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Review: Love Hina

The previous review was insufficient. It read as follows:

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What happens when a ronin is suddenly appointed kanrinin of a (high school) girls’ dorm?
Chaos and fun.

Genre: humor
Emotion: romance
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Love Hina is a harem show. There are exactly five males: the main character, an older guy considered out of the running, a half-hearted ‘rival’, and two bit players. Besides the main character, you might see one of those per episode, for a few seconds. There are at least seven females, and they occupy the majority of the screen time. Of the seven, maybe two never indicate any romantic interest in the main character over the course of the series. Of course, they almost never indicate such interest to him; they repress and deny such interest in varying ways. Exactly one character is honest with herself and him about her feelings for him, and she’s underage. To the show’s credit, both characters realize this, and nothing ever grows from that interest.

There’s tons of fan service. There’s nothing truly explicit, but lots of exposed flesh, jiggling, and other gimmicks. Every single non-underage female character is described as beautiful, and is drawn with unlikely proportions. Whether or not this is a good thing is up to the viewer.

The show’s strong points are in the humor and the characterization, at least of the main characters. Most of the humor is slapstick goofiness, but it’s usually over-the-top enough that you can’t help but laugh along. The main characters come across as three-dimensional, real people. You can’t help but root for them. It’s a pity that depth didn’t extend past the most core, central characters.

One major downside to this show is that it has the Most Drawn-Out Ending Ever. If the show had ended after episode 24, I’d call the ending half-decent. It almost looks like the producers wanted it to end there, too–most of the plot has resolved, and the normal end credits are replaced by a special sequence which would feel quite in place with the ending of a show. It wouldn’t be a really satisfying conclusion (it wasn’t the happy ending that the show makes you want), but it would have worked. However, the series continued past that: episode 25 is pointless, and it’s followed by two holiday specials which are moderately interesting side stories but which haven’t quite decided if it’s safe to affect the main plot. It’s only at the end of a three-episode OVA that the story finally ends, and it’s hard to get there: there’s a huge temptation to just quit watching between the end of episode 24 and episode 2 of the OVA. Still, it does finally end on a high note, so its rating doesn’t drop nearly as much as it might have.

genre: harem comedy
emotion: at long last, after hard and tortuous viewings: the happy ending!
BTFS: .65
(Beyond the Fifth Star ratings are normalized from 0 to 1)

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