for a season 2 of Love Lab, just so I have some more stuff to smile stupidly at.