Original Story by: Ken Akamatsu
Directed by: Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Character Design by: Makoto Uno
- Textless ending
- Bonus episode
- Insert calendar
- English and Japanese audio
- English subtitles
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Forbidden Swordswoman Buttocks
- Dangerously large breasts
- Christmas cheer
Released by: Bandai
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format
My Advice: Buy it.
[ad#longpost]Christmas hits the Hinata Inn, leaving the residents in a flurry of present buying, parties, and of course…problems. Su and Sara are sneaking around Naru’s room and find a letter from Naru, but as yet undelivered; part of the letter reads “I have always loved…” and Su and Sara assume that the letter is for Keitaro, so they tell him. In addition, a legend is going around the town that if you tell someone you love them on Christmas Eve, then that person will love you back, forever. Given that it’s already Christmas Eve, the clock is ticking. Kitsune is still working to bring Naru and Keitaro together despite themselves, but Shinobu still has a crush on Keitaro herself.
The bonus episode is a big bonus for Motoko fans. It seems that Motoko is now of age to run her family’s school, so her older sister has come to retrieve her. Motoko, however, doesn’t think she’s ready for this, and to get out of it, she says that she’s engaged to Keitaro. Eventually, of course, this act is exposed, and Motoko is disowned by her sister for being a liar. Motoko then sets off trying to become a normal girl…and you can guess how well that works. Keitaro has some wonderful moments in this episode as he tries to help and comfort Motoko.
No, parts of this plot aren’t unique or groundbreaking, but it all works so well and is so perfect for the various characters that it’s still fun to watch.
The audio and video quality for this release are consistent with the quality of most OAVs–crisp, bright colors and consistent dialogue. The music serves as a good counterpoint to the show, never overwhelming the dialogue or special effect noises. Both the Japanese and English audio casts are skilled and know what they are doing with these characters, so the moods and personalities come across in the voices. The source stock of this special is new enough to lend this disc a great transfer.
The packaging even deserves a special note. The disc insert has a little fold-out 2003 calendar in it, marked with character birthdays–cute. The disc case itself is see-through, since case’s liner/cover is reversible; the usual cover art and synopsis/crew info is on the outside, and a very pretty ‘Happy New Year’ image is on the other. It’s just a nice touch and a bonus for fans.
The disc extras start with a textless ending for the Christmas special, particularly nice here. There is also a bonus new episode, a direct-to-video release in Japan, but given the episode number 25. This episode doesn’t quite fit in with the Christmassy theme, but is a nice addition in any case.
Of all the ‘boy and a bunch of girls living in a house together’ anime titles, Love Hina is easily one of the best. The characters are charming and unique, the plots are fun and not too predictable, and the overall look is great. This quality is reason why this show continues to get specials and bonus episodes, even though it is over in Japan. Check this disc out as a way to try out the series if you haven’t yet, or pick this one up if you’re already a fan of the show. If you like titles such as Tenchi in Tokyo or Ranma, then you should enjoy this show, as well. Also, if you’re just looking for something fun to watch on Christmas Eve when you just want ’em to sue the old Santa already, then definitely get this one.