Love Lab – 07


With the newspaper club continuing to snoop around, the Love Lab realizes they have to step up their security to ensure they don’t get any more scoops. After Maki’s dismal performance with Jan, Riko decides it best for Maki to practice on her little brother Rentarou, so she invites her and the others to her house on Sunday. Ren is smitten with the outwardly prim, proper Maki, but rude to the others, though Suzane practices talking back to him. The next day RIko’s mom finds her low-scoring exam and sends her to cram school, where she reunites with Jan and Satoshi.

Whenever you have a sibling of similar age and the opposite sex, that sibling is always going to be curious about your friends, and your friends might in turn be curious about you. Both parties represent different and usually separate sides of you; the family side and the social side, and therefore your sibling(s) and friends learn more about you through your interaction with them. Riko’s pretty much all talk when it comes to her popularity with the guys, but Rentarou actually is popular with the girls, and is pleasantly surprised when the first of Riko’s friends he meets is exactly the kind of upstanding girl you’d expect of Fuji Girl’s Academy.

We know there’s a lot more to Maki that would keep Ren up at night, but it’s a nice reminder that when she wants to she can keep up appearances like nobody’s business. In fact, we wouldn’t even call Maki’s behavior an act so much as her default behavioral mode; it only seems like an act because she’s so wild in the presence of Riko and the others. But here she’s on her best behavior, and could wrap Ren around her little finger if she chose to. Ren’s less smitten with the other girls (“Masssive”, “Tiny”, and “Bushy-brows”, as he calls them) but he later smooths things over with Eno, saying her brows look nice.

Rating: 6 (Good)

Love Lab – 04


With the ranks of the Love Lab increased, Maki suggests they re-commence love research. Sayo immediately tries to call into question Maki’s ability to serve as an expert on matters of love, but despite constantly prodding her, Maki only digs her hole deeper, keeping up the lie she’s a “love sniper.” Eno, meanwhile, lets slip that Maki’s dad runs a lingerie company. When a suggestion box request asks what the best gift for a boy is, the members distribute surveys to guys they know. Because the client was anonymous, they plan to hijack the PA system to announce the compiled results.

The addition of Eno and Sayo to the Love Lab gets off to a bumpy start, mostly because the “expert” on all matters romantic is in reality no expert at all, but is simply perpetuating Maki and Suzune’s assumptions about her. Riko’s the “Wild One”, so of course she’s had loads of suitors, right? Wrong. In fact, the only one with a boyfriend turns out to be Sayo, though she hasn’t seen him since they started dating six months ago, so that’s not much to work on. We derive a lot of pleasure from Sayo making Riko squirm.

Sayo makes it clear to Riko that she’s highly skepical of Riko’s romantic prowess. The thing is, she isn’t just being sadistic. Riko knows that it’s not right to keep perpetuating a lie to her friends, who eventually pick up on Sayo’s behavior and scold her for doubting Riko. This is a perfect opportunity to fess up, but Riko just can’t do it. You have to think if she doesn’t do so soon, at some point it’ll end up hurting her friends. In any case, it’s an unenviable position, perhaps best resolved by…dating a guy!

Rating: 6 (Good)