Love Hina Omnibus Volume 03 Manga Review

ラブひな Omnibus Volume 03
Love Hina Omnibus Volume 03


SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Love Hina Omnibus Volume 03Highlights from this third omnibus volume of Love Hina from Kodansha Comics, which covers original volumes seven through nine, start with Keitaro not choosing between Mutsumi and Naru. Motoko is enlisted to remove Keitaro’s bad luck, but fails to do so. Keitaro gets so involved in studying that he doesn’t get caught up in the normal chaos that surrounds him. Mutsumi gets Keitaro to take her on a date, leading a jealous Naru to tail them. The girls make Keitaro Valentine chocolates, after which Mutsumi spends the night with Naru and ends up with Keitaro in the morning, leading to multiple misunderstandings. Just prior to the entrance exams, Keitaro decides on Naru, leading Mutsumi to reveal that she’s not the one he made his childhood promise to, but Naru is the one Mutsumi made the promise to.

Keitaro thinks he failed the entrance exams, so he flees and accidentally ends up on Pararakelse Island, where Seta is doing excavation work. After deciding to work for Seta, Keitaro sends a fax to the girls, leading Naru to go after him. When it is learned that Mutsumi, Naru, and Keitaro all got into Todai, Shinobu, Sarah, and Su attempt to sneak off to find Keitaro, but are temporarily intercepted by Motoko, Mutsumi, and Kitsune. Su effects their escape, forcing the other three to go in pursuit.  Naru finds Keitaro, but learns that he has discovered what he wants to do with his life, so she ends up hanging out with him and Seta’s young assistant, Nyamo.  Meanwhile, after a series of misadventures, Motoko’s crew rescues Shinobu’s crew, and together, they discover an encampment where Naru, Nyamo, and Keitaro have been stranded.

After being rescued, the group makes it to the airport so they can get Keitaro’s paperwork in on time. However, a missed flight seems to indicate that Keitaro will not get in, but Mutsumi mails the paperwork, which has a date-stamp to allow Keitaro to meet the deadline qualifications.  Returning to Japan, Keitaro finds his stock rising with the girls, but on the day of the Todai entrance ceremony, Keitaro’s bad luck comes in full force, causing the nearly indestructible guy to break his leg. In the hospital, when Naru finally visits him, Keitaro makes a desperate love confession to her, which she does not answer. When he is finally released from the hospital, Naru is still avoiding him, leading Kitsune to try to get things right between the two.

Motoko’s older sister, Tsuruko, arrives in Tokyo to take Motoko back. In desperation, Motoko says she’s engaged to be married to Keitaro, but when Tsuruko learns this is a lie, she defeats Motoko, breaking her sword. Motoko decides to abandon the sword and dresses as a maid. However, it is clear she’s not cut out for this kind of work, to Tsuruko arranges for Keitaro to bring Motoko to Kyoto for another opportunity to prove her worth. Naru is in Kyoto on a school trip and stumbles into Motoko’s and Keitaro’s efforts to defeat Tsuruko, lest Tsuruko force Motoko and Keitaro to marry. Since Keitaro gave Motoko the legendary demon sword “Hina,” Naru’s accidental messing with the sword causes her to be possessed and Tsuruko to be taken out. Motoko defeats Naru and seals the blade again, causing Tsuruko to acknowledge Motoko’s efforts and allow her to stay in Tokyo.

Returning to Hinata, Keitaro takes Shinobu out, which turns into a tutoring session. Seta returns to Japan, where it is revealed that he and Haruka were once a couple in love many years ago. More information on Sarah’s past is discovered, leading Naru and Keitaro to attempt to get Haruka and Seta together again. This results in Naru and Keitaro getting closer.

Thoughts/Review:

While Akamatsu-sensei had long proven that he could write short stories that could be contained in a chapter, or a few chapters, this time, he spreads his wings and writes a really long story, that being the Pararakelse Island arc.  This allowed him to get his characters away from Japan and onto foreign soil. Splitting up the characters allowed him to give different groups some face time as they have their adventures before bringing everyone together. This is a technique which he’d mastered by the time he got to Negima!  The result is an entertaining, interesting story that does help push the characters forward a bit, primarily Naru and Keitaro (but only a bit).

That Keitaro got into Todai was something that had to be done. After all, Akamatsu-sensei couldn’t fall back on the old, “He failed his exams again” trope. Instead, Akamatsu-sensei breaking Keitaro’s leg allows him to find a new way of keeping the story from ending — Keitaro getting into Todai with his promised girl.   What I liked is that Akamatsu-sensei decided to use this time to flesh out Motoko’s character by introducing Tsuruko.  It also allowed Motoko to grow as a character, seeing Keitaro in a new light, and thus developing feelings for him in what feels like a natural progression.  I liked that since Motoko is my favorite character of the series.  Plus, the ground Akamatsu-sensei sewed here would be continued in Negima!

So from a story perspective, the manga gets better and better as Akamatsu-sensei continues to improve on his storytelling skills.

How’d Kodansha Do?

On the Kodansha side of things, there’s a ton of good, but some bad too.  The table of contents are jacked up here.  They list this third omnibus volume has having volumes four, five, and six instead of seven, eight, and nine. I’m not sure what the deal is with Kodansha and TOC pages, but there you go. Based on my mistake when I reviewed Fairy Tail volume 20, I see that there are multiple TOC pages. Because I’m pressed for time as I write this, I did not verify that the proper chapters are listed in the chapter TOC pages.

Kodansha has served up some REALLY nice extras.  The first is an interview/conversation between Naru’s seiyuu, the very talented and lovely HORIE Yui, and Akamatsu-sensei (there is a typo under the first picture where he’s called “Akamatsu-sensi”), moderated by an editor. It is funny seeing Akamatsu-sensei as this young, skinny, nerd-looking guy.  I guess when he married a model, she suaved him up a bit, eh? ^_~  Anyway, it makes for an interesting read.

There’s a second conversation, this time between Akamatsu-sensei and Haruka’s seiyuu, the incredibly talented HAYASHIBARA Megumi (whom I came to love in The Slayers as Lina Inverse), which is also a good read.

Akamatsu-sensei’s character design sketch work and notes are included, which shows some thoughts on getting Motoko into more Western clothing. There are Japanese fan art from back in the day, completely translated for your reading pleasure. And then there are translator notes, which are always a win with me. ^_^

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Is this double-dip worthy?  Abso-freaking-lutely!  On top of the above-mentioned extras, most of which I don’t recall from TokyoPop’s release, the updated translations are awesome, getting the names right, including how they addressed each other.  That includes Motoko addressing her sister properly as “Ane-ue.” I’m very much in favor of that.   Plus, this volume marks the entrance of The Twins as translators. Satsuki Yamashita did an excellent job with the series. I don’t know what facilitated her departure, but it went from good hands to good hands, which is a good thing. ^_^

So, while there are a few flaws in this release, Kodansha mostly gets it right IMO, and I am glad to have this volume on my bookshelf.


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8 Responses to “Love Hina Omnibus Volume 03 Manga Review”

  1. Ultimaniac says:

    Oh, I forgot all about these Love Hina omnibus releases. Sounds like they’re must-haves.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wait, what is Love Hina omnibus? Is it a new one or what?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Originally, TokyoPop published the individual volumes of Love Hina. Today, Kodansha is republishing Love Hina, only in “omnibus” editions. That means that each omnibus volume release to date contain three volumes of the original manga. As such, omnibus volume three contains the content for original volume seven, eight, and nine. The translations are new.

  3. DeltaResilience says:

    It’s reviews like this that are really tempting me to get this omnibus version.

  4. Gyt Kaliba says:

    I need to start getting these. I have the first 4 or 5 old singles from Tokyopop that I found used and like what I read there. That and, I’d be lying if that Yui Horie interview didn’t sound like my cup of tea. 😛

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