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Manga / Love Lab

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We wanna fall in love!
Riko and Maki are second years at the prestigious Fujisaki Girls' Academy. The first is admired for her boyish and rebellious personality, while the second is the very calm and proper student council's president. Both live their own lives until Riko enters the student council room... and finds Maki practising kisses with a body pillow. Riko is forced to keep Maki's secret and ends up as her advisor in the student council (but also as Maki's love counselor). Hilarity Ensues when the other members of the student council join in.

Love Lab is a Yon Koma manga by Ruri Miyahara which was serialized from 2006 to 2019, starting out in the magazine Manga Home before moving to Manga Time Special. It has an anime adaptation by Dogakobo, directed by Masahiko Ohta, that started airing in the summer of 2013.

Crunchyroll is streaming the anime, which can be viewed legally here for viewers in the following areas: USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Turkey, Germany, Latin America (Central and South America including Carribean), Spain, Portugal, France.

Love Lab provides examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: Many are asked throughout the show. Said questions often have a literal arrow penetrating the character being asked, usually Riko when she's forced to maintain her lies about being knowledgeable about boys.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In episode 5, Riko ends up taking the heat for the student council using the PA system without permission to broadcast the answer to an anonymous question they received. After the other girls find out about it, they become upset, and Maki promises to tutor her to improve her English test scores. It seems to blow over, and Riko nonchalantly mentions she wouldn't mind being tutored by a good looking guy. Maki then comes back into the student council office wearing the male student uniform she bought a while back and pretending to be a guy.
  • Black Face: Used as part of a gag in episode 8 when Maki tries to be a "Soul Sister" in order to feel what it's like to be a girl with darker skin and who weigh a little more than usual. Values Dissonance aside, this could also be a reference to Ganguro, a type of Japanese style that was once fairly popular and includes deep tanning and often gaudy clothing. Then again, Ganguro style was a fad that died out at least a decade ago. Even then, aside from "Soul Sister" not even being in their vocabulary, it was a counterculture movement against Japanese beauty standards using bleached hair, not afros, and tanning that ended up stereotypically orange - even among the types of Ganguro style that were intentionally based off of black people, afros included, they are still functionally blackface.
  • Black Mail: Both Riko and her brother Rentarou do this to each other in episode 7. Ren catches Riko trying to act cute in front of the bathroom mirror, so in exchange for his silence, he asks for her allowance, her ice cream, and to ask Maki if she likes younger guys. Riko utilizes that last one to blackmail him by saying she'll tell Maki he's mean, but might reconsider it if he gives her his ice cream instead. She does ask Maki, but the latter doesn't seem interested in younger guys, and Riko taunts him about it, so he gives their mom one of her tests with a low score that she had been hiding from their parents to get back at her.
  • Bland-Name Product: Press station 4, Mintendo GS, iBat.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • When Riko catches Maki kissing a body pillow, Maki tries to cover it up by claiming that it was just Riko's imagination, and that the pillow is a fairy. Suzune's first (and brief) appereance was dismissed similarly.
    • Sayo is also able to see through Riko's obvious inexperience with guys. However, she doesn't call the latter out on it, partly because she enjoys watching Riko dig herself deeper with those lies, as well as Riko being stubborn about refusing to admit her lies.
  • Blue with Shock: Happens on a regular basis to many characters.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Maki's the boke, Riko the tsukkomi. To cement the relationship even further, Riko acquires a giant Paper Fan of Doom from Suzune to administer the Dope Slap treatment to Maki on one occasion.
  • Bridal Carry: Maki says she purposely fainted in the student council's office to have someone carry her like this to the nurse's office.
  • Brutal Honesty: Yan does this to Maki in episode 12 regarding Riko possibly lying to her about being a love expert, and Sayori does this to Riko in episode 13.
  • Chekhov's Gag: One of the first sessions of "love research" that Maki and Riko hold include returning a lost handkerchief that has Maki's name and contact information on it, which Riko then confiscates. Riko ends up using it to find Maki's address in episode 13.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Several characters do this from time to time, usually Riko or Sayori.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Riko notes how embarrasing Maki's nickname is, without realising she also has a pretty ridiculous nickname.
  • Surprisingly averted when the Maki and Yuiko make a PA announcement stating they were giving an English lesson to help students a little bit. They use a little bit, but then go back to speaking in Japanese.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Satoshi accidentally invokes this on himself when he approaches Maki at the cram school. At that point she had been leaning quietly against a wall, and drew quite a huge crowd of guys around her, wondering who this beautiful girl was doing here.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: The whole plot of the anime relies on Riko being forced to play out this trope.
  • Hate at First Sight:
    • Riko takes an intense dislike to Sayo when they first meet, largely because the latter seems to be constantly digging dirt on Maki, and also because she correctly pointed out that the former isn't doing anything remotely related to the student-council.
    • "Yan" also takes a dislike to Riko, due to his past strife with her, and later Maki, due to her Cloud Cuckoo Lander tendencies popping up when she's around him.
  • Heroic BSoD: Maki goes through one during episode 13, after finding out indirectly that Riko lied about her expertise in love. However, after a healt-felt apology from the latter, she snaps out of it.
  • Human Hummingbird: Maki does this at one point and it creeps Riko out.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Deconstructed, Yuiko, the official Student Council President gets ticked off at Maki and angrily steps down.
  • Imagine Spot: A few occur in the show, usually Maki's interpretations of interacting with the perfect guy. Her more absurd ones generally get a Deadpan Snarker remark from Riko.
    • Apparently characters are capable of watching each other's Imagine Spots as they happen. When Riko has one, Maki watches it and concludes that she must have a crush on Nagi, because the "hero" of her fantasy looked a lot like him.
    • Characters are also capable of literally ripping apart offensive Imagine Spots like projector screens, with harisen.
    • At one point, Maki literally steals the "hero" of Eno's fantasy while they were simultaneously daydreaming.
  • Important Haircut: Averted. Riko changes her hairstyle every day and nobody ever thinks anything of it.
  • In-Series Nickname: Riko is the "Wild One" and Maki is "Fuji's Princess"
  • Instant Bandages: Characters will often display these shortly after getting hit.
  • Late for School: Maki and Riko practice this in the first episode. Unfortunately Maki runs a bit too fast, and speeds past Riko before the latter can even get into position, and the latter chastises her for moving at breakneck speed.
  • Loophole Abuse: The student council uses the PA system to answer a question a girl anonymously wrote to them regarding a boy she liked. Since their school has a strict policy on dating, and they also didn't know who wrote it, they do it this way while attempting to pass it off as an English lesson (which they hilariously don't use much of). While it works, Riko ends up taking the blame for it, although she fully intended to do that to buy the girls time to give their advice.
  • Medium Awareness: The girls are always referencing the fact that they're in a manga (e.g., "Look at the face she made two panels ago!", "I've been noticing ever since Volume 5...").
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Sayo warns Eno not to reveal the secret stuff Maki was writing about regarding researching love in episode 3. She disregards the warning, even realizing that releasing said documents was a "low blow". She later seems to have some second thoughts about it, but unfortunately the paperwork is passed out to the class leaders at the meeting the next day. Maki is frozen in fear and humiliation, causing Eno to try taking the blame for it. While it works, the other girls still question why the student council is researching stuff like this in the first place. Riko calls them out on it, by asking the girls if they haven't ever wondered about these things, and Eno saves the day by claiming that this stuff was done because of a legitimate question from one of the students, hence the weird topic, and that it was their job to research and find the answer for that girl. All of the girls drop their complaints upon hearing that, but Eno still apologizes about having done it.
    • Riko feels this way too near the end of the show, when her lies begin to crumble after Maki finds out the truth by piecing various things others told her about Riko.
  • One-Gender School
  • One of the Boys: None of Riko's former male classmates viewed her as a Love Interest. Much to her dismay.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Suzune makes these from time to time, and the other girls often put them to use.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Yuiko says a variation of this to Sayori in episode 10 after the latter decides to quit the student council.
  • Pun-Based Title / Bilingual Bonus: "Love" and "Lab" written in katakana are both "labu" (ラボ). The title, then, can be read as "labulabu," which means "lovey-dovey."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sugihara-sensei is more than willing to overlook the Student Council and Newspaper Association's less harmful activities that technically go against school policy, though mostly because she can't be bothered to care, and at one point even helps them out for a bentou. Though she's not above using this information to wheedle some of her responsibilities onto them.
  • Rubber Face: Riko frequently does this to Maki.
  • Scape Goat:
    • Riko does this in episode 5 when Maki and Yuiko are making an annoucement on the PA system. However, Maki gets mad at her after she finds out what Riko did though, because the latter chastised her about being too self-reliant rather than asking for other people's help, then shouldering all the blame instead of letting the others take the responsibility as well.
    • Sayori does this in episode 10, after a student at the school takes a picture of her with her boyfriend. Her intention was to leave the student council blameless in this, and that she had acted on her own regarding this, even though they actually knew about this already. They then take great pains to claim what Sayori did was yet another student council related task, and tell the teachers that Sayori wasn't guilty at all. Since the teachers hold Maki as an ideal student, they buy her story and let Sayori off the hook regarding the situation.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Sayori does this from time to time with her glasses.
  • Schoolgirl Series
  • Ship Tease: From volume 5 on the series very teasy. With the couples being Riko/Nagi, Maki/Yan, Yuiko/Haru and Suzu/Ren.
  • Shipper on Deck: As the series goes on, the Fujisaki student council starts shipping Riko/Nagi and Yuiko/Haru as the girl's crushes get obvious.
  • Shout-Out: Suzu was a fan of the dog-bus from My Neighbor Tororo as a little girl.
  • Snowball Lie: Riko's increasingly grandiose claims of romantic skills and exploits, all of which are nonexistent, but attract more and more "love research" students who often add their own overblown interpretations to the lie-ball. Only Sayori realizes none of it is true.
  • Squee: Maki does this a few times in the series, sometimes with Suzune.
  • Stalking Is Funny if It Is Female After Male: Played with; Maki thinks stalking a boy would be romantic, but Riko lampshades the extreme creepiness of this (and Maki thinks pretty much everything is romantic).
  • Student Council President: Yuiko is the official but she got annoyed at Maki's being a Hypercompetent Sidekick and steps down.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • Riko's the tomboy and Maki the girly girl.
    • You can clearly tell the tomboys and the girly girls apart by the way they run in the anime opening.
  • Training from Hell: Riko receives some from Maki in episode 5 to help her improve her English test scores. It works, as she gets a 75 from the latest test. Unfortunately, it doesn't impress the other student council members, as they score 80-100 regularly, but they try to play up Riko's score somewhat anyway.
  • Translation Convention: This is done in episode 5 when a supposedly english conversation is only indicated as english by the characters and the narration boxes.
  • Wham Line: Sayori says one in episode 10, about resigning from the student council after a photography club associate snaps a picture of her with her boyfriend. This does not go over well with them, most of all Yuiko.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Maki does this a lot. For example, when she practices hand holding with Riko, she breaks the latter's fingers.
  • Wham Shot: Episode 12 ends with a shot of Maki's face with an expression telling us that she did in fact overhear Riko confessing her lie to Mika.