Rito Yuuki is a hapless high school teenager who's hopelessly in love with the shy, gentle Haruna Sairenji, but just can't work up the nerve to confess his feelings. One night while taking a bath, however, a gorgeous (and naked!) alien princess named Lala Satalin Deviluke crash-lands into his bathtub, and things just spiral out of control from there...Written by Hasemi Saki and illustrated by Kentaro Yabuki of Black Cat fame, To-Love-Ru is, well... you probably haven't seenfanservice until you've seen or read at least a minimal amount of this series. The manga debuted in April 2006, while an Animated Adaptation premiered two years later and ran for 26 episodes. Six OVAs have been released, and a second TV series, Motto To LOVE-Ru, began airing in June 2010.Unfortunately, due to Yabuki's messy divorce and subsequent custody battle over his three year-old daughter (see Creator Breakdown below), the manga was officially and very abruptly cancelled in the Japanese Shounen Jump magazine. He has since gotten better, and did an eight-month stint illustrating another manga series (which has cameo appearances from To-Love-Ru characters and takes place in the same city).A Spin-Off/sequel manga titled To-Love-Ru Darkness, launched in October 2010, reunites the author and artist. It is centered around Momo's plan to share Rito with the others whose happiness depends on him, and an unknown antagonist who controls several assassins similar to Yami, as well as Yami's Dark and Troubled Past. While characters of the original manga return, Darknesspromotes both Yami and Momo to main characters and significantly downplays the original protagonists. The fanservice in Darkness has been amped Up to Eleven, to the point where Rito has "Accidental Pervert'ed" his way through at least five heavy make-out sessions with entirely different women. An anime adaptation premiered in October 2012.Note that "To-Love-Ru" is a multilingualpun on the word "trouble"; in Japanese, these are pronounced identically (toraburu).
To Love-Ru and Motto To Love-Ru provide examples of:
Above the Influence - While painful for him, Rito will often resist the advances the many girls push on him.
Accidental Marriage - Groping an alien princess breasts is grounds for engagement. In the manga, it's more of his speech about freedom of choice that causes her to fall in love with him, and she decides he's the only wedding candidate worthy of her.
Accidental Pervert - Played Straight, Exaggerated, Inverted, Subverted, Double Subverted, Deconstructed, Reconstructed, Enforced, Lampshaded, Invoked and Played for both Laughs and Drama.
A-Cup Angst - Nana is not well developed, much to her frustration.
Adaptation Dye-Job - Devilukean tails are actually (very dark) red. The anime always shows them as pitch black, instead.
Adaptation Expansion - Motto, as part of the improvements, sometimes added scenes, usually only very small, that generally added connectivity or depth. For example, in Risa's Day In The Lime Light Episode, the manga ends with Rito receiving Risa's text. In Motto, there is a following scene where Risa stares at her phone longingly, implying she was serious about her offer.
All There in the Manual - Motto To LOVE-Ru; while it doesn't expect you to know certain things, doesn't exactly explain them either. For example, if you want to know why Celine has a human form? You can only find the full explanation in the manga and an OVA episode. There are other things too, but most are minor.
A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted. While it's safe to say Rito probably has thought about having sex with one of the girls in his harem, his problems with girls in general see to it that he will stay a virgin for quite some time.
Art Evolution - There's a noticeably different art style between the first season, the OVA, and Motto To LOVE-Ru. The OVA enlarges nearly everyone's eyes and headed into Uncanny Valley in the process, while Motto has a new directing staff. The characters don't look bad, but they do look quite different from the original manga now.
Artificial Riverbank - Where Rito takes Lala in an early effort to break up with her. She falls for him instead.
Barbie Doll Anatomy - And thank goodness; considering just how often the manga's frames are placed at crotch level (even for Mikan and Yami) during Furo Scenes, TLR would've been unavailable outside the R-18 shelf without this trope.
The serialized version used this trope in conjunction with nipples, but it's averted in the volumes, where nipples are clearly shown.
Beach Episode - Chapter 113 is adapted into the third OVA, and is so overloaded with fanservice it seemingly forgets to have a plot or dialog and just features the girls posing in swimsuits to ambient music for several minutes at a time. And then there's the comparison of tanlines near the end...
Lala is quite obvious, but so is Rito, just ask Ghi Bree.
Get Momo mad and you could very well be in trouble. Even Yami was impressed with her killing intent.
Big Brother Attraction - Evidence has piled up that Mikan has a deep-seated crush for her brother Rito. Made more obvious in the second OVA with a jealous Mikan wondering what it would be like if they weren't related right after joking about marriage.
Her reaction for being questioned by Nana about love interest.
The infamous Chapter 157, in which:
Mikan's accused of turning down her male classmates' affection because of, as her friends put it, her "awesome brother". Cue Suspiciously Specific Denial to the accusation.
She has an unusually jealous reaction to Momo hanging onto and teasing Rito.
"T-that's not marshmallow!"...You'll need to read the chapter to understand the context of that.
She questions herself, thinking "What exactly am I trying to do here...?" In the end, it seems she's rather content to be the beloved little sister.
She plays with this trope a bit when she tells Rito they are not related by blood just to see his reaction, only to admit she's just kidding afterwards. Later, Celine works her usual magic on Mikan, which results in some sexual tension.
Big Damn Heroes - Averted hilariously in episode 4. Zastin busts into a classroom with some giant octopus/squid, and gets thwarted by them each time he tries to save Lala, Rito and Haruna.
Butt Monkey - Zastin; quite explicitly in the manga, while he's merely an idiot in the anime.
There's also the perverted principal who's so perverted he makes Rito look like Jesus Christ in comparison!
Lastly, Rito himself. Many of his perverted accidents end up with a certain yellow haired assassin hot on his trail.
Breather Episode - Episode 14's a refreshingly mundane, but heartwarming look at what Rito and Haruna's relationship could be like without all the extraterrestrial insanity. A wise directorial choice, considering for the rest of the series, this blessed normality never returns again.
Cameo - In return for visiting Stray, Peke gets some peculiar manga to read.
And even when he manages to, Lala gets in the way.
Averted for Rito towards Lala though. As soon as he is sure of his feelings, he takes her aside and tells her he loves her. He then proceeds to, at her insistence, attempt to confess to Haruna, only to be interrupted by her running away and getting replaced by half the female cast just in time for him to say the three magic words. This being the end of the last chapter, much rage ensued. The prologue chapter of Darkness explains he told the girls that he was talking to/about the pool.
One has to wonder just how much Yui can possibly hold in every time she's alone with Rito.
Canon Discontinuity - It's stated in the first chapter that except for matters dealing with women, Rito is aggressive and strong. Unfortunately, he's almost always dealing with women, so this attribute usually only surfaces when a new haremette shows up that needs to be impressed by his hot bloodedness, or when one of his existing haremettes is in trouble.
Canon Immigrant - Plots from multiple H-doujinshi have been partially incorporated into the series.
Censor Steam - Used quite a bit in both the anime and manga. Streams of light coming through a window is rather creatively used for this. Censor Steam and Godiva Hair only appear in the serialized version of magazines and episodes. The collected volumes and DVDs of the manga and anime subverts this and are "uncensored", featuring unobstructed views of the female characters' chests.
Rito goes from boy with crush on a girl he can't even think about in a bikini without a meltdown to a boy in love with two girls and only freaks out if they're naked.
Lala goes from a bratty princess who only pretended to like Rito to stay away from her suitors to a kind, unselfish and mature(ish) young woman very much in love with Rito and her best-friend/love-rival, and willing to risk her life to protect both of them.
Haruna goes from painfully shy and self-conscious to... less shy and self-conscious.
Yui drastically mellows out over to course of the series, going from "how indecent" to joking and laughing about Rito's Accidental Pervert moments.
Golden Darkness arguably received the most character development when it comes to direction, outranking Rito/Yui. She went from cold-blooded assassin to nearly being killed by an assassin because Brainwashed and Crazy Mikan was in the way and she refused to harm her, smiling constantly around Rito and Mikan, and even being nicer to Rito.
Chick Magnet: Rito, obviously. Curiously, it seems Mikan's the genderflipped version, constantly asked out by boys her age, but always rejecting them. Seems to run in the family. Besides, she's so cute. Rito's status is also Lampshaded rather often, mostly (though not always) by Mikan, who calls him a Playboy, or notes just how many girls surround him. Nana also calls him playboy, and we all know Momo's thoughts on the matter.
Ren hits this so hard. Sure, we know where he is, but he doesn't appear all that often. Or at all in the last 50 odd chapters. In Motto he made two appearances over all. Amusingly, this is a case of a character being made Out of Focus in favor of himself, sort of. Ren and his rivalry for Lala's affections were eventually phased out, and while the humorously embarrassing situations involving him randomly physically and mentally changing into the much more fanservice-bait girl Run became less and less common, Run herself began to appear more and more often on her own with no mention or Ren.
Characters will rapidly come in and out of focus throughout the story. Barring Ren, Haruna is probably the most affected, as she becomes less prominent in the last fifty or so chapters, and Yui takes up her slack. This is because of real life issues.
Zastin and his gang.
Clothing Damage - Metric tons of it, even without a giant alien frog which literally has no purpose but to melt people's clothes off.
Played straight with Oshizu, but subverted with Nana and Momo. Despite looking around Mikan's age, there's no mention of them going to school. While it isn't outright stated, it's subtly shown they mainly hang out at the Yuuki residence all day.
Also, Yami, who spends all day hanging around Rito's school reading books.
Creator Breakdown - A particularly ugly and messy real-life example. Haruna was modelled on the author's real wife, who turned out to be nothing like Haruna. They went through an outrageously public and messy divorce, the end of which saw his ex-wife claiming ownership of the Haruna character (and demanding all profit from the manga and anime), which directly caused his publisher's legal team to force them to end the manga immediately.
Culture Clash - There is a very subtle one between Devilukes and Humans, particularly Lala; she doesn't use honorifics, has no nudity taboo which she claims is due to her upbringing, doesn't mind the idea of Rito having multiple lovers as it's considered normal for royalty to have a harem, her people are essentially conquerors and she herself doesn't mind fighting either. Momo and Nana are generally better at fitting in, so it's hard to say what are typical behaviours for a member of the Deviluke race and what are just Lala's quirks.
Cute Bruiser - Given that Yami is, for all intents and purposes, the exact same person as Eve, it should come as no surprise she's tiny, adorable, and can kick your ass.
Going to watch the anime? Hope Mikan isn't your favorite character, or you'll be disappointed at how she makes very few appearances after the first 3 episodes or so. Particularly egregious since most other characters get the opposite treatment if anything.
Thankfully for Mikan fans, the OVAs and second anime keep her around the whole time and give her fanservice (Though her and Yami are the only ones without shown nipples, sadly. Despite having them in both manga).
Yami makes her hatred of "ecchi" people clear by hitting or slashing at men or boys (especially Rito) who accidentally get a look under her skirt or touch her breasts - or even just look at her with too much admiration. But when a girl fondles her while another flips up her skirt to check out her panties, she merely asks them - rather weakly - to please stop.
Her early appearances implied she was developing a crush on Lala, not Rito, and she certainly seems rather fond of Mikan.
Easily Forgiven - The other characters totally overlook the fact that Yami probably killed dozens of others before coming to Earth.
In the anime an alien assassin comes after Lala and goes into labor during the fight Lala helps her to the infirmary and gets her taken care of. Easily Forgiven as soon as the fight stops!
Ecchi - While certainly not the first manga to incorporate loads of fanservice and interesting shots of semi naked to naked young women, To-Love-Ru takes the trope to a whole 'nother level to put it bluntly! Darkness somehow manages to crank things up to where you'd swear at times you were looking at a Hentai work, not a fanservicey rom-com!
Erotic Dream - Being a healthy young man, Rito has a couple.
One notable instance in the manga is when Rito was dreaming about Haruna, which lead to an Almost Kiss between Rito and Lala because she was in his bed again.
The most memorable instance in the anime is actually an induced hallucination, featuring Rito, Haruna, and Lala.
The schoolwide reveal of Lala being an alien only results in "Oh, that explains the tail". People in TLR are just way too easy-going about extraterrestrials...
The usual reaction to new girls is "Oh, are you an alien too?"
Rito's hidden feelings for Haruna have sort of evolved into this. To Saruyama and Mikan (those that know him best or at the very least longest) his crush is painfully obvious. Risa, Mio, Mikado and Ringo are implied to know, or at least suspect, and as of Darkness Lala and Momo know all about it.
Executive Meddling - The end result of the Creator Breakdown, although quite justified in this case. Yabuki's ex-wife claimed ownership of the characters (especially the one that was an Avatar of her), as well as the fact that Yabuki suddenly found himself a single father... so the publishers had to force them to kill the original manga very quickly. Fortunately, this did help lead to the rise of Mayoi Neko Overrun, a project Yabuki worked on as a form of relaxation while they tried to resolve the rights to the characters. He later conclusively solved the rights problem, almost the second he did they restarted the manga as Darkness.
Yami isBlack Cat's Eve; not only do they share the same seiyuu, but also the same powers, mother, origin, and name.
The manga throws in "Magical Flame Kyoko", who is TLR's version of Kyoko Kirisaki, including a bounty hunter named "Kuro" (Black), none other than the expy of Train Heartnet, the protagonist of Black Cat.
Summed up pretty nicely in the 'follow-up' chapter released after series cancellation, which features Rito thinking back on everything that's happened since Lala came into his life... and it's nothing but six solid pages of fanservice shots from across the series. In color!
Fantastic Arousal - The Deviluke race has their tail's, which are dark red in colour and are tipped with semi-individual shapes, which seem to be particularly sensitive. As Nana explians, while it affects both female and male members of her race, men are in general less affected. However, she also notes that it varies from person to person and that Lala, Nana and Momo are particularly sensitive.
Finagle's Law - If an opportunity for fanservice can happen, it will happen. Especially when Rito is at the short end of it.
Two possible interpretations; Lala, who appears on the first page of the manga, or Haruna who Rito has known since Middle school. He says he loves them both, meaning this applies no matter who you consider "first".
Ren was initially one of the more recurring secondary characters, but after Run was introduced she's steadily eclipsed his screentime to the point that he basically only appears for a panel or two each time she has a whole chapter about her.
While Rito has never been stuck as Riko for very long, after the first time it's happened quite a lot more than any similar oddities Lala's inventions caused.
Lala refers to everyone by their first name, as she is a foreigner (alien), and won't understand this aspect of Japanese culture. Similarly, everyone is on first name basis with her. Surprisingly, this includes Rito, who is the only one to call her without honorifics, implying closeness. The rest use -san or -chii.
Played with with Haruna and Rito, who are on Last Name Basis. However, at least in Rito's head, it's "Haruna-chan" and not "Sairenji", which is what he actually calls her out loud.
Rito is also on first name basis with Nana and Momo, though Momo adds the -san honorific.
Mikan and Rito too; it's especially noteworthy because whenever Mikan is being particularly bro-con-y she switches to "Onii-chan".
The OT 3 ending was hinted at as early as chapter 16.
Rito's new favourite brand: KING! Hmmm... trying to tell us something, Yabuki-sensei?
It's been pretty much a Foregone Conclusion for years that Rito will eventually marry Lala and become the new Deviluke king. The only question still up in the air is whether she's the only one he'll marry. Certainly not if Momo has anything to say about it.
"Freaky Friday" Flip - The manga's done this on four occasions: one has Rito switching places with a dog, another has Lala and Haruna switching places with each other, Mikan and Yami, and the last one with Rito and Peke.
Frickin' Laser Beams - Yet another feature of Devilukean tails. Or at least of Lala's and Momo's. As the other Deviluke characters haven't shown whether they can do the same, it might just be a unique personal ability, like Momo's plant telepathy and Nana's animal telepathy.
Full-Name Basis - The cold manner in which Yami-chan addresses everyone (Rito in particular) except Mikan, which is a telling sign of her fondness for her.
Fun Size - Lala's father, Gid Lucione Deviluke, despite being the most powerful being in the galaxy (capable of singlehandedly destroying planets), looks like an adorable little kid. Justified due using a lot of his power during the Unification Wars.
Justified for Gender Bender, due to Ren's species able to transform into the opposite sex at will, and Involuntary Shapeshifting because he cannot control it, courtesy of a sneeze. When that happens, he becomes a girl named "Run" that's utterly infatuated with Rito, much to his chagrin.
Then, purely by accident, Rito himself becomes a girl. After this, Lala makes a Transformation Ray so she can do this to him whenever she wants (as of current in the manga, she's used it four times).
Gilligan Cut - Risa invites/guilt trips Rito into going into her house for some coffee after he spent an entire day with her, largely against his will. He tries to decline and pull away from her, sort of mumbling/muttering, then cue next scene where they're both inside her house.
Goggles Do Something Unusual - in one chapter Rito dons a pair of X-ray glasses that somehow latch on to his head. This being To Love-Ru, of course, we get to see "Rito Vision" of various girls in their lingerie. At one point, he accidentally adjusts the intensity, which renders them totally nude after that. He also gets some fan disservice, because those glasses allow to see through male clothing as well. Near the end, Rito somehow ended up under Run's groin, and she sneezes and transforms into Ren in which Rito commented 'has become something much worse' and he passed out.
Gratuitous English - It's everywhere in the opening theme. "So we are never give up", to start with...
Grievous Harm with a Body - Haruna's reaction to anything that truly terrifies her is to panic, scream, and wildly beat the crap out of it with the nearest blunt instrument...which is invariably Rito.
Heavy Sleeper - All these girls sneaking into Rito's bed while he's asleep—and he doesn't wake up fully even when one of them pinches his face.
Rito (still mostly asleep): "The marshmallow bit me!"
Heroic Comedic Sociopath - Magical Girl Kyoko from the Show Within a Show acts like one. Her motto is "Whatever the problem is, I'll solve it by burning it," and she means it, too. When General Mojack is giving people afros, how does she solve it? By lighting their hair on fire.
Lala admonishes her sisters for running away from home. Rito immediately lampshades the hypocrisy. The same scene repeats itself, pretty much verbatim, when Saki runs away from home and goes to Rito and Lala for help.
Risa claiming that teasing women is sexual harassment. The look on her face makes it seem like an Invoked Trope.
Innocent Cohabitation - Lala lives with Rito and his sister. In a bit of a subversion, no one really thinks they're having sex, causing local Lovable Sex Maniac Risa to wonder "why not?" She sees it as a bit of a waste, actually.
Innocent Fanservice Girl - Lala's nudity taboo tends to be plot influenced. If the plot calls for her to be threatened and saved by Rito, she will try to cover herself (so she can't defend herself). Otherwise, she'll happily prance around naked, wondering why Rito's demanding she get dressed. Strangely, her sisters are not. But even she has limits, as shown when she once landed from a stumble, straddling Rito's face while wearing nothing but a jacket, giving Rito a full view of her lower half. Even she was embarrassed at that one.
Mikan mistakenly believes Lala and Rito are doing something naughty in Rito's room and immediately interrupts. Slightly justified as his hand was glued to Lala's tail, but contrast Mikan's reaction in the beginning of the series when finding him in bed with a naked girl only leads to dull surprise.
In Vino Veritas - The second half of the fifth OVA. To summarize Nana and Momo release a pollen to test Rito. All the girls but Lala begin acting drunk, including Haruna zigzagging between sweet and violent, angry at Rito for not choosing yet, Yui declaring Rito can only do Ecchi things with her, and Mikan almost confessing her love. Strangely, Rito is unaffected.
Is That Cute Kid Yours?: Celine is occasionally mistaken as Rito's daughter. An old woman can be forgiven for the mistake, as she looks about 2 and he's 17, so it's biologically possible. Ringo, on the other hand, should know better.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy - When Lala finds out that Haruna and Rito both have secret crushes on each other, she decides it's her duty to get them together so they will be happy. Of course that doesn't change her plans for her and Rito to also be together...
Left Hanging - Due to Yabuki's messy divorce, the series "ended" with No Ending. Thankfully that was resolved and the series was restarted under the Darkness title (with slight protagonist shift to Demote Haruna to an Extra).
The three main characters, Lala, Rito and Haruna shift between different Types of Love Triangle as time goes on. It starts as a Type 5 (Lala is A, Rito is B and Haruna is C). When Lala and Haruna become best friends, it morphs into a Type 12. And then when its revealed Haruna loves Rito as well it becomes a Type 11 (With Lala as B, Rito as C and Haruna as A). Finally, at the end of the manga's original run its a full on Type 8.
From a purely romantic point of view it goes from a Type 5, to a Type 4 before finally settling on a Type 7
When all the other love interests are included it becomes a Love Dodecahedron, expanding to include Ren/Run (in love with different people, of course), Yui, at least one of Lala's sisters, probably both of them, maybe Yami, Rito's best (male) friend who's in love with his Attractive Bent-Gender, hints of Mikan...things have gotten complicated.
Made of Iron - Luckily, Rito doesn't seem to have a health insurance policy that covers constant beatings from angry women... (nervous laugh)
Man-Eating Plant - The Yuuki family has one in the backyard named Celine. It's mellowed down to become a giant, friendly, recurring pet. Until it, uh, "blooms" into what looks like a preschool infant with a flower growing from her head
Magical Girlfriend - Lala probably counts, and that's not mentioning "Magical Flame Kyoko" in the manga's "Trouble Quest" arc.
Magic Skirt - Considering how overloaded with fanservice the anime is, this is quite a surprise, but only present in the broadcast version of the first season of the anime.
Marry Them All: In the abrupt manga finale, Lala not only doesn't mind the possibility of both her and Haruna marrying Rito but is actively enthusiastic about it. Later, he accidentally says "I love you" to several of the other girls (even though it was meant for Haruna), Lala doesn't mind sharing him with them, too. It's implied that, by Deviluke law, he can practice polygamy when he becomes king after officially marrying Lala. Hooray for the harem? It had actually been foreshadowed as early as chapter 16, in which Rito, Lala and Haruna top a dare coming in first place. Rumor has it that the couple making it through the dare usually ends as a romantic couple. As of 'Darkness' Momo is VERY aware of this trope regarding Rito and the girls. Her dream is to actually achieve this result with her taking an active approach.
Peke: "When Rito becomes King of the Universe, then the rules of Earth won't matter anymore."
Marshmallow Dream: A variation. When Mikan crawls into Rito's bed to catch one of the other girls in the act of crawling into his bed while he's sleeping, he grabs her in his sleep and his mumblings hint that he is acting like he's grabbed the 'marshmallow'. When she pinches his cheek to have him release her, his response is to claim that the 'marshmallow bit him'.
Marshmallow Hell - Taken to new heights: after one of Lala's machines accidentally shrinks Rito to about 5 inches tall, she hides him by carrying him around in her cleavage all day. Naturally, she's not wearing a bra (she never does); he nearly gets suffocated and/or squashed multiple times.
The Men in Black - Zastin's assistants, Maul and Smutts, at least dress the part.
Moment Killer - Lots, though Rito-Haruna moments suffer the most. Mikan also tries to keep an eye on Rito when any of the girls are around, and when waking him up in the morning. She keeps an eye on Momo in particular.
Sure, Lala's a bright, sweet and kind-hearted girl who looks out for and cares about everyone, even her romantic rival, but the fact she's never shown to be even slightly disturbed about the fact her father has committed genocidal extermination of millions, if not, billions of worlds makes you wonder how decent a person she really is.
The Devilukeans are a warrior race, after all. It's just that the ones we always see are a trio of pampered teenage princesses. Not to mention the revelation that the Great Galactic War lasted for centuries (meaning it presumably started generations before any of the cast were born), which would imply that Gid actually saved countless lives by putting an end to it.
Naked Apron - Lala occasionally does this. For bonus points, it's one of the few things Rito has shown any amount of interest in...at least in the OVA.
Nice Hat - Lala's hat in her standard costume. IT HAS WINGS! They apparently allow her to fly (note the hat is not held in place in any manner). The manga explains they're anti-gravity wings when they sprout out the back of her bikini in the obligatory Beach Episode.
A spray Run orders accidentally turns Haruna from sweet and innocent into a pure sadist. Turns into a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, given what the real-life inspiration for Haruna turned out to be like.
And the time an alien cold virus makes Lala act shy and feminine, as opposed to her normaltemperament.
Not What It Looks Like - This happens so much to Rito, especially in the manga, the very laws of probability weep at the frequency of its occurrence.
The Nudifier - Lala's personal teleporter has this as a side effect since for some reasons, it will only teleport the person. Any items they may be carrying, including clothes, are left behind. There's also a gas with the specific purpose of dissolving clothing, which Run uses occasionally. It always backfires on her, and fanservice ensues. Later, Lala's attempt to fix this flaw in her teleporter fall rather short: it now allows some of the person's clothes to be teleported with them. As Rito notes, this isn't actually an improvement over being naked.
Quite a few characters actually, but the most noticeable is Rito and Mikan's parents. Ringo has appeared only twice as she works overseas, and while its implied they see Saibai more often, he's almost never at home (apparently living in his office), proven when he first met Lala after she'd been living with them for at least a few weeks, and that's when she and Rito went to visit him at work.
The long term effects of their parents' hands-off approach is actually explored somewhat in Darkness, and is cited as the reason that Mikan and Rito are so close. They had no one to rely on but each other.
Haruna and the Deviluke sisters voluntarily left their parents, the former to live with her sister so she could continue to go to school with her friends, and all the Devilukes ran away; Lala because she was being forced into a marriage, and the twins because they hated studying.
At the start of the "Trouble Quest" arc, the Guild assigning "adventurers" their Character Class had a staff of Bunnies — well, actually, multiple copies of one Bunny (there was also a Bunny on the sign outside the door). Then, when Yami shows up, she's been dressed as a Bunny as part of her character class.
When Rito first suggested Lala should dress to blend in with Earth people, she had Peke transform, of course — and kept copying inappropriate outfits: a businessman's clothing, a policewoman's uniform, a Bunny... That one led Rito to wonder in shock where she'd seen it.
Please Put Some Clothes On - Rito's reaction to Lala anytime she shows up in the nude, which is most of the time when they're at home.
Power Perversion Potential - A lot of Lala's inventions have this to some degree or another. The teleporter that doesn't take clothes and a device that can control people's bodies immediately come to mind. This is just the tip of the iceberg though...no, really.
Promotion to Parent - In a weird way, both Rito and Mikan promoted themselves to this role for each other in the face of their parents' long absences. It's much more noticeable in Mikan, who is generally more emotionally mature and takes care of the household chores, but Rito, especially in the two's younger years, looked after and protected Mikan, continues to worry over her and goes the extra mile to make sure she's happy.
Psychopathic Manchild: Lala, as a non-villainous example. If you think about it, she fulfills the traits: innocent, strong, very smart, often not considering the consequences of her actions and lacking common sense.
Relax-o-Vision - In the anime, Ren's training cuts out several times before different fights to show bathtime footage (of the girls, obviously), instead.
An episode in second season also showed naked Zastin, with just Scenery Censor for the bare minimum.
Shout-Out - Besides the expy deal, there's a brief Shout-Out to the Halo games in episode 4, with one image showing Rito standing in the sunset of a cratered wasteland holding a gun very similar to the assault rifle from the first game, and another depicting a space battle in the shadow of a gas giant with part of a Halo-like structure and the Covenant capital city.
Let's not forget those Dragon Ballshout outs either, such as Lala changing into several different costumes from that series. There's even a Dragon Ball reference in the first chapter.
Lala: Ah, even though I have a tail, it doesn't mean I'll transform when I look at the full moon.
Lala's father Gid, seems to be inspired by this series. Also, when he Threatens to to destroy the earth if Rito isn't worthy of Lala...in the manga, he implies he doesn't mean with a fleet of Devilukian starships...he implies he'll do it personally. "right now I am suppressing my power. If I were to release it, I could easily crush this planet to pieces."
Yabuki's previous series, Black Cat, has a tendency to do this. Aside from Yami's conveniently named spaceship "Lunatique" (after "Tearju Lunatique"), the blink-and-you'll-miss-it homage in chapter 134, wherein Lala plays a target shooting game...dressed as Train, right down to the Hades gun and XIII tattoo. With Yami in Eve's clothing, of course.
And of course, when Train, in his Chronos, pre-Saya persona, actually appears.
Another fun fact: the chapters where Train's expy appeared have titles that were lifted from two of Black Cat's episodes... particularly when Train saved Eve.
Fairly early in the manga, several of the cast go to sing karaoke at a place named Kuro Neko.
During Episode 7 of "Motto To LOVE-Ru" (the second series), Peke is reading a manga◊ with certain familiar characters on the cover. Currently both To LOVE-Ru and Mayoi Neko Overrun! (both drawn by Yabuki Kentaro) are published in Jump SQ. This could also be seen as a fourth wall breaker as the TL-R characters show up in the backgrounds of Mayoi Neko Overrun at least once per chapter, so Peke is reading a comic that has her fellow characters in it.
Rob appears as one of Lala's inventions in Chapter 10 of Darkness
During Peke's (actually Rito's) malfunction in Chapter 143 / Episode 09 of Motto To Love-Ru, Lala ends up in a tiny swimsuit, Haruna in a Playboy Bunny suit, and Oshizu as Enma Ai.
Episode 20 isn't even an episode of To Love-Ru; it's an entire episode of "Magical Kyoko."
There's also episode 23. It focuses sorely on minor character Saruyama's nonsensical Dream Sequence composed entirely of references to Japanese historical folktales and period novels, which Saruyama even lampshades. Without knowledge of Japanese culture and folktales (or handy Fan Sub footnotes), a non-Japanese veiwer will be hopelessly confused.
Run has some tendencies in this direction, especially in episode 16, which focuses almost entirely on her stalking Rito.
Rito towards Haruna in the beginning, at least a little. Enough that Saruyama teased Rito about it. He very quickly stops as he gets closer to her naturally.
Tastes Like Friendship: Rito gave Yami a Taiyaki when they first met. This created enough doubt in her mind about her mission that she didn't seriously try to kill him long enough for Lala to show up and correct misunderstandings.
Yui's a Type A; her default expression in the beginning seems to be a scowl, and Rito is surprised the first time he sees her smile.
Saki and Yami in the anime finale: "I'm not doing this for you."
Twelve Episode Anime - The second season, which is just as well as there weren't enough manga chapters left to adapt for a 26 episode season at the rate the Three Shorts format was burning through them.
Sort of: Peke can copy any outfit that Lala asks him to, from casual wear to nurse uniforms. However, too much time spent in clothing-form will cause her to wear down and cause Clothing Damage, and we all know where that leads...
There's also the fact that if the hat (Lala's primary outfit) or hairpin (all her other outfits) come off, so do the clothes.
Later in the manga, Peke ends up becoming dizzy and flies from one girl to the other, destroying their current outfits and replacing them with previous outfits Lala wore in the series. When Peke ends up on Rito, it mimics a one-shot joke outfit: a whipped cream bikini...
Unknown Rival - Ren/Run. Saki, too, with her unrecognized "rivalry" against Lala for being the "queen of student body."
Unwanted Harem - Well for starters, Rito didn't ASK for a hot naked alien princess to teleport into of all places his bathtub while he was using it! (along with the subsequent ! All he wanted to do was keep trying to confess to the girl of his dreams!
Nor did the poor sap ask for at least three to four different cock teases who have all but flat out asked/begged Rito to bang them, a tsundere who secretly likes him and also wants the D (supposedly at least), despite acting like Rito is a sick pervert (though its not always his fault perverted shit keeps happening to him), two different assassins; one who will murder him if he so much as looks at her funny; and one who's intent on making Rito her servant (read sex slave), and that is probably only scratching the surface!
Unusually Uninteresting Sight - Lala's tail. A bit of a subversion, as everyone notices, but just thinks it's an accessory of some kind when they first meet her. Even when Rito accidentally reveals to Haruna, Mio, Risa and Kenichi that Lala is an alien, none of them think it's any big deal. Aside from thinking that it's cool and explains a lot, they barely react. They're similarly nonchalant about discovering that Ren and Run are male and female personas of the same alien and that Yami is an alien shapeshifter. It soon becomes widely known that the characters are aliens, and nobody at all seems to mind.
Lala's inventions would also fall under this trope. Possibly averted as Saki's Tenjouin Group also seems to have some interesting technology(more so in the anime). This probably explains why no one was that surprised when Lala admits to being an alien.
Vitriolic Best Buds - Everyone knows Yami isn't going to kill Rito. She may beat him within an inch of his life after certain incidents, but she'll protect him just as much as any of her other friends if it matters and no on has any concern about her being around him. Becomes a Running Gag fairly quickly, with Yami saying he is her target and Rito pretending to take her seriously. In one case, he picks her up and carries her to Dr. Mikado when she collapses with an illness.....while taking a swipe at him.
Notable in that only aliens have impossible hair while humans are shown with realistic hair colours.
Rito's (and his mother's, probably) red hair is unusual in Japan, except if he's descended from Scotland, and even there, red hair is damn rare (about 13%, with an additional 10% or so carriers of the gene). But yes, it was technically Realistic.
There are natural redheads in Japan. They make up less than 1% of the population, and due to Japan's rigid social structure and distaste for anything "different", nearly all of them dye their hair black to fit in.
Above the Influence: Averted, subverted and played straight in one sequence. During Yui's visit at Rito's, Momo tries to setup a special mood between them, which is seemingly about to be disrupted by their usual antics. She considers an aphrodisiac, but dismisses that thought as she feels it is not appropriate. Then Yui herself makes a move on Rito, but is basically shot down by Rito.
Adored by the Publisher: It's almost unprecedented. To-Love-Ru performed terribly in SJ's popularity polls, but the collected volumes sold extremely well; then it ended with no resolution due to the lawsuit; and then, after the legal stuff was sorted out, it came back in the monthly magazine to high sales and got serialized in other magazines in the SQ line simultaneously, meaning it is serialized three times at once. This totals 11 pages minimum per week overall, only 6 pages under the amount we'd get from a weekly serialization. Proof that if you want to continue something that sold well, the publishers will pull strings to get it back moving in full force.
Also the fact that the series continues to run in the face of intense pressure from the family values crowd, who have attempted (without success) to use the power of the State to shut it down.
Almost Kiss: Rito and Yui, who is wearing nothing but a shirt.
Book Ends: At least in the anime, it starts off with Momo on top of Rito and ends that way.
Breakout Character: Yami, though one can argue Momo's getting just as much the protagonist spotlight.
Call Back: One of the side chapters is about Haruna being turned into a cat and Rito petting and bathing her. The entire thing is a role reversed call back to a chapter in the original To Love Ru where Rito is turned into a dog and Haruna does the same. To drive the point home, Rito even remembers that time while bathing Haruna, not knowing it was her.
A rather brilliant one in Chapter 34, After Peke advises Lala in the previous chapter to start considering her feelings for Rito and after Momo of all people shows her a 18+ dating sim, Lala decides to surprise Rito by teleporting into his bathroom much like she did (by accident) way back in the beginning of the series. Only this time, Rito doesn't completely flip his shit and Lala wants to experience a kiss with him...
For Yui when she and Rito get trapped in "the rain", ending up in Rito's house due to Momo's trickery and use of a shield that projected the rain. Then Yui basically offers herself to Rito after one of his Accidental Pervert moments, and Rito appears to almost ACCEPT this offer without any sort of "freak out" in a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. She even ends up defending Rito when Risa spins her DayInTheLimelight to tease Haruna. Yui says she knows that Rito wouldn't actually do what is being implied. .
Crapsack World: Run and Ren's home planet Memorze has been revealed to be this. It's a planet where there are two suns, locking the planet in eternal day time. 80% of the planet is dry desert and the rest is also inhospitable, so much so that the dual-gender bodies evolved in order to help survival in a land with little food and water. Only trade with other planets has given the people relief.
Date Peepers: Momo, Mea, Nana and Yami all travel in a group to follow Rito and Run on a date, though for different reasons. Yui also follows them, though we aren't shown her doing this until she and Nana burst out to interrupt the date.
Semi-invoked with Momo, who looks like she's fighting off the urge to play with herself every time Rito gets into an ecchi situation.
She more or less gets away with this on-screen in one of extra chapters. How, you may ask? She's thinking about Rito while rubbing her tail. Despite not technically being masturbation, it gets the point across well enough, especially when Nana walks in on her.
Aside from the harem building, the other major driver of the story is Yami finally thawing from light ship teasing to fully accepting both Rito and her life on Earth.
Yui is also defrosting at an even quicker pace than before.
Defying The Censors: Seems to be doing this in response of the outrage of Moral Guardians towards fanservice. Both a higher density and more risqué fanservice are prominent which show no signs of letting up.
Supporters of one of Japan's recent censorship laws cited Darkness specifically as a reason for its passage. Yabuki's response? Take the fanservice up a few notches, essentially daring the government to try and stop him. The series was later specifically found not to be in violation of the law.
Demoted to Extra: Several members of the harem have had drastically less screen time as of Darkness, while the little girls have received much more focus.
Double Standard: In Chapter 9, Momo and Mea get very excited by their fantasies about Rito finally losing control and ripping Run's clothes off. And Yami doesn't clobber them or even seem angry; she merely remarks "what a bunch of ecchi people."
The rapist in question was being mind-controlled into doing it so she's not to blame. The one controlling her on the other hand... Fortunately, Momo was on hand to beat the perpetrator within an inch of her life, before turning her over to Zastin to be imprisoned.
Subverted when Mea hijacks control of Rito's body and forces him to lick her all over while simultaneously forcing a Mind Link Mates scenario in order to share his senses - while no one calls her on it, she admits that she's using it as a punishment because she knows how uncomfortable it makes him. Meanwhile, Rito uses the opportunity to read her mind...
Kyouko Kirisaki is based on her namesake from Black Cat.
As is Tearju Lunatique.
Fanservice - The first chapter manages to somehow increase the amount of Fanservice compared to the original, edging dangerously close to hentai at points. The fact that it blatantly averts Barbie Doll Anatomy probably has something to do with this.
Fetish: Darkness has shown us that some of the girls are developing these, particularly Mea who has shown great interest in licking, while Haruna is developing a fascination with bathing.
First Name Basis: Haruna once calls him "Rito-san" when she was thinking about him alone, but uses "Yuuki-kun" when they next meet face to face.
Genre Shift: The manga started out as a fairly standard harem where the only girls who actually had a chance of winning were Lala and Haruna. By the time of Chapter 14 in Darkness, it's combined multiple aspects of Black Cat (whereas it only had a few callbacks and Yami herself in the original series) and morphed into a modern Tenchi Muyo!, complete with Marry Them All in the works (or at least with Momo actively scheming to make sure it's in the works). It's also become quite a bit more character driven, with character arcs focusing on various girls and less random wacky comedy.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: To-Love-Ru Darkness may as well be subtitled "How can Yabuki sneak glimpses of the girls' vaginas past the censorship laws this month?" Quite possibly the most clever bit so far is when a panty-less Yami-chan is falling towards Rito's head. Rito's eyes look like they're just drawn with pupils, but zoom in some and you can see that the outline of them is actually... well.
An interesting inversion: Momo, one of the girls in Rito's Harem, wants to create the harem for him, with her in it, and pretty much every other female he has ever met. She thinks if he is forced to pick one, it probably wouldn't be her....so....
The example provided only reveals one character who MIGHT hold feelings for another (less love, more of a crush), and showed reasonable amounts of incentive to fall in love with Rito.
Topic in English~A Flowery Description About Said Topic in Japanese~
The exception here is the first four chapters, which simply say the same thing twice, but with the same structure. The prologue chapter is an odd one out, using the title "Prologue~Prologue and Activation~".
Imagine Spot: Momo has one of the heavily censored kind when she thinks of Rito. And multiple somewhat less censored ones of how she hopes things will turn out during Rito's time alone with various individual harem-candidates. The actual events are invariably tamer than what Momo is hoping for (though still very much NSFW thanks to his Accidental Pervert nature).
Mikan mistakenly believes Momo and Rito are doing something naughty after hearing a bit of suggestive dialogue. It turns out that they're just playing a video game. Mikan even lampshades the familiarity of the scene. Of course, this being Momo (who notes she didn't sneak into Rito's bed "this time"), the innuendo probably wasn't so innocent at all.
In Vino Veritas: Haruna gets drunk on Devilukian cola Nana gives her. She ends up clinging to Rito (while half-dressed of course) and rambling about how he is hers and about Momo's harem plan. She's aggressive enough that even Rito starts to get a clue.
I Was Just Joking: Yui waves off her implication that she would be willing to sleep with him if he only did it with her as a joke, when in truth she was completely serious.
Long Lost Sibling: Yami has one, and she really wants Yami to kill Rito and come home. Complicated by the fact that she's also attracted to Rito.
Literal Split Personality: At the end of chapter nine Run goes through a metamorphosis that her species goes through when they reach adulthood. The result? Ren and Run are pulled apart from one another and they become two separate people. They're both absolutely thrilled by this development.
Man, I Feel Like a Woman : Unlike the first few times Rito got turned into Riko, in Darkness he decides to check himself out in a mirror and feel his breasts. He promptly decides that they'll just get in the way. Only he gets caught by Momo in the process, who tells him that if he wanted to experience the female form, he could have just asked her.
My God, What Have I Done?: Played for Laughs in the chapter 26 of Darkness. Haruna's older sister walks in to Rito and Haruna while the latter is wearing a little more than her underwear and draws the obvious conclusion. After Rito excuses himself (read: runs for it), Akiho goes into a breakdown while apologizing to Haruna for interrupting her time with Rito and remains in such self-recrimination for apparently hours after the fact.
Noodle Incident: Yami, a legendary assassin, is afraid of wriggly, slimy things because she once got lost in a planet with tentacled animals. She refused to elaborate.
Not Himself: Rito in an extra chapter. Thanks to one of Momo's plants, he becomes a pervert and abuses Lala's inventions. He even agrees to the Harem Plan under its effects.
Pensieve Flashback: Mea induces something like it in chapter 3. May or may not have been influenced by the dream-like state Rito was in at the time. Something was added on that we didn't see before though.
Porn with Plot: Barely short of actual sex (Momo's fantasies REALLY push the envelope), the Fanservice in the sequel is so intense that in Taiwan it is outright slapped with an R18 sticker and sold in such sections.
Serial Escalation: While the original was Fanservy enough, every chapter of Darkness seems to be trying to top itself. With the way things are going, very few people are going to be surprised if somebody ends up getting screwed silly.
Serious Business: Momo really wants to get herself and just about every other girl she knows laid by the same dude. She has intricate plans and strategies to achieve this.
When She Smiles: Yami's big pleased smile is unexpected but definitely not unwelcome.
Xanatos Speed Chess: A minor one developing between Mea and Momo and it's a race to see whether the latter's "Harem Plan" will prevail or whether Yami will carry out her original mission to kill Rito. Mikan, Rito and Momo's "wake up" routine could fall under this also. Currently, the main game is between Momo and Nemesis over who should win Rito.