Love Hina

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therik's avatar By therik on Feb 12, 2009

Story

It's a generally accepted rule that you mustn't judge a book by it's cover. Clearly whoever came up with such sage advice had never seen the opening credits of Love Hina. Indeed, if the bouncy, riotous and wholly carefree opening was any more indicative of the show's content, you could probably put it on a 20-minute loop and watch that instead of the episode it precedes. In so doing, however, you would deprive yourself of a surprisingly enjoyable experience.

Love Hina is a series with no delusions of grandeur. It recognises which genre it pertains to and never attempts to stray outside of it; only to excel within its boundaries. The result is something which is about as subtle as a spade to the face and yet every bit as effective when it comes to attracting the viewer's attention. The humour is loud and visual, the characters are simple and unambiguous, the plot is straightforward - in brief, this is hardly the thinking person's anime. Which is why it's so good.

The comedy serves as a wonderful example of how something can, in fact, be funny the umpteenth time. At least once per episode, Keitaro will - entirely by accident - touch a girl inappropriately or perhaps see someone in a state of undress. Then things will pause, allowing the realisation to dawn on him. Then he will be brutally assaulted by one or more of the female characters. What makes this amusing is not necessarily the sequence of events, but rather the constant stream of increasingly unlikely misfortunes that befall Keitaro to land him in these situations and the disproportionate, inconceivably painful results. Through its explicit recognition that "male falls face-first into breasts of female" is a hugely contrived situation, Love Hina is able to exaggerate it mercilessly. As a result, what would have been a stupid and even embarrassing element of the anime becomes a source of comedy.

In fact, most of the humour is equally self-aware and shows a flagrant disregard for the fourth wall. Many are the direct references to stock character archetypes, dating sims and other things which Love Hina's world and protagonists very clearly resemble. This doesn't just serve to generate laughter; it also absolves the show of any criticism it may have incurred for overuse of stereotypes or its formulaic nature. Again, this is a series that knows exactly what it is and is neither afraid nor ashamed to flaunt it.

As a result, it's a pleasant surprise when the hand that so relentlessly pounded on the fourth wall doles out moments that are genuinely touching. In spite of the plot being uncomplicated and frankly thin on the ground, the show contains a sprinkling of scenes which present simple, understated emotion and which belie the raucous energy that characterises the majority of the series. This juxtaposition alone renders the story satisfying, even though its conclusion is disappointingly incomplete, not quite reaching as far as the end of the manga. Whilst there are some episodes which do little to advance the story, there is sufficient magic and madness contained within each for the show to remain entertaining throughout.


Animation

In terms of animation, time seems to have been kind to Love Hina, and there are no tell-tale signs to indicate that this anime dates back to the beginning of the century. The character designs are sharp and distinctive, whilst a calculated sufficiency in detail means that nothing ever looks bad, just occasionally unambitious.

The series also makes use of cartoony animation to provide a lot of visual jokes. By way of example, Keitaro's face at one point becomes strangely elastic and Naru is able to stretch it over a couple of metres. Quirks like this are always unexpected and - in an impressive display of variety and creativity - never overused.


Sound

Love Hina's opening and ending themes could hardly be more different. In contrast to the irresistibly lively opening, the ending tune is a solemn but memorable ballad of longing. However, as a BGM, and with the addition of an electric guitar, it becomes a powerful theme of both sadness and triumph, bringing each emotion out in the appropriate scenes. At one point, the opening theme is also adapted for use within the show itself, with an a capella ensemble performance that can best be described as some sort of musical fanservice. The rest of the background music fits in with the generally jaunty atmosphere, although it can be a little intrusive in places.

The voicing is well done. Although there are very few moments of emotional complexity, those that do exist are handled successfully by the voice cast. One irritant worth picking out, however, is the sound effect which accompanies the childish Kaolla Su seemingly wherever she goes. Its overuse alone is bothersome, but it is also lost in the proverbial translation. Western ears will recognise it as a wolf whistle, which is wholly inappropriate for her character.


Characters

Whilst the characters generally lack depth, they make amends for this by oozing what personality they have at every given opportunity. There is seemingly no occasion which cannot bring their identity to the forefront - be it Kaolla Su smiling like an idiot during a rockslide or the protective Motoko carrying the smaller girls under her arms whilst fleeing danger. Indeed, although the characters are barely conflicted and mostly simple to read, it does not preclude the viewer from enjoying and sympathising with them.

It is also worth giving special mention to Keitaro here. Whilst most male leads in a harem anime are dry, obnoxious, or both, Keitaro is a sympathetic character, all the more admirable for his failings and his attempts to overcome them. He is bold enough to motor the love story yet sensitive enough to not deserve the punches to the face he so frequently receives.


Overall

Love Hina will not appeal to everyone. The same is true of any anime. What the show does, however, is recognise this truism and cater directly to the sort of audience who will enjoy a harem-based romance comedy. Resultantly, if you think you won't like this, then you're almost certainly right. But if a simple, energetic, and just occasionally stupid love comedy is what you're after, I couldn't recommend this highly enough. As a pioneer of its genre it's still one of the very best and resembles the product of years of trial and error, rather than an inspiration and originator for what has come since.

8/10 story
7/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall
Azndragon's avatar By Azndragon on Aug 26, 2010

A very nice love story, just the fact that they barely kissed and never said they loved eachother until the ova "Again".

Really recommend watching this!

9/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall
apocalypse41195's avatar By apocalypse41195 on Feb 22, 2011

This is another one in my Gender Bender/Tsundere List and this review will be covering everything (OVA's and all) well on with the show

Story

Ok well I was Originally looking forward to this because I thought "it looks like a light-hearted romance anime" well holy s*** I was right it's light-hearted but also light on the STORY seriously it could've been 1000000000000(catch my drift) times better and I tried to find any sort of good story in EVERY EPISODE but as soon as I saw a story emerging from each episode someone got out a shotgun and blew it away with some bulls*** nonsence about how Narusegawa punches the living s*** out of Keitaro and this pisses me off cause I HONESTLY TRIED TO FIND GOOD POINTS but the anime didn't want me to too bad and thats why I find the story a PITIFUL 5 out of 10 (I'm too nice)

Animation

ok I give them credit for doing this in 2000 (11 years changes a lot of things...QUALITY) but even so the constantanimation of girls beating the living hell out of 1 guy gets annoying after the 1(millionth) time so animation has suffered a 5 out of 10

Sound

Although the quality is not good (ok it's 2000 but there were high quality mics back then too) the VA's did a pretty good job for this (Particuarlly Shinobu-chan) and so the voice gets 7 out of 10

Characters

Ok now to give this anime it's final blow I shall now make the fans of this anime quiver in fear for I now have my fun.I HATE ALMOST EVERY CHARACTER IN THIS ANIME seriously I think sometimes when people say tsundere is stupid they're talking about Love Hina because this show has one of the WORST characters and the LITTLE development PISSED ME OFF TO HELL the only good characters I liked were Shinobu-chan and Haruka-san other that that the cast was meh 4 OUT OF 10

 

OVERALL

Love Hina was not what I was originally looking for but did one thing for me...gave me the one bad anime I wanted but still I think it's a waste of time to watch this. I was wanting to kill myself watching this EVERY EPISODE (damn me for never dropping an anime) I was so close to dropping this but really this ONLY redemable thing was the christmas special other that the few thing aformentioned I though Love Hina was not worth calling anime (yep I revoke Love Hina as an anime)

so Love Hina gets 5.5 bullets up your A** out of 10

I WANT MY WEEK BACK FOR THIS CRAP

5/10 story
5/10 animation
7/10 sound
4/10 characters
5.5/10 overall
AnimeAllen's avatar By AnimeAllen on Mar 4, 2011

I loved this Anime! Each character had a distinct nature and style which means that the characters were actually worked on, rather than just the main character having all the glory. I really liked how different episodes had a story for each character in building character development. The story was great. It shows how determined someone can be to reach thier goals, and it made me realize that I shouldnt give up either---even if I dont have a promise to keep to a childhood friend. ;) Overall, this was a great Anime. I was wanting more at the end of it. Another one to add to my favourites! Enjoy!

9/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall
Bulleta's avatar By Bulleta on Mar 6, 2011

I could just say "The manga is better" and let that be my review.

Seriously, the characters are much more developed in the manga. You don't get to sympathize with characters at all in the anime. And the turtle story arch? At least the opening theme is great (yet the remixes are better).

3/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
4/10 characters
7.5/10 overall