Love Hina Spring Special -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 45
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Love Hina

Love Hina Spring Special

By Chris Beveridge     February 19, 2003
Release Date: March 18, 2003

Love Hina Spring Special
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
Keitaro, Naru, and Mutsuki are about to take the Tokyo University entrance exams again. Everyone is hopeful and in high spirits, but Keitaro falls asleep during the test!
Fearing the prospect of failing yet again, Keitaro runs away where his friends can't find him. But Naru and the rest of the Hinata Sou girls are determined to bring Keitaro back, even if it means traveling to a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!

The Review!
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, there’s another piece of Love Hina ready to take a bite out of your wallet.

Having fully developed an affinity for the Japanese cast over the course the series, it’s only natural we listened to this show in Japanese as well. The shows track is pretty much the same as we’ve come to expect from the series with a solid forward soundstage and very little, if anything, sent to the rear speakers. Dialogue was nice and clear, though be warned that the menu audio is lower than the show itself.

The transfer here is just about as gorgeous as anything we’ve seen come down for the Love Hina series to date. With this special being an OVA, the already high quality animation and artwork gets spiffed up a bit more, reslting in more fluid animation, much more onscreen activity and a much fuller color palette. This results in a great picture here with no cross coloration and no noticeable aliasing. With it being only forty-five minutes, there’s plenty of space for the program without sacrificing anything, so there’s really nothing to complain about here.

The cover here goes right for the fanservice, though parts of it look somewhat cartoony (such as Motoko), with Naru and the newest character showing up in their leaf bikini’s while everyone else is in the background all smiles. The back cover is done up in the style of the series with lots of little text bits all over as well as a number of nice little character shots to highlight the story summary. The discs features and extras are clearly listed though the text is a bit hard to read and the usual production and technical credits are all easily available. The insert has another shot of the front cover but it opens up to provide a nice fanservice shot of Naru and Nyamo together on the beach. The back of the insert provides the full cast credits and matches up actors for both languages to their parts.

The menu layout is nice and creative here as it brings a number of images into play that give the impression of a vacation slide show, right down to someone making the rabbit ears go across the screen. Some music plays along with it, giving it a really spot-on feel and appropriate for the content. Access times are nice and fast and since there’s not transitional animations, getting around is quick and easy.

There’s some most-wanted extras on this volume, things that should have shown up on other discs but ended up here for some reason. There’s basically four textless opening/endings here that make up various parts of the series, though the Christmas Special has it’s own textless material on its discs. There’s nothing duplicated here at least. We get a textless ending to both TV episode 24 and the spring special itself. We also finally at long last get the textless versions of the TV series opening and ending sequences, something that should have been on the first or last volume of the TV series itself. It simply does not belong here, but at least they put it out instead of dropping it entirely.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Love Hina has proven to be an interesting viewing experience for me, as part way through the disc release I ended up getting into the domestic manga release. What quickly happened was that I’d see a new DVD and then read the original manga story it came from, as well as the additional bits that never got animated. Sometimes they were painfully close, other times they were wildly apart. Having just read the manga for this particular story, I was rather eager to see it as I felt that it was one of the better stories.

Unfortunately, while they got part of it right, they missed out on a big part of what made this “Spring Special” so much fun. The episode is set up easily, as Naru, Keitaro and Mutsumi are doing their last night of studying before they take their second and final exam. So off they go to Tokyo U. to take their test, and wouldn’t you know it, Keitaro gets into fantasy mode not long after the test starts and he realizes he knows so much of it. He starts dreaming about his marriage to Naru, her being stolen away and all the usual things he fantasizes about.

Of course, he then wakes up with five minutes left in the test.

Realizing how badly he’s sucked, he decides to really chuck it all and ends up on a ship heading out to an island in the south Pacific where he runs into Seta. Seta’s once again up to an archaeological dig and offers Keitaro the chance to work on it. After some very poorly done gags, the two end up on the island and he’s proving to be an able assistant. But Seta figures something is wrong and lets Naru in on what’s going on.

Naru, surprisingly in tears over his disappearance, is now furious now that she knows where to find him, packs and heads off with almost no discussion and no cares about whether she got in or not. While she heads off to the island, everyone else goes with Mutsumi to see who got in. And much to everyone’s surprise, they all get in.

Here’s where the bad deviation goes. Here, everyone ends up coming to different reasons for wanting to go find Keitaro and they all eventually get together and head off to find him and see how he’s dealing with Naru. In the manga, it’s revealed very early that once you pass, you have five days to submit your papers, so they all head off to find them so that they can get all three of them to get into Tokyo University. In the anime, that becomes a last minute credits gag, totally blowing the reason for everyone being so frantic in trying to find them.

The time spent on the island is also dramatically reduced, from where we had several days worth of Naru and Keitaro getting closer and knowing each other better, especially as Keitaro starts tanning and seeming more mature about things, it’s all rather rushed here and the entire aspect of the native island girl Nyamo and her mystery is given the short end of the stick. There’s some amusing moments throughout, but it all feels so rushed. I hate comparing the manga to the anime, but with the added runtime here, they could have done this so much better.

And yes, I even disliked having Akamutsu being in the show as himself.

After the wonderful Christmas Special, I figured we’d have a good episode of fan service and frivolity. There’s a healthy dose of each in here, but there’s also some plain bad plotting going on. Whether that’s going to detract from your enjoyment or not is dependent on how you felt about the series as a whole. With the shorter running time and the full price nature of it, it’s definitely something that I can see people having a problem with. It’s not bad, but it could have been oh so much better.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,TV Textless Opening,TV Textless Ending,Episode 24 Textless Ending,Spring Movie Textless Ending

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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