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Love Hina

lovehina-1
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Company: TV Tokyo
Format: 24 episodes
Dates: 4/19/2000 to 9/27/2000

Urashima Keitaro has had his sights set on attending Tokyo University ever since he was a young boy. He had promised a girl that they would reunite there and fall in love. Unfortunately, as the years passed, he forgot the girl’s name and everything about her except for their promise. Even after failing the entrance exam twice, Keitaro is still determined to get accepted and fulfill his promise. He accepts an offer from his grandmother to become the manager of a girls’ dormitory which will give him a place to live and time to study. Of course, managing a female dormitory isn’t quite as easy as it sounds…

summary by Gatts

 

Reviewed: 09/21/2001 by
Grade: 85% av-Kain

Highs: Catchy tunes throughout; brand of humor works really well; seiyuu casting perfection

Lows: Off-the-rack characters and story; loses its focus occasionally

We’ve seen this before. A hapless male youth stumbles upon a situation where he is surrounded by beautiful women, and chaos ensues. It’s called shounen anime, and it’s a genre that has been done to death. It’s nice to know that an old dog can still learn new tricks.

Love Hina‘s visuals are crisp, clean and improve upon the usual cel animation of lore. The music is the standout, from the quirky opening theme Sakura Saku to the most subtle background song. Rarely do I stumble upon an anime where every track seems suited for its corresponding scene. In terms of personality, there’s no shortage here; Every character is infused with attitude and heart. It certainly helps that the voices are in line with each personality. Hayashibara Megumi fans should watch for her atypical, albeit small, role as an old maid. Newcomer Horie Yui gives an impressive performance (as a seiyuu and a singer) portraying Narusegawa Naru.

Love Hina has its problems. I felt there were a bit too many filler episodes for an average one-season series, and for a while I forgot why the characters were where they are in the first place. Character design is so-so, nothing spectacular. And while the whole is more than the sum of its parts, the story and characters are stock shounen anime, no matter from what angle you look.

Love Hina is among the best of its genre. It takes what others have accomplished and improves on them. I’m starting to appreciate anime that pokes fun at pop culture (anybody catch the Mothra parody?), and this series has no inhibitions about getting its message across. Let’s hope this is a continuing trend.

 

Reviewed: 05/27/2004 by
Grade: 90% av-Keitaro

Highs: Extremely funny; magnificent seiyuu work; story that works on many levels

Lows: Story stalls in the middle

Shounen anime done right is the best way to sum up Love Hina. Shows of this type have been done to death, and nine times out of ten the product is a mediocre fan service-a-thon with little, actual content. Truth be told, I only watched this one because a friend gave it his highest accolades, and I could not be happier.

So what makes this anime any better than Tenchi Muyo! or any other shounen anime out there? Simply put, the cast of characters really works. These are the kind of characters you can fall in love with and root for the entire way. At times, the story is an emotionally jarring ride, which is certainly not typical of this genre. The technical aspects are certainly worth noting, too. The character designs are amazing, and the art does not disappoint. There is also the fantastic music that always seems to set the mood no matter what is happening.

The only true downside was the nasty filler episodes that really had no point and seemed to take away from the story. At times it feels as if the story is in effect stalling, and this can be frustrating. Still, the filler material is entertaining in its own right and shouldn’t discourage you at all. Love Hina may be a romance story, but it is also the funniest anime I have ever had the pleasure of seeing; an emphasis needs to be put on the comedy aspect. I guarantee that you won’t be able to watch one episode without laughing.

I can’t stress enough that while this anime may not be action-packed, it has a special charm that makes it incredibly entertaining. Love Hina has earned a special place in the hearts of many otaku, and it most certainly deserves it.

 

Reviewed: 05/27/2004 by
Grade: 86% av-Gatts

Highs: Casting perfection; hilarious; fantastic music

Lows: Too much filler; unoriginal plot

If you were to judge Love Hina based on description alone, you wouldn’t expect it to be any more than the usual run-of-the-mill shounen anime. However, it manages to separate itself from the rest of the pack and stands out as a prime example of the genre.

One of the first things I noticed was the unique and catchy opening theme Sakura Saku, which soon grew to become a personal favorite. The music complements the series with some excellent instrumental pieces, but the highlights of the soundtrack are the beautiful vocals sung by the seiyuu. The voice acting in the series is worthy of special mention; the voice actors do an outstanding job at bringing the characters to life, and the ensemble cast delivers a fantastic performance that makes the anime truly memorable.

While Love Hina‘s plot may not be terribly original, it succeeds thanks to endearing characters. From the zany Kaolla Su to the beautiful Aoyama Motoko, the residents of Hinata Sou are a diverse bunch, and it’s hard not to grow attached to them. Despite the fact that the characters are classic shounen anime stereotypes, their personalities receive substantial development; by the series’ conclusion, the majority of the cast no longer feels like mere cookie cutter characters.

Unfortunately, this series does suffer from a few problems. The biggest issue is the ridiculous amount of filler. Although these episodes are quite funny, one can’t help but wish more time was spent developing the more important aspects of the story. Even though Love Hina is not a groundbreaking anime, it raises the bar for its genre and provides an enjoyable viewing experience that should definitely be checked out.

 

Reviewed: 10/23/2002 by
Grade: 83% av-Kei

Highs: Funny; amazing seiyuu work; the music

Lows: Many annoying and one-dimensional characters; way too much filler

I learned a very valuable lesson with Love Hina; don’t judge a book by its cover. From a glance, I expected it to be your average shounen “thousand girls to one guy” fan service-a-thon. After actually sitting down and watching it, I found my judgments to be silly. I was really pleasantly surprised.

Love Hina was very funny in general. There were even some episodes where I laughed the entire way through. This brand of humor did get a bit repetitive towards the end, however; there are only so many times you can see Keitaro accidentally fall into someone’s cleavage or get bashed by Naru before it’s not funny anymore.

The seiyuu did an amazing job bringing each and every character to life. At times it seemed like wasted talent, however. To me, I either really liked the characters in Love Hina or absolutely hated them. Some of the main cast should have had more episodes devoted to them *cough Shinobu cough* rather than the outrageous filler. Did anyone else feel the random bits of advanced technology to be odd? For an anime that is supposed to be quasi-realistic (for the most part), the high tech stuff seemed very out of place to me.

Love Hina is definitely the paragon of the shounen anime genre. Let this all be a lesson to you: next time you have silly judgments about an anime you haven’t seen yet, give it a watch! You may be surprised, like I was.


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