Today is January 10, 2011! That means Ken Akamatsu’s website, J-Comi, officially launched today. Up to this point the website has had all 14 volumes of Mr. Akamatsu’s celebrated and popular manga Love Hina available to download for free (in Japanese, of course). In honor of this day here is a Beginner’s Guide to enlighten you on the aforementioned title.
Love Hina’s manga ran from October 1998 to October 2001 in Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine. Tokyopop handled the North American and United Kingdom release of the manga from May 2002 to September 2003. The manga was one of Tokyopop’s first titles to keep its original right to left reading and has consistently been a top seller for the publisher. On top of that, Love Hina won the Kodansha Manga Award for Shōnen in 2001. The Love Hina anime, done by Xebec, premiered in Japan in April 2000 and ran for a total of 25 episodes. The series was not done yet as there was a Christmas Special in December of 2000, a Spring Special in April 2001, and a 3 episode OVA titled Love Hina Again in January 2002. The franchise also spawned a handful of soundtracks and videogames. Bandai Entertainment released the series on 6 DVD volumes in 2002 for the English dub but the license was acquired by FUNimation soon after. FUNimation has released a Complete Collection of the series on DVD (once in 2009 and again in 2010) as well as the Christmas and Spring Specials (Bandai handles Love Hina Again). Ken Akamatsu is also known for the manga/anime Negima!: Magister Negi Magi and My Santa.
As a child Keitaro Urashima made a promise to a little girl, whose name he does not remember, saying they would meet again atTokyo University. Well, Keitaro has been studying in Prep School and taking the entrance exams for Tokyo U..only to have failed! Twice! His troubles don’t stop there when his grandmother, Hinata Urashima, leaves on a vacation and turns the Hinata Apartments over to him. Keitaro wasn’t informed of one other thing-that only girls live there! This romantic/comedy harem carries on as Keitaro studies harder than ever to finally become a Tokyo U student, find the girl from his past, and work out his current feelings. Can he survive or will the girls drive him up the wall?
Keitaro Urashimais a hard working guy who doesn’t want to let go of his dream to attend Tokyo U and find the girl he promised. Hard work doesn’t fix his trouble with taking exams, though. He often feels inferior when compared to other men and told about his bad grades. He also gets beat a lot.
Naru Narusegawa is a resident of the Hinata Apartments and originally was against Keitaro being manager but she changed her mind. Naru also wants to attend Tokyo U but she is just graduating high school. She is very smart so she starts to help Keitaro study for the next entrance exam. Naru is the main source of Keitaro’s beatings.
Mutsumi Otohime is a sweet anemic girl who also has trouble getting into Tokyo U. In manner she has a lot in common with Keitaro. Mutsumi lives on a small island off the coast of Okinawa and can talk to turtles. When she was a child she played with Keitaro and Naru at the Hinata Apartments.
Shinobu Maehara is a middle school student who becomes a tenant of the Hinata Apartments so she does not have to leave school and friends behind due to her parents’ divorce. She is a great cook and does just that for the rest of the residents. Shinobu is also quiet, shy, and very emotional.
Motoko Aoyama is a high school student and kendo expert. She is another resident of the Hinata Apartments but severely rejects Keitaro’s presence because she hates men. A family oriented and proper girl but she is the secondary source of Keitaro’s beatings. Motoko also fears turtles.
Kaolla Su is another middle school tenant of the Hinata Apartments but she is from another country. She has a very wild personality as well as being a technical genius. If anything silly or excessive happens you can be sure Su is in the middle of it. She redesigned her room into a tropical paradise resembling her homeland.
Mitsune Konno is the final resident of the Hinata Apartments. In high school she was Naru’s friend and sempai. She is usually called Kitsune (Japanese for fox) because of her looks and scheming. She spends most of her time poking fun at Keitaro or drinking.
Haruka Urashima is Keitaro’s cousin though he often refers to her as “Aunt” (much to her dislike). She runs the Hinata Tea House and you will never see her without a cigarette. Just like most of the female cast you don’t want to upset her.
Noriyasu Seta is an Archaeology professor at Tokyo University. He’s a pretty oblivious guy when it comes to certain matters but don’t drop your guard as he is also a skilled martial artist. He is constantly on an adventure or excavation in search for the ancient turtle civilization. He must have good insurance, too, since every time he comes back he crashes his van.
While Love Hina is classified as a harem it only earns the tag due to Keitaro being surrounded by multiple women. In connection, though, there is a reasonable amount of fanservice. This show provides a lot of laughs, mostly at Keitaro’s expense, by use of slapstick. The story is fun and simple and pretty realistic. Now, while the some of the characters’ relationships don’t develop quickly they eventually do over time. Along with the fanservice Love Hina includes a bit of language and suggestive themes in itsTV-14 rating. The animation is simple with focus on light colors and the characters. The choice between sub and dub is up to you, the viewer. Both English and Japanese casts have numerous members with extensive credentials.
Love Hina is an acclaimed series with a fun cast that provides plenty of laughs. The story of Keitaro trying to enter college, manage an apartment complex, and handle his feelings isn’t one sees too often. This series is a great break from the harems of late if some of you dislike the direction they’ve been going in.
-Will McQuigg ( sotyfan16 ) is your everyday anime/manga enthusiast. You can also find him on Twitter ( bildo_88 ).