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Love Hina Spring Movie

(return to disc)

Content rating: 8
Posted 2004-05-04 by StupendousMan
Endorsed by kurt on 2004-05-12 01:59:00

La plus il change, la plus il meme.

That's French for "the more things change, the more they stay the same." If you're looking for some new character development or a drastic change in the living arrangements, then you'll be disappointed in this 50-minute addition to the Love Hina canon. On the other hand, if you want to see all the regulars strut their stuff one more time, then this is the disc for you. That sounds a bit dismissive, doesn't it? But I'm not damning with faint praise: the Spring Movie contains a very good mixture of mostly comedy, a little romance, with a dash of drama here and there. I enjoyed it more than an average episode of the TV series.

Our story begins as Keitaro, Naru and Mutsumi take the entrance exam for Tokyo U. Convinced that he's failed (again), Keitaro heads off on a random ship leaving Tokyo Bay, heading for a new life in parts unknown. Fortunately, he runs into Seta-sensei, who informs the gang back at Hinata Apartments. Naru charges off to "rescue" Keitaro and bring him back home, and everyone else soon follows. Much frolicking through tropical jungles ensues :-) There is an amusing little cameo by Akamatsu-san, who draws the manga, as well as short-but-sweet scenes with Seta and Haruka.

To me, there is one feature which moves the action beyond mere fun and laughs and onto a slightly higher plane: Shinobu's dilemma. The very first scene in the movie shows her together with one of her male classmates, in the classic scene of revelation. They stand beneath the trees as he tells her he really likes her, and asks if she can return his feelings. Poor Shinobu. Her heart is set on Keitaro, even though she knows that he has eyes only for Naru. Throughout the movie, as she searches for Keitaro, she understands that she has no hope of winning him; but she refuses to give up on her dream, and perseveres to what must be (in some future denouement) a bitter end. It breaks my heart to see poor, sweet Shinobu so desperately in love with someone whom she knows has feelings for another. Sigh. It's sad, but inspiring, in a bittersweet way.

Shinobu does get the spotlight a couple of times. In the middle of the action, for example, she starts singing a little song to cheer up one of her companions, and it turns into a full-blown musical number with most of the cast joining in. Wierd, in a way, with an unseen chorus of male voices chanting, "Go-go-go", but fun, too.

Warning: very minor spoiler is coming ....

To tell the truth, there is a small advance in the overall plot by the time the movie ends. We learn at the very end that not only have Naru and Mutsumi passed the exam, but (by some lucky chance) Keitaro has, too. I guess his frantic filling in of ovals in the last minutes must have been guided by fate. Everything is prepared for future installments of the Love Hina franchise set at Tokyo U. It gives this viewer some small hope that eventually, in a decade or two, we may actually see Naru and Keitaro finish the kiss they approach so closely time after time after time ....

Equipment used when writing this review:
Sony DVD player, JVC 27-inch TV, stereo speakers

Content: 8 Video: 9 Sound: 8 Packaging: 7 Menu: 9

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