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A Must-see for anime fans!
on 25 March 2012
I knew Love Hina by reputation (it is quite old now, having being made in 1999!) but had never got round to watching it until recently. I loved Negima!, also by Ken Akamatsu, so I thought I should give it a look. Am I glad I did; it is BRILLIANT! It is heart-warming, funny, bonkers, cute and lovable all at once!
The story revolves around Keitaro Urashima, a 20-year-old student, who moves to Hinata Hot Springs to hopefully get into the nearby Tokyo University; his grandmother owns an apartment complex there, where he used to stay as a child. She plans to travel the world, and leaves Keitaro to run the place as manager, whilst he continues his studies. Alas, she omitted to tell him this last point, and also that the apartments are now all occupied by gorgeous young women, who initially don't like the idea of a male manager at all! Comic mayhem ensues, with Keitaro regularly being beaten to a pulp by one or other of the girls, for accidentally walking in on them in a state of undress, or landing on them having tripped or slipped, and ending up in a compromising position! They all came to think of him as a pervert and a peeping-tom, but actually he is just clumsy and accident prone!
The main female lead, the beautiful, smart Naru Narusegawa, initially can't stand him, but starts to warm to him after a while. It is usually her famed 'Naru Kick' or 'Naru Punch' that is the means by which she punishes his presumed 'perversion'; he usually ends up in earth orbit or buried deep in a wall having been on the receiving end of her fury! The bulk of the rest of the story follows their blossoming relationship, and its' ups and downs.
The cutest, most lovable character is Shinobu Maehara, a junior high student of maybe 13/14 years of age, who lives at the Hinata apartments after her parents divorce. She is shy, bashful (especially around Keitaro, with whom she is in love!), mega-cute, vulnerable and so lovable at times you just want to go 'Awww!' and give her a big hug!
Then there is raunchy, mischievous Mitsune "Kitsune" Konno; she is older than the others, at about 19, speaks with a Southern Belle accent (in the English dub) and likes her booze! She never seems to do much work (although she is supposed to be a freelance copy writer), and enjoys winding Keitaro up by grabbing him and burying his head in her ample bosoms; this usually results in Naru battering him for being a 'pervert'!
Other notable characters are Kaolla Su, a hyper-active, dark-skinned beauty of about Shinobu's age (they attend the same school class) who is always inventing gadgets, and is often seen hanging from the rafters, or around the necks of the other characters; she is totally unstoppable, and giggles all the time.
Then comes the quiet Motoko Aoyama, about 16 years of age, who dresses in Samurai costume (apart from at school), and carries a fearsome 'katana' sword, which she knows how to use; she even cuts cars in half with it! She is also beautiful, but hates men, and feels she is a failure as a woman, if not as a warrior!
Mutsumi Otohime is the other girl who has designs on Keitaro, whom she has known since childhood; she is also trying to get into Tokyo U, along with Keitaro and Naru. She is quieter than Naru, and a bit more subtle, but she is almost as accident-prone as Keitaro!
Lastly, there is Keitaro's older cousin, Haruka Urashima, now in her 30's, who smokes a lot, and whom he sometimes calls 'Aunt Haruka' (which was what he called her as a child); this usually results in Keitaro finding himself on the receiving end of a ferocious punch, usually followed by the terse statement 'It's just Haruka!' from her. She runs the cafe/restaurant in the complex, and mostly wears an apron over her clothes.
There is little in the way of fan-service; usually the only underwear shots are on the washing line (although the OVA's do have a few more knicker-shots and up-skirt views, but not too many)! The animation is good, although showing its age a little, but the story and the interrelationships of the characters more than make up for it; it is great fun, totally lovable, and definitely not to be missed!