Love Hina Omnibus Volume 01 Manga Review

ラブひな Omnibus Volume 01
Love Hina Omnibus Volume 01


*SPOILERS!*

Love Hina Omnibus Volume 01Love Hina is the second manga series that I started purchasing and reading back in 2003 (after watching the anime in 2002).  Back then, TokyoPop’s release of the manga began steering me toward the notion of the retention of Japanese honorifics, both in manga and in anime subtitles. (Ironically, the official English release of the anime Love Hina steered me from watching English dubs to watching anime in Japanese with subtitles.)  That’s because Adam Arnold managed to get the title/honorific “senpai” into the adaptation (though only for Shinobu addressing Keitaro) and occasionally, other honorifics.  A few years later, I started longing for a better adaptation of the manga that would include not only all of the Japanese honorifics, but also make proper usage of names.  Thankfully, this first omnibus release does that an more.

This first omnibus volume covers the first three volumes of the manga series.  From a story perspective, this covers Keitaro’s taking over Hinata Inn as the manager for what has become a girl’s dorm, through Keitaro’s and Naru’s studying and attempt to get into Tokyo University (Todai), and concluding with their separate but linked “recovery” trips to Kyoto and beyond, where they eventually meet Mutsumi before being reunited with the other residents of Hinata Inn.

Going beyond my being thrilled at the proper usage of honorifics in the adaptation, I have to say that I do enjoy the story here.  Sure, it has Akamatsu-sensei’s standard level of ecchiness (because girls have to bathe frequently, especially in large, outdoor onsen-style baths) and the main joke is the hapless Keitaro accidentally walking in on some girl (or girls) undressing, or otherwise accidentally groping them, followed by a vicious beating from said girls, with Naru giving her patented “Naru Punch” that sends Keitaro flying.  Some folks will get sick of that, but I see it for what it is — stupid humor.

For me, the journey of Keitaro and Naru attempting to get into Todai and the hints of romance between the two, with all of its ups and downs, is the more enjoyable part.  This is aided by the other residents of Hinata Inn, especially Motoko (my favorite character), whom are now in their adjustment period in getting used to Keitaro.  Having Naru and Keitaro go off separately on unannounced trips (despite eventually ending up together) has the other girls come running, showing that they not only cared for Naru, but had begun to care for Keitaro as well.  These are the elements that are interesting to me.

This first omnibus introduces us to all of the major characters, save three, two of whom are soon to come (Seta and Sarah).  So, after reading this book, if you don’t like it, you won’t like the rest of the manga series.  If you do like it, you’ll like the rest of the manga series and should continue to buy future volumes.

Now, if you were like me and were introduced to Love Hina via the anime, providing you liked the anime, you’ll like the manga even better.  That’s because the story flows more naturally and will eventually have a proper conclusion, something the anime never did.

On the Kodansha side of things, I’ve already mentioned the return of the Japanese honorifics. There are extensive translator notes at the back as well, which is very welcome.  Also, you may note that I used the term “Todai” for “Tokyo University.”  Readers of the original manga or viewers of the anime may or may not remember that “Todai” as a term becomes very important in later volumes as the series is winding down. I suspect that this is why the Japanese short name “Todai” is used in this adaptation, and I for one have no problem with that. ^_^

I wish that the original, color covers had been included as an extra (seriously, what Dark Horse is doing with those various CLAMP omnibuses is awesome), but alas they are not.  The end of each original volume does contain the black-and-white version of the original color, book cover note from Akamatsu-sensei, so that’s a nice way to end a volume.  All of the volume extras are in the back of this book, which isn’t a problem.

For me, I highly recommend this harem manga and am glad that Kodansha Comics is doing it right.


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9 Responses to “Love Hina Omnibus Volume 01 Manga Review”

  1. arimareiji says:

    Ah, great… I just recently made my semi-annual purchase of animanga from RightStuf, and now they bring this out?

    Seriously, thanks for the good news. (^_^)

  2. Anonymous says:

    ANB, I know you’re more interested in Japanese stuff, but you should really check this out: Bizarre Chinese Old-folks Choir Covers Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”. It’s EPIC!

  3. Mr_ShiNi says:

    Love Hina, aaaah. The memories, this was the first manga i’ve ever read, back when I was in school and importing manga was next to impossible (not enough money) and scanlation was just beginging (and I did not have a really got Internet Conection). Still I managed to read the 14 volumes online (I downloaded the scans page by page) and cheered for Motoko. Now, I own the manga volumes, It is a very good read. I’ll try and Import this omnibus if possible.

  4. This will bring back memories. I still have all 14 volumes of the manga from TokyoPop, and even a light novel (the other, I could not find alas…)

    This is a great read for those that want to get started on manga (just be warned that it’s not targeted for certain audiences) as it provides a simple to follow plot, a handful of entertaining scenarios, and a great theme behind the story. I believe that the theme was don’t give up on your dreams, even if it takes you a long time, but you can have your own opinion…

    It’s nostalgic, funny, and not overdone like a few series that I know… I think I’ll get the omnibus (when I get more money, that is >.>)

  5. Lan says:

    I just hope this has the love it deserves. the Tokyopop editions were rushed in places…

  6. Satsuki says:

    I’m glad you liked the new version.
    You’re right about “Todai,” since the name plays a part in later volumes, I discussed it with my editor to keep it as “Todai.”

    I hope you noticed that Motoko’s move names match the ones featured in Negima. This is because I worked with the translators of Negima to make it consistent ^_^

    Please look forward to volume 2!

    By the way, just curious. Which translator’s note did you enjoy most? I swear those take just as long as translating the manga! ^^;

  7. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Seriously, thanks for the good news. (^_^)

    You’re welcome. ^_^

    ANB, I know you’re more interested in Japanese stuff, but you should really check this out…

    *lol* I’m afraid but I’ll give it a look-see. ^_^;;;

    Now, I own the manga volumes, It is a very good read. I’ll try and Import this omnibus if possible.

    Yeah, this is worth a double-dip in my opinion. ^_^

    This will bring back memories. I still have all 14 volumes of the manga from TokyoPop, and even a light novel (the other, I could not find alas…)

    I hadn’t realized there was a light novel. It wasn’t written by Akamatsu-sensei, was it?

    It’s nostalgic, funny, and not overdone like a few series that I know… I think I’ll get the omnibus (when I get more money, that is >.>)

    I head that (about the money). That’s why I’ve been working a ton of 12-hour days in a row of late. Helps replace all the unpaid furlough time I was forced to take earlier in the year.

    I just hope this has the love it deserves. the Tokyopop editions were rushed in places…

    I would prefer a little MORE love, ergo my desire for the original, color cover artwork as an extra, but it certainly is worthy. ^_^

  8. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Satsuki said…

    I’m glad you liked the new version.
    You’re right about “Todai,” since the name plays a part in later volumes, I discussed it with my editor to keep it as “Todai.”

    First, my thanks of the job you did here. ^_^

    And yeah, I was very surprised when I saw “Todai” at first, but I remembered fans talking about it back when Love Hina was still relatively current and saying that “Tokyo University” should have been left “Todai.” There were some heated debates but I was convinced by the pro-Todai side and am glad to see that years later, it is an official part of the manga adaptation.

    I hope you noticed that Motoko’s move names match the ones featured in Negima. This is because I worked with the translators of Negima to make it consistent ^_^

    Thanks for reminding me. ^_^ I had meant to mention this in my review but forgot. The problem with trying to blog and working crazy schedules is that sometimes, I don’t get to blog something I’ve read until days later. So when I finally get to blogging a manga, I often don’t remember every point I wanted to make and sadly, I never think to make notes when I read because I only read in bed before going to sleep. ^_^;;; I’ll try to remember to make mention of this next review.

    Please look forward to volume 2!

    I am. ^_^

    By the way, just curious. Which translator’s note did you enjoy most? I swear those take just as long as translating the manga! ^^;

    I don’t have the manga handy at the moment and won’t for a few more days. However, I like them all. Seriously, whether it is explaining some cultural aspect, a term that works better in Japanese than being force-translated to English, or an explanation saying, “yes, the original Japanese did talk about ‘Star Wars'” (or the like), I like them. I am very appreciative of the hard work that goes into good translator notes and I try to make mention of this for every manga volume that has them. ^_^ Some manga REALLY could use them, like Hayate the Combat Butler.

    Again, thanks for the good work here. ^_^

  9. arimareiji says:

    Definitely, three cheers and a whole lot of love for Satsuki! <3

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