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.