Lovefool 10.16.11 | Keitaro Urashima, Accidental Creeper and Luckiest Man Alive

In a special Manga Moveable Feast edition, Lovefool discusses Ken Akamatsu’s Love Hina and the dangers of creepers and communal baths.



As fans of PLAYBACK:stl’s comics section probably know, we’re kind of fond of the monthly Manga Moveable Feast, a group conversation about a certain book. I went into more detail during previous MMFs, and Jason Green, Fearless Editor (and this month’s MMF curator) went into more detail on this month’s festivities in a previous post, leaving me free to read the book and get on with it. And there was quite a bit to get on with. The Kodansha re-release of Ken Akamatsu’s venerable Love Hina can only be meaningfully described as a tome, nerdlings, and contains all three of the first volumes of this longtime fan-favorite. Since it has the thickness of a small phone book, it took me the better part of two evenings to get through and it was worth my time.
But, really, let’s talk about communal baths. I know that it’s a perfectly normal thing in some cultures, Japan being one of them, and I know that for them, as such, it’s probably not a big deal. I get that. I understand and I appreciate that people who grow up with that tradition are totally okay with it. It seems like it’d be a splendid bonding experience if you’re doing it with good friends and that was just a thing that you did on Saturday afternoons. I mean, we have hot tubs and I can only imagine what less prudish people than your Lovefool can get up to in them. Or even that they might have conversations and stuff in there. I would imagine those things, anyway, but no, okay? Do not want. Part of the reason for that, of course, is pretty well illustrated by Love Hina. Creepers, nerdlings. Creepers can hang out around open, communal baths. Even when they’re not meaning to, apparently, creepers can end up spying on you when you’re in said open, communal bath.
Keitaro Urashima is such a creature, the mostly-accidental creeper. Sure, he has creepy thoughts but any creepy actions, with one exception, seem to be almost purely by accident. He ends up walking in on girls in various states of undress and, seriously, how many times can you trip into someone’s breasts before they kill you outright? It’s true that Keitaro is a third year ronin (that’s a post-high school university candidate for all you non-otaku—that’s an anime nerd—out there) with zero luck with the ladies who has been tossed out of his parents’ house, but I maintain that he was born under a lucky star. He ends up getting to manage a girls’ dorm that his one and only sweetheart (he knew her for an hour when he was, like, five) might be living in due to some slightly weird decision-making on his grandmother’s part, the girls that he keeps groping and embarrassing and, at the beginning, outright lying to don’t actually end up murdering him and he gets an attractive study buddy out of the deal who, shockingly, helps him improve his grades. He even gets an adorbs little girl to cook for him.
Okay, he fails the entrance exam that he was studying for, and therefore, loses the chance to maybe get the girl who swears she’s not the girl after all but then ends up on a fabulous trip to Kyoto with, yes, the girl where, despite trying to avoid each other, she ends up naked and squished against him in a communal bath and then sharing a room with him at an inn. He gets a peek at her skivvies, which seems to be a hobby of his by this point in the book, and they meet a girl who makes Keitaro’s lady-love pretty jealous and, briefly, seems vaguely interested in a threesome and lives on a fabulous island. And then he gets a pet turtle that meows out of the deal, which seems pretty awesome.
So let’s take a look at this. Keitaro seems like a total loser, yes, but also lives this charmed life surrounded by attractive girls who haven’t killed him yet and seem to always be flashing some part of their goodies at him. Without spoiling too much of the future, let’s say that he doesn’t end up too badly after all and certainly manages to make it through the first volume of the re-released omnibus without too much damage. Does he get the girl? Not really. Does he pass the exam? Nope. Can he take it again? Sure. Is there maybe another girl he can get? Seems like it. Did his nubile young charges in the dorm murder him for seeing them naked one too many times? Not yet, and that’s the biggest bit of luck the man’s had. | Erin Jameson

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