The Wild One, the Princess -and her Huggy-, the Shy One, the Calculating One and the Tsundere. Research on romance. Comedy ensues.
Foxy Lady Ayame: I hadn’t laughed that much with a comedy series for such a long time. My mother could hear my chackling frenzily from the other side of the wall late in the night and complained about keeping her awake with my laughs. Love Lab was that good. Over and over again. My sense of humor isn’t easy to tingle either, so I believe it’s telling. You can get a giffed taste here.
Neko-kun: Our protagonist is Kurahashi Riko, or “The Wild One”, as she is secretely called by most members of Fujisaki Girls Academy, a rather strict, girls only, school.Riko accidentally discovers that the school’s most prominent student, president Maki Natsuo, a cute and polite girl, has a somewhat more… naughty side in her character than she lets others know. Maki is secretely practising kissing with a pillow -her beloved “Huggy”- to prepare for the moment when she’ll finally kiss the man of her life. From there on, Riko is forced into keeping Maki’s secret and join her in practicing all aspects of romance like holding hands and more. Soon they are joined by three other students who learn about Maki’s “dark” activity; Enomoto Yuiko, Mizushima Sayori and Tanahashi Suzune. Together, they form the “Love Lab” and explore all the possibilities of love.
I don’t know about you, but to me this sounded like a potential yuri show. In fact, there are many occassions where the story is totally teasing us about the characters’ relationships and interaction. Unfortunately, we never see any of the girls to have feelings for another girl. Normally that is not something that’d bother me, but in the case of Riko and Maki this is absolutely frustrating -because these two are so shippable and seem to have an amazing balance in their relationship. Even though I liked both male characters in the show, I think that those two were meant for one another.
F: Apart from the fact that boys really mixed in and kinda ruined the yuri potential, I found negative how Riko was seen as not feminine enough and there were jokes made at her expense. Riko is a girl who wears her hair with many different ways (and gets her hairclips and elastic bands confiscated due to dumb strict rules) and honestly it’s ridiculous how her family teases her about not being princess-like enough, kind enough meaning actually subservient enough, since she doesn’t take sh*t. The series isn’t very clear on whether it wants to satirize this sexist behavior -taking in account how weird Riko appears to behave when she tries to be more girly and how Maki’s the princess representation but a totally crazy one- or not. I mean, you even have the poor rejected fellow who gets insulted when called cute.
N: Everyone was absolutely adorable, though, you’ve got to admit it. Like I said earlier, Riko and Maki totally suit one another. Suzune -especially in her younger days- was incredibly cute and, thanks to that trait of hers, she is one of the few naturally clumsy people who still remain funny. Enomoto was probably the character I liked the least, but I do admit that her relationship with Sayori was one of the nicest and most interesting in the series. As for Mizushima, she is the only one of the company who’s main trait is her brains -a truly precious gift. Her sarcasm is another plus of hers, for she manages to balance the sillyness, clumsiness, etc. of the other girls. Mizushima partly resembles a person I know in real life, right Foxy Lady?
F: Yes, yes. How could I forget that I was nicknamed Mizushima by Overlord for some resemblances in our characters? How could anyone forget how huggable little Suzu was and how cool Makio was? How could everyone not remember how lame Maki’s father was?
The series even got quite emotional at the end and gladly it didn’t become overbearing. I think the characters did show many aspects of them and a relative development, which is great, especially in comedies where the characters are mostly just stereotypes.
N: In the end, I think Love Lab was 2013’s most balanced story. It will probably not become a classic, it has many flaws, but it also was the only story that stayed consistent to its initial quality and premise from start to finish. It most probably won’t become your favorite title of all time, but I believe that it will give you many moments of laughter and enjoyment -and such things are always precious to find.