Looking back, it’s kind of amazing to think about how Xebec unleashed both Kanokon and To Love-Ru on the unsuspecting anime fanbase during the same very same anime season. Kanokon is probably even to this day the most extreme ecchi series on BD, and while To Love-Ru was far tamer, it would spawn sequels that would eventually push the envelope for the genre.
Torrent. Seeders needed!
Production Company: Xebec
Vintage: Spring 2008
Prior to the Spring of 2008, Xebec had a nearly non-nude track record. Their very first production back in the mid-90s was the fun Slayers-type derivative Sorcerer Hunters (a show I really need to watch as I loved Slayers), which did include a hot springs OVA at the end that had a ton of (awesome) nudity. After that though, pretty much non-nude all the way. Respectable, even. Martian Successor Nadesico, Dai-Guard, Love Hina (!), DN Angel, Negima… as well as a host of younger age demographic animes you might have seen on Cartoon Network such as Zoids, Shaman King, and two Mega Man anime adaptations. To put things in perspective, when To Love-Ru and Kanokon began airing early in 2008, Xebec was far less associated with nudity than JC Staff was at the time.
Fast forward five years later, and roughly half of Xebec’s releases since then have been of the nude fanservice variety. There’s a reason ecchi fans got super excited when they heard that Xebec was helming Maken Ki 2, they are simply the best in the business at what they do, not to mention, a couple of their ecchi series (Kanokon, Ladies vs. Butlers) have had the most spank-tastic extras ever gifted to fans on BD. If Maken Ki has specials on BD, I fully expect them to be mind-blowing. When Xebec jumped into the ecchi business, they didn’t screw around…
… That is, unless you are talking about To Love-Ru season 1. Talk about a show that screams re-release. The To Love-Ru manga cleverly contains a lot of scenes that could be animated for natural nudity censorship (steamy bathing scenes, soap suds and long hair, etc). The anime series took advantage of this, but on the “uncensored” DVD release they only partially removed the steam, basically forcing viewers to squint for nipple sightings. Maybe they were going for a voyeur feel, but given their added hesitance in showing certain characters nude, I got the impression that the director (in his first nude ecchi effort) just got cold feet and was overwhelmed by the massive amount of nudity in the source material.
Season one is very sparing on the nudity for both Mikan and Yami, though in later seasons the hesitance is dropped for Yami and (unfortunately) increased for Mikan. The series goes out of their way to make Mikan’s character nipple sighting free in Motto and Darkness, despite the fact that in the manga her nudity level goes up and up and up. I read somewhere (probably Sankaku complex) how the anime series director talked in an interview about his hesitance to follow the manga’s path on Mikan, basically because he just thought “it was too much” or something like that. Given the crazy shit that almost every other ecchi series is doing that pushes the envelope far more, I just don’t get why he would make a big deal out of Mikan’s character staying non-nude. In particular, I would have thought series like Strike Witches would have made Mikan’s nudity a total non-issue.
The irony is, Mikan actually is drawn nude with nipples in season one. Three times no less! I won’t diagram it, but if you watch the compilation, you’ll see where it happens.
Maybe it’s all genius marketing to work fans up before going completely inhibition free in To Love-Ru Darkness II, whenever that happens. That’s what I’m hoping for.
It’s really a shame they kept so much damn steam in the DVD/BD version, because underneath that almost impenetrable white haze are some fantastically drawn nipples and natural looking curves. Given how good Xebec is at drawing natural curves, they made the perfect choice to adapt the To Love-Ru series, which is known for it’s artwork and natural beauty style of eroticism.
This video was made with a (legit) 1080p encode, which was very hard to find. I had to track it down on a Japanese file-sharing site. Whoever encoded it kind of fucked up though, so there are parts that look a bit sloppy. I had to spend several days cleaning up splotchy frames just to make it look this good. It’s still a mediocre at best 1080p, but the 720p versions were mediocre by 720p standards, so I’m pretty happy with the end result.
If you watch the Koihime Musou video I released yesterday, you saw my “steam removal” filtering for the first time. There is a lot, lot, lot more of it in this, and the results range from “noticeable difference” to “shockingly revealing.” Those decensoring banners may take a little getting used to, but it’s pretty cool seeing what those nipples actually look like for a change, instead of having to squint and use a little bit of imagination.