What if Power Rangers was an enemies-to-lovers story instead? What if the Red Ranger fell for his villainous opponent? Love After World Domination takes a traditional fanfiction premise into the overly expressive medium of animation. Not only is this series full of charm, but it has one of the best depictions of a healthy relationship I’ve seen in an anime.
Based on the manga written by Hiroshi Noda with art by Takahiro Wakamatsu, Love After World Domination follows the ongoing fight between the evil Secret Society Gekko and the costumed heroes Gelato 5. During one of their many battles, Red Gelato, Fudo Aikawa, realizes he may have feelings for Gekko’s Reaper Princess, Desumi Magahara. Fudo, after discussing his feelings with Professor Big Gelato, confronts Desumi that night. Having never experienced such emotional honesty before, let alone from her enemy, she assumes it is a ploy to fool her.
However, once Desumi realizes he is being genuine, the two form a bond that neither could have imagined.
Love After World Domination features its fair share of cheesy Power Rangers comedy and action. Although, the series is more focused on the romance at its center.
Due to their occupations, Fudo and Desumi have to keep a tight lid on their relationship. There is the ever present risk of their bosses finding them out and forcing them apart. Most of the series’ drama revolves around this. Fudo and Desumi do their best to keep their true identities a secret from their friends, co-workers and families.
The dynamic between the two leads is what makes the show. Fudo and Desumi have incredible chemistry, despite their immediate differences.
Desumi has trouble putting her feelings into words, often attempting to bury her emotions. She often results to physical action to convey how she feels. Despite her appearance, Desumi is a sweet cinnamon roll who cares deeply for other people. Her training as one of Gekko’s princesses just makes it difficult to express her kindness.
To contrast, Fudo is an athletic meathead, comparing nearly everything to his workout routine or job. His straight-forward, no-nonsense attitude makes it easy for him to talk about his feelings for Desumi. His bluntness dismantles the miscommunication clichés found in so many other romances.
That does not mean Love After World Domination is without them. However, those mix-ups never last more than one episode, unless another character is preventing Fudo from being there for Desumi.
Much of the series’ charm comes from director Kazuya Iwata (Rascal Does Not Believe in Bunny Girl Senpai, Your Lie in April) and the animation team at Project No. 9 (Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki, My Stepmom’s Daughter is My Ex). The Super Sentai (the original name for Power Rangers in Japan) motifs present in the manga are heightened in the anime, furthering that visual flourish. The art direction throughout the hero and villain hideouts truly makes the suit-up sequences pop. When coupled with the score by Ryunosuke Kasai (Miss Shachiku and the Little Baby Ghost) and Satoshi Hono (Aggretsuko, Parallel World Pharmacy) and sound direction by Satoshi Motoyama (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki), Love After World Domination elicits that familiar feeling.
The English performances further elevated the series’ comedic moments, while delivering on the emotional character drama.
Much of this rests on the leads, Lindsay Seidel (Desumi Magahara) and Anthony DiMascio (Fudo Aikawa).
Seidel captures Desumi’s adorableness so perfectly. I was only familiar with her roles in Assassination Classroom and My Hero Academia before this. Voicing such a loudly expressive character (Desumi yells quite a bit) must have been a bit taxing on her voice. Despite that, Seidel pulled off those hilarious screams, making for some of the most memorable scenes in the series.
Just like their characters’ writing, though, it is Seidel’s chemistry with DiMascio (The Vampire Dies in No Time, Fruit of Evolution) that is the driving force behind the dub. DiMascio’s Fudo holds this emotional maturity in his deep-sounding voice that contrast perfectly with Seidel’s more high-pitched delivery.
Many of the secondary performances shined as well. Most notably, to me, were Macy Anne Johnson (Pink Gelato), Cris George (Culverin Bear), Jason Lord (Green Gelato), Hope Endrenyl (Steel Princess) and Reagan Murdock (Supreme Leader Bosslar).
As great as the performances are, Love After World Domination‘s English dub owes its excellence to ADR (automated dialogue replacement) director Jad Saxton (Tomodachi Game, The Vampire Dies in No Time) and script writer Clint Beckham (One Piece, Clannad).
If you are a fan of enemies-to-lovers or want to revisit the Power Rangers experience through an older lens, then Love After World Domination might be as perfect for you as it was for me.
This series delivered exactly what I wanted from it. It may be full of cheese, and the characters are not the most complex but even with its imperfections, Love After World Domination may be one of my favorite romance anime ever.
Love After World Domination is available subbed and dubbed on Crunchyroll.