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The Fall 2022 Preview Guide
Love Flops

How would you rate episode 1 of
Love Flops ?
Community score: 2.6

What is this?

Asahi Kashiwagi is a student who one morning runs into a series of unusual accidents on the way to school — all in accordance with a vague television fortune he watched that morning, and all culminating with an unfortunate encounter with a girl. Coincidentally, all the girls he meets are new students or teachers at his school. Asahi's prior knowledge of the girls earns him the suspicion of Yoshio, a self-proclaimed "friend of Asahi." After school, he finds a love letter in his shoe locker, telling him to come to the cherry blossom tree behind school, again according to his morning fortune. Asahi heads to the cherry blossom tree to see what awaits him.

Love Flops is an original anime and streams on HIDIVE on Wednesdays.

How was the first episode?

James Beckett

One of the most challenging tasks a comedy can set for itself is to aim for really broad, almost parody levels of ridiculousness with its gags while still getting us to care about its characters. Both concepts exist almost in perfect opposition to one another, you see. In order to have your cast occupy an absurd cartoon world of nonsensical shenanigans, they can't operate like real, believable human beings, or else the jokes won't reach their zaniest potential. Likewise, if you want your viewers to actually give a shit about the people on screen, they can't just be two-dimensional joke factories, because there's nothing to relate to or empathize with there. There are very rare instances where stories have managed to walk this precious tightrope that divides stupidity and sincerity—the Wet Hot American Summer franchise is a perfect example. Most of the time, though, you get utter train wrecks, where the gags don't land and the relationships don't matter, and therefore the only thing one can do is settle in for the deeply unfunny and infuriating void that fills in the space where “fun” would normally reside.

I'll give you exactly one guess as to whether Love Flops is one of those rare successes or not. What else could I possibly say? Love Flops was doomed from the start, since its central premise is nothing more than “Useless Protagonist Ends Up in a Series of Sex Comedy Clichés That Somehow Lead to A Bunch of Women Falling In Love With Him After A Single, Terrible Day of Knowing Him”. That's it. There's no clever commentary on those hacky clichés, no subversion of expectations, nor anything else of merit or interest, for that matter. Asahi is such a black hole of personality that spending even this one sentence trying to describe him is a waste of my precious time on this earth. The only notable things about the man are that he is somehow too stupid to tell the difference between a handkerchief and women's lingerie, and that he is the only anime protagonist that I know of who has had the indignity of being violently raped by a dog for the sake of…well, I refuse to call it a joke, but the show sure seems to think it's funny.

The female “characters” don't fare any better, since the inanity of the plot and Asahi's own inability to even passingly imitate even one recognizable feature of a genuine human person force them to all be written as blithering idiots who cannot accomplish the most basic activities without getting their genitals shoved onto some rando's face with nearly lethal force and frequency. No matter where the story goes from here, there are only two reasonable possibilities for how their stories play out: They either continue to be nothing more than lazy clichés who exist purely to serve the puerile whims of a really dumb story, or Love Flops will reveal them all to be inhuman sex tulpas whose forms were created by a demonic television fortune teller robot thing for the specific purpose of ruining this one dude's life before sucking his soul essence right out of his meat straw.

You know what? If that second version of events truly came to pass, I might eat my words and give Love Flops another chance. We don't live in a universe that cares about things like “quality” or “basic human decency”, though, so I can only assume that Love Flops is exactly as pathetic and pointless as it claims to be.

Richard Eisenbeis

What kind of psychopath owns a banana toaster? I was so distracted by this I had to watch the opening scene twice to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. I spent literal minutes puzzling out what the purpose was of him having one in the larger plot—was it supposed to tell us something about Asahi as a person or the world he inhabits? But as it went on and I was exposed to more and more of the episode's “humor,” I realized that I was overthinking things. The point of the scene was him putting a phallic object inside a yonic one. That was the whole joke.

When it comes down to it, Love Flops seems to be trying to deconstruct the “lucky pervert” trope present in so many romcom anime—to show that fate forcing you to constantly sexually harass every female you encounter would suck (and get you slapped an awful lot). The problem is the anime doesn't go nearly far enough.

This concept could be used to make one hell of a horror anime, playing on that universal fear of being persecuted for something you didn't mean to do. It's doubly scary when it comes to something like sexual assault allegations which could very well stay with you your entire life. But instead of taking everything to the psychological extreme, Love Flops just decides to mock lucky pervert clichés by... just showing them, I guess? Oh, and we get to see Asahi raped by a dog twice. (I'm not sure how that relates to anything, except to show that the anime seems to forget unimportant things like its own themes as it trundles along.)

Other than that, there is obviously some kind of meta-mystery going on here—that this could be some kind of dream world or he's in a VR game. We get lots of little hints as the streets and stations are suspiciously empty and he doesn't remember normal daily life things like his friends' names or where he sits in class. Who knows, it could even turn out to be a compelling mystery. But at the moment, it's not enough to bring me back for week two—and neither is anything else in the show for that matter.

Nicholas Dupree

Anyone remember the show A Sister's All You Need? Specifically its first episode, which opened with two minutes of the most cursed material ever animated, a purposeful parody of little sister fetish light novels that was so powerfully abhorrent and over the top it got more than a few people to shut it off before they found out it was a joke. Watching this premiere was like seeing that opening sequence about eating omelets made from your little sister's eggs and drinking her breast milk, but stretched out to 22 minutes...and I still can't tell if it's meant to be a joke.

Because seriously, if somebody wanted to make a parody of lazy dating sim games and the ridiculously contrived ways they deliver cheap fanservice of flat characters to an increasingly desensitized audience, it would certainly look like Love Flops. Our main character gets an ominous fortune that portends his meeting with his harem of love interests, and by the time he arrives at school he has two different girls' underwear in his pocket, gotten facially familiar with two others' boobs/crotches, and watched one of them get dry-humped by a dog. By the END of the school day he's gotten slapped by every one of them and been anally violated by the same dog, then receives a totally unprompted love confession from a girl whose panties fell off when she bumped into him. Another girl has her bra stolen by a robot that delivers it straight to our hero for no observable reason. Again, there is an entire scene where our protagonist gets fucked in the butt by a dog as part of an episode-long running joke.

It's such an escalation of bad taste that I found myself wanting it to be some kind of satire – for the final minutes to pull back the curtain and reveal our hero was trapped inside a simulation by aliens, or being tortured in Hell for the sins of his past life. There were just enough obvious lines implying our main character is totally unfamiliar with the world around him that I was thinking he had been isekai'd into a shitty bishoujo game. I just wanted for there to be something, anything to tip me off that this wasn't a sincere attempt at making an ecchi harem comedy, to justify how goddamn miserable and hollow the whole thing was. There was just no way I could believe something this crummy and rote could be made earnestly in the year of our lord 2022. There had to be a twist on the way, right?

But that moment never comes, and with no further data I'm forced to conclude this was a genuine attempt to make a harem show, and hoping otherwise was just my coping mechanism. It's just a really, really bad show that consists entirely of cardboard clichés with boobs stapled on, and I had to sit through it. It was demoralizing to say the least, but at least it made sure I wasn't even slightly curious to see the next episode. The only thing I can say in the show's favor is the writers at least understand the basics of setup and punchline, as exemplified by our hero putting a single banana in a banana-shaped hard case to take to school, which inevitably ended up looking like a boner and scandalizing one of the girls. That's a terrible joke, but they took the time to set it up well before the payoff, and I can recognize good craft.

Other than that, though? No. God no. Part of me is still convinced this is all a long con, and at the end of episode three some big reveal will turn this on its head and explain how this wasn't a creatively bankrupt misfire of any original production after all. But that's wishful thinking, and instead of spending my prayers on this piece of crap, I think I'll just go back to asking for an anime of The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You.

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