Reviewby Allen Divers, Mar 19th 2003
Love Hina Spring Movie
After another long year of studying, and quite a few adventures in-between, Keitaro, Naru and Mutsumi are finally ready for the entrance exam for Tokyo University. After a strong first day of testing, Keitaro encounters trouble on the second day. Convinced of failure, he makes a run for it, only to find himself on a remote island. There, he encounters a strangely familiar girl who's doing her best to keep a promise. Meanwhile, Naru decides to find Keitaro to drag him back to face the music. When she goes missing as well, the rest of the residents of Hinata Inn are soon hot on the trail to find Naru and the ever incompetent Keitaro!
Bringing the storyline of the TV series to a close, comes the Love Hina Spring Movie, the last of the first set of OVAs for the Love Hina series. Treading no new ground, the Spring Movie tries to tie up the major plot point of the series, allowing for a bit of closure to the Love Hina Anime. While the animation and artwork is top notch, and the acting of the original Japanese cast is great, the story comes across as a rehash of previous stories, ignoring many of the stronger plot points of the original Manga. While fans of the Anime will find the Spring Movie a welcome addition to their collection, fans of the original Manga will be disappointed to find much of the magic of this tale missing.
Love Hina Spring Movie is a standard DVD release featuring the 50 minute OVA. Extras are light, featuring textless versions of the spring movie closing, textless opening and closing for the TV series as well as a textless version of episode 24's ending. While a bit out of place on this release, their inclusion here helps pad out the DVD. Considering the extras included on previous editions, this DVD is extremely lacking. Surely there was another art gallery, or maybe even some commentary tracks that could have been created for this release.
The audio for the Spring Movie continues in the tradition of the TV releases, being markedly different between the English and Japanese soundtracks. Both soundtracks share the same music and sound effects, but the acting and scripting go off in two different directions. The English soundtrack comes across as watered down when compared with the original Japanese script. Much of the riskier dialogue is toned down, probably to make the English language version more marketable towards a TV market. The casting for the English cast is also a mixed bag, with a lot of misplaced voices for many of the characters, most notably the female characters. There's also a bad use of accents for Kaolla Su and Kitsune that simply makes the entire situation worse. With such high expectations set for this series, the handling of the English soundtrack proves to be the biggest disappointment.
The animation and artwork for the Spring Movie remains consistent with that seen from the TV series. There's actually a bit of disappointment in the fact that the animation doesn't feel more polished with this OVA. The animation is smooth, with action sequences kept to a minimum. Much of the art is focused on the standard pratfalls of Keitarō, with a few sweeping scenery shots thrown in. There are quite a few of the standard fan service shots, especially when Naru is forced to switch to a leaf bikini.
For a special set to bring the entire plot of the TV series to a close, the Spring Movie comes across as just more of the same. Following a recurring theme seen in both the Anime and the Manga, one of the lead characters is again running away and the rest of the characters follow. The story told in the Spring Movie was originally featured in volume eight of the Manga, and featured a lot more depth than seen in this special. Much of the drama and mystery that ocurred in the manga are glazed over to present a quick 50 minute special that ties up most loose ends. Sticking with the new story the Anime created, the Spring Movie even includes some of the characters that were never in the Manga. They serve no real purpose except to provide convenient plot points to help move the story along.
In the end, the Spring Movie comes across as a simple rehash of everything that's come before. Much of the bite of the original Manga has been left out to make a quick 50 minute adventure to close out the original series. The Spring Movie does manage to showcase much of what makes the anime memorable for fans, but in the end simply covers familiar ground. For the continuity minded fans, this OVA is an important piece of the story leading into the next OVA series, Love Hina Again, but doesn't go anywhere on its own.
Overall (dub) : D
Overall (sub) : B
Story : C
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B
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