on June 7, 2002
Keitaro Urashima is trying to get into Tokyo University, the most prestigious college in Japan, because of a childhood promise. Unfortunately, he doesn't quite have the smarts, so he's failed twice and is studying to take it a third time (and doing horribly). His parents are sick of it, so they kick him out of the house. He goes to seek refuge at his grandmother's hotel, but he doesn't know it has been converted into an all-girl's dorm. So, through a series of misunderstandings and unfortunate events, he becomes manager to a group of girls who hate him, overwork him, and think he's a pervert.
"Love Hina" was originally intended to be filler for a weekly shounen manga anthology, meant only to run until they could find something better to use up the space. Somehow, it managed to run long enough to take up 14 full graphic novels and was popular enough to spawn a twenty-four episode TV show, an OAV series, and a music video. The reason it did so is obvious: "Love Hina" succeeds in so many ways.
The premise is a familiar one: a hapless college student (or ronin...or high school student...) somehow stumbles into a situation in which he is surrounded by a bunch of gorgeous girls. More shounen series than I can count have the same basic plotline. Some, like "Hanaukyo Maid Tai" are thinly disguised excuses for fan service. Others, such as the "Tenchi" saga, "Oh My Goddess!" or "Saber Marionette" have genuine heart and sincerity. Love Hina, fortunately, falls into the latter category. While fan service abounds, there are many more reasons to read besides that. Keitaro is a genuinely goodhearted person, as are the residents of the Hinata.
Speaking of which, that's another thing done right in the series. Each character has their flaws and strengths, and is all-around endearing. Keitaro is a nice but chronically unlucky protagonist. He means well, but he just does so many things by accident that he's labeled a pervert. Those labels are justified, but completely inaccurate. Of course, the residents of the dorm are all fun and interesting. There's Naru Narusegawa, the pretty but slightly dorky girl with a violent streak; Mitsune Konno, a tricky, voluptuous and rather lazy woman whose nickname "Kitsune" comes from more than her fox face; Shinobu Maehara, a sweet, somewhat shy junior high schooler with excellent housekeeping skills; Motoko Aoyama, a boy-hating high school kendo master; and Suu Kaolla, a strange, foreign child genius with an endless arsenal of strange inventions. Like everything else about the series, each starts as a stock character, an anime staple. If you look at them and think about it, chances are you will be able to think of at least two other similar characters. However, each is developed so that they become truly endearing and seem like someone you might know in real life. Naru actually reminds me of myself. I found myself rooting for each in their personal struggles and I sympathized strongly with them.
Of course, characters aren't the only thing that makes this series work. From beginning to end, it is laugh out loud hilarious. Keitaro's misinterpretation of certain actions on the part of the girls (especially Kitsune) and chronic bad luck land him and the others in several comedic situations. But of course, comedy isn't the only thing. As I have said before, there is a great deal of character development, plus plenty of emotional moments that should keep shoujo fans happy as well (or at least this one). The story is mostly episodic in nature and you can jump around without much trouble. Nevertheless, there is a story and when read in order, each episode lends itself to further your understanding of the story and its characters.
All in all, "Love Hina" is an excellent series for something for most. Being shounen, it caters to fanboys with fan service, ecchi humor, and cute girls. But for everyone else, there is an interesting plot, fun characters, lovely art, and a story you can truly invest yourself in.
on August 2, 2002
There are two ways to look at the main character (Keitaro Urashima) of this series and his situation:
1. This is a pretty dumb [guy]. He's failed the entrance exam for Toudai (Tokyo U, the most difficult school in Japan) twice already, going for the third. He's unemployed and is about to be kicked out of his house by his parents. Suddenly, he gets the opportunity to stay in Hinatasou, an all-girls dorm. With 5 cute girls and a hot springs on-site, he is the luckiest guy ever!
2. "Is he dead?"
"Don't think so"
Keitaro is beaten senseless. Almost everyday. Specialties? Naru Punch and Motoko's Zangen Ken and Raimeken. Poor guy is just unlucky with girls, thats all. Everytime he trips (happens a lot by the way), he ends up grabbing or falling on someone, then BAM, its off to the stars for Kei-kun.
Just looking at those two, you can see the makings of a great series. Shoujo, ecchi and mystical swordswomen (check out Motoko's Shinmeiryuu Ougi- Zan Ma Ken Ni no Tachi), the only thing this series doesnt have is mecha. And that's no big loss, let me tell you.
Be sure to watch the anime series as well (25 episodes, spring and winter specials, plus the 3 episode OVA Love Hina Again). Its great fun and has quite a few catchy songs thrown in.
on December 28, 2002
Keitaro Urashima has been a Ronin (someone who has failed his university exams) for two years. Looking at his life he relizes he has nothing. He has no job, little intelligence, no athletic abilities, and no girlfriend, ever. His only memory he still holds close is a promise he made 15 years prior, that he and young girl would go to Tokyo University together and fall in love.
When Keitaro thinks he can't sink any lower he scores a manager job at his Grandma's dorm for girls, Hinata House. Then the antics of Love Hina begin.
Love Hina's story is truely extrordinary. The comedy-romance combo is delivered perfectly. Never does the comedy outway the romance and make it too silly or does the romance get too drawn out. This is great. But where the heart of Love Hina lies is in the lovable characters. Their development throughout the series creates a depth that isn't commonly found. You'll be quickly choosing your favorite character and hoping the best for their progression in the story or be terribly upset when a possibly great momment turns sour.
Love Hina is the deepest most involving story in manga. If you can read a manga without needing thousands of magic spells or exploding mechs, your sure to love it. And trust me, buying the first volume will secure your buying the rest of the series.
on May 23, 2002
Love Hina, another one of those series where a guy has trouble with girls! ^_^ This one in particular has Keitaro appearing at all the wrong times. I have read this series online and finished it, also read it in Korean with my cousin's Korean versions and it's great! I'm glad they published it in English so I can have a set of my own! Love Hina is a romantic/comedy in which Keitaro is studying for a chance to go to Tokyo University to find his first love. (problem is, Keitaro isn't at all that bright, he failed the entrance exam already twice!) But trouble's ahead when he has to stay at his grandma's inn, Hinatasou. Oh, but little did Keitaro know that it turned into an all girls dormitory! When he arrived in Hinatasou, things just got worse and worse... I really recommend it to everyone who can stand a bit of nudity and likes comedies!
on March 7, 2003
I'm not sure what drew me into Love Hina in the first place, but each successive graphic novel seems to get better.
My initial thoughts on Love Hina was that it was just another one guy/thousands of girls manga with too contrived a premise to really enjoy. And after the first few, it still felt that way. But soon enough, the writing and characters won me over and steered away from some of the cliches that normally bombard this type of manga.
Love Hina rises above most romantic comedy style manga by keeping a good balance of romance and comedy to keep it from being too saccharine or too goofy. Another aspect that's refreshing is that not every single girl that Keitaro, the main protagonist, comes across falls for him. All the girls in the comic have very distinct personalities that play off each other so well, and yes I'll admit it, all of them are pretty cute in their own ways.
Getting back to volume 9 though. Volume 8, to me, seemed like it would be a good ending to the series, where it seems all the loose ends get tied up. After all, the series is mostly about Keitaro trying to get into Tokyo University and he finally does at the end of volume 8. I didn't think there would be anything much further to take the Hinata clan, but there are some nice revelations and stories in volume 9 to suggest Love Hina has a long way to go before the premise gets exhausted.
It starts out with Keitaro having an unfortunate accident at Tokyo U (a pretty over-the-top accident, even for Love Hina) forcing him to take a leave of absence. Other stories include Motoko's sister visiting Hinata House, Shinobu having her first real date with Keitaro-sempai and Seta proposing to Haruka. Oh yeah, we finally get to see where Keitaro and Naru's relationship is going too.
What sets it apart from previous volumes is that it looks like several of the girls are starting to fall for Keitaro. Motoko, Shinobu and even Kitsune start to display more affection for him. Because this is happening in volume 9 and not right at the beginning of the series makes it much more believable and based in reality. Series like Tenchi Muyo and Ranma 1/2 get bogged down with so many love triangles that have no basis for existing that it just gets tiring.
The comedy, writing and drawing in the series is as good as ever. Although there are still several obvious grammatical errors that make it feel like it was rushed. (Shinobu says "I'm going right to be here to cheer you on!!" when it should be ...going to be right here...) The editing needs some work, but other than that, Love Hina volume 9 doesn't disappoint.
on September 20, 2003
PLOT SUMMARY (for those who may not have read this installment yet):
Keitaro, Naru, and the rest of the Hinata crew head home from Molmol to confront Grandma Hinata about the mysterious fax she sent for Keitaro. However, things don't go like they were supposed to (when do they ever with this bunch?) and Keitaro ends up losing his chance to finally find out the identity of his promise girl. Complicating things more are a surprise visit from a long-unseen friend with startling news for Keitaro, and Naru running headlong into her old insecurities about whether or not she's the promise girl, which cause her to break things off with Keitaro. Will the hapless couple ever reach a resolution? You'll just have to read and find out. ;-)
Wow. After all this time, it's finally over. This is an excellent final chapter to Love Hina, and although it leaves some minor character details unresolved, it wraps up all the major storylines beautifully and gives Keitaro and Naru time to really shine. The last few pages of the main story are a textbook example of a great ending, and the epilogue is both a hilarious re-working of Love Hina's beginning and a big step towards a new future for all of the characters.
Ken, wherever you are, my hat is off to you for a job VERY well done.
on July 30, 2003
I'm a huge fan of manga. Sailor Moon being my first series. This is my second. I just fell in love with this book and all the ones in this series. It is about a guy who is trying to get into Tokyo University to fulfill a promise to a girl he knew a long time ago. They promised eachother that they would go to Tokyo University so they could live happily ever after as the legend states. The only problem with this is that he can't remember the girl's name or anything else about her for that matter. After failing the entrance exams his parents kick him out of the house so he goes to live at his grandmother's inn. There he runs into another problem. It is no longer an inn. It's a girls dormitory! Upon arriving he runs into a lot of problems with the residents. His aunt then stops by with some surprising news! His grandmother has given him Hinata House! He then becomes the new landlord but the ladies aren't too excepting of him and give him a lot of problems. Very funny comic! I highly reccomend!
on February 6, 2005
Most of the reviews have already given you a run down of the plot. Many of you either do not have the manga or want to get it but already have the anime series and movies, so why double up? That was my worry, so I asked around. Sure, I have the Tenchi Muyo anime and manga, but the manga starts after the anime. And sure I have the Oh My Goddess anime. movies and manga, but the manga has a lot more detail. But if the Love Hina manga and anime are the same I didn't want to waste my time. And money.
Everybody I asked said the manga was better, the manga was better, the anime was great but the manga was better. So I got the first three volumes.
The story in the manga goes fast, really fast. All the main characters are already at the dorm, even Shinobu, and the plot gets started in the very first few pages. There is lots of humor, fanservice, poor Keitaro getting abused and great artwork, so the rating of ages 16 and older is a good rule.
Unless the standards of the manga go down I will most likely end up trying to collect them all.
on August 20, 2002
Don't get me wrong, this series is one of the funniest that I've read and I plan on buying the anime soon. It kinda reminds me of the Tenchi Muyo animes, another of my favorite animes. Even though it's full of humor, some which people might not get right away because of cultural differences, it's a love story at heart. Don't get me wrong, I like my Gundam and other action mangas, but this is a great story. I do think that the sexual themes kinda go overboard sometimes, but it's not really that bad because it plays within the humor. Many people can really relate to the characters. I really like mangas because the stories can really be fun and full of action, yet deep and heartfelt. If only Hollywood would take pointers from animes, instead of all that ... they churn out every year. This manga series is no exception. If you're looking for a good manga, I would definitely recommend this one to anyone. It's a really entertaining comedy with a deep love plot in it.
"Did you know if two people who love each other go to Tokyo University, they'll live happily ever after?" That's what an unknown girl tells young four-year old Keitaro Urashima while they're playing. She kisses him and before running off, tells him that they need to go to Tokyo U.
Fifteen years later, Keitaro is struggling at a prep school, being a ronin-someone who didn't pass his college entrance exam-for two years. He decides to look up his grandmother, who owned a hotel, to see if he could stay there. However, due to accidental circumstances that are both unintentional and due to his clumsiness, he nearly gets lynched by a group of girls, one of whom he sees naked in a hot spring. Fortunately, his aunt, Haruka, comes to his rescue. It seems that his grandmother has gone off on holiday and turned it into Hinata House, a dorm room for high school girls. A small lie on his part, that he's trying to get into Tokyo U. turns into the misconception that he's already at Tokyo U's law program, which gains him the respect of the girls.
He is found out and is forced to leave, only to find out his grandmother has legally entrusted him with Hinata House, making him landlord! This is a dream come true for Kei, surrounded by five pretty girls. However, they plan to get rid of him by overworking him. Plus his clumsiness leads to circumstances that really gets his foot deep in. For example, despite being warned against anything perverted, such as peeping on them (which he wasn't in the first place), the railing he's leaning against breaks. His fall is broken by a branch, but that breaks and he falls splash into the hot springs, where all the girls happen to be bathing. And it's just one disaster after another with him, which doesn't help his standing any.
Poor Kei tries to get his act together, studying at his prep school so he can get into Tokyo U. So far, the guy's got nothing going for him. He's not smart, handsome, or athletic. And his tenants are determined to give him the hardest of times. Foremost of his detractors is the long-haired, pretty but studious Naru Narusegawa. She can't stand him, but she does reluctantly help him study, as he discovers she's attending the same prep school as he is. The tallest and the most vicious is the black-haired Aoyama, an expert at kendo (Japanese stick fighting). Kaolla Su is a darker-complexioned foreign student of undetermined origin. And the short-haired Mitsune Konno, nicknamed Kitsune (fox in Japanese) is also dead set on getting rid of Kei. The 12-year old Shinobu, however, initially looks up to him, that is until she discovers the truth, and being at the age where she takes lies very personally, ends up hating him. Kei's attempts to help her end up in more disasters. Remembering her birthday seems to help, until...
The question thus remains, can Keitaro remain landlord of Hinata House without Naru or Aoyama killing him? And will he ever find that first love of his after all these years? As I just got started on this series, I don't know on the first. As for the second, I sure hope he does.