Hanabi Natsuno returns to her home in the countryside to attend high school, having been away for six years. On her very first day at her new dormitory, she accidentally barges in on a girl with a spacey personality…showering. Then she winds up catching an older resident of the dorm in an embarrassing moment, making her childhood friend jealous all the while.
Yes, it’s a yuri harem.
So, this show is trash. I’m not going to deny that. What I’m torn on is whether I can call it “guilty pleasure trash” or not.
As the resident yuri fangirl here, I’ll admit that sometimes the fact that not that many yuri manga get animated means that sometimes I’ll watch anything if it’s even remotely sapphic, but I’ve gotten enough good quality yuri manga, plus a solid amount of Korean and Chinese lesbian-themed comics, that I’m not nearly as desperate for material as I used to be, not to mention that I’ll draw the line on abusive and rapey material. Citrus, for example, which big-time blew up all of my yuri-themed Facebook and Tumblr pages for quite a while, falls big time into the “abusive and rapey” category, and the anime for that series will get its take one of these days. Love-to-LIE-Angle isn’t so much problematic as trashy and silly, though. I’m not necessarily sorry I watched it, but also not sure I’d ever suggest anybody watch it unless they were really that interested in watching a yuri harem show. Because, essentially, that’s what this is.
Those of you who’ve read my other reviews know that I generally despise harem, and I realize that I’m at pretty big risk of being a grade-A hypocrite here because of the “she’ll watch anything if it’s gay” factor. I’ll say that a lot of the time, what makes me hate harem is simply how much of an inept and stupid (and sometimes just perverted) character the so-called “nice guy” lead is written as, and it’s a genuine question to me as to why the heck any girl would waste time with somebody as brainless as him. I’m still not particularly interested in harem overall just because of the cishet male fantasy aspect, but I can sometimes be convinced to watch it if I can genuinely see what a girl might see in him; in Bakemonogatari, I’m not even sure I’d call the lead a “good guy” (or that he even considers him that), but can I see why somebody would be into him? Maybe. And that’s…kind of the case here. Hanabi isn’t exactly the paragon of character writing, and with 4 minutes per episode we aren’t exactly going to get that no matter what, but she’s basically…..a cute little tomboyish girl who I’d actually like to see some sort of happy lesbian ending happen to.
The show’s premise is basically a bunch of regular harem shenanigans but with a yuri twist; the only real homage to any sort of angst about “we’re both girls” comes when one of the dorms residents, who acts like the all high-and-mighty “straight girl”, get significantly less heterosexual when inebriated (of course, the whole “two-beer queer” stereotype is definitely problematic). You basically have regular harem antics transposed to a yuri setting: Konomi (the childhood friend) getting jealous about Hanabi being “too touchy feely” with the other girls, Hanabi and Iori (the spacey and awkward girl) getting trapped in a closet together, Yuu (an older girl) showing Hanabi wayyy too much cleavage and making Konomi jealous. All run of the mill harem stuff, but nothing particularly bothersome, and there’s some cute, blushy yuri goodness scattered around if you look. There’s a summer festival episode with some cute moments between Konomi and Hanabi; when Konomi isn’t being clingy and jealous, the two of them actually make a pretty cute couple (shame that we go the usual harem route of “will she or won’t she”). And I did get some good laughs, but then again, I have a weakness for sex comedies.
I can’t give this much more than a very, very weak “take it or leave it” type recommendation, and if you’re not at all into yuri there’s probably no reason for you to glance at this. It’s a cutely-drawn show with a cute lead….and a lot of dumb ecchi jokes. That should hopefully give you a sense of whether this is remotely worth your time or not.
I kind of can’t believe I’m saying it, but I genuinely had some fun with this. Still probably not worth your time if you’re not here for the yuri. — Nicoletta Christina Browne
Recommended Audience: Lots of nudity and fanservice, and it definitely gets pretty sexual. Not quite porn, but definitely not for kids.
Version(s) Viewed: Streaming on Crunchyroll (Japanese with English Subtitles)
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Love To-LIE-Angle © 2018 merryhachi • Ichinza/ Tachibana-ko production committee
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