Love Hina

December 16, 2006

I can’t seem to put my finger on it. Somehow when I watch Love Hina, it never ceases to remind me of Ai Yori Aoshi. Maybe it’s because of the harem thing. Other than that, most of everything else is quite contrasting. From the characters down to the storyline to the love triangle. Hmm… Must be the harem thing.
But this series is a much earlier production compared to Ai Yori Aoshi, aired somewhere in year 2000. However, the adventures of this comedy romance genre are more exaggerated, if I should say. It isn’t totally that down to earth but at the same time it isn’t so nonsensical like Excel Saga that everything seems outrages and out-of-this-world. So I kinda guess that this show is somewhat in between that 2 other anime series mentioned.
Besides the usual 24 episode tv series with the usual half an hour length, Love Hina also has several OVAs and a couple of those almost and hour-long specials. Maybe in a way this partly reminds me of Ai Yori Aoshi too. Whereby the OVAs and specials seemed more like the series’ ‘extensions’, offering nothing really new. Except for Love Hina Again, the rest felt like ‘it isn’t complete if you don’t watch it, but it’s okay too if you didn’t’.
Basically, this is what the story is about. In episode 1, we’re introduced to this 20 year old guy named Keitaro Urashima, who’s parents are really fed-up with him for failing to gain entry into the prestigious Tokyo University. Not once, but TWICE!!! Why wouldn’t they? After all, they’ve spend so much money and time on their only child and they didn’t get the results they wanted. And to ease their financial burden, they ‘forced’ Keitaro to work in order to help pay their living expenses. Tough luck. But I guess he’s gotta start learning these kinda things and that life isn’t a bed of roses.
Why is Keitaro so bent on entering Tokyo University, or Toudai in short? That’s because 15 years ago he made a promise to some girl of his age at that time, that they’ll both enter Toudai and find happiness there together. Ah, such bliss and innocent love. Unfortunately, that girl had to follow her parents and move away. But the thing is, Keitaro forgot to ask her name. And he doesn’t remember her face well either. Duh! *Smack*Smack*Triple Smack*. My guess is that this guy is somewhat of a klutz/idiot when he’s small and he looks like he never changed too when he grows up, although he really does try his best. And so for 15 years, he never knew that girl’s name. And probably he’s hoping that that girl would one day pop up right in front of his face and say, "Hey, I’m that girl, you know. Now we can go to Toudai together". Like that will happen.
However, Keitaro receives a phone call from his grandma who runs an all-girls dormitory named Hinata Inn, which is a really really really large inn. Yeah, it even has an outside hot spring. She’s asking him to come to Hinata Inn for an ‘urgent matter’. Well, no choice, though. Since his parents are gonna kick him out of the house anyway. And since he’s got no where else to go, I suppose this might as well do. How nostalgic it is when he arrives. Yup, this is also the place where he made that promise 15 years ago, and he barely remembers the place.
Unfortunately, before he can settle things down, his grandma has already made him the manager of Hinata Inn, much to his shock and horror. That’s because his grandma wants to go travel round the world and sees things. That’s the ‘urgent matter’? Well, since she’s quite old and has not much time life, I guess, it’s quite urgent. Haha. Just kidding. Plus, since this is an all-girls dormitory, how would the all-girls occupants feel if a guy is being placed as a manager to run the inn? Not very appropriate, isn’t it? So the usual protest and ‘I-can’t-accept-a-guy-as-our-manager’ kinda feeling. Well, most of them would felt that way at first, but eventually throughout the series would learn to tolerate and accept him as one. Though, I’m not sure the rationale why Keitaro’s grandma would choose him to run the inn, but according to her, if the inn doesn’t have a manager, it will be closed down. So no choice. Those girls would have to live and put up with him.
So let’s briefly go through the colourful occupants of Hinata Inn. Firstly, we have Naru Narusegawa. Nope, that’s not a typo error. From first looks, you’ll probably guess that she and Keitaro has that ‘uneasy’ kinda love. Meaning that, from the outside, it looks like they hate each other and won’t get along. But as the series progresses, you’ll find that the ‘passionate hate’ (if that’s what you call it) will turn into a full bloom love for them. But before that happens, Naru has a fiery temper, thus don’t go round messing with this girl. You’ll be at the receiving end when she gets violent. And Keitaro found that out the hard way. Did he really learn? I mean, getting punched and kicked by her, flying away in high-speed exagerration and screaming passed the clouds in nearly every episode (maybe all of them). Yeah, that’s become the trademark of the series too. Due to some misunderstanding, whether it’s Keitaro’s fault or not (being perverted or just plain jealousy), he’ll get ‘blown’ away with their ‘super punch’, mostly from Naru. Poor thing.
And just like Keitaro, Naru has also failed to gain entry into Toudai twice. At first, you might think that there’s some connection between her and that girl Keitaro made the promise with 15 years ago, because of some subtle and potential hints here and there in the series. Even Keitaro has thoughts of her that instead of growing up to be a smart and pretty lady (just like himself, instead of growing up to be a smart handsome guy), maybe that girl has grown up into something less perfect, and it may all be under Keitaro’s nose. Well, it still isn’t clear at the end, though.
Another occupant of Hinata Inn is Konno Mitsune AKA Kitsune. Just like her nickname, meaning fox in Japanese, Kitsune can be quite crafty and cunning. Though, generally she’s quite a nice and polite girl, she can really scheme and con people when she puts her mind into it. Besides that, she loves to drink sake (and getting drunk after that!) and gamble. One of those ‘money-crazy’ characters but not too extreme as she usually squanders it all in the end. As the series progresses, she tries to come up with schemes to make Naru and Keitaro be together. And hey, can she really see with those eyes closed all the time? Maybe it’s her character. It’ll be a strange sight when she does open them because I’m so strangely used to see her eyes like that most of the time.
A new tenant for Hinata Inn is the shy, innocent and reserved 13 year old Shinobu Maehara. She makes her appearance in episode 2. Coming from a troubled home as her parents are getting a divorced, furthermore with no friends at school, she ‘meets’ Keitaro when the latter inadvertently sketch a picture of her in a forlorn mood. But Keitaro got embarrassed and left his sketchbook when she saw what he’s doing. Because she’s too shy, she has problems returning the sketchbook to him. But eventually she manages to pluck up her courage and do so. Plus, she manages to convince her parents who’re moving away, to let her stay at Hinata Inn. She looks up to Keitaro as her senpai and has a secretly huge crush on him. And she blushes innocently whenever she hears lovey-dovey things or spaces out when she finds out about love related or linked circumstances towarts Keitaro. This girl… so innocent. Reminds me of Aoi from Ai Yori Aoshi. And just like her, she does the laundry and cooking at Hinata Inn.
Making her real appearance in episode 3 is Motoko Aoyama. She’s your typical no nonsense, serious and formal kinda girl. And yes, why do most animes must have that demon slaying, katana wielding girl? Is it a must? And her sword skills are so terror that dunno with some super multi-syllable technique can cause rocks to split, trees into half, things flying away, among others. But that’s what Motoko is. And she’s not very fond of Keitaro at first and could not accept him as the inn’s manager. Well, that is, when he sees her half naked. And she’d doesn’t hesitate to take out her rage at him for such pervertness (even though it’s by accident and not intentional). As usual, she slowly comes to accept Keitaro as the manager. Oh, by the way, Motoko is actually afraid of turtles. Yes, turtles! Some sort of a phobia which makes her go into a frenzy and weak. Weird.
Another weird inhabitant of Hinata Inn is a foreign transfer student by the name of Kaolla Su. She hails from a fictionous kingdom called Molmol. The same age as Shinobu, Kaolla’s character is totally opposite of hers. Yup, she’s hyperactive, over-genki, very playful and most of the time wants to eat. Yeah, because she’s naive too, whenever she hear some terms or jargons that she doesn’t know, she’ll reply something like ‘is it good to eat’ or ‘does it taste delicious’. Haha, looks like she really thinks about food. Plus, her room’s a jungle. Yes, a jungle! Be careful, you might get lost in it. And oddly enough too, she’s some sort of a mechanical genius, creating lots of mechas and inventions which sometimes go out of control causing havoc for the rests. Reminds me of Chika of Ai Yori Aoshi, but an extreme version. Oh, there’s another thing weird about her is that during red moon phenomenas, she’ll turn into a more serious adult version of herself. I really don’t get this part even though she explained it.
Keitaro’s not gonna run the inn all by himself, is he? Luckily, he’s got his stoic cigarette smoking (if not she’s always bitting some stick) aunt Haruka Urashima to help him around with things. She provides advice to Keitaro and the other girls from time to time. Though her actual age isn’t known, she’s quite insecure about her age. And even though she looks young, Keitaro always seem to call her ‘obasan’ meaning aunty, and usually gets pounded by her. Can’t be calling her his onee-san, right? Uh… perhaps she’ll prefer that. Dunno. Plus, I wonder why she didn’t become Hinata Inn’s manager in the first place. Maybe there’s some explanation, but I guess I wasn’t paying attention if there was one. And who’re all those senior folks hanging around the Hinata Inn area. Sometimes they seem ominous, sometimes like for comic relief. Yeah, they don’t talk much, sometimes just a grunt or moan or a short comment. Who’re they really?
Other characters include Seta Noriyasu, who’s an ex-tutor for Naru. His appearance half way through the series in episode 14, seems to threaten and throw that Keitaro-Naru relationship into jeopardy. Although Keitaro and Naru aren’t lovey-dovey yet, but Kitsune’s plan to put them together is being slightly delayed. Seems that Naru once has a huge crush on Seta and that time she thinks of him more than just a teacher-student relationship. But he left to go do some archaelogical digs around the world, leaving Naru heartbroken. But overall, Seta’s a good guy and an understanding and cool one too (that’s probably why Naru likes him in the first place), though he has terrible driving skills and usually crashes his van into something or anything. Maybe he use them as brakes.
Seta has an adopted American daughter, Sarah McDougal. When she and Seta arrived back at Japan, their coincidental meeting with Keitaro makes Sarah abhor him a little. Yup, she tries to make Keitaro’s life a miserable one, though Keitaro still tolerates it all. Sarah’s actually quite protective of Seta, clinging around him most of the time. Probably why hates those who seemingly wants to take him away from her. She’s scared of being alone all over again, that’s why. Through time, just like the rest, becomes more receptive of Keitaro but she still views him as a dork. Later too, she became quite close friends with Kaolla and the 2 become like terrible twins causing some havoc here and there and most of the time, she and Kaolla go explore secret and hidden passages of Hinata Inn. Uh-huh, there’re really lots and lots of those secret passages and some even leading to the most unlikely of places and bizarre spots which make you go ‘why-on-earth-would-someone-dig-a-passageway-here’.
Here’s another lovable weirdo, Mutsumi Otohime. Just like Keitaro and Naru, she also failed her entrance exam twice. But she’s actually an intelligent and smart person. Then why did she fail? That’s because she forgot to write her name on her exam sheet. *Mini explosion*. Haih… So she alongside with Keitaro and Naru formed some study group together and call themselves something like 3rd year ronins. Besides that, Mutsumi reminds me so much of Hyatt of Excel Saga. That’s because she too has a habit of fainting which seems like dying! She also looks and sounds dreamy. Oh, the similarity. Looking frail from the outside, she’s actually quite a nice and soft-spoken girl, though she may be a complete blur case and air head sometimes.
Many would see her as Naru’s competition for Keitaro, but that’s actually not the case. She doesn’t view him more than a friend and though at the near of the series, there’re hints that Mutsumi may be the girl that Keitaro made the promise, because she too wanted to enter Toudai due to a promise she made to a boy long ago. However, she’s just emulating that scene (she’s observing Keitaro and that girl at that time) and used it as her motivation to enter Toudai. So, is that girl Naru? I’m not pretty sure either. She has a weird habit of just simply kissing people. And when she did it first to Keitaro, imagine the misconception Naru has. But she realized that her kisses meant as a symbol of frienship and apology rather than a romantic one when Mutsumi kissed Naru later. No, it’s not going to be a yuri relationship. She has a pet turtle, Tama, whom she can communicate with (weird) and the weirdest part of the turtle is that, IT CAN FLY!!!! What the?! A flying turtle?! Now that’s really really weird. Tama becomes Hinata Inn’s pet later when Mutsumi gives it to them and seems to stick around Kaolla and Keitaro more often.
Then there’s that loser guy Kentaro Sakata, who’s supposed to be Naru’s ex-classmate and he has a crush on her. Making his appearance in episode 7, no doubt that Kentaro is much more good looking, richer and smooth talker than Keitaro but due to unfortunate circumstances, he always lose out. Looks like unknowingly Naru’s still attracted to a dork. Hahaha. Just joking. But because Kentaro has caused some damage to the inn during his earlier ‘duel’ with Keitaro for Naru, he has no choice but to become Haruka’s worker (more like slave) to pay off his debts. But it seems that he won’t be paying them off so soon as you can see him even working in Haruka’s beach tea house and other places. In the end, Kentaro gives up his pursue for Naru’s affection. And because of Kentaro’s name which sounds very closely to Keitaro, the rest of the girls usually gets mixed up and calls him some funny different name, much to Kentaro’s annoyance.
Then there’s Keitaro’s childhood friends, Masayuki Haitani and Kimiaki Shirai. They’re actually just minor characters in the series and don’t seem to play any significant role. Maybe it was to make sure that this series won’t be an obvious harem. But there’s Seta and Kentaro, right? Anyway, those 2 guys seem to tease Keitaro sometimes like how he still fails to gain entry to Toudai. By the way, I have a hard time trying to differentiate the 2, that’s because they look so similar. And they’re not even twins! Ah, maybe it’s because of the minor role thing so the producers didn’t want to give much attention and details to them.
Phew! Does those character blogs seemed brief enough? Unless you’re a fanatic fan of the series I’m sure you can find and obtain more data about those characters and other minor details which isn’t that obvious or important and would make me go ‘should-I-actually-know-that’ even if it ever comes to surface, here and there over the internet or from other obsessed know-it-all-and-about-Love-Hina enthusiasts.
As mentioned before, most of the antics and misadventures of Keitaro and the rest of the girls are somewhat exaggerated and far fetched. But that’s the main driving force which makes the series quite funny and entertaining, though at times those elaborated plots and feats made me raise my eyebrow and go something like "What the? Is that possible at all?".
Thus, most of those plots and adventures helped in the development of the story in the series. Like in episode 4 where the girls of Hinata Inn found out that Keitaro’s actually not a Toudai student much to their disappointment. Yeah, previously he tricked them into saying that he’s one just to justify his appointment as the inn’s manager.
And some Keitaro-Naru moments in episode 5-6 when the duo once again fail their entrance exams and decides to take a journey away from Hinata Inn. And unfortunately they coincidentily meet themselves and Mutsumi, who also happened to fail. Yeah, some weird trip back to Mutsumi’s hometown in Okinawa. That’s a long way from Tokyo. A lot of those near misses which makes you want to pull out your hair and say "Come on, say it already!". So frustrating. But I guess you’ll have to wait a little longer (at the near end of the series, that is) just to see the magic between them take off. At the same time the other inhabitants of Hinata Inn decides to go on a search and rescue mission after the 2 fail to come back. Not without getting lost first.
Then there’re those episodes which focus a little more on a particular girl as part of the character’s development. Like Motoko‘s in episode 3, 8, 12 and 17. In episode 8 is some strange RPG dream-like world and its ridiculousness is annoying Motoko like how most of the other characters become child-like and they’re supposed to be on a quest to save Naru from some evil dragon king. But in the end, Motoko learns a little more about the good side of Keitaro and some clues about her elder sister. In episode 12, Motoko dresses in a more feminine dress. That’s because her usual clothes are all in the laundry. And she gets really annoyed when all the guys she passed by quoting how cute she is. The weird part of this episode is some mecha-Tama (huh?), created by Kaolla, creating havoc at Hinata Inn. Thus, Mokoto has to conquer her turtle-phobia and stop the rampagng beast. And in episode 17, while taking on some trip to some island, Naru gets possessed by some evil spirit who’s lost and bitter at love. And it’s up to Motoko to try and perfect the use of some super terror sword technique whereby with a swing of the sword, the blow will destroy the evil spirit and not the host’s body.
Shinobu focused episodes are 2 and 13. In episode 13, Shinobu tries to get her first kiss from Keitaro. That’s because to her horror, she’s just witnessed Keitaro and Naru kissed! Actually they Keitaro’s gonna kiss an unconscious Naru when she woke up and punched him away. So I suppose as a curious young kid she wants to know what a kiss tastes like. And based from the information she got (particularly from Kaolla), it’s supposed to taste like lemons or marshmallow. Is it? Not if you have those fruit flavoured lipsticks. And Kaolla’s trying to help Shinobu get her first kiss from Keitaro (as seen in Shinobu’s sketchbook) by inventing some weird kissing machine which makes the person weariong that device ‘forcefully’ kiss the other person. Of course Shinobu’s scared and ran away. She was hurt when she thought Kaolla’s making fun of her and trying to take away her precious things and worse of all, Kaolla kissed Shinobu! Oh, the horror! Her first kiss, stolen by some over-energetic girl. Don’t worry, it won’t turn out to be yuri. But in the end she realized that Kaolla’s a friend and was just trying to help her. Looks like Shinobu won’t be thinking about getting that kiss anytime soon.
Kaolla’s transformation into an adult version is in episode 10. Here, the residents of Hinata Inn and it’s surrounding areas are being terrorized by some mysterious women and her pet alligator. At first, they thought it’s Kaolla, but it’s revealed that she’s actually Kaolla’s older sister, Amalla Su, who’s trying to take her back to the Molmol kingdom. But after the 2 sisters battle, Kaolla realized that she didn’t have to grow up so fast and just be her kiddie self again and continues to have fun.
Then in episode 19, her brother Prince Ranba Ru, comes to visit her. And everyone mistakens Ranba for Keitaro because… he looks exactly like him, only much tanned. Furthermore, Ranba is so much more polite and refined and the rest thinks Keitaro must’ve bumped his head or something. Maybe that’s why Kaolla likes Keitaro in the first place. Poor Keitaro. He’s being through a lot of ‘suffering’ here due to some mistaken identity. Ranba comes looking for Kaolla wanting to make her his bride or else he can’t be the emperor of Molmol kingdom. But Kaolla propose a contest and if she wins she won’t marry him, vice versa. A lot of Kaolla’s mecha turtles flying and firing missiles here and there but Kaolla lost. However, she won’t accept it and ran away. Then some talk with Keitaro something about Kaolla growing up at her own pace thingy and not forcing her into some marriage as she’s always looked up to Ranba as her big brother and something like this is something ‘too sudden’. I guess Ranba accepted it. And the funny part was, the last part where Amalla and Kaolla (who’s gonna go back for a short visit) wrongfully brought Keitaro back to their Molmol kingdom, even though Keitaro vehemently protest that it’s the real him. Yeah, Ranba switched places with Keitaro and said something like he wanted to enjoy a little more peace here. And those 2 realized it too late when Kaolla returned to Hinata Inn. Haha. And Ranba got a taste of Naru and Kaolla’s super punch as they asked him to leave immediately as he’s overstayed his welcome. Hahaha.
Kitsune‘s is episode 9. Well, not really actually. If you look at the fact that she plays detective with Kaolla as her assistant, to find the Hinata Inn’s stolen rent money. Yeah, just like Sherlock Holmes as she explains and unravel clues about who may have stolen the money. Well, actually it’s Kitsune herself. Yup. She planned the whole thing and when Keitaro panicked she had to change her plan and looked like it was stolen. Sneaky. At least she came clean in the end.
Even Naru has her share of the spot light, literally. In episode 11, Naru won some contest and becomes a singer. Soon she becomes a really famous idol sweeping all across Japan. And with Kentaro as her manager she’s become so busy that Keitaro’s a little worried that she may’ve decided to forget all about studying for the Toudai entrance exams. Oh course, Keitaro learned that she can’t really handle all that pressure as she rushed back to Hinata Inn hiding from her manager. And when some photo showing Naru pounding Keitaro is made public, Naru’s dropped from it all and she happily returns to Hinata Inn.
Then there’s that exaggerated episode 16 whereby the whole gang including Seta and Sarah doing some Journey To The West play at some beach, entertaining all those children there. Yeah, the whole play seems hilariously one kind and that Keitaro guy’s so spaced out thinking about the Naru-Seta thing. Eh, what kind of guy are you? You can’t be a guy like that lah!
Also there’s that 1 episoder appearance only. In episode 20, Keitaro discovers some doll in some old and abandoned section of the Hinata Inn. The thing is, that doll, Moe, can talk and move on it’s own. Weird thing is, only Keitaro can see it talk and move! The other girls think he’s kinda mad talking and playing with that doll. And Naru thinks that he may be falling for a doll since he’s spending so much time with it. Actually Moe just wanted to be with her master who promised to come back for her, who’s Keitaro’s great grandpa or something (who resembles so much like Keitaro), and Keitaro’s such a nice guy that he obliged. But don’t worry, in the end, Moe was happy and turned back into a ‘normal’ doll. Normal meaning, one which don’t move and talk on it’s own lah.
In episode 21-22, the occupants of Hinata Inn received an unexpected guest. It’s Naru’s little sister, Mei. Actually, they’re not blood related. Naru’s dad remarried again and in a way they became sisters. She came to Hinata Inn so that she could take back her sister to live with their parents once again. Yup, at first she tried to break up Naru and Keitaro , but Mei got the wrong guy. Poor Kentaro. Then later she temporarily stayed at Hinata Inn to try and persuade her to go back, but of course Naru’s pretty adamant and won’t go back just like that. Then we find out something like Mei being lonely so if she decides to go study abroad, Naru would come back and everyone would be happy. But Mei eventually realized that she’s happy here and Naru doesn’t hate her.
Before episode 22 ends, a shocking twist of events is revealed. You know that yellow raccoon-like stuff doll (which they named Liddo-kun) which belongs to Naru all the while, as she’s washing it, Mutsumi’s name is revealed on it. Could it be? Yeah, that stuff doll is sometimes used as some figurative metaphor in some story-telling or some narrative explanation. And usually those 3 Liddo-kuns have some weird resemblance to Keitaro, Naru and Mutsumi.
Before the series ends, in episode 23, Keitaro, Naru and Mutsumi are supposed to go have a look at their mock exam results together. But Naru didn’t want to as the other 2 went ahead then. Looks like Naru’s having that dilemma of whether or not to tell Keitaro about that picture and his promised one is actually Mutsumi. To make matters worse Keitaro’s grandma hjas returned from her round the world trip and may take back her manager job. Which means, Keitaro may have to go home. So a lot of deep thinking and analysis from Keitaro with the times he spent here. But I think those other girls too got used to him and probably feel reluctant for him to leave.
Furthermore, Hinata Inn’s under heavy renovation and most of the occupants are temporarily living some place else. And Keitaro’s crashing at Mutsumi’s place. Naru who decided to tell him the truth then heads down there only to find the 2 in compromising position, much to her shock and sadness. Actually, Mutsumi’s who’s taking a bath, came out, slipped and fell on Keitaro. Such timing. But instead of punching him away, Naru just ran away with Keitaro pursuing her shortly. When he managed to catch up with her, in her haste without thinking, she confessed that she liked him and kissed him! Woah! When Mutsumi arrives, Naru just took off, leaving a shock Keitaro standing there.
So in episode 24 it seems that Keitaro has jumped to a conclusion that Mutsumi’s his promised girl. And it seemed that way since Mutsumi’s quite cool about it. A lot of spacing out from the characters. Keitaro and Naru were just indecisive and depressed. Also other Hinata Inn occupants try to knock some sense into them like don’t run away and stuffs like that. I supposed those 2 accepted each other (though they didn’t say it direct) and when they went back to Hinata Inn, Keitaro found out that he’s being officially recognized as Hinata Inn’s manager. Yeah, he’s got his named embossed on some small wooden signboard. And everyone’s delighted that he’s back and everyone’s back too! Looks like it’s gonna be Keitaro and Naru.
In the closing scenes, we see Mutsumi’s explanation to a surprised Naru how she’s not the girl Keitaro promised. Something like he got mixed up with it and Mutsumi got inadvertently dragged into it. So who is that girl? Dunno. It still remains a mystery. Finally as Mutsumi said, it could be many girls (a little shock from Naru there) from his memories. And they too are part of his memories. Ah… And what better way to end things with Keitaro getting another one of Naru’s super punch when she saw Keitaro sleeping next to Mutsumi. Haha. Dunno whether it’s on purpose or not. But I suppose he really got a ‘rude’ awakening. Too late to explain. The fist is faster than the mouth.
As mentioned, the series didn’t actually end there. There’s this OVA episode 25 and it’s mainly on Motoko. Her beautiful and elder sister, Tsuruko, arrives at Hinata Inn to take Motoko back to the dojo. But Motoko’s not ready to go back yet. Since her sister’s not the kind who listens, Motoko had to make up the biggest lie she ever had. That is, she told Tsuruko that she’s getting married to Keitaro. WHAT THE?! Hey, wouldn’t Naru get mad? Actually, she and Mei went out of town to go visit the graves. So over this half an hour, we see how uneasy Motoko tries to convince her sister that the 2 are lovey-dovey like cooking for him and even taking a bath together. Why uneasy? That’s because her sis is watching and scrutinizing every their every move together! Who wouldn’t, right?
Just then Naru came back and misinterpret the whole thing. Luckily Tsuruko explained but still, you know that look from Naru. So in order not for Motoko to go back with her sis, she needs to beat her. Yup, some sword duelling battle between the 2. And somehow during the battle, when Motoko seems to be losing, Naru wanting to help Motoko unsheath some evil sword which possessed her. And it’s up to Motoko to seal the evil and save Naru. Before she uses her ultimate technique, she swings Keitaro towards Naru and they both locked lips. That’s when she seized the opportunity. When everything’s back to normal, Tsuruko realized that Motoko’s gotten stronger and better and well, allows her to continue living at Hinata Inn.
Of the several episode specials, I’ve only watched the approximately 50 minutes Christmas special. Christmas is just around the corner. And there’s that saying that if one confesses on Christmas Eve, that wish will come true. Honestly, there’re too many of such sayings just for convenience of the storyline. And you might have guessed it, Keitaro’s planning to do it. Being so overjoyed, he fell down and sprained his leg. That guy. Partly too, he thought that Naru’s gonna do the same to him too. Yeah, he prematurely heard about some love letter thingy.
Well, since the whole jin-jang gang wants to see their confession, they secretly followed Naru holding some present and that love letter up to some building. To their shock and horror, they saw Naru and Seta! Kitsune in a rage went over to ask Seta for some explanation. Naru ran away, passing a shocked and spacing out Keitaro. Some tension there. Well, a depressed Keitaro along with Shinobu went somewhere else. Meanwhile, the others read that love letter and found out that it was just an appreciation letter from Naru to Seta, though she mentioned that she once had a crush on him, but now she wants to love another rather than to be loved. That’s what you get when you jump to conclusions too fast.
As the other girls split up and rushed to find Keitaro and Naru, Shinobu thinking that this may be a good chance to get up close with Keitaro, albeit she has that guilty feeling. But I guess she realized that Keitaro has his eyes on Naru. Also, we see Shinobu’s dad as some taxi driver and well later, the 2 went on a father-daughter bonding thing. Before that, Kitsune manage to get that letter to them in time. And so the rest of the episode we’ll see Keitaro’s indecisiveness to go meet Naru at some place at some point. So in the end, at some crowded place they had trouble finding each other. Naru used some nearby camera crew and spill out all those lovey-dovey things over some big outdoor tv screen live, like how she wants to be with him and go to Toudai with him, but short of saying ‘I love you’. Eventually the 2 meet face to face. Some staring. But they’re being interrupted when the rest of the gang reunited. And they all went home.
Then there’s that episode recap whereby they cram all 24 episodes of the tv series into 1 30 minute episode. Well, I didn’t watch this one either because… it’s a recap! I felt it might be better to just read a summary rather than to watch the whole thing again. Probably I’ve got to much dosage of Love Hina at that time and that’s why I didn’t watch the Spring Special either. I’ve got that feeling it’s more of the same thing. Those 2 trying to confess but can’t, the others get involved directly or not, and then the usual some misunderstood perverted situation Keitaro gets into and he receives another Naru’s super punch. Must be that predictable by now.
Just to save time, I think I’ll blog Love Hina Again as well. Yes, it’s that 3 episode OVA sequel to the tv series and all those specials. And I think this is the last series under the Love Hina name.
In episode 1, we finally see the 3 ronins becoming students of Tokyo University. Finally!!! But due to Keitaro’s over-happiness, he injures himself during the opening ceremony. At the same time, he’s reconsidering his goals. And to the surprise to everyone at Hinata Inn, Keitaro announced that he’s going on an excavation trip with Seta and be his assistant, so he’ll probably miss the first semester or so. Yeah, he seems to find his calling in archaeology. And there seems to be a sense of ‘something’s missing and emptiness’ when he’s not around. Yeah, everyone especially Naru is already starting to miss him. By the way, Kaolla and Sarah spots a different hairstyle. I think it’s much uglier than before.
While Keitaro’s gone, the other girls of Hinata Inn experienced some strange behaviour from Naru. Like how Naru’s outraging Motoko’s modesty in public, and how she did that breast squeezing thing from behind to Kitsune (just like Tina in Ai Yori Aoshi), and how she cleaned up Kaolla’s room to the dot. And much to their fury, they all are gonna get her for this but Naru claims she doesn’t know what’s going on nor what she’s done to them. While she’s escaping, she caught a glimpse of herself smelling Keitaro’s shirt and is surprised to see herself doing that.
It’s revealed then she’s Kanako Urashima, Keitaro’s little sister and claims she’s the one who made the promise to Keitaro when he was younger. SHOCK!!! That girl is his little sister and he can’t remember that he made that promise to someone that close? Or is it another one of those ‘I-think-I’m-the-one-lah-but-don’t-quite-remember-but-must-be-lah’. However, just like Naru and Mei’s case, Kanako too isn’t blood related to Keitaro. So maybe, just maybe. Plus, she has a black cat named Kuro with large ears, which can also fly and talk! It’s really getting ridiculous. Anyway, soon after the other girls found out the truth and it wasn’t Naru that did all those stuffs all along (those realistic face masks must’ve done the trick to obtain those girls’ info), Kanako quickly installs herself as the manager of Hinata Inn, much to everyone’s protest. Since she’s very strict, she told them, if they’re not happy, they can leave. Oh well, what to do but to listen to her lor.
Next day, Naru’s wondering what those girls are up to when Kitsune explained they’re gonna find Kanako’s weakness by exploring some forbidden area located at some empty wing of the inn behind the hills. Yeah, Kanako left it as some warning in her special rule book that if anyone who tries to enter it will be immediately expelled. So the gang’s thinking there may be something that Kanako’s hiding there.
Naru who didn’t join the gang went to tell Kanako about it but she’s doing it so that she and the rest could get along. But Kanako is still suspicious of Naru’s kindness towards her. So Kanako went and try to stop those girls from reaching near the forbidden area by using… turtles?! But they’re being interrupted as a speeding van is coming their way. Naru pushes Kanako out of harm’s way. Isn’t that Seta’s van? Could it be? Could it be? Yes it is. Keitaro’s back! And looks like he’s taken after Seta so much even to the extent of his driving. The episode ends with the girls rejoicing and went to hug him immediately.
Episode 2 starts off with Keitaro unpacking his things (women’s lingerie??!! Must’ve packed the wrong things doing his trip back) when Kanako comes in. Hmm… Kanako looks kinda cute in that goth-loli outfit. Yup, he didn’t recognized her at first and thought it was a new occupant, much to everybody’s surprise. When mentioned that she’s his little sister, those memories of being with her began to flow. And when Kanako mentioned about the fulfilling of that promise, that densed Keitaro said he forgot to fulfill that promise of writing letters to her from time to time because he was busy. *Smack*. Looks like he won’t be remembering it anytime soon unless a sign drops out of the sky right in front of his face.
So the rest of the episode sees how Kanako, who now views Keitaro as a man and no longer her brother, tries to ‘seduce’ him and make him hers, such as changing her clothes right when he comes in (at every room he enters?), hugging him, so she could let him feeeeeel her breasts. Yeah, he was even surprised to know that she has such breast size. Argh!!! And also that taking a bath with him and scrubbing his back. But Kanako’s plans are usually put to a halt when Naru comes barging in with that super punch or kick. Looks like she’s more of jealous rather than concern, thinking that Keitaro’s getting all perverted towards Kanako. Poor guy.
Noticing this, Kanako’s going in for the kill to make Keitaro hers forever. Yup, there’s that saying again. If a couple proposed at that forbidden place at midnight or stay there for 1 night, the 2 will be linked forever. Uh-huh. So she tricked Keitaro by writing a letter to him bearing Naru’s name. Keitaro’s already there, when Haruka explained to Naru about that saying. So when Naru realized that Keitaro has been tricked, she rushes over there.
Meanwhile Keitaro’s confessing his feelings to the girl he thought is Naru, but found out too late that she’s actually Kanako. And Naru too arrived too late as the gears and cogs of that place begins to move, making that saying come true. Some invisible barrier prevents Naru from getting in contact with Keitaro. Kanako took the ring from Keitaro that was meant for Naru but in their struggle she dropped it. But Naru’s unable to put the ring on too as the magic’s taking effect. A little evil-like grin from Kanako and saying that she’d won.
Episode 3 starts off with Moe showing Keitaro making that promise to that girl, which is obviously Kanako and Moe’s also showing Naru how Keitaro puts the ring on Kanako’s finger, much to Naru’s horror. But that’s just a dream as the 2 woke up. Yup, somehow there seems to be no direct relation or continuity of what happened in the previous episode. Besides, Naru seems to have lost the ring Keitaro gave her. Plus, Naru’s efforts to get close to Keitaro, like serving him tea, is thwarted by that magical effect. Okay, so there may have been something that happened in the previous episodes which ended up like this. But how come they all looked so cool about it?
The magical effect isn’t only restricted to those 3. Even when Naru approaches the abandoned wing, it somehow manages to ‘take control’ of some of the Hinata Inn’s occupants to stop from her coming near the place. It’s like doing it against their own will. Later Naru has a talk with the other girls who’re concerned about Keitaro and Kanako’s relationship as they fear if this were to continue, it would no longer be a brother-sister relationship. Yeah, looks like indirectly they want it to be a Keitaro-Naru thingy.
But even though when Kanako’s nursing Keitaro, she noticed how he inconsciously talks about Naru. So she’s pretty determined to make it clear to her. Meanwhile, as Naru walks through town she spots Kentaro who beckons her to come along with him. He took her to a beautiful sunset beach and there they talked about those kinda lovers stuffs like uncertainty and all those things. We find out that Naru’s worried and afraid if she become Keitaro’s lover that’s because if so, she’ll miss the fun things that she’s having now with the others as well and things will change. I guess Naru really enjoys punching Keitaro, huh? Hey, if you look at it that way, isn’t it true?
After all that talk, suddenly Kentaro ripped his face mask off! It’s actually Kanako! She’s really a master of disguise. Kanako’s pretty mad about Naru’s indecisiveness and the 2 had a ‘fist fight’. And because Naru’s indecisive behaviour, Kanako ‘wins’ and throws her away in the sky…?! Yes, that’s what she did. Naru’s flying away. And as Keitaro frees a tied-up Kentaro from his car boot, he spots Naru running away and chases after her till they reached that abandoned wing. But Keitaro ripped off that fake Naru face and knew it was Kanako all along. Kanako realized he’s such a nice and kind guy even though she disguised as Naru.
Just then the magical powers of the abandoned wing begins to take effect again, drawing them both deep inside the building. Naru who just happened to arrive, manages to get in with her strong will, even though the magical effect is preventing her from entering. Not only that, looks like the magical powers have also drawn the other Hinata Inn occupants into it against their own will. Yeah, they looked like some sort of ‘reluctant guards’ to keep Naru away from Keitaro and Kanako.
So there’s a lot of talk of encouragement and realization as Naru goes deeper into the building passing those ‘Hinata Inn guardians’. At the same time, also some talk of realization and comfort from Keitaro to Kanako like how Keitaro knows she doesn’t want to be alone again that’s why she’s doing this. But he says since they’re siblings they’ll always be together. Then Kanako understood and before Keitaro could finish, she kissed him and admits that she lost to Naru just for this time. As she heads out of that room, Naru just arrived and standing out there, Kanako pushes her in.
Some short staring by the 2. But as Naru took a step forward, that magical power took effect again and sends Naru crashing down to the floors below. Luckily she managed to cling on to a giant clock gear and spots the ring she lost at the high clock tower above. Wow. Can she really see that far? But even if it’s just a shiny tiny reflection, how sure was she that it’s the ring? Intuition? Maybe. Or is it convenience? And then she can negotiate and climb up there like an expert climber. I didn’t know she can she do all that? Maybe it’s the hidden power of looooove.
Though Naru managed to obtain it, but her butter fingers caused it to slip and fall. Good thing is Keitaro caught it. Bad thing is, he slipped and he’s gonna fall to his doom. When Naru saw this she yelled something like don’t leave me alone and dives down to grab him. And since the power of their love was so great the magical effect is overloaded with its own power causing the whole building to explode. Luckily their fall’s being broken by one the giant gears. Then this part I didn’t get. Naru saw Moe sitting from above and Moe said something like, you’ve found it, before disappearing. Huh?
Then suddenly in a passionate frenzy, an embarrassed Naru confessed out loud how she loves Keitaro repeatedly and many times. When Keitaro proceeds to hand to her the ring, she quickly snatches it and swiftly kissed him! And it’s a really loooong kiss! Oh my goodness. I think they’re enjoying it. However, it’s being cut short when the other girls saw it and couldn’t belive that they’ve done such an embarrassing thing. Of course, they couldn’t accept it and went after them as the 2 escaped.
And this is the most exaggerated crap part. While they’re running away, suddenly Seta, now flying in some foker plane dives down so low (can a plane do that) and picks Keitaro up as Seta plans to go for another excavation with him. Then Naru who didn’t want to be left behind held on to Tama as they fly up on board the plane. What the?! Can Tama support Naru’s weight? Not meant to insult her weight, but this is too much. Then Kanako not wanting to loose them followed suit with Kuro but the other girls grabbed on as well making it too heavy for their lift off. And in the plane, the 2 are glad to be together as Keitaro asked where’re they going. Seta replied they can go anywhere (what about the dig?) and Keitaro simultaneously with Naru said that there’s a place they want to go first, that is "The 2 lovers to Toudai" as the plane flew into the… sunrise…?! Well, I guess it’s okay too in addition to your typical sunset. And here’s another crap if you noticed in the plane for a brief moment, Tama is SMOKING!!! I knew that turtle sometimes do outrageous things. But smoking?! Give me a break! So what happens to the rest of the girls? Well que sera sera, whatever will be will be.
Overall, I find the whole Love Hina series pretty okay. Another of those teenage romance blend in a few couple of exaggerated jokes and humours, and you’ve got a series worthwhile and entertaining to watch. Of course if you’ve seen too much of this kind of genre than you may have that excessive feeling and with that, nothing new.
As for the drawing and animation, I’m kinda having mixed feelings about it. That’s because I’m comparing the tv series and specials with the OVA. The tv series and the specials no doubt that that the colouring is old and mundane. However, even though the OVA’s colouring is much brighter, richer and smoother, their details of the characters facial aspects are somewhat simple and unrefined. Which means in my opinion the characters in the older shows looked way much better. You’ll obviously notice this in the OVA when the characters’ eyes are closed or hugely opened in disbelief and their mouths wide opened, they’re all so… crude.
The voice acting are quite okay and suits each character and their personalities well. Perhaps that’s because I may have gotten used to those voices by now. Especially Naru’s voice actress, is voiced by the multi-talented Yui Horie, who also voiced many other famous characters in other well-known animes as well such as Tohru Honda (Fruits Basket), Eri Sawachika (School Rumble), Kotori Shirakawa (Da Capo), Yoko (Inukami), Mizuho Miyanokouji (Otome Wa Onee-sama Koi Shiteru), Ayu Tateishi (Ultra Maniac) and to my surprise even as Siesta (Zero No Tsukaima). Impressive resume. Up to this day, I still can’t identify and pin-point her voice out. Maybe her voice isn’t as unique as Mamiko Noto or Romi Paku whereby I can instantly identify them when I first hear them.
I want to also mention that the opening theme song for the tv series, Sakura Saku, sounds kinda, how should I put it… ‘weirdly cute’, especially the choruse part. You should listen to it if you want to know what I mean. Of course this song is sung by Megumi Hayashibara, another multi-talented songstress who also sang the ending so for this series. I dunno but somehow I felt that when she sings a song for an anime, she’ll usually ‘pao’ the whole or most of the opening and ending themes, just like in Slayers and Shaman King. If not and besides that, Yui Horie and the other casts of Love Hina also sang for the specials and OVA. Now that’s really really multi-talented. Or is it ‘I-want-to-do-and-have-everything-in-my-name’. Uh… I think I’ll stick to the former one.
Besides that trademark Naru’s super punch sending Keitaro into orbit, I kinda noticed that in every episode too that the girls whether some or all of them, spend their time discussing and talking things during bath, and mostly they do it at their outside hot spring. Don’t worry, all the necessary parts are strategically concealed so as not to turn this into a hentai anime. Okay, maybe ecchi at times, showing the girl’s slip here and there, but it isn’t too excessive.
The character development in the series, well I could say, it really does develop nicely, though most of it is towards the development between Keitaro and Naru. Yeah, you’ll notice a lot of indecisiveness, uneasiness, uncertainty, hesitation, spacing out between those 2 that you may feel frustrated. It’s like they like each other but they can’t confess and they put up a tough act (especially Naru) to hide it all. Maybe that’s why they can drag the series. It won’t be a good thing too if it’s too short.
In conclusion, so is Kanako really Keitaro’s promised girl? It wasn’t clear too in the end. Hints may still suggests that it’s Naru. But I guess that’s not important now since Keitaro and Naru realized their love for each other and they along with the others will always be together. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll all be revealed and answered if you read the manga. And since I don’t have that reading habit, I guess I’ll never know.

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