"Did you hear? It's said that if two people in love go to Toudai...they'll find 'happiness'."
"If it really works...let's go to Toudai together, okay..."
"When we grow up, we'll definately meet at Toudai again!"
"It's a promise!"
15 years later, Urashima Keitaro stands before the steps of Hinata Sou...a mere walk away from the park the promise was made...on his way to Toudai (Tokyo University) . All very romantic...until you find out that he's forgotten the name of his destined girlfriend!
Anyways, let's just say that getting to Toudai will not be as easy as promising so. Brain melting exams, flying sea turtles, constant parties...and a dorm full of beautiful girls. What is there in that not to tempt a guy from his promise? Will Keitaro meet his love again at Toudai...or will Naru, Mitsune, Suu, Motoko, Shinobu or Mutsumi capture his heart beforehand?
I don't know why really, but Maison Ikkoku really never was my cup of tea. Maybe it was Takahashi's art style that made everyone look like kids, maybe it was the romantic tension that felt a bit too forced, I dunno. SOMETHING just kind rubbed me the wrong way about the whole thing. And then, along comes Love Hina to give me an example of what it should have felt like: fun. It's been some time since we had a really good romantic comedy come along and Love Hina fits the bill in pretty much every area. Produced by Xebec, the studio responsible for such fantastic works as Bakuretsu Hunters and Nadesico, the first noticable plus is the really good animation. It's nice to see how much better the art quality has been getting in TV series' over the last few years, as this is the sort of level you'd expect from a good budget OVA. The characters are all very odd, and with the exception of the main characters (Keitaro and Narusegawa) they are not really stereotyped at all. Mitsune, or should I say Kitsune, is very much like her namesake, sly and manipulative, doesn't really ever lift a finger...the kind of girl I could see Mayhem running after. Shinobu starts out as this really introverted, low-self-esteem and self-worth type, and slowly but surely starts growing into the friendly environment of the Inn. Motoko is hilarious to watch--she hates men, has the sword skills of Goemon (she even says "I have cut a worthless object..." at one point) the temper of Lina Inverse (well, almost) and as such spends a great deal of time beating on Keitaro (which, if you know your anime laws, means she's gotta be in love with him ^_^). Her big introdution episode is just howlingly funny as the first five minutes or so are done in the grainy, silent samurai film style (complete with the sound of the projector). Then there's Suu, who is possibly the genkiest girl ever animated...she makes Sana look sedate and sane. Gourry's intellect, Sana's energy, my love of heavy artillery (wait till you see her idea of "home defense") and the common sense of Dr. Evil combine to make a rather indescribably genki anime girl who could probably give Hysteria a run for her money. Personally, I'm most fond of Mutsumi, the Hyatt clone. Like Excel's partner, she appears to die (well, she sure LOOKS dead) rather a lot and seems to be rather oblivious to just about everything...either that or she's even more devious than Xelloss.
The characters, as detailed above, are great, but what really sets this show appart from its peers is the boundless energy that oozes from every pore in this show. There's isn't a lot of originality in the story or in the character designs, but it's all just so much fun to watch it makes up for it rather well. It may not break any new ground but it sure is fun when you're in the mood for something lighthearted and goofy. If romantic comedy is your drug of choice, then call up your local dealer and ask for a big dose of Love Hina.
Available only Fansubbed.