Love Hina: Christmas Special
It's December at Hinata Inn, and love is in the air as the occupants prepare for Christmas. Will there be any confessions of love for Keitarou from any one of the girls? Or will a Christmas miracle happen?
This special is the first OAV installment after the TV series, and Keitarou, Naru, and Mutsumi are still preparing for the Tokyo U entrance exams. The most noticeable part for Love Hina fans is that this story does not take place in the manga and is an original plot. It is, however, a Sappy Love Drama (tm) from beginning to end, so people with an aversion to romantic scenes, love confessions and convenient coincidences should pass this anime on to the next contestant - but what are you doing watching Love Hina anyway?
First off, the animation is about the same as the TV series. The characters show little differences from the series and although it is an OAV, the art does little to reflect that. It does look nicer in some scenes but it's nothing to shout about when compared to most OAVs.
The best thing about this OAV is its story. Not being based on any part of the manga, the writers were able to create a good romantic drama plot, if a rather predictable one. It focuses more on the rocky relationship between Naru and Keitarou and does like any love drama will do - create conflict. Not the "flying Keitarou" conflict, mind you.
Although the story is standalone by itself, you would have to watch the TV series to understand the pre-existing relationships between the three main characters at the start. Knowing that, the story will be a lot more meaningful. However, like any Love Hina episode, this special is filled with "coincidences" that the series thrives on, and is sure to make any fan cringe once in a while. On the brighter side, you'll get to see a more mature anime Keitarou than the one in the TV series who tempted many of us to shove something down his throat.
The soundtrack is still taken from the Love Hina series with the exception of two songs, one of them being Winter Wish by Yonekura Chihiro. Played at the right moment, this song was enough to make a few friends teary-eyed (not me, honest!), and it certainly made a box of Kleenex a good idea.
The special does have its faults, though. Unless you're sobbing throughout the whole show, you're bound to notice the string of coincidences that happen to get the story going. These little things tend to make the story less believable, but considering the fact that a teenage girl can send a guy flying with a single punch, I'd say this is *normal* in comparison.
Generally, I recommend this anime for any fans of the Love Hina TV series. It's a fitting end to the TV series, and leaves you with a really good feeling after it's over.
Unfortunately, that's not the end. There are more Love Hina OVAs after this, but they are mediocre at best, and if don't want Love Hina to leave a sour aftertaste, then *avoid* the Spring Movie and Love Hina Again to the best of your abilities. Please.
The last good part of Love Hina. Any OVAs after this should be cast aside and stoned. If you are not into harem anime or Sappy Love Stories (tm), then subtract two stars. — Enoch Lau
Recommended Audience: There are a few shots of the girls in the hot spring, but no nudity. Violence is...well, Naru as usual. If you let your kids watch the Love Hina TV series, then this will be no problem.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Love Hina: Christmas Special © 2001 Ken Akamatsu / Kodansha / Love Hina Onsen Kumiai / TV Tokyo
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