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DVD Review

Love Hina Again


Starring (voice): Natsuko Kuwatani, Yui Horie and Yuji Ueda
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 28 January 2008

The ever-popular romantic comedy anime Love Hina returns to DVD for the final time with a climactic three-episode storyline that delivers all the lighthearted craziness that fans have come to expect from Keitaro and the residents of the Hinata Apartments...

Originally released in 2002, the conclusion of Love Hina comes as a three part original video animation (OVA), Love Hina Again. The OVA consists of three episodes: Kanako, Keitaro and Naru, with the whole thing running to ninety-three minutes. One word of warning, if you haven’t seen the show, or the two previous specials, don’t start here as it references both and without that background the show is not going to make a whole lot of sense. Even then, the three episodes are so random that even having seen all the previous shows it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

Love Hina Again was produced as OVA which means that it went straight to DVD, which is not unusual for a Japanese anime. However, it does mean that the makers do not have to try and satisfy such a broad audience. For Hina this means that the show is a lot more sexual than the transmitted stories and not really suitable for younger children.

In Kanako, Keitaro leaves on an archaeological expedition and while he is away, his sister, Kanako, turns up to take over the role of manager for their apartment block. Cue mistaken identities, nudity and lots of panty shots. The show is defiantly not going to challenge you intellectually as the whole thing is played just for laughs. The plot, such as it is only exists to move from one gag to the next.

In the second episode, Keitaro, Keitaro returns from his trip. Not only does Keitaro not recognise his sister but, in usual Hina tradition, the presents that he has brought back lead to misunderstandings, with his sister coming on to him. The rather dodgy scenario is rescued with the intervention of Naru.

The last episode, Naru, and we get to find out whether Keitaro and Naru finally declare their feelings for each other. This is the problem with the show. Fine if you have watched it for some time and have grown fond of the characters then your going to want to see the on/off relationship to its end. If, however, you don’t care about them then the show is likely to leave you cold.

The extras are okay, nothing really to write home about. You get one textless opening credits, three textless closing credits, a character and artwork gallery and two trailers (for Trinity Blood and Black Cat). Audio options are limited to English or Japanese stereo with either subtitles or signs. The show is presented in 4:3.

Sad to say that this was not a satisfying way to finish up the story and certainly not as good as the Spring and Christmas Special's. Some things have remained, which made the show a hit - the animation remains good as does the music, but the plot is too rushed as the show gets bogged down in fan service nudity and weak gags.


Charles Packer

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