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Love Hina Again

director: Yoshiaki Iwasaki

93 minutes (15) 2003
MVM DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
Keitaro has got what he always wanted; he's finally got a place at Tokyo University, he's finally arrived, and he's finally - he thinks - going to be happy. But there's the small matter of him being seriously injured (by Naru, and a roof. It's complicated), the normal day to day running of the dormitory and of course, Kanako, who claims to be his little sister. But she's maybe a little too... affectionate for that.

This sequel to the much-loved series is a perfect continuation of tone, and even manages to work in some genuinely surprising plot twists. Kanako, and her exact relationship to Keitaro is an unusually complicated plot that, whilst it has its fair share of OTT violence and pratfalls, is actually rather sensitively handled. There's a subtlety, an intelligence to her plot which not only advances the original series but neatly parodies and comments on the central tenet of that series; namely, the fact that Naru is allergic to making a decision of any sort. At all... Possibly ever...

Naru is an incredibly difficult character to write well because, fundamentally, she does nothing but complain. Here, her near hysterical reaction to Keitaro and her complete inability to not make a three act opera out of a molehill could be incredibly irritating. Instead, thanks in no small part to the unlikely friendship she forms with Kanako, it's fascinating. She knows she's got serious problems, knows that she'll have to make a choice, and knows that Kanako is not only a good person (despite her tendency towards random violence) but may deserve Keitaro more. The way she resolves that conflict, the choices she makes, make for fascinating and oddly poignant viewing.

With just three episodes on the disc, this is a fast watch but a very incident heavy one. The addition of Kanako makes for a different sort of series, a different sort of comedy and, whilst the ending is unsurprising, there's still a lot to enjoy here. It's manic, but there's a real charm in Love Hina Again, and fans shouldn't be disappointed.

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