Love Hina Manga Volume 1

Love Hina Manga Volume 1

Note: Volume 1 can be purchased as part of Omnibus Volume 1, which has a new translation.

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Love Hina Manga Volume 1Back in 2002, I watched the Love Hina anime and fell in love with this wacky, harem title. As a new fan to anime, people kept telling me, “You have to read the manga, AstroNerdBoy. That way, you get the whole story and the manga is much better than the anime.” At that point in time, the only manga I had read was Dark Horse’s initial release of Oh My Goddess and so when I had the money, I splurged and began to buy the manga.

Recently, I decided that I should dust these off the shelves and reread them seeing as how some additional elements from this manga have crossed over into Negima!

The first volume starts with rounin URASHIMA Keitaro, who’s looking to get away from home and decides to stay at his grandmother’s inn in the town of Hinata in order to study to pass the entrance exams for Tokyo University (Toudai as it is known in Japan), something he has failed on two previous occasions. While in the inn’s onsen-styled outdoor bath, Keitaro discovers that the inn has been converted into a girl’s dorm.

There’s Kitsune, who has graduated high school and seems to pass the time by drinking. Next is Naru, who’s 17 and who’s also trying to get into Tokyo University. As such, Keitaro and she discover they are in the same prep school and despite her reluctance, she and Keitaro begin doing some studying together. Next is the 15-year old Motoko, whom Keitaro nicknames “Kendo Girl” because she is a master of the katana and her family (Aoyama) have a dojo in Kyoto and are known to be the creators of special attack techniques.

Next is the transfer junior high student Kaolla Su, who is a technical genius and inventor. Wrapping up the residence is MAEHARA Shinobu, who is shy and lacks self confidence that she can be a success in life.

The story has Keitaro settle in as manager of this dorm and discover that living with a group of girls isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Naru tends to belittle Keitaro quite a bit but then she also takes time to help him in his studies. Motoko is very protective of the others and often brandishes her sword at perceived missteps by Keitaro. Despite this, Keitaro still tries to help her and when Motoko gets sick, she initially believes it may be due to her falling in love with him. This makes for the most interesting of the chapters in volume 1 for me, but then I was a fan of Motoko from the start. ^_^

We also learn of why Keitaro is so determined to get into Tokyo University — a promise he made to a girl as a child. This is not a new idea in anime or manga and Akamatsu-sensei insures that Keitaro continues on this path by having Naru tell Keitaro that a girl would surely remember this promise no matter what.

Those who’ve only watched the anime will notice quite a few differences. There are no weird old men wandering around Hinata. Shinobu is already a resident in the dorm when Keitaro arrives. Motoko is there from the start and she doesn’t have an entourage of suck up girls. Instead, the scene where she encounters Keitaro and his two male friends Shirai and Haitani and attacks them with her umbrella has Motoko with Kaolla and Naru. Personally, I don’t think things are silly in the manga, which is how the anime often seemed, even in the early episodes.

As this is an Akamatsu-sensei title, expect a lot of Barbie Doll nudity. After all, why have an onsen-styled outdoor bath except to have your girls bath frequently and that’s exactly what we get.

For this 2002 TokyoPop publication, it was decided to test the waters with a bit of a Japanese perspective. As such, the term “rounin” (or “ronin” as they spell it) is left untranslated. Also, Shinobu’s use of the honorific “senpai” (“sempai” as TP spells it) when addressing Keitaro is retained, but as a stand-alone title and an honorific. What’s odd is that while Shinobu addresses Naru and Motoko with the “senpai” honorific, TokyoPop ignored this. I suppose the only reason that TP included it at all is that Shinobu makes a big point of requesting permission to address Keitaro as such (before, she’d called him “Urashima-san” but that is lost in the TP adaptation).

It is a shame that all of the other honorifics are lost because I think they add another level to the adaptation, but at least we got a little bit of a Japanese perspective.

As a manga story goes, I feel this is a good start to a series. We are introduced to the central characters and to the central story arc (Keitaro attempting to get into Tokyo University to keep a childhood promise). The table is being set for more antics between Keitaro and the girls and Keitaro’s ongoing attempt to get into Tokyo University (Naru’s as well). So if you haven’t read the manga but enjoyed the anime, I encourage you to try out the first volume and check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed (unless you are like me and want honorifics in the adaptation).

Love Hina Omnibus Volume 01

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11 Responses to “Love Hina Manga Volume 1”

  1. Tauntanime says:

    I’ve actually seen that anime Love Hina, loved the story. To be honest I didnt remenber the name but as I read it came to my mind, thx for reminding me, good post.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I can’t remember the last time I read Love Hina. I’m going to go find that right now and reread it.

  3. LOL! The cover is far different from the original!

    Love Hina is one of the manga series that I’ll never sell.

    I’ve already read this manga 7 times, and I’m never sick of it…

    😀

  4. Charlie says:

    I enjoyed the manga of Love Hina, though I think it takes a few volumes to find its feet properly. Mutusmi’s entrance in Volume 3 really helps matters, my favourite character in it.

  5. Aaah, how nostalgic. This series got me into anime, but I didn’t read the manga until maybe about a year ago.I have to say the manga is completely superior. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to buying the manga and I’ve only read it online. (Naughty me.) I’ll buy it eventually, but I’m a little more occupied with other manga that has new content coming around, rather than reading something I already know. But yeah, this manga is definitely in my top 5 favorites. Right up there with Negima and School Rumble. 🙂

  6. pissedbuddha says:

    Unlike Negima, I really can’t stand Love Hina. I remember reading volume 1 of of it. I literally threw the book at the wall in anger right after Keitaro and the 7th grader finally made up, only after ALL THAT BUILD UP to get her upset again when he accidentally pulls out her panties that he picked up off the floor. I understand this is supposed to be “funny”, but Jesus Christ, how much torture must Keitaro go through?

  7. O-chan says:

    Now unlike Negima which I have yet to take an interest in, I’m actually a Love Hina fan and think the manga is a far more well rounded read than watching the anime (even though I saw the anime first and I do own the entire thing despite it’s glaring flaws). Naru comes off far less violent and has better character development. The only thing that drove me nuts was how much freakin’ text Tokyopop put in their dialogue boxes and it kind of interfered with the artwork at times.

  8. arimareiji says:

    The manga is absolutely superior in the beginning, no question. Some of it is from having seen the dub first, but I -hated- the town elders. They added virtually nothing to the story; they were just an grossly silly (and unnecessary) object of exposition. Noise. Ditto Motoko’s kohai. And ditto Shirai and Haitani, though my memory’s not clear enough to be sure that they featured in the anime significantly more than in the manga.

    Akamatsu-sensei already has the habit of tossing in a little of everything at the beginning, true. But he tends to quickly drop that which doesn’t work. In the anime, they picked up and magnified some of the things he dropped later for good reason.

    I have to admit that I liked most of the Shinobu episode of the anime. Parts of it stuck out as wildly unrealistic, but it made her attachment to Keitaro much more real. (And Shinobu was always kinda my sweetheart, just barely ahead of Mutsumi.)

    There’s no question they monkeyed around with the original too much, overall. Yes, a strong story can easily stand up to such changes without falling apart. And done well, i.e. Negima! or Kashimashi, it can be a very good thing – like slight nuances on a favorite flavor. But in this case, they frickin’ Hollywoodized it.

  9. proscientia says:

    I really enjoyed the series, but I thought the intro — though it presented the essential elements to start the story — was somewhat weak. I like it a little better now, but when I read it for the first time and the second time half a year latter, I was rather bored with it. For me, I think that knowing the (detailed) character personalities and their relationships make the story funny, but there is not enough time in the first chapter to get a good grasp of those (yes, in 6 months, my knowledge of some of the LH character dynamics became hazy). I liked the latter chapters of the volume a little better, which is why I continued with the story. Once reading part way through volume 5, I was thoroughly impressed.

  10. Renzo says:

    REALLY LOVED THIS MANGA. :’)
    Because the story and the plot touched my heart. LITERALLY. LOL. =))

    It’s fun to reread some mangas you’ve already somehow like left behind(as you are reading new mangas right?). It lets you remember the good ol’ days when you were starting to get interested in Animes and Mangas and you feel like you want to really learn more about Japanese culture or even live in Japan! 😀

    Love Hina has unique sequences of plot twists (although there is a MAIN PLOT) and also a VERY unique storyline than other love stories or drama and comedy mangas.

    It also has some funny Ecchi scenes that caught most readers’ attention. Haha.

    TRULY LOVE LOVE HINA! :]

  11. Prinny says:

    Ah, Love HIna, it is the series that made me an anime fan (before that i watched voltes v and other super robo series). I actually use this as an inspiration to my life

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