Love Hina – episodes 5 to 7

October 8, 2004 on 7:59 pm | In Love Hina | Comments Off on Love Hina – episodes 5 to 7

Because, quite bluntly, episode eight is the Devil, this progress report stops at episode seven: because Love Hina pulled off a three episode streak of okayness.

The first major improvement is that Keitaro manages to co-exist with his tenants, rather than being the butt of their cruel and incessant violence. This is most easily noticed due to the fact that there’s barely any violence at all in this set. Keitaro must meet Naru’s fist only two or three times, and Kaolla deals only one real kick to the head.
With Naru failing the Tokyo University entrance tests, it is hoped that she might become a bit more sympathetic to Keitaro. This Naru is a bit too hard, though, to conceivably soften all the way – but seeing her graduation and realising that she doesn’t fit in or have a group at school is pretty sad and actually penetrates.

Romance comedy (that is, laboured, annoying romance comedy) works on the basis of “hilarious misunderstandings” and “bizarre coincidence”. Love Hina throws some of the stupidest hilarious misunderstandings in the world at the characters. When Keitaro and Naru go on holiday to Kyoto separately, but end up together, they break each others’ glasses and so can’t see well enough to recognise one another. Why they don’t recognise each other’s voices is beyond me, and the fact that Naru wears glasses for studying and not for normal world activity suggests that she is actually near-sighted … well, a trademark of bad examples of the genre is making no sense what so ever, so this passes that test.

There’s an episode that introduces an ALL NEW character, Sakata Kentaro. This character was nowhere to be seen in the manga, and he seems to be an excuse for capers. His inclusion, however, does allow Keitaro to grow a little bit. Initially it is distressing to see that the man is weak even in his fantasies, but something actually comes of it. Sakata thinks he’s the right man for Naru. This is because he’s a stalker. When they take Naru on a fantasy date (something too pointless to elaborate on), the submissive woman on offer is nothing like the real Naru. A simulation can’t take this into account, and Keitaro realises this. It is entirely wrong. What is offensive is that Sakata tells Keitaro that a woman can’t be expected to offer a kiss, and that you have to force yourself onto them, even if they ask you not to.
There’s no way of explaining how incredibly wrong this is, and it’s no small mercy that we’re not expected to like this character. This is one of the few times that Keitaro actually took a stand, and he was right about it.

Horie Yui plays drunk surprisingly well – but it’s always a pleasure to hear seiyuu cut loose and be drunk (anyone remember Hisakawa Aya’s drunken voice escapades?). The problem with Ueda Yuji and Keitaro remains – Keitaro should really be more argumentative for the crap that he has to put up with. He can yell at people, but mostly it’s to apologise. Spineless wimp characters are really annoying (note: I don’t find Evangelion‘s Shinji to be an annoying, spineless wimp) and Keitaro would be more likable if he could take part in verbal warfare.
The biggest hypocrisy comes up in the ping pong battle – why is it okay for Naru to mercilessly criticise Keitaro, yet not for him to retaliate? Admittedly the series is all about frustration, which is probably why it annoys on so many levels.

Some of the animation is of the horrible click and drag variety, that is allegedly used for comedic effect but isn’t really very comedic. Anemia girl Mutsumi should be a really good source of slapstick, but just having her tip over seems to be the height of laziness. On another production note, whenever the “caper” music starts up, you know you’re in a lot of trouble. It was kind of the director to have such obvious audio cues, to get the viewer prepared.

There’s little faith in episode eight, but let’s see how the rest of everything goes. These three episodes, at least, didn’t leave me seething – but the idea that the hope offered will remain hope is going to be frustrating.

No Comments yet

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress with Pool theme design by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^