Written by Laurence Green on 25 Apr 2017
Distributor Crunchyroll • Certificate N/A • Price N/A
Last season gave us the surprisingly charming Gabriel Dropout, a slacker comedy in which an angel descends from heaven and is anything but angelic. This season, we have a similar spin on the "bad" angel formula in Love Tyrant - The very lovely tyrant of love♥. Unfortunately, this show is anything but lovely.
Whereas Gabriel Dropout felt witty, warm-natured and built a strong rapport between its characters, Love Tyrant feels like it actively wants you to hate all of its cast. Chief among them is the angel herself - Guri - who descends to Earth with her cupid-like Kiss Note in tow; all she has to do is write the name of two people in this notebook and they’ll instantly fall in love if they kiss each-other (how this shameless Death Note rip-off managed to avoid the lawyers baffles me).
Guri quickly ends up embroiled with bumbling high-schooler Aino Seiji after writing his name in the Kiss Note, before pairing him off with his red-headed crush Hiyama Akane. Luckily, she actually happens to also have feelings for him. The only downside? She turns out to be a psychotic, obsessive yandere, who’ll spring up with Kill Bill-style music blaring if she catches even a whiff that Seiji might be cheating on her. So, if your idea of a fun night in is watching a bunch of hyper, overly clingy girls chase ceaselessly after a guy they’d do anything to get with, then step right up. If not, then Love Tyrant is a one-way ticket to driving you insane.
Love Tyrant feels like the kind of show that you’d bung on in your college anime club to fill a spare slot while people chug down junk food and fizzy drinks. The kind of show that a certain kind of anime fan will find "so hilarious" while everyone else quickly scarpers. With its wacky, trope-spoofing humor, Love Tyrant is in essence a ready-made Anime On Crack video - cutting out the middle-man and going straight for a heady amalgamation of bottom-of-the-barrel laughs.
For further evidence of the kind of brain-rotting humour on offer, episode three has the actual subtitle of ‘Wassup’ and delivers a plotline about a psychotic penguin trying to ‘mate’ with a girl. Elsewhere, there’s a cat with the face of a human, which - whether intentional or not - ends up being one of the ugliest character designs i’ve seen in an anime for a long time. Everything seems to be in service to this kind of constant, tooth-rotting gross-out vibe in which every joke is somehow mean spirited or overly in-your-face; all topped off by an infuriatingly sing-song, blow-your-brains-out opening theme.
This brand of dumb fun humour always treads a very delicate line between being, on one hand, genuinely funny and, on the other, feeling like a kind of forced, artificial attempt at cheap laughs. Get it right and you end up with a smart, sharply executed piece like recent success Konosuba or comedy classic Excel Saga. Get it wrong, and it just feels like an insult to your intelligence as a viewer. There’s something to be said for shows like Love Tyrant as the anime equivalent of Hollywood bro-comedies - mindless fun to fill the long summer afternoons. Shamelessly commercial and pandering to a mainstream audience, the popularity of a show like this seems built into its whole aesthetic. It’s just a shame it couldn’t have done so with a bit more poise and grace.
You can currently watch Love Tyrant in streaming form on Crunchyroll.
Japanese audio with English subtitles. Video is available in 360p, 480p, 720p and 1080p resolutions; HD formats and removal of advertisements available to paid subscribers.
by Richard Durrance on 14 Mar 2023
by Richard Durrance on 09 Mar 2023
by Archie Fenn on 09 Mar 2023
by Richard Durrance on 14 Feb 2023
by Archie Fenn on 13 Feb 2023
by Dawfydd Kelly on 06 Feb 2023
by Archie Fenn on 23 Jan 2023
by Eoghan O'Connell on 20 Jan 2023