by Bamboo Dong,

Love Hina

DVD 2: Go West!

Love Hina DVD 2
In the second volume of Love Hina, Keitaro and Naru must face the Tokyo University entrance exam. The results of their test will lead them to many adventures with the girls at Hinata Inn from places as close as the spring, to Kyoto and Okinawa. Along the way, the two meet a girl named Mutsumi Otohime who is strikingly similar to Keitaro in many ways. There the plot thickens as emotions start to unveil themselves as one more girl is added to the group that Keitaro must try to keep track of.
Released in North America by Bandai Entertainment, fans are getting the exciting opportunity to watch Love Hina, a quirky series that lies somewhere between a comedy, a romance, and random adventure. The second DVD comes with four episodes, and a few fun extras. Among the extras is something entitled “Keitaro's Songbook” which includes the Romaji and English translated lyrics for a song sung in the middle of the eighth episode. The feature gives a brief explanation of the cultural in-joke behind the song, and allows the viewer to hear the song in its brief entirety. Another feature in the series is a character gallery featuring Motoko, as well as a brief biography on her. The DVD itself is packaged amongst a nest of extras, as the insert unfolds to reveal a brief guide to Motoko's character traits as seen through the eyes of Keitaro. The reverse side of the cover reveals a poster-like print of the characters inside the video game, like the scenario they find themselves in in the final episode of the disc. The episodes alone make this fun series a great addition to any humor fans' anime collection, but the extras are an added boost that, while not anything spectacular, are nevertheless amusing.

Somehow, Love Hina is series that can be wholesomely intriguing, while at the same time possessing an incoherently continuous storyline. Each episode ties to the one preceding and proceeding it well, as the series keeps an ongoing plot that allows the episodes to flow together. Within each episode, however, is a mess of randomness that allows the series to be spontaneous and exciting, giving viewers something radically new to look forward to each episode. In the end, the amounts of miscellany and cohesiveness form a perfect equilibrium, producing an end product that is both wildly fun to watch, yet logistic enough to keep watching. The hilarious antics of the Hinata Inn tenants and the people they come in contact with are reasons enough to watch and re-watch the series multiple times with fresh laughs each viewing.

Especially interesting was the music and the sound effects that popped up throughout the series. The music itself is nothing spectacular, but it's cute and emotional enough at times to provide audio backup to the story, while not becoming blatantly obvious. The opening and ending theme songs sung by Megumi Hayashibara are pleasant to listen to, depending on what kind of mood the viewer is in, as the opening is happy and uplifting, while the ending is more wistful and moribund. The sound effects in the series, though, are nothing short of amusing. Many of the sounds placed in the episodes seem almost to have no reason of existing, other than to let the sound directors push extra buttons. Oddly, this is far from annoying, as they somehow actually manage to accentuate the comedic effects. Effectiveness aside, it is rather puzzling why a whistle is played every time Kaolla Su enters the scene, as the two have nothing in common whatsoever. Other than this puzzling tidbit, the rest of the music and sound is perfectly fine and compatible, sans one technical issue in one of the episodes. Partway through one of the scenes, the sound fades out due to a bad audio transfer so that the characters can barely be heard. This only happens once throughout the disc, however, so the problem is nothing major.

In regards to the rest of the audios in the series, there is unfortunately one grotesque characteristic about it – the English dub. While the Japanese voicing cast performed brilliantly, making their lines seem natural and fun-loving as the series demands, the English actors delivered their lines as though they were forced. Not only were the actors unemotional and dry, the actors were also horribly cast. The Hinata girls that were supposed to be young, junior high characters were cast with mature, middle-aged voices, which ruined the cuteness of the characters. Meanwhile, Kitsune was cast with a heavy, feminine Southern drawl that was not only uncharacteristic of her party-loving, tomboy character, but also excruciatingly grating on auditory nerves. Fans of the series are better off choosing to watch the subtitled version, and never touching the dub in order to protect themselves from scarred ears.

Love Hina is one of those rare shows that are just purely fun to watch. Good times abound when the disc is in the DVD tray, regardless of what mood the viewer is in. Granted, there are certain choices, such as watching the series dubbed, that may dampen any unready viewer's day, but for the most part, Love Hina is something that can be enjoyed alone, or with a big group of friends. Whether viewers are in the mood for comedy or adventure or even action, Love Hina is the surefire way to go.
Production Info:

+ Humurous antics and fun characters
Atrocious dub

Director: Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Series Composition: Kurou Hazuki
Kurou Hazuki
Akihiko Inari
Manabu Ishikawa
Hiroyuki Kawasaki
Hidefumi Kimura
Yousuke Kuroda
Satoru Nishizono
Mitsuyasu Sakai
Katsuhiko Takayama
Kiyotaka Isako
Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Shingo Kaneko
Shinichiro Kimura
Takashi Kobayashi
Kiyoshi Murayama
Hiroshi Nishikiori
Katsushi Sakurabi
Osamu Sato
Takashi Sudo
Kouichi Sugitani
Shigeru Ueda
Episode Director:
Masakazu Hishida
Kiyotaka Isako
Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Kiyoshi Murayama
Toshinori Narita
Katsushi Sakurabi
Osamu Sato
Takashi Sudo
Kouichi Sugitani
Shigeru Ueda
Music: Koichi Korenaga
Original Manga: Ken Akamatsu
Character Design: Makoto Uno
Art Director: Hachidai Takayama
Animation Director:
Masanobu Aoyama
Akiharu Ishii
Toshiyuki Kono
Tomoyasu Kurashima
Meiju Maeda
Hideyuki Motohashi
Masami Nagata
Toshihiro Nakajima
Masahiko Nakata
Masaki Nakaya
Akio Takami
Atsuo Tobe
Minoru Ueda
Makoto Uno
Masahide Yanagisawa
Art design: Junko Nagasawa
Sound Director: Hideyuki Tanaka
Director of Photography:
Fumio Hirokawa
Katsutoshi Hirose
Shinichi Ikeda
Keisuke Iwata
Yukinao Shimoji

Full encyclopedia details about
Love Hina (TV)

Release information about
Love Hina - Go West! (DVD 2)

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