An Old Favourite Returns – Reviewing Love Hina
(Contributed by Sehrah)
Title: Love Hina
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Harem
After hearing of this hugely popular shonen manga, I decided to give its anime series a try and so as of last week, my life consisted of watching numerous episodes of it and consuming far too many snacks in the process.
The plot itself centres around the male protagonist Keitaro who makes a childhood promise to a girl that when they grow up they will both get into Tokyo University. However he forgets the name of the girl (a modern day ‘douche’ as us girls might say?), yet still keeps studying to get into the university…only to fail twice. In an odd twist of fate he becomes manager of a girls’ dorm, Hinata House, where he meets Naru, a girl who ranked highest in her practise entrance exams for Tokyo Uni. While trying to balance his responsibility as manager and continued studying to get into university, Keitaro starts to believe Naru may be the girl he made the childhood promise to. However she flat out tells him he is wrong, leading the series to introduce us to yet even more characters who could potentially be this girl of his. The introduction of all these, and the adventures and mishaps along the way draw us into a very involving anime which makes us continually ask the question: will he ever find her?
All in all I found the series highly enjoyable and would recommend it to those who enjoy anime that are both humorous and sweet, but also dramatic. As a main character, Keitaro is likeable and fun to watch with his goofy personality and hopeless situations. His increasingly close relationship with Naru, who appears to be a polar opposite and very much in control of what she wants, keeps the series fresh and dynamic as we try to keep up with this possible romance.
The introduction of new characters add that dramatic element of never knowing who Keitaro’s childhood girl is (not until the end at least), and when the insane slapstick kicks in, think giant mecha turtles and the like, it is to good effect – even if, in my personal opinion, it made what was a sweet realistic anime slightly devalued into a bit of a farce. The ending, I would say, is worthy of any Meg Ryan rom-com-esque status (with added anime quirks) , which I can say with pure geeky honesty having watched almost all of her films to date. There is an airport scene and undying love, which is cliché yes, but cliché sells and I think we are a generation of suckers for love and happiness. The brilliant thing though is that if cliché is too much for you, the humour, and dramatic adventure throughout the whole series, reanimates the whole thing keeping it fresh and engaging still.
One particular niggle, as mentioned earlier, is that sometimes the humour gets in the way of the story. Whilst I couldn’t help but laugh, the overuse of some slapstick elements gets old very quickly, and almost frustrating, as the clutzy Keitaro finds himself throwing away chances to progress the story with a number of unfortunate mishaps, which often end in him taking a beating…
All in all, without going off on a tangent of girly romcoms and boy talk (because that’s what ‘Sex and The City’ was created for, darling), this Love Hina Series was highly enjoyable and a brilliant start to my 3 month Winter period of ‘I’m officially living next to my radiator and will only move for necessity’. Love Hina doesn’t involve as much thinkingas many, but it keeps you watching and wanting more, as we want to know if Keitaro ever finds his girl. This in itself makes it a successful anime- the appeal to the highly engaged audience.
As a good friend of mine said this anime is “a winter warmer”, it gives a fuzzy feeling inside and a beautiful sense of hope and lighthearted happiness. I truly recommend this anime to you this Christmas, not only so you too can be subject to this winter warmer feeling, but also to show you that love is sometimes unpredictable and goofy (just like in school when that boy stuck chewing gum in your hair and you cried, only to find you were his favourite friend!).
ADDITIONAL – The Love Hina Collection was released this Monday, the boxset has an RRP of £39.99, and includes the Christmas and Spring special episodes.
Try this if you liked: Ouran High School Host Club, Ah! My Goddess, Tenchi Muyo.