Love Hina Vol. #5 (Mania.com)

By:Derek LaPierre
Review Date: Saturday, November 16, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2002



The Review!
Welcome to my first review! Please bear with me.


Audio:
I listened to the Japanese track for my review, which I found easy to listen to. There was no kind of noise distortion that I could pick up. The dialogue was very easy to hear, even with all of Keitaro's mumbling.



Video:
I was very impressed with how well the sharpness of the picture was. The colors were very vibrant and had no dullness to them. Everything fit so well together, the few CG parts (the mist when Kitsune and Naru are in the bath; and the waterfall scene in the festival episode) blended together seamlessly with the cell animation. The only problem I seemed to notice was that the subtitle font wasn't the easiest to read.



Packaging:
The theme the cases use is rather original. Instead of your usual "here's a character" cover this on shows each character's relationship to Keitaro. In this volume it shows the playfulness of Kaolla Su and Keitaro's fear of the junior high schooler's abundant source of energy. The backside has all the necessary information: running time, rating, dual language, etc. The summary uses quite a bit of artwork and spacing with arrows pointing here and there to make it different than other styles. It's certainly an attention grabber.


Menu:
The menu is the same as the other volumes; the heart with all the options and Hinata-sou in the background. The options are clear and the access times are quick. It's your usual screenshot and music driven menu.


Extras:
There's not many extras in this series. There is the obligatory character background, and it ends there. They do give a lot of information. On this disc Kaolla and Sara are featured.

Content:
I have been a fan of this series since episode one. This volume continues going strong. Episode 17 is in essence a ghost story. It all begins when Motoko is criticized by a member of her "fan club" for growing weaker with Keitaro around. Motoko tries to redeem herself by exorcising a spirit from a haunted island. The ghost then takes control of Naru. This episode really shows how far Keitaro will go for Naru. Motoko also starts to open up to others and see true strength.
One of my favorite episodes is the festival. Everyone seems to learn something in the summer air. Naru forgives Keitaro for his clumsiness, but only after being mad at him all episode and taking cheap shots at him. Motoko embraces the love of her friends. Major hints of a past relationship between Seta and Haruka start to surface. Sara accepts staying at Hinata-sou. Kitsune reveals her true feelings for her special someone. This was a good episode of character. The fireworks song is the great!

The return of adult Su and Mitsumi is triggered by the arrival of Su's older brother in Episode 19. He easily passes for Keitaro and tries to get Su to marry him. Su naturally objects and a mecha turtle fight ensues with Keitaro getting kidnapped. This episode is a little boring and only serves the purpose of re-introducing Mitsumi.

In Episode 20 a ghost from the past emerges as Keitaro stumbles across a 100 year old doll. Moe is a tsukumogami (doll that has a spirit) that was purchased by Keitaro's great-grandfather. This episode is just about fixing the dolls legs. The way that it is told through an old journal entry of Grandma Hinata makes it really interesting. It is also hinted that Moe is the promised girl from Keitaro's youth.

This disc has a lot of character development that works well in some episodes. These episodes continue the developing relationship between Keitaro and Naru. I have to say though; I think Keitaro took the most beatings of the entire series in Episode 17. Overall the disc was very enjoyable and leads well into the next and final volume.



Review Equipment
Sony PS2 v2.0 dvd driver, Samsung TV




Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
MSRP: 29.95
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Love Hina