Love Hina (ラブ ひな Rabu Hina) is a Manga
series by author Ken Akamatsu. The manga won the "Best Manga, USA Release" in 2002 Anime Expo. The manga consists of 14 volumes. The anime is 25 episodes long and is supplemented with Christmas and Spring movies and the Love Hina Again OVA
. There are also two novels from Love Hina, both named Love Hina: the novel (both written by the series' anime screenwriters, volume 1 by Sho Aikawa (as Kurou Hazuki), volume 2 by Hiroyuki Kawasaki), which have been released in Japan and have been released in the US by Tokyopop, the US publisher of the manga.
The story is a comedy of the shonen genre about a clumsy young man with an unparalleled amount of personal drive despite having horrible luck. After failing to get into Tokyo U (the college of his dreams), he visits his grandmother's Onsen
only to discover it has been turned into a girls' dorm. After his grandmother gives him the deed to the building, he has the tough job of being landlord, studying to get into Tokyo U, and dealing with the girls living there, who never pass up an opportunity to humiliate him.
The series falls under the harem comedy genre as well due to the familiar set up of one boy living with a group of sexy but unusual women. One distinguishing feature that sets this series apart from the average harem comedy is that, for a very large portion of the manga series, Keitaro
is disliked by the girls. Whereas many of the same genre initially or very quickly place the main male character at the center of the girls' lusts, Keitaro is not only initially disliked by the girls, he suffers for a rather prolonged and extended period of time.
The series is most well known for putting humorously absurd elements into an ostensibly mundane universe, such as flying turtles, ghosts, and Su's destructive Mecha
The manga is published in Japan by Kodansha in the Weekly Shonen Magazine, in English in North America and the United Kingdom by Tokyopop, in French in France and Québec by Pika Edition, in Spanish in Spain by Glénat, in Singapore in English and Chinese by Chuang Yi, in Brazil by Editora JBC, in Mexico by Grupo Editorial Vid, in Poland by Waneko, in Germany in German by EMA and in several other countries.
The anime is released in North America by Bandai Entertainment, in Spain by Jonu Media, and in Singapore by Odex. As of July 1, 2007 Funimation announced that they had bought the license to Love Hina from Bandai and are planning on re-releasing the series and Movies. As of now Love Hina Again has not been announced as a part of the re-release although it is highly likely that it will be too. As for August 10, 2007 Funimation announced it was simply going to re-release the series as is with no redubbing or any other modification.
The story takes place in the Kanagawa Prefecture, and centers on 20-year old Keitaro Urashima, a young man desperately trying to be accepted into the prestigious Tokyo University in order to fulfill a childhood promise he made with a girl he now regards as the girl of his life. His obsessive pursuit of this dream is one of the few shining spots of optimism in his otherwise unlucky life. He becomes manager of the Hinata House (日向荘 Hinata Sō, also known as Hinata Apartments), property of his family and now an all-girls' dormitory.
After much tribulation, he wins their respect and eventual affection. From the beginning of the series, he suffers physical damage and abuse, which continues and increases as the series goes on. (In the anime the girls are openly shown being less hostile towards Keitaro, many fans have seen this as a weakness, saying that because of this the emotional scenes – particularly those between Keitaro and Naru
– don't stand out as much as they do in the manga.)
Keitaro's primary (and usually exclusive) interest is in Naru Narusegawa, though all the other girls have different sorts of affections for him (including close friend, a playmate, and non-threatening crush object). Keitaro and Naru's relationship is complicated by several girls falling for him, or girls Keitaro promised a future relationship with while he was younger.
There were 25 episodes produced for the animated television series. The TV series, movies and OVA were all directed by Yoshiaki Iwasaki and produced by TV Tokyo, Yomiko Advertsing and XEBEC with character designs by Makoto Uno and Meiju Maeda (for Love Hina Again) and scripts mainly written by Sho Aikawa. The story is fairly consistent from episode 1 to 24, where it rises to a climax. Episode 25 begins anew the second half of the story. However this episode is the final episode of the television series. Most viewers feel confused about the newly-began-and-left-unfinished story arc, and also confused about why there was no true resolution to the earlier portion of the series.
While the 25th episode may seem an unexpected and unnatural adjunct to the plot, it is because it was meant to be the first episode of another series of 24, which would have generally rounded out the story of the series. The reason that no more episodes beyond 25 were produced is because the production company unexpectedly ran out of budget to continue it.
In Japan, a special 26th episode ran after the recording of Love Hina, a concert including all the seiyu who participated in the successful run of the series. The 26th episode was only an entire overview of the previous 25 episodes packed into one.
Some time later, as profits from the completed episodes came in, several movies were made, each of which took leaps and bounds in the plot in an attempt to bring more of a close to story. This culminated into the Christmas Movie, the Spring Movie, and the final three part OVA series called Love Hina Again which generally brings the animated story to some kind of resolution. The story covered in the animated television series and movies uses some elements of the manga story arc, but does not cover all of it, even leaving out some very colourful details, some side stories. It also utterly ignores one of the major recurring themes of the entire series, viz the depth and complexity of the relationship between Keitaro, Naru and Mutsumi and its connection to Keitaro's childhood promise. As a result, most fans find that reading the complete manga, in its fourteen volume entirety, is a much more satisfactory experience.
However, the story had not ended at the OVA, for those who had purchased the Love Hina Again Original Soundtrack, there were drama tracks at the beginning of the CD, which is in fact, the OVA episode 4. It is entirely in Japanese, but it takes place where the OVA episode 3 left off. And it ends similarly to Naru's dream sequence in the train in Volume 14 of the Manga.
Love Hina Again (ラブひなAgain Rabu Hina Agen) is a three episode OVA that takes place after Love Hina: Spring Special, and thus expands the Love Hina anime story. Of special note is the art-style and risque humor of the OVA more closely resembles the manga than the anime, which can surprise some fans. In fact, it seems to follow the storyline of the manga more so than it follows the anime, as the story in Love Hina Again is loosely based on volumes 11 and 12 of the manga.
Keitaro Urashima has been accepted into the University of Tokyo and his adopted sister, Kanako Urashima
becomes the new manager of Hinata Inn. The denizens are not pleased with Kanako's rather intrusive and sneaky methods and wish for Keitaro's return. When he does reappear however, Kanako reveals that he had made a promise with her to run an inn together. Though Keitaro thinks of her only as a sister, she does not see him as a brother; her goal is to win his love. (In anime, fictional adopted sister relationships are dramatic or humor fodder and generally not treated as incest.) Naru and Keitaro are nearly torn apart by her efforts, but manage to win out in the end by destroying the cursed Hinata annex, following which Naru finally declares her true feelings for Keitaro in front of the other girls.
Although the Love Hina manga is generally regarded as superior, many fans in particular feel the total 90 minutes of the OVA are inadequate to cover the introduction of Kanako, a character who in many ways is already easy to dislike. Kanako, created mid-storyline herself, also contradicts some established canon. Keitaro had previously mentioned no girl had ever been nice to him. On the other hand, if he had forgotten the promise he made to his childhood love, and even her face, it is possible that he might not have remembered something this important. Critics and fans (mainly those who haven't read the original manga) have also taken note of the increase in erotic Fan Service
, with some deeming it excessive.
- From Wikipedia