Love Hina #3 presents us with yet more signature slapstick comedy and ‘slice-of-life’ drama that made the earlier episodes so successful, but the story has now notably faded into the background, replaced by pointless episode long dream-like sequences and a painfully repetitious comedic formula. Is there anything else to Love Hina beyond the drawn out attempts to gain entry to Tokyo University? Judging by this volume, I would have to answer with a resounding no.
With a whole lot of spare time until the next Tokyo-U entrance exams, the residents of the Hina apartments seem to be at a loose end. Keitarou is spending a lot of his time dreaming about Narusegawa, while Su, in her own crazy way, plays host to a long lost sister.
I find it hard to describe exactly what happened during these four episodes because with each passing minute, Love Hina is becoming increasingly bizarre and off-the-wall. A giant mecha turtle – does that merit explanation? This series’ is becoming dominated by these kinds of zany dream-like situations and is now pretty much a completely different kind of show to the slice-of-life school drama that we started out with.
Depending on your preference for a ‘crazy’ show like Love Hina, this volume will either be extremely funny or just painful filler. I can understand both perspectives – despite this series being seemingly happy to repeat the same few jokes every episode, it still manages to keep itself feeling rather fresh and honestly, quite funny. But on the other hand, there is little to no character development or progress with the story, leaving your enjoyment of this volume hinging on whether or not you can stomach yet another chain of surreal escapades.
Up until now, I have enjoyed the more ‘real life’ dramatic elements of Love Hina and so I left this volume feeling quite disappointed, jaded by the aimless direction of these four episodes. There is a distinct lack of story outside of the whole Keitarou/Narusegawa relationship, especially since the other girls seem to have somewhat limited, 1 dimensional personalities. Perhaps this anime would have been better suited to only 13 episodes? Preventing the pointless filler and allowing the story to move at something of a decent, respectable pace– yet with some 12 or so episodes still left to run, I can’t help but wonder how many more of these pointless volumes we are going to have to sit through until we are allowed to get back into the original, absorbing storyline.
Love Hina #3 will be a love/hate volume – since the story is now moving at a snail’s pace, the stupid (and more cliché) personalities are being amplified tenfold to fill this narrative gap. Personally, I found these four episodes boring, lacking the important dramatic elements which had previously underpinned all of the surreal and inventive humour.