Love Hina

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Love Hina (Rabu Hina) is an animated Japanese series, or anime, that centers around a 20 year old man who ends up being the landlord to his family’s female-only dorm. The story started as a manga written by Ken Akamatsu, and was taken into anime form in 1998. The manga is significant as it won “Best Manga USA Release” at the 2002 [[Anime Expo]. The anime series only resulted in 25 episodes and an OVA ([[Original Video Animation]).

The show is considered to be in the shōnen genre. The shōnen genre is comprised of animated series that is geared towards boys and has a strong male leading character. The leading male character in Love Hina is Keitaro Urashima. He is a 20 year old man who is trying to fulfill a vow he has made to meet a girl he knew a long time ago at Tokyo University. Keitaro has no recollection of this girl’s name, but remembers that he promised to meet her, as an adult, at Tokyo University, and he is determined to do so. Unfortunately he can not seem to pass the exam to enter the school, and ends up becoming the landlord to his family’s hotel, which has become a girl’s dormitory.

At first the girls beat Keitaro up, both figuratively and literally, but he eventually earns their respect. This anime has a large cast of co-stars to Keitaro, and following along can become a bit tricky at first. Here are some of the major players.

  • Keitaro Urashima – The kind, clumsy landlord of the Hinata Inn. For some reason Keitaro can give great advice to everyone – except himself.
  • Naru Narusegawa – This 17 year old lives at the Hinata Inn and is studying to enter the Tokyo University. She is easily prompted to violence and tends to take it out on Keitaro. At the beginning of the series she beat on him thinking that he is some sort of a pervert, but later she finds herself caring for Keitaro and getting easily aroused to jealousy.
  • Mutsumi Otohimi – This 21 year old is described as the female version of Keitaro. She, too, has failed the entrance exam to Tokyo University and has decided to take a vacation to calm herself after her failure. Because Keitaro and Matsumi are so close, Naru constantly gets jealous of her.
  • Motoko Aoyama – This kendo-obsessed 15 year old can be very dangerous with her Kendo stick – unless she’s around a turtle, or her dangerous older sister, Tsuruko. She eventually finds herself caring, unknowingly, for Keitaro, but that does not stop her from beating him up whatever chance she gets.
  • Shinobu Maehara – Shinobu is one of the youngest main characters. She is only 13 and tends to cry, making Keitaro feel guilty on a regular basis. Although she is the youngest, she is also the care-taker, and does the laundry and most of the cooking at the Inn.

As always occurs when you get a large group of girls around a clumsy, socially awkward man, hilarity ensues. The biggest difference between Love Hina and most other animes with similar situations is that in Love Hina, the women actually can’t stand him at the start of the series. It takes awhile before they come to trust, care for and respect him.

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