Love Hina Manga Volume 4 Review

Love Hina Manga Volume 4 Review

Note: Volume 4 is included in Omnibus Volume 2

–> Purchase Omnibus Volume 2 from RAKUTEN.COM (formerly BUY.COM)
–> Purchase Omnibus Volume 2 from BARNES & NOBLE
–> Purchase Volume 4 from RIGHTSTUF!
–> Purchase Omnibus Volume 2 from RIGHTSTUF!

*SPOILERS!!!*

Love Hina Manga Volume 4With volume 4 of the manga, Akamatsu-sensei moves things forward by having Naru graduate from high school. Indeed, while the manga had indicated her high school status, this is the only time we saw her attend high school or give any real indication of her high school status. I always thought that was a tiny bit strange, but it really doesn’t have any major impact on the manga. Now we know that Naru no longer has to attend high school and thus has all the time in the world for adventures with Keitaro. ^_~

After a little adventure with the turtle Tama-chan, Akamatsu-sensei gives Motoko some lead time by having Keitaro counter one of her attacks and thus lose a bet. Now she has to dress in a more “girly” fashion and has to deal with that. It is a nice story that helps develop Motoko’s character and what makes her my favorite character of the manga. It also establishes that on some level, Motoko respects Keitaro.

Keitaro’s job hunting story slides in next as Akamatsu-sensei properly introduces us to the character of Seta and his adopted daughter Sarah. Sarah is a real brat, breaking things and causing Keitaro all sorts of troubles while pretending to be innocent. Her having to spend time at Hinata Inn gives her more opportunity for mischief. Having painted her into an uncontrollable corner, Akamatsu-sensei gives himself an out by giving Sarah a panda-shaped birthmark that becomes known to Keitaro and Naru, thus beginning to change her from a huge, annoying brat character to a more fun and tomboy-cute character.

Love Hina Omnibus Volume 02 Manga ReviewSince Seta is Keitaro’s boss and Seta was Naru’s first real love as well as her tutor, his unexpected arrival causes Kitsune to panic and to get the other girls to agree to keep Naru and Seta separated for Keitaro’s sake. This ends up being a fairly amusing story despite the fact that normally, such a story would cause me to cringe with all of the “near misses” and desperation to keep Naru and Seta from seeing each other.

To wrap up this volume, Naru and Keitaro take another step in their relationship as Naru ends up saying that she doesn’t hate Keitaro. In true Akamatsu style, the crash-arrival of Seta’s vehicle interrupts the couple as they are about to kiss. This provides another love-triangle of sorts for Keitaro as Naru had a huge crush on Seta and still finds him attractive. Keitaro does what most nice guys do and is going to give up so that Naru can be with Seta even though she tries to state her feelings for Keitaro. Keitaro decides to confess Naru’s feelings for Seta on his own but Akamatsu-sensei then effectively removes Seta as a rival for Keitaro by having Seta tell all the girls and Keitaro that he likes them all.

So there is a lot of fun in this manga in addition to the arrival of Seta and Sarah to the cast, some minor advancement of the Naru-Keitaro relationship, and some nice development of Motoko’s character. I read this and I think of just how much better the story as a whole plays out over the anime adaptation. I need to rewatch the anime sometime.

Anyway, I hope that Del Rey or someone can license-rescue this manga title (providing they retranslate it from scratch and do it right). It would be a shame to let such a classic harem manga title disappear from American markets.

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22 Responses to “Love Hina Manga Volume 4 Review”

  1. arimareiji says:

    I’ll have to see if I can dig up my old copy of the manga, but from (relatively) recently rewatching the anime, it sounds like the stories are pretty much mark-for-mark on what happens.

    When you say it plays out better, do you mean the nuances of how the story flows, i.e. how it happens? Kinda like the principle that for some jokes “you had to be there”, because it’s the mood leading up and how it’s presented that matters most?… I’m having trouble putting it into words.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    The anime story keeping Seta away from Naru is vastly different in the anime than the manga. Essentially, they tell the same story but in the anime, the story is set at Tokyo University with Naru somehow getting involved in clubs/jobs on campus even though she’s not a student. I never did understand that when I watched the anime the first time (I’d not read the manga then). In the manga, the setting is Hinata-sou and that makes a lot more sense to me.

    So yeah, I guess I’m saying “how” it happens is better.

  3. proscientia says:

    A very fun volume indeed — incidentally, I saw that someone on route with me had purchased this volume (along with a Welcome to the NHK volume and other miscellaneous stuff) at the Silver Snail in Toronto when I was traveling from Montreal to southern Ontario. A couple of months later I bought this volume on my own.

  4. arimareiji says:

    Ok, got it… you’re right, that’s definitely different, and breaks the what and the how. It did seem pretty forced in the anime; both the “let’s use making money as an excuse to temporarily transplant everyone to Toudai” and Kitsune’s antics. (I never understood the sudden makeout session AT ALL, though Motoko’s reaction was funny.) Only Naru’s comments on how weird Kitsune was acting kept it from going into “Oh, come ON!!” territory.

    Back then, it completely threw me that she would go so all-out to help Keitaro. It still does, but not as much as it did when the antics of the Maison Ikkoku crew were fresh in my head. (Man, those were some sadistic housemates.)

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    There are more such moments in the anime.

    As to “Maison Ikkoku,” those guys were the worst since they were the cause of so many setbacks for Godai. ^_^;;; I wish Viz would retranslate that manga from scratch, but that’s not likely to happen.

  6. arimareiji says:

    proscientia: But was your impromptu Love-Hina-reading traveling companion a cute meganekko with a straw hat who just happened to be staying at the same hotel? Or a terribly ditzy girl in a green blouse and brown dress who talked to turtles?

    And if it was the latter, can you get me her number? (^_~)

    ANB: You have to admit, they were just as awful to Mitaka, Yagami, or anyone else they decided would make an amusing toy, so they kinda helped too… but they still needed a good kick into next week.

  7. proscientia says:

    @ arimareiji: sadly, no 🙁

  8. BlackSun88 says:

    i drop the anime version of love hina after the 6th episode. the anime is just too crap compare with the more superior manga.

    however, i would prefer maison ikkoku in term of story and depth (love hina win by moe girl). Maison ikkoku has a very realistic setting, and it is a lot closer to us with daily issue and problem. these set Maison Ikkoku apart from other harem manga

  9. Adam Arnold says:

    Speaking as the rewriter of Love Hina Vol. 2-14, I will agree that parts of the first couple of book’s adaptation were really rough early on. The biggest problem was the book changed hands through about 4-5 editors early on and they either wanted to be hands on and make tweaks themselves or were totally hands off. So it was hard to find any really consistency until book 7.

    Aside from that, the biggest change I would like to see today is the retention of all the honorifics and all the names kept in their original Japanese order. I’d also very much like to see Keitaro calling Naru by the name “Narusegawa” throughout the series instead of it having to be shortened.

    Having said all that, I would have to pity anyone that has to retranslate/edit/letter a new edition of Love Hina. Ken Akamatsu’s 9-panel grid art style is incredibly tedious to slog through. You have endless balloons on a page and constant puns that are hard to translate. Oh, and it’s 14 volumes long. But given the chance…I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I think. Maybe.

  10. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Adam! Thanks for coming to my small part of the blog-o-sphere. ^_^

    Now, my planned remarks for later in the volume will sound like sucking. *lol* As the manga progressed, I had planned to say (and maybe will still do so to some extent) that it was my belief that you were attempting to work more honorifics into the work as time went on. It was my further belief that the reason you didn’t change certain things (like Keitaro calling Naru “Naru” instead of “Narusegawa”) was for continuity’s sake. Would that be correct beliefs on my part (assuming you get notifications of responses)?

    Thanks again for posting. ^_^

    @BlackSun — I’m glad I saw the anime first. There were things I thought were odd about the anime, but it is the 3rd harem title I ever saw. It is also the anime that began to ween me off of English dubs. *lol* However, it still holds a special place with me because I saw it first, enough so that I bought FUNimation’s re-release. Sadly, FUNimation didn’t redo the subtitles like the originally advertised. Oh well.

    @Arimareiji — True.

    @Proscientia — I forgot to mention this earlier, but thanks for sharing. ^_^

  11. arimareiji says:

    Wall o’ text in semi-alphabetical order, sorry — I got kinda ranty again.

    @ Adam Arnold: Wow. Thank you for talking to us about it, and for the work you put into it. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you do get to work on that retranslation some day.

    @ ANB: Please don’t worry about changing the way you write, or rewriting any reviews you’ve already done? No one who’s read much of your writing would think you’re the Mutual Admiration Society type, and there’s no harm in saying that good work is good work. Far from it, it’s really interesting to hear backstory to some of these decisions.

    @ BlackSun88: So what do you think the realistic ending of Love Hina would have been? After thinking about it, I realized I’ve had my own preconceived notions about it for a long time — I’d love to hear what others’ answers to that question are.

    The more I think about what you were saying… Akamatsu-sensei may have deliberately written Negima as a reversal of the typical ending. Usually, the protagonist gets hung up on the tsundere who keeps rejecting him but wants him to keep chasing her (Naru / Anya), and stays oblivious to the sweet-hearted girl who loves him but mainly wants him to be happy (Shinobu or Mutsumi / Nodoka). But in Negima, playing it cool has completely backfired on Anya — Negi does what I think would be the right thing in real life, i.e. “If a girl tells you no, respect her wishes instead of becoming obsessive to the point of stalkerdom.” Instead, he seems to fancy the sweet girl who lets him figure things out at his own pace. I love it. (^_^)

    (And before it’s all over, he may even wind up with the “I’m going to do the right thing for the people I care about even if it hurts me” girl at the same time — even though usually, those characters might as well have a “Kick Me” sign taped to their back. That would be too cool for words, and I think Akamatsu-sensei could make it work.)

    @ Open question: I’ve recently heard people call Love Hina a cheap knockoff of Maison Ikkoku, and it baffles me. Any idea why that would supposedly be true, besides the surface similarity of “They both have a a boarding house and a rounin trying to get in college”?

  12. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I haven’t heard those comparisons. Indeed, when I read “Maison Ikkoku,” I never once thought, “Love Hina.” After all, there have been other titles regarding rounin. “Chobits” springs to mind and I’m sure if I thought about it more, other titles would come to mind as well.

    I have heard people compare the early days of “A.I. Love You” to “Ah! My Goddess.” I think that is a fair comparison as Akamatsu-sensei borrows a similar notion, only instead of a goddess, he has a computer sprite come to life. Like A!MG, A.I. has the three siblings (changing the youngest into someone who is at times a boy and at times a girl). I think that by that series end though, Akamatsu-sensei had established his own tale quite nicely and had even begun to establish what would become “Love Hina” with the characters.

  13. arimareiji says:

    Huh… I hadn’t heard that before. But far from being a negative aspect, it makes me want to try reading A.I. Love You even more. Thank you for the recommendation-of-sorts. (^_^)

    Most “adaptation” of others’ work is a turn-off on principle, with the extreme example being fanfic. But with A!MG, I think there’s a lot of untapped potential — areas that someone with Akamatsi-sensei’s style could improve on.

    Not to mention that it’s been interesting to see how his characters change and grow over time. I didn’t like Mutsumi’s evolution to Chizuru, and I coulda done without both Granny Hina and Dean Konoe, but I loved Naru -> Asuna, Shinobu -> Nodoka, Motoko -> Setsuna, Suu -> Ku, and Seta -> Takamichi. So it would be neat to see where some of them came from.

    Looking back over before posting, I guess there’s one person it’s fair to accuse him of plagiarizing from… himself. (^_~)

  14. Adam Arnold says:

    Yes, as things progressed, I did start working in more honorifics. Keeping the turtle’s name “Tama-chan” was a big one of those. And I did try to set Naru’s name right in a couple of spots by having Keitaro call her by her last name in more touching/serious situations.

    Having said all that, there’s absolutely nothing I’d want to change about the rewrite of A.I. Love You and Pita-Ten. Both those books are great as is.

  15. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Arimareiji — I like “A.I. Love You” and it is up to ANB standards when it comes to the translation. *lol* One reason I might recommend it is that I honestly think Akamatsu-sensei is expanding on some concepts established in “A.I. Love You” through “Negima!”

    Akamatsu-sensei does tend to establish traits from prior characters and place them in new characters. He’s not alone in this though. Takahashi-sensei does this as well (something I’ll comment on when I write my review of RIN-NE volume 2).

    @Adam — I don’t suppose there’s a chance that Seven Seas could score a license rescue of “Love Hina,” eh? Del Rey has been scoring Kodansha titles so assuming Kodansha doesn’t try to do the title themselves, I figure Del Rey would have next crack at it.

    I never read “Pita-Ten,” but I was very happy with “A.I. Love You.” ^_^ Thanks!

  16. arimareiji says:

    @ANB: Thank you again for recommending A.I. Love You.

    It definitely was worth reading. The less-refined drawings were only a mild annoyance, and it started out with a ton of potential in the areas I thought A!MG fell down. And I loved the way Saati/Thirty came across as having the same problems a real A.I. would – being anything but perfect at complex tasks, having no “intuition”, utter naïveté, etc.

    But at the same time, it was sad that (IMO) Akamatsu-sensei later derailed the characters and took a trip into Takahashi Land. Turning Thirty into a less-violent Akane and Hitoshi into a more-sly Ataru may have been a conventional way of prolonging the story, but prolonging the story for its own sake is not a good thing. It seemed like he was getting back into the groove of some of his original themes near the end, but got cut short by the unplanned end of the series. (Arguably ironic, given how Negima! also got cut short.)

    Random tidbit, looked up after seeing a Wikipedia comment: Apparently Hitoshi and Yayoi were offhandedly referenced (at the bottom of Hakase’s Wall-O-Text) in MSN. It’ll be interesting to see just how much of the present dilemma relates back to A.I. Love You, eh?

  17. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I didn’t see Saati (Thirty) becoming like Akane, but actually turning into what would become Naru (I’d read “Love Hina” first). I didn’t know Ataru when I read “Love Hina,” but yeah, I can see the comparison between Ataru and Hitoshi.

    And yes, Hakase’s speech does reference Hitoshi and Yayoi. Combine that with Nitta-sensei being in “Negima!” and “A.I. Love You” as well as Fate appearing to be a potential upgrade of Spider-Zero, I honestly think that a lot of the Magic World in “Negima!” will be based on modified concepts from “A.I. Love You.”

  18. arimareiji says:

    Absolutely. My first version of the sentence was “into proto-Naru”, but the more I thought about it the more I saw a resemblance to the earlier example of Akane’s behavior whenever Ranma got caught being an Accidental Pervert. Either way, I think it was a derail from their previous personalities… but that’s just my opinion.

    Yeah, there were a lot of characters who reappeared as elements of other characters (Yayoi->Paio, Takako->Asakura, Sayo->Sayo, Cindy->Mutsumi, Toni-> Kitsune, Kikuko->Kanako), but the one that really stood out to me was Nitta -> Nitta. He just has to be modeled on one of Sensei’s senseis. (^_~) That and Spider Zero -> Fate Third, so similar that I half-wonder whether the Lifemaker will be Hitoshi’s father.

  19. AstroNerdBoy says:

    There’s a thought. *lol* One thing some people have pointed out to me is that there is a problem with time from “A.I. Love You” to “Negima!”, Considering that the computer technology of “A.I. Love You was only invented in the late 90’s, then there is still a great gap seeing as how Fate and the MW existed a long time. My own thoughts are that there could still be linkage, especially with time travel and the passage of time being a bit different on MW.

  20. arimareiji says:

    Just throwing around crazy ideas, but… what if Hitoshi’s father didn’t fail on creating AI’s solely through technology, he just abandoned it to continue his work in MM because magic made the breakthrough possible much sooner?

    Whoever the Lifemaker is, something like that (combined with different passage of time) almost has to be the explanation for how MM could have existed as it is for a long time and have massive numbers of AI’s running around without people realizing it.

    Another really weird thought… Akamatsu-sensei is a big Final Fantasy buff, right? It just hit me why Zect’s quote (“Humanity is beyond saving. Hero, know my two thousand and six hundred years of despair”) sounded vaguely familiar… FF10. The one where Tidus’ father Jecht had to become Sin after defeating it. (Don’t even get me started on the solid-illusion “dreams of the fayth”.) It doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but MSN started about a year and a half after FF10 came out.

    Last thought: I’ve pretty much bought into believing there’s massive time dilation between worlds right now, because it solves a lot of problems (like getting back in time for next term, for starters). However, there’s a hitch: there’s no reason to think Negi’s age has been played with, and he’s stayed on Earth for at least six years. (Asuna ten, and others probably longer.) Given Zect’s quote, the only way MM could have been started with AI residents would be if there’s a ~100:1 dilation factor. Therefore, Rakan, Gödel, and the red-shirt brigade (Tosaka et al) should be long-dead.

    Thank you for listening to all my yammering, by the way, on this and other occasions. (^_^)

  21. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I don’t know anything about the FF franchise so I can’t comment there.

    And yeah, there are certainly time issues to be resolved with MW. Even if MW isn’t tied to A.I., I still think Fate may be.

    And you’re welcome. ^_^

  22. arimareiji says:

    Well, if it makes a little more sense of it, here are some spoilers for FF10. (I figure it’s safe enough, almost ten years later.)

    Hero = Tidus. Apparently gets time-jumped ahead 1000 years during the apocalyptic destruction of his city by “Sin” (giant monster).

    Joins up with summoner who’s questing to defeat Sin; becomes love interest. In this world, ghosts have to be “sent” to the Farplane by a summoner (think the shinigami in Bleach) or the “Unsent” become monsters. A couple of times, they meet Unsent who kept their bodies for a short time in illusory form.

    Near the end, he finds out what everyone thinks is the awful truth – Sin’s defeat will only buy a temporary “Calm”, and Yuna will die in the process. Then they find out what really happened to the last questors, which included his father Jecht – as part of defeating Sin, he actually had to become the next Sin. Then they find out that Auron (one of the party) is actually an Unsent and Tidus was only a “dream of the fayth”, a ghost turned real by the power of other ghosts. After defeating the last boss, they both disappear.

    My speculation is that Nagi may have had to become the next Lifemaker after Zect. It seems a lot more likely that the people of MM are illusions based on AI’s, not ghosts, but the recent comment about being sent on to the next realm reminded me of FF10 as well.

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