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Monday, January 11, 2010

Love Hina

~ 少年Shounen (Harem) ~

If you don't know what a harem manga is, it's pretty self-explanatory. You have one male character shoved into an all-girl setting. "Negima! Master Negi Magi" is another one, as well as "Tenchi Muyo!" There are also reverse harems where one girl is shoved into an all-guy scenario, like "Ouran High School Host Club," and "Hana-Kimi." Personally, I don't like harem manga that much, even when it's reverse harem. The main reason is that it gets a little ridiculous sometimes, as well as fan service oriented. Case and point: Love Hina.

Summary: Keitaro is a downtrodden twenty-year-old guy who hasn't had a girlfriend and has failed the entrance exams into Tokyo University twice. Why is he so intent on getting into Japan's #1 university? He made a promise fifteen years ago, and cannot give up on his childhood crush. But, unfortunately it looks grim for our hero. His family has kicked him out of his home, and he desperately seeks housing with his grandma, whom owns a boarding house--an all-girls dorm. Now, Keitaro has to try and study while being stuck in a house full of beautiful, spunky girls!

~Love Hina Opening~
"Sakura Saku" by Megumi Hayashibara


Ridiculousness--Yeah, Love Hina can get pretty ridiculous. The characters get stranded in a desert, clothes rip off ever other scene, and Keitaro's character is border-line psychotic (it's surprising he hasn't been sent to the hospital due to high blood pressure). Put it all together and you get one mound of random, albeit sexy, manga.

I suppose under ridiculousness would go "lack of plot." Besides Keitaro wanting to get into Tokyo University because of a childhood crush, nothing really develops plot-wise. SPOILER!!-- Eventually, Keitaro does get into Tokyo University, but his childish, perverted character still stays the same, which is a disappointment-- END SPOILER!! He's a sweet guy, which is great, but the usual reader will want him to grow some balls somewhere down the line. He doesn't. Ever.

Slow Read--Other than the ridiculous stuff, there's also the problem that nothing really develops until around volume six or seven, where Keitaro takes the entrance test for the fourth time. Up until then it's all about this childhood crush, fan service, and displays of Keitaro's lack of balls. Eventually, around chapter seventy-something, I had mentally headdesked enough that I was feeling slightly light-headed and peeved. If you like seeing half-naked girls, but nothing really other than that, then this is the perfect manga for you!

Stereotypical Characters--The problems with harem manga is that they're rarely original, and that usually means that many of their characters are also bland. Keitaro reminds me of Takeya from "DearS" and Hideki from "Chobits." He acts modest and innocent, clueless most of the time, but there's that underlying perverted nature associated with just being a twenty-year-old guy. A majority of harem guys follow this outline; in fact, I haven't read about one who hasn't. If you have any exceptions, please message me.

Not just the male main character, but the girls also aren't very original, nor do they develop much except for Naru and some would say Shinobu. Naru is the violent one, reminding me of Chidori from "Full Metal Panic," who ultimately falls in love with the main character. Shinobu is the quiet one with a crush, like Hinata from "Naruto." Kitsune is the seductive mistress, and Motoko is the samurai trainee from various mangas (I'm sure you're aware of them). Mutsumi has bad health and is clumsy (thinking of Hyatt from "Excel Saga"?). In other words, stop following generic character outlines! I do give props to Kaolla, though. She's very spunky and interesting.


Cute--Love Hina is romantic, even though cliché. The main character, against common sense, has this childhood crush he hasn't forgotten about yet, and tries his best for this girl (who might not even remember him). Coming from a girl in a relationship, that's sweet. The awkward parts with Keitaro sometimes do happen, especially at the beginning of a relationship where two people are feeling each out. So, even though it's ridiculous and unoriginal, Ken has written a cute story.

Sexy--There is a great deal of clothes ripping, falling, being pulled, disappearing all together. So, this is a very sexy manga; I would not recommend this manga for teens under the age of thirteen. There's a lot of fan service (and if you don't know what that is then you're too young to read this manga) and sometimes it gets...distracting and repetitive... But it's sexy, and I'm sure Ken-san was aiming for that.

In short,
~Read this for the partial nudity and cute plot~

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