With my levels of expectation at an all time high for this show, I approached this concluding (sixth) volume of Love Hina full of enthusiasm. I was looking for closure; a satisfying end to the on/off repetition of Keitarou and Naru’s inevitable relationship. I didn’t get that from these episodes, yet still, I feel happy with the way this show has ended. We are at least given enough ammunition to assume certain things will fall into place for our beloved Keitarou. Naru at least finally admits to herself that she likes him and while their relationship is hardly rubber stamped, we leave the Hina apartments with them having made considerable strides towards each other.
That said, it’s quite strange that after all the fretting over his entrance into Tokyo U, we never discover whether or not Keitarou actually makes the cut into this fabled university. There are several other characters and plot threads left unexplained, though by going on these final episodes, the writers have intentionally left the story open for a sequel.
Of course, judging by it’s aimless and rather disappointing mid-section, Love Hina could potentially go on forever following the wacky, unhindered adventures of Su and co. However, for me, many of these ‘filler’ episodes were a waste of time and served only to pad out the episode count. Love Hina would have made a fantastic 13-episode show; following the ups and downs of the romantic-drama between our two compellingly uncomfortable lovebirds. Suffice to say, did we really need another 20 minutes devoted to the universally disliked Motoko?
Thinking about it, I found a lot to like about Love Hina; from a supporting cast that is littered with sparkling personalities like Shinobu to the compelling, often amusing drama surrounding Keitarou. I just had some real fun watching this show; Love Hina won’t win many plaudits for it’s admittedly slapstick style, yet this simplistic approach to teenage life is undeniably addictive and endearing. It’s not complicated, boring or unlikable, it’s familiar, sentimental and just a whole lot of fun.
Many of these comedic, breast-filled shows live or die of the strength of their characters and Love Hina is full of likable, quick witted personalities.
Such feelings are only re-enforced by a fantastic, varied soundtrack (from the up-beat opening theme to the quirky (occasionally classical) background music- it all fits perfectly) and a group of marvellous performances from the Japanese voice actors who are all spot on with their respective portrayals. Anime like Love Hina rely on their voice talent to deliver exaggerated, larger than life performances and the likes of Yuji Ueda (Keitarou) and Masayo Kurata (Shinobu) do themselves (and the show) proud.
And so we reach the climax of Love Hina and while it’s not exactly the closure I was hoping for, I still feel rather positive when looking back at these episodes and thinking about the show as a whole. It’s an endearing, sentimental story about teenage life that quite literally goes no-where and everywhere at the same time. As much as I would love to see Keitarou and Naru properly get it together, I know that would make for some weird, slightly uncomfortable viewing anyway; obviously, this show just wasn’t made for conventional romance.
Provided you can drag yourself through the disappointing, rather generic mid-section of filler episodes, Love Hina is a very watchable ‘romantic-comedy’.