Love Hina
Christmas Special

Starring (voice): Yui Horie, Yuji Ueda, Junko Noda and Masayo Kurata
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 07 November 2005

It's coming up to Christmas and Keitaro Urashima is still trying to get into Tokyo University to fulfil a promise to a childhood sweetheart he no longer remembers. Trying to balance his studies with managing the Hinata apartments Keitaro's life is complicated. Having failed to get into the university twice already, his studies are not going well; he just can't stop thinking of Naru Narusegawa, the short tempered love of his life...

Love Hina was a twenty-five episode, twenty-five minute Japanese anime show - though only twenty-four episodes were shown. It's a light hearted comedy about every day school kids. Well "every day" for Japan, it seems, as there are an assortment of swordswomen, geniuses and buffoons all living without parental guidance in the Hinta apartments.

The scripts are generally light hearted, with love being the most constant theme, but then isn't it always at that age. The shows can be a little saucy in places with a lot of white school girl pants and skinny dipping. Whilst this may seem a little odd, even perverse, for your average western audience, it is in fact a cultural norm in Japan and should be viewed as such.

This release contains the Christmas Special as its main feature - a definite 'will they, wont they' declare their love for each other, as Keitaro and Naru run around Tokyo engaging in mishaps and misadventures. Do they get it together? Well I'll leave that up to you to find out, but this was a Christmas show, so what do you think?

The extras are great on this disc, not only do you get the main feature but you also get Episode twenty-five of the series thrown in. This show was never originally aired, so is a must have for all Love Hina fans. Motoko has a weird vision of her sister menaced by a turtle (must have been the acid), only to find that her sister has turned up at her apartment expecting her to take her place at the divinity school that she's destined to head. In an effort to avoid her destiny she pretends to be engaged to Keitaro. But, it's not so easy to escape what fate has allotted you... but the sometimes maybe you don't want to.

Included, also, on the disc is the usual collection of trailers to whet your appetite for other anime shows, as well as a stills gallery and a textless ending sequence. Sound is English or Japanese stereo, but that's fine for the show and doesn't let the disc down at all. The print is nice and clean, with lots of bright colours, and no evidence of colour bleed. The English soundtrack works well, but for added fun turn on the subtitles, which only bear a passing resemblance to the audio track.

So, another slice of Japanese weirdness that's genuinely funny, released just in time for Christmas. Wack it in the DVD player and watch your granny get all confused.

Charles Packer

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