Love Hina MMF | The Hinata Inn Guestbook

A quick look at the quirky characters that call Hinata home.

 

 

 
Keitaro Urashima: If you read our intro article, you already know Keitaro’s deal: at age 4 he promised to meet his first crush at Tokyo U. and live happily ever after, but now he’s a 19-year-old two-time ronin who has suddenly found himself the landlord/manager of an all-girls dorm. What else is there? Well, he’s a kind-hearted soul who has nonetheless not had much success with the ladies, as evidenced by his scrapbook packed with photobooth pictures of himself alone. He has an uncanny ability to stumble upon the gals of Hinata House while they’re in various states of undress, but considering the retribution meted out by Naru and company, that’s not necessarily a good thing. But no need to worry: given the beatings he survives in the first book alone, there’s a good chance he’s immortal.
 
Naru Narusegawa: Keitaro’s first fateful encounter in the Hinata open air baths is with this scantily clad 17-year-old, but little does he know he’s made a powerful enemy: not only does Naru have a prickly personality and a mean right hook, she also has the top score in the country in the mock college entrance exam. (You can always tell it’s game time when Naru ditches her cute dresses for a baggy sweatshirt, braided pigtails, and the Coke bottle glasses she earned by studying too hard.) As they begin cramming for the official exam together, Keitaro begins to suspect that Naru may be the girl of his promise, but little does he suspect her real reasons for trying so hard to get in Tokyo U.
 
Mitsune Konno: Her nickname “Kitsune” (Japanese for “fox”) may just be a natural combination of her first and last names, but Mitsune earns that moniker with her constant sly expression and penchant for mischief. The 19-year-old is the only Hinata resident who isn’t a student: she’s a freelance writer, although she spends more time drinking and stirring up trouble than writing, with Keitaro as her most frequent victim. (As a side note, Kitsune is the most short-changed character in the Love Hina anime, thanks to the fairly terrible English dub, where her Kansai dialect is translated as a Southern accent so wrong-headed and intolerable that your author’s wife was once heard to remark “Where in the South is she supposed to be from, Designing Women?”)
 
Motoko Aoyama: A skilled swordswoman descended from a long line of demon hunters, this 15-year-old sophomore has preternatural kendo skills for her age. Motoko originally came to Hinata to concentrate on her studies, and as such, she has little patience for the wacky hijinks going on around Hinata house, and a particular distaste for boys, which she views as the ultimate distraction. As you can imagine, she’s none too pleased with Hinata’s new landlord, and is always more than ready to mete out justice on Keitaro kendo-style for any of his many infractions.
 
Shinobu Maehara: Hinata’s resident cook, this 13-year-old eighth grader goes down as quite possibly the most sweet-hearted character in anime/manga history, which makes all of Keitaro’s various misunderstandings and accidental gropings all the more painfully embarrassing for our hero. Despite all that, Shinobu develops feelings for Keitaro, but thankfully this is played as innocent teenage crush and not an actual potential romance. In the anime version, Shinobu’s story gets an extra bit of emotional oomph by not arriving until after Keitaro; instead, she moves into Hinata after running away from home when she refuses to be a pawn in her parents’ divorce.
 
Kaolla Su: Hinata’s resident exchange student from a country-to-be-named-later, this hyperactive 13-year-old eighth grader is obsessed with both food and mechanical gadgets. The super-friendly Su is always ready with an attack hug or (in Keitaro’s case) a swift kick to the head, and though she gets along with all of the Hinata residents, only Motoko seems able to keep up with Su’s overzealous affection.
 
Mutsumi Otohime: When Keitaro and Naru take an impromptu trip to Kyoto, they stumble upon Mutsumi, a 20-year-old fellow ronin whose anemia makes her faint at the most inopportune moments. The sweet, soft-spoken Mutsumi is basically the anti-Naru, and while we only just meet her within the pages of the first Love Hina omnibus, her arrival leads to many more romantic entanglements in coming volumes. | Jason Green

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