Love Hina Omnibus Volume 04 Manga Review

ラブひな Omnibus Volume 04 REVIEW
Love Hina Omnibus 4

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Love Hina Omnibus 4Highlights from this forth omnibus volume of Love Hina from Kodansha Comics, which covers original volumes ten through twelve, start with Keitaro, Naru, and Mutsumi visiting Mutsumi’s family in Okinawa. Keitaro’s and Naru’s romance takes some very tiny baby steps forward. An accident by Mutsumi causes her to briefly regress her memories to her childhood when she, Naru, and Keitaro spent time and Hinata Inn as children. When they return home, Keitaro is tasked with finding out what is depressing Su. Resolving that, Keitaro is recalled home by his parents for a lot longer than expected, causing the Hinata girls to worry and delay their Halloween party.  Keitaro decides to go to America to study archeology.

Six months later, Naru is acting manager and everyone is looking forward to Keitaro returning. Keitaro’s step-sister Kanako, who’s a master of disguise, arrives disguised as Naru to cause trouble before revealing her true identity and the fact that Keitaro isn’t returning and that she’s now the manager. Kanako appears to be destroying the inn, but in the end, she had it remodeled as she’s turning it back into a functional inn and resort. As such, the girls are forced to become employees. Kanako treats them poorly, basically giving them a taste of how they treated Keitaro when he first arrives. Kanako continues to use disguises to trick the girls, mainly because she’s in love with her step-brother and dislikes the fact that the other girls have various levels of feelings for Keitaro.  Eventually, Kanako’s actions cause Kitsune to lead a rebellion, though Naru sides with Kanako.

Keitaro returns with new glasses and is a lot more like Seta, even going so far as to be able to handle his own in a sword fight with Matoko. Kanako is depressed that Keitaro doesn’t initially remember her, nor their childhood promise to run the inn together. Keitaro decides to use the abandoned annex at Hinata Inn to confess to Naru since the place has magical powers, but Kanako is there to receive the confession instead. Keitaro tries to overcome the mistake, but the magic keeps preventing him and Naru from getting together. Even a ring Keitaro tries to give Naru ends up with Kanako. Naru flees with Mutsumi and Kitsune since she can’t bring herself to say she loves Keitaro. Keitaro gives chase with the other girls, but Naru keeps giving them the slip. Kanako helps Naru, but in the end, she gives up on Keitaro for the time being. Naru runs until there’s no where else to run, but in the end, she finally confesses her love for Keitaro and kisses him repeatedly. However, it is too much for the girls, who now chase the new couple.


The trip to Okinawa was fun, but I never really cared for Mutsumi getting amnesia and becoming a child in mentality. I know that Akamatsu-sensei used the event to partially explore the trio’s past and partially to force Naru to move forward. However, it just never really was a plot thread I cared for.

Keitaro’s decision to go to America for training was a move that I liked, since I felt it would allow Akamatsu-sensei to make offscreen improvements to Keitaro’s character, which is exactly what he did.

As much as I enjoy the Love Hina manga, original volume eleven is where Akamatsu-sensei jumped the shark for a time.  Kanako is such an annoying character, and creepy to boot. Yeah, I know that she’s only a step-sister, but still, her lusting after Keitaro just bothered me to no end. Before Kodansha put out these omnibus editions with fresh (and awesome) translations, I always skipped reading volume 11 whenever I decided to reread Love Hina.  I did suffer through this time, only because I wanted to updated translations to see if that would improve my opinion of Kanako. It did not.

I once read that Kanako’s introduction was a way for Akamatsu-sensei to continue Love Hina, which was supposedly done at Kodansha’s request during its original publication in Japan. Certainly, the story proceeds that way as volume 11’s material has almost no Keitaro (save at the beginning and end) and is entirely devoted to time wasting and ramming in a new girl into the whole “promise girl” mix.

Keitaro’s return helps somewhat, but there again, Akamatsu-sensei has to keep the manga going by having Keitaro accidentally confess to Kanako in a magical annex, then have Naru run away to keep from confessing her own feelings. While the adventure of trying to nab Naru is fun on some level, it doesn’t keep the manga from feeling like it is just marking time.  Still, the ultimate payoff worked pretty well.

How’d Kodansha Do?

On the Kodansha side of things, the Nibley twins do a fine job with the translation and adaptation of this manga. In addition to the normal Japanese honorifics being included, brother/sister honorifics are used, which is especially nice during the Okinawa visit, since Mutsumi’s young brothers and sisters only address Keitaro and Naru by such titles. Akamatsu-sensei’s volume blurbs are included within each volume’s section. The remaining extras, such as model sheets, concept art, and such are at the end of the omnibus book. Translator notes for all volumes are included here as well.


While this omnibus volume contains the absolute low point of the Love Hina manga, it is still worth having in order to complete the journey. Only one more omnibus volume to go.

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4 Responses to “Love Hina Omnibus Volume 04 Manga Review”

  1. ChronoReverse says:

    I started reading Love Hina at around when volume 10 came out so I didn’t really feel so strongly against Kanako.

    And if there’s one thing Kanako did that I appreciated, it’s giving the girls at Hinata Inn a taste of their own medicine (how they treated Keitarou).

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      And if there’s one thing Kanako did that I appreciated, it’s giving the girls at Hinata Inn a taste of their own medicine (how they treated Keitarou).

      There is that for sure.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, that creep Kanako. Ugh. I also skipped vol. 11 every time. That ugly creature was supposed to keep the manga going? “Love Hina,” the winner of Manga of the Year in 2002, was faltering? Male bovine organic fertilizer.
    More myopic editorial influence. Fortunately, he could finish LH with dispatch and panache. Unlike with “Negima!.” (WMC)

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