Love Hina Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • 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: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Love Hina

Love Hina Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     June 08, 2002
Release Date: June 18, 2002


Love Hina Vol. #3
© Bandai Entertainment


What They Say
A thief has stolen the rent money of Hinata Inn and everyone panics. Meanwhile, a mysterious woman appears in Hinata with her pet alligator, wreaking havoc all across town!

Then, Naru becomes a celebrity idol, which leads to Keitaro worrying about her studies. And when Motoko runs out of clean clothes, she's forced to wear a dress! Furthermore, her swordsmanship has been foiled by not only Tama-chan but also Keitaro!

Plus, Shinobu quests for her first kiss.

The Review!
This installment of Love Hina brings another four episodes that continue to mix a realistic situation with a not so realistic one.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. This track continues to have a decent sounding stereo mix with some minor directionality across the forward soundstage at times, but nothing terribly heavy. Dialogue is nice and clear and we noted no dropouts or distortions.

Video:
The transfer here continues to build upon the great looking source materials. The vibrancy of the colors is stunning in many places with flesh tones being one of the more prominent ones. Backgrounds at times are just lush with no noticeable artifacting or pixellation. Cross coloration is non-existent and there's hardly any issue with jaggies during camera panning sequences. This is a transfer that will please just about everyone as its one where you quickly just fall in love with how it looks.

Packaging:
The front cover gives Shinobu the primary spot with Keitaro behind her against a tree, very much in the standard dating sim style mode. The back cover provides an amusing summary for the show as well as listing the episode numbers and titles. The volume number also continues to appear on the spine. Features and technical information is all nicely presented at the bottom as well. The insert provides another shot of the front cover while opening it up provides a detailed look at Shinobu and what makes her special. The back of the insert provides the production and cast lists in English as well as the English production credits. This volume also has another sort of reversible cover. The back side is a full length shot of Naru in her concert mode with a number of images of her singing, as well as the humorous photo addition of “Sword and Flower’.

Menu:
The main menu is a variant of the front cover with a shot of the Hinata in the background with the English logo over it. To the right, inside a large red heart, you have all the selections as well as direct episode selection. Little headshots of some of the characters are also here and bouncing up and down with the music. Moving between the menus is nice and fast and the layout is pretty nice. Some of the submenus use Keitaro's sketchbook as the background which I thought was a nice touch.

Extras:
There’s only a few extras again this time. The character photo gallery this time around deals with Shinobu, giving her stats and info and then proceeding to show various stills from the series of her. There’s also a five minute interview with series director. It’s actually less than five minutes since it shows parts of the opening and various bits inbetween (all in English unfortunately). The moments with Iwasaki are interesting if brief, but are oddly done. It’s subtitled thankfully, but hard subtitled. And then it shifts between yellow and white ones at times. And the subtitles in general just look bad, making me glad for DVD subtitles even more. This piece is really just all fluff, with such things as a California convention getting shown and you see things like Slayers cosplayers. It’s a very confused little interview special.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After not caring much for the previous volume, things went up slightly here with another mixed bag of episodes, but less of the general all out wackiness that made up some of those episodes.

The show opens up with a whole episodes devoted to a whodunit as the rent money is stolen from Keitaro’s room. Kitsune immediately goes into Sherlock Holmes mode and begins the investigation with everyone eventually coming along with her as they check alibis. It’s a dangerous situation for Keitaro since everyone who gets asked believes he thinks they’re guilty, so they generally end up kicking the snot out of him before moving on. It’s an amusing episode for the most part as it progresses, but it feels a bit stretched out to fill an entire episode. The minor subplot of something missing in Naru’s room is even more minor than usual, but provides just another small look into her and Keitaro’s relationship.

Kaolla has an entire episode devoted to her, a fairly weak one in my eyes, that deals with her subconscious longing for her brother. This leads everyone to actually wonder about her origins and what she’s doing with her life. There’s also the introduction of her sister as she’s come to find Kaolla, but that leads to a large kettle of fish in terms of problems. This episode is the kind that goes into the fantastic territory (such as magical transformations and dozens of flying turtles) that I just can’t seem to get into within the confines of this series.

The episode that was both enjoyable and bothersome dealt with Naru becoming something of an idol star by doing voiceover and singing. She’s set into this mini career by the Mendou wannabe Kentaro. Kentaro is my dislike in this episode, as I’ve disliked the character since his introduction and his ability to bring things into the show that wouldn’t otherwise be there. That kind of shtick works in Urusei Yatsura but I don’t think it applies here. But this episode plays out well as he thinks himself being more to Naru as he works as her manager during this, all while she’s just trying to figure a way out of it. Keitaro gets the short end of things as he ends up listening to what Kentaro is saying as opposed to what Naru is saying.

Fans of the series will like this episode simply for the singing/stage concery moments with Naru. For some reason, it just seems really against her character to do something like this though, but I’ll go along with it.

I’ll avoid discussion about the Motoko episode so I can escape with my life and the Cult of Motoko won’t have to get their weapons. Overall, these episodes were somewhat better than the previous volume, but the lack of Mutsumi and her watermelon’s meant I just wasn’t as interested in these episodes.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Profiles,Keitaro's Sketchbook,Interview with Toshiaki Iwasaki

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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