Synopsis: When Keitaro was little, he made an oath to his childhood sweetheart. He promised that when they grew up, they would go to Tokyo University together and be happy. Alas, she moved away a short time after. Keitaro is now college age. The problem is, he had already forgotten the name of the little girl he had made the promise to! To top it off, he also flunked the Tokyo U entrance exam. But Keitaro's luck is about to change... for his grandma just granted him every hot-blooded guy's dream job -- to be the manager of Hinata Sou, an all-girl dormitory! The roster of tenants includes the studious and rather violent Naru, another Tokyo U hopeful; Kitsune, who's mainly interested in money, parties, and making mischief; Motoko, the short-tempered turtle-phobic kendo master; Shinobu, the shy junior high student who's also Hinata Sou's resident cook; and Kaolla, the mysterious foreigner who's fond of inventing various mechanical gadgets. Could one of them possibly be the girl Keitaro made a promise to fifteen years ago? More importantly, will Keitaro succeed in his third try for Tokyo U?
Review: Love Hina is a 25-episode TV series based on the manga by Ken Akamatsu. Now the first thing that grabbed my attention about Love Hina was the ultra-cute and ultra-perky opening sequence and song "Sakurasaku" (sung by no less than anime seiyuu-dom's darling, Megumi Hayashibara). Yet even so, getting addicted to Love Hina was the last thing I expected. I won't beat around the bush here. I love, as in positively adore, this series! Something hilarious erupts almost every episode, which in turn would have me laughing my butt off (at the risk of seeming like a total lunatic) in front of the TV. It's that funny.
The humor and hijinks start as soon as Keitaro takes on the job of managing Hinata Sou. Not only does Keitaro have to keep the place nice and orderly, he has to contend with the varying temperaments of his female tenants as well. Then there are the Tokyo U exams and the possibility that one of the girls being his elusive childhood sweetheart... Keitaro's life promises to be a lot more exciting in the days to come.
The character designs are superb. Not only do they look great, they are well thought of as well -- each having his/her own corresponding personal background and place in the story. Each one is quirky in his/her own way, and they are constantly getting themselves into the wackiest situations. There is never a dull moment at the Hinata Sou. In fact, one of the most remarkable things about Love Hina is how the plot continues to fall into place episode by episode, despite all the comedy that ensues. The ending is open-ended though, but who Keitaro is eventually going to end up with is confirmed in the Love Hina Christmas Special.
The art and animation are nothing short of spectacular -- very crisp, clear, and colorful. I heard that Love Hina's animation is fully digital, and that computers were used all throughout (which will probably explain why there isn't a single Love Hina production cel anywhere on the net). I was actually surprised by that bit of info because the whole series doesn't really sport a computer-generated look. The Japanese voices are extremely well-cast. Everyone sounds good, and the voices fit the characters perfectly.
Love Hina is easily one of the best romantic comedies around. Highly recommended.
Miscellanies: Almost everyone who has watched the anime and read the manga agree that the manga is a whole lot better.