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Love Hina

Amidst the tidal wave of space action gun violence that is modern anime, there remains a small niche for those wanting a lighter tone.  The teen romance is always a big hit with a certain group of followers, and Love Hina is one of the newer series to make a splash on the market.

The story’s protagonist is Keitarou Urashima.  His life story is pretty essential to the series so we’ll quickly run through it.  As an early flashback details, Keitarou was a young child when he made a promise to a childhood love of his near Hinatasou (a hotel/spa resort owned by his grandmother).  The promise was to make it together to Toudai, or the University of Tokyo.  The flashback ends with the girl moving away and Keitarou’s dreams going up in smoke.  The story proceeds with Keitarou as a high school graduate attempting to gain entrance into the University.  But Toudai isn’t an easy school to get into, especially since Keitarou is a slacker who daydreams a lot.  He’s failed the entrance exam twice and his success is in doubt.  On a suggestion from his parents, he takes a vacation to Hinatasou.

This is the major setting for most of Love Hina’s hijinks.  Keitarou arrives at Hinatasou and finds it empty.  Thinking nothing of it, he takes a dip in the hot springs for a relaxing afternoon.  Much to his surprise, several girls clad in only towels emerge and mistake him for a new girl (you see, it’s been converted to a girls-only dormitory but Keitarou doesn’t know this, yet).  It’s not long before they figure out he is in fact a man, and a massive chase begins throughout the dorm as they attempt to rout the suspected pervert.  Keitarou’s aunt, Haruka, arrives just in time to save him from ultimate destruction at the hands of six outraged females.

Though the girls are intent on kicking him out, Keitarou finds out from Haruka that his grandmother has left the dorm in his management as she’s gone out on a worldly vacation.  The dorm would have to shut down if he didn’t stick around, so the girls reluctantly agree to keep him.

The rest of the 25 episode series involves Keitarou slowly winning the love and attention of every single girl at the dorm.  Central to the story is Naru, a girl roughly his age and who could very well be the girl he promised to make it to Toudai with.  Five other girls round out the main cast: Motoko the mysterious warrior, Shinobu the nervous youngster, Mutsumi the easy rider, and Mitsune the mischievous prankster, and Suu the nutty wonder child. 

With each episode it’s almost guaranteed that Keitarou lands himself in a compromising situation.  Whether he accidentally runs into the girls changing or semi-naked, or even accidentally groping them while tripping over something, he’s sure to get beat up good.  The series is light-hearted, funny, and will surprise you near the end as the identity of his childhood love is revealed!

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