"Love Lab" Progress Goes Boink!
I was reluctant to watch Love Lab at first, as it looked like another one of those shows where anime girls sit around drinking tea and giggle about the dumbest of things. Once again, my cover-judging thought process has been proven wrong. (Perhaps I should stop doing that...)
Based on the four-panel manga series by Ruri Miyahara Love Lab follows Riko (Manami Numakura) as she tries to find some excitement in the women's academy she's attending. She is given the task of delivering papers to the student council, where upon entering its office she stumbles on its president Maki (Chinatsu Akasaki) kissing a large pillow with a high school boy crudely drawn on it. In order to keep this embarrassment a secret Maki bribes Riko with sweets, and soon asks her for advice on meeting guys (many of which involve the two simulating scenarios), as she assumes Riko is a master of love. One problem: Riko has never had a boyfriend herself, a fact she is now forced to cover up as she does her best to help her new friend out.
Soon other members of the student council appear, including the shy secretary Suzu (Inori Minase), an emotionally unstable VP named Eno (Ayane Sakura), and a snarky Sayo (Yō Taichi). From there the student council continues on with conducting tests on the art of romance, not just for their own personal gain but for the ladies of the academy. However how far will this go before Riko screws herself over one too many times?
Animated by Dogokobo (who also helmed YuruYuri and the Pokémon film Revelation Lugia) the studio has brought Miyahara's original works to life with a style that is quite similar to that of Kyoto Animation's recent works. The city and its buildings are nicely detailed, as are the slapstick gags that Riko and company are thrusted upon during the series. As for the appearance of the characters, while they are cute-looking (no shocker there) they are not moé-eccentric. Riko's tomboyishness comes off pretty well with the way it looks, while Maki and Suzu have that innocent outlook that appears finely in their facial expressions, kind of like a baby deer stumbling along a new world.