Okay so obviously this is MAJOR SPOILERS for the ending of the series. But let’s be real here, most readers knew how this had to end a long, long time ago. To-LOVE-Ru has long been one of the worst offenders in terms of ecchi schlock harem romcoms and their complete lack of meaningful romantic developments. It’s not the first of its kind, it’s not the last of its kind, and it may not even be the worst of its kind, but it’s way up there and it’s (too) popular for what it is.
To recap the series from a meta perspective a bit: The original To-LOVE-Ru serialization began in April ‘06 in Weekly Shounen Jump, written by Saki Hasemi and illustrated by Kentaro Yabuki. It ran for just over three years, brazenly skirting the edge of acceptability for the magazine before getting axed. It got a complete non-ending, but that was understandable since they most likely already had plans for Darkness. What happened was that after getting axed in Jump, TLR jumped ship over to Jump Square, a monthly publication with much more relaxed standards. What this translates to is that the continuation series, To-LOVE-Ru Darkness, has nipples. Lots and lots of nipples, at every possible opportunity. And with the main protagonist being who he is - the very definition of a “lucky pervert” even while he swears up and down he’d never consciously act on his desires - there are LOTS of opportunities.
The Darkness series introduced several new characters (including yet another Black Cat character expy as well as a straight-up cameo from the protagonist) to complicate the already tangled web of relationships. Darkness also started off with one of the characters flat-out proposing a full, acknowledged harem - polygamy being legal on Deviluke - which Rito proceeds to spend the rest of the series trying to dodge. By the end of it, Rito has confessed to two girls, four girls (including them) have also confessed to him, and about six others are nursing crushes on him, only half of whom are aware of it.
So after finally realizing he’s actually conflicted on who he’s truly in love with, there’s one last nightcrawling scene with Momo and Nemesis, and then... this (the last chapter is being narrated as an email Momo is writing to Her Royal Momness):
Holy hell. It’s a non-ending even worse than the original series. Nobody gets chosen, the harem plan is neither accepted nor canceled, nobody has been rejected or even withdrawn from competition... absolutely nothing has been made permanent. It’s just over. It’s a complete flop, and apparently this isn’t another magazine switch, but rather rumor has it that Hasemi and Yabuki are dissolving as a creative duo as of the end of Darkness.
It’s a massive middle finger to both the characters and the audience.
It’s the principal running mostly-naked down the street with a porno mag (yet again).
And if you’ve been reading To-LOVE-Ru since the beginning, well, you kinda deserve it. Sorry (not sorry).