Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Entertainment
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 75
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Love Hina
Love Hina Christmas Movie
By Tam Nguyen
September 14, 2003
Release Date: November 19, 2002
Those who've seen the Love Hina TV series will know what to expect from this zany, lovable series, as this is a continuation of Keitaro's saga taking place some time in the Hina universes' future. With that said, anyone with even the slightest of common sense (even Mutsumi!) can surmise that I can only be referring to that wondrous holiday X-mas! Yes, it's the holiday season here in Kanagawa, Japan and love is in the air as a rumor quickly gets passed around stating that if a person were to confess their true feelings towards a loved one on the night of Christmas Eve, any wish of theirs will come true. The Hinata gang gets word of this, meaning everyone has a separate intention for what they plan to do come Christmas Eve. The movie takes place from the period of Dec. 21 up until the fated hour of Christmas Dec. 25, as the characters' feelings are exposed one by one as revelations and misunderstandings pile up in a way that only Hinata's residents can seem to bring about.
Although everyone at Hinata tries to keep it under wraps, Shinobu unwillingly brings it up while attempting to cheer up an otherwise depressed Keitaro. Concerned that Naru may no longer be thinking about him due to the stress of studying for and taking entrance exams, this comes as a relief for Keitaro. Of course Keitaro manages to sprain his ankle after madly dashing about with glee, his paranoia is only further enhanced through this as he feels Naru will think even less of him in his injured state.. So Keitaro decides to take the initiative through mustering his courage and shouting out "I love you." Naru of course, is constantly wondering whether she likes Keitaro or not ("It's not like I hate him or anything, and deep down he is a sweet guy, but I just don't know" is a common Narusegawa statement), and out of surprise takes off without warning. Naru, like many girls likes to play games with guys, denying she's having a good time with Keitaro one second, while acting cute in front of him another.
On this release we are treated to the same high quality product that we are given with the Love Hina TV series, so anyone who's seen even an episode of the aforementioned series will know exactly what to expect. Once again, the animation is presented to us through the hard work of Production I.G. so we can expect a very clear, detailed movie throughout its run. Of interesting note is that I.G. seems to have changed some of the character designs this time around, but that might just be because they're all a bit older. But what the heck is up with Mutsumi and Kitsune's breast augmentation? I mean yeesh! It's a good thing gravity seems non-existant in the Love Hina universe, otherwise I'd expect them both to be wearing girdles! Though Motoko looks a lot closer to her far cuter manga couterpart, which is great (I can't wait till Again comes out!), and even Shinobu seems taller than before. Moving along to the sound, this release is once again presented in stereo, so you all know what to expect.
The Christmas Special mirrors it's TV release with a clear baby blue keepcase, and finally does a good job with the cover. Showcasing all of Hinata's girls decked out in X-mas costumes makes for a very attractive case. The insert this time is actually a little mini calendar for the year 03 with various little notes such as the characters' birthdays circled, and even the release for the Spring Special (?), this makes for a neat little pack in that you might actually put to use. Amongst all this, the coolest little bonus is actually the entire Episode 25 of the TV series in the Extras section of the DVD. Delving into the awkward and mostly (physically) painful relationship between Motoko and Keitaro, this episode is about the return of Motoko's mysterious sister Tsuruka and her intentions on bringing Motoko back to Kyoto to take over the family dojo (martial arts school). Hilarity ensues as Motoko begrudgingly forms a truce with Keitaro in order to lay her sister's demands to rest.
The Love Hina Christmas Special is an event that fans can't afford to miss out upon, it's more romantic in it's slant than the other previous installments, but this is where Love Hina gets to hit it's high notes. This movie is Love Hina at it's best, a romantic outing, with a dash of Christmas magic, and even the little holiday miracle that occurs in the end.
27" Panasonic TV, JVC XV-S65 DVD player, Component Cables, Wired to stereo speakers