Good enough, could be better
yaong sunseng | Long Island, NY | 03/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm happy with the "Love Hina" Complete Series Box Set from Funimation, but not happy enough.
This Funimation release has been somewhat anticipated because it's been a while since Love Hina's last release. The video quality isn't spectacularly crisp and the audio is only 2 channels, which fall behind in comparison to current standards for dvd releases, but this release is faithful to the original production.
The video is 4:3 standard, and the audio is Japanese or English, 2.0 -- this means NO widescreen and NO 5.1 audio. English dub is amateur at best; I recommend against watching any part of Love Hina with the English audio, because one is constantly reminded of the "i'm-only-reading-the-text-off-the-page" skills (or lack thereof) of the English voice cast. English subtitle is available, but the white subtitles appear a little grainy on the PC screen. (but it's fine when i watch on my tv! strange!)
As for the boxset itself :
This box set includes all 24 aired TV episodes, plus the 25th un-aired episode which is listed as "Bonus" on the sleeve. "Extras" on the last disc include text-less opening and ending from Love Hina, and trailers of other anime releases by Funimation. Note that this boxset DOES NOT CONTAIN the Love Hina Christmas Special, nor does it contain the Spring Special, both very unfortunate oversights.
The 25 episodes are split into 4 DVD discs, enclosed in two clear, slim(7mm), double dvd cases. Each case is transparent with full sleeves around, so you can look at character illustrations & episode listings from inside of the case. It's a surprisingly small & tiny box set.
All of which is fine and dandy EXCEPT that, from what I assume to a combination of poor packaging by Amazon.com, poor handling by UPS, and choice of slim dvd case by Funimation, my box set arrived slightly damaged. There was an annoying crease on one edge of the outer box (not very serious damage), and all the center plastic tabs which hold the DVD discs in place were broken (more serious!) -- resulting in (1) slight scratches on Disc#1 caused by broken plastic tabs, and (2) none of the four discs are held in place in their cases, and are now liable to be scratched up or dropped while opening the case.
I mention this specifically because this isn't the first time that such damage has occurred to a DVD purchase from Amazon, and because such problems will definitely raise complaints from consumers, like myself, who purchase this Love Hina boxset to add to their anime collection. My feeling is that the broken plastic tabs & scratched disc could have been prevented if Amazon had shipped this product inside a box with bubble wrap or air pockets to prevent the slim cases from being compressed and breaking.
I would recommend this boxset for anyone who is a fan of Love Hina, a classic example of harem/comedy anime with superb Japanese voice acting. But be aware that this is a small, slim boxset with no real extra materials, and that you may or may not experience the same issues as I have with the slim cases. I really hope Amazon will pay attention and ship such DVDs with better packaging. That, plus the somewhat grainy subtitles and sub-par English voice cast, and the absence of the Specials, lead me to give a 4-star rating for this product."
Looking for the Promise Girl
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 05/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Love Hina" is one of my all-time favorite anime series, and one of the few that ever made me laugh out loud. It has been quite a few years since I visited the girls at the Hinata Lodge, and I am happy to say that the series is just as fun now as it first was when I watched it eight years ago.
At first, glance, "Love Hina" seems formulaic. Lovable loser Keitaro dreams of success, but seems to fail at everything he tries. Out of luck and plans, he goes to visit his Grandmother Hina and winds up the manager of the Hinata Lodge, a fantastically beautiful building with a backyard hot spring that is populated only by beautiful and feisty girls. Keitaro, the incurable romantic, has long be searching for his "promise girl," the love of his life that he knew back when he was about three years old, and to whom he promised they would grow up and attend Tokyo University (think Harvard) together, and get married. He can't remember the girl's name, but he hasn't given up hope. Just possibly, one of the gals at the Hinata Lodge is Keitaro's long-lost Promise Girl, and he just might find her if he doesn't get killed first. Hijinks ensue.
The storyline is pretty typical of "harem"-style anime series, but somehow "Love Hina" does everything right. Series creator Akamatsu Ken (Negima!) knows how to work an ensemble cast, giving each girl a distinct personality and story arc. Sure, much of the hijinks comes from Keitaro doing his best only to wind up with panties on his head, or walking in on one of the girls naked, only to get a swift kick for his troubles. That is standard Akamatsu fare. But "Love Hina" has some serious undercurrents and nuances that makes all the over-the-top stuff just that much funnier.
The animated series differs from the manga, which is pretty common in Japanese anime. I love both, personally, and felt that they did some really creative things with the "Love Hina" anime. One of my favorite episodes features the kendo girl Makoto in the in the flickering, black and white style of old Samurai films. There are other homages as well, to places as various as Godzilla and Pokemon and nods to other anime series.
This release from Funimation is just great, with nice picture and sound. The subtitles can be a little hard to read in spots, when the white fades into the background, but that is my only really complaint. I haven't listed to the English-dubbing because, well, I just generally don't like English-dubbing for anime.
This set collects the original twenty-four episodes of the series plus the bonus twenty-fifth episode, which was not included on the previously released Love Hina Anime Legends Complete Collection. The entire series is packed on four DVDs collected in slim cases. I have heard that some people had trouble with the packaging, but mine arrived in perfect condition and is nice and sturdy, so no complaints there. I love the slim-case packaging because, with the size of my anime collection, my shelves can use some relief.
Not included in this collection are the Love Hina Christmas Movie, the Love Hina Spring Movie, or the Love Hina Again OVA series, which have been released separately by other companies and as part of the Love Hina - Perfect Collection. I can only assume (and hope!) that Funimation will be coming out with a follow-up "Love Hina" collection that completes the series."
From a retrospective POV
Eric Matsui | Southern CA, US | 06/10/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This was one of the first anime series that I ever watched, and for some reason never picked up the DVDs for them. Now that I'm watching it over again, its age really shows. (Original air date is 2000) The series is great to those of you who like multiple (hot) girls wailing on a "weak" guy type of character. Yes, it's quite implausible, but if you're into anime for plausibility and realness, then you're in the wrong genre.
The video source has so much ghosting, frame blends, and discoloration (compared to 2009 titles) that it's painful to look at, even with all your DVD player's real-time filters. The opening sequence makes my eyes explode since it has tons of frames like that. This is not the fault of FUNIMATION since I remember that the original releases (even in Japan) had this kind of odd video quality. So I must warn people about this in case you're like me and am spoiled when it comes to animation production.
As this release was meant for impulse buying, the packaging isn't that great. The cardboard DVD box is quite fragile and I even grazed it when running a scissor blade through the plastic to open it. The inside is better as it has the two DVDs in thin cases with double-sided artwork of all the girls. And even the discs has them all in underwear or less without going into frontal nudity. However, mine also has printing imperfections.
If you've watched this before and are feeling nostalgic, then you might be one the fence about this. In that case, I say go ahead and get it since it's so cheap. And for those of you watching for the first time, just as long as you keep its production year in mind and not set the bar impossibly high, you'll like this series."
Raymond Cole | 06/25/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Having previously read Ken Akamatsu's "Love Hina" as a manga, I had my hopes set high as I purchased this item. I was sorely disapointed by its lack of parallel to the orginal manga story, so much so that I could not finish the third episode.
After taking some time away I decided to give it a clean start and try again, this time with a more open mind. I wantched as new characters were introduced and as some that should have been were completely forgoten.
Overall, I was not impressed with this particular anime. As the episodes rolled by, the story never really progressed and the characters never evolved. Each episode starts with the same cookie-cutter template."