Motoko Aoyama is a high school student who was trained to be a skilled user of the sword in the style of Shimei-ryu.
Motoko comes from the head family of Shinmei-ryu's School of Martial Arts, who are descended from a long line of demon slayers and exorcists. She is the next in line to inherit the dojo and greatly admired her older sister Tsuruko, who was among the strongest swordswomen in her clan. To her dismay though, Motoko would come to learn that Tsuruko had fallen in love to a fellow warrior and this upset Motoko enough that she fled from her clan and took up residence at Hinata Inn. She resides in Room 302 of the inn.
Motoko was created as a major female character in Ken Akamatsu's Love Hina manga series. She underwent a number of design changes during early development of the series. Motoko was originally going to be a sickly and frail girl, but the idea was scrapped. She was also going to be made into a high school junior with a serious and inflexible personality who led her school's kendo club, but was not good with intimate relationships and got nervous around boys. Her skills with kendo would be incorporated into her background with the Shinmei-ryu sword fighting style. Motoko was also originally going to have a more hostile relationship with Kaolla as the foreigner's energetic behavior being annoying enough to drive Motoko to want to use her sword on Kaolla.
Motoko has appeared in all anime adaptations of Love Hina which include the TV anime, Christmas special, Spring special and Love Hina Again OVA series. She was voiced by Yu Asakawa in Japanese and Mona Marshall in English.
Motoko is 15 years old at the start of the series and is unusually tall for her age, standing at 175 centimeters (about '5'9") thus making her the tallest resident at Hinata Inn. Her three sizes are 84 cm for bust, 59 cm for waist and 82 cm for hips. She has long black hair and brown eyes. She is normally dressed in traditional Japanese attire, wearing a white kimono and red hakama.
Raised on traditional Japanese morals of the warrior class, Motoko has a principled and tolerant personality. With her sheltered existence, she is somewhat naive of the ways of the world yet doesn't necessarily have any objection to experiencing new experiences and "modern" conveniences. Still, she can be somewhat irritated with the mannerisms and attitudes of girls her age due to the rigid upbringing she underwent while with the dojo.
Motoko is devoted to her training as a swordswoman and can often be seen practicing with either a shinai or her sister's original sword, Shisui. Having been trained in Shimei-ryu for the majority of her life, Motoko is a formidable swordswoman able to perform fighting techniques with her sword that are channeled through her ki for combat. However, her naivete on life in general prevent her from fully tapping into her true potential as a warrior.
Because of her sister's relationship with a man, Motoko has developed a hatred for men and a fear of turtles, particularly the inn's resident hot springs turtle Tama. According to an interview from Ken Akamatsu, Motoko's fear of turtles stemmed from the girl having seen her older sister in the middle of having intercourse with her husband, leading Motoko to become mortified at the sight and her aversion toward turtles being due to the head of a turtle looking like an erect penis.
There are some slight differences with Motoko's appearances in Love Hina for the start of the series. In the manga, she was present at the inn during the misunderstanding that took place when Keitaro was bathing in the hot springs with Naru and participated in the attack on him. In the anime, she was away on a kendo club trip at her school and would later come to learn of Keitaro's presence at the inn upon her return. Regardless of source material, Motoko was still the most opposed to Keitaro's presence at the inn, yet gradually started to tolerate his presence over time.
At different points of the series, Keitaro would assist Motoko in overcoming personal ordeals she had to confront. He told her it was okay to be herself instead of forcing herself to be feminine on the occasion she was forced to wear more feminine clothing, helped her master use of the Zanmaken Ni no Tachi technique and helped her reconcile with Tsuruko on two occasions. She even begain training with Keitaro when he became proficient in martial arts via training with Seta. These acts led Motoko to gradually develop romantic feelings for Keitaro, which the girl fantasized about and expressed through romance novels she would write up later in the series.
Near the end of the series, Motoko found herself failing entrance exams to make it in Tokyo University and found it increasingly difficult to concentrate on her studies with Naru and Keitaro becoming a couple. However following a second encounter with Tsuruko, Motoko was able to come to terms with her feelings with Keitaro and was able to eventually pass the second round of entrance exams to enroll at Toudai. At the end of the series, Motoko had become a successful romance novel writer, utilizing her romantic fantasies with Keitaro as writing material.