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Manga: Love Hina
He's not as lucky as it seems. Left to right: top row: Motoko, Su; second row: Shinobu, Narusegawa and Kitsune; and Keitaro at the bottom. Not shown: Mutsumi, Haruka, Seta and Sarah.

"Let go of me! What if your low grades are contagious?!"

A classic in Harem/romance subgenre, Love Hina tells the story of clumsy loser Keitaro Urashima, a ronin who has failed three times to qualify for Tokyo University. He is driven to make it into Todai because of a promise he made to a little girl fifteen years before -- they would both go to Tokyo University, get married, and live happily forever after.

It would probably help if he could remember who the little girl was, but he has only the vaguest memory of what she looked like, and no memory whatsoever of her name.

His parents are disgusted with his persistent failure and refuse to support him through another year's study and testing. But his grandmother, the owner of Hinata House, a hot springs resort, has offered to let him lodge there and study while she goes on a round-the-world trip. Keitaro leaps at the chance.

When Keitaro arrives at Hinata House, he discovers that his grandmother has left already without leaving any instructions, and worse, failed to warn him that the former resort is now a girls-only dormitory. The inhabitants are less than pleased with the incursion of a "perverted male" into their domain, but he eventually convinces them to let him stay, on sufferance and with much vigilance on their part against any future misbehavior.

Through the course of the 14 volume manga, and its 25-episode anime, two movies, and a three-episode miniseries, Keitaro not only wins over the girls of Hinata House, he finds self-confidence, a career, love and his promise girl. Just not all at the same time. And he has an extremely painful time achieving all of the above.

Thought by many to be the archetypal example of the harem genre, Love Hina is a comedy with a dramatic thread running through it. The story has a strong ensemble cast that adeptly brings together a wide variety of characters and character types into what can arguably be called a family. As one of the first anime to be produced entirely on computers, the art is crisp and clean and never suffers from the usual loss of quality that can affect traditionally-animated series during deadline crunches. Although Keitaro is subject to a large amount of cartoonishly slapstick violence at times, it is not just a love story but the story of his growth into an adult.

Compare with Maison Ikkoku. Contrast with Mahou Sensei Negima! (by the same author, and implied to be in the same universe.)

The Anime adptation is notable as the first Anime to be digitally produced as opposed to using the traditional hand-drawn celluloid method.


This show provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Motoko and Tsuruko just love slicing rocks in half. WITH WOODEN SWORDS. She also managed to slice a log and have it turn into a mecha figurine upon hitting the ground again in episode 6, although she feels a little ashamed having to do this for money.
    • Tsuruko is introduced SLICING A MOVING TRUCK IN HALF just as it was about to run over Keitaro. And the driver (who was drunk off his ass) survives!
  • Accidental Pervert: Keitaro. Countless times. Inverted in one instance where Naru walks in on Keitaro changing, promptly screams that he's a pervert and punches him. She sheepishly explains it as a reflex action when he asks why he's the one to be punished.
  • The Ace: Seta seems like an average archaeologist until Motoko challenges him to a fight during the play. He dodges or parry all of her attacks, to the point where Haruka believed them to just be using some kind of special effects.
    • Special mention to his insane driving skills. His van seems to take a lot of damage, but it always somehow drives away, even if the vehicle is turned on its side.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Siblings and parents only mentioned in the manga show up in the anime; Shinobu's Dad, Suu's brother and sister, and Naru's little sister.
    • The anime also either adds detail to, or sometimes outright changes the supporting cast's backstories - leading to exploration of themes such as childhood and growing up, memory, selflessness, love and dreams in a more in-depth manner than simply sticking to the primary plot's story would allow.
    • Unfortunately, this is slightly undermined by the fact that because the second series was cancelled, the primary plot of the anime ends about two-thirds of the way through the manga's story.
  • Adorkable: Keitaro, all the way.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Seta, and later Keitaro.
  • All Men Are Perverts: All the girls except Mutsumi (who never intentionally harms Keitaro) seem to believe in this trope (at first, at least) and use it to justify their abuse of Keitaro (Naru and Motoko deserve particular mention). Averted, most of the time anyway.
  • Almost Kiss: Happens to Keitaro and Naru a lot. Mutsumi doesn't seem to have that problem however, as she kisses both of them on separate occasions.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Motoko.
  • Always Someone Better: Seta to Motoko (and Haruka to an extent), also Tsuruko to Motoko.
  • Amusing Injuries: Happens to Keitaro Once an Episode, but everyone in the anime series and manga get at least one of these.
    • In volume 9, Keitaro gets a giant onion dropped on himnote , breaking his leg for a week. Su asks him:
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Chapter 105, Page 14
    • Motoko herself has one during her second duel with her sister in the manga.
  • Animals Hate Him: Ken Akamatsu seems to get a kick out of this - if one character is particularly depressed and runs away, they're likely to end up getting bitten in the ass by a dog when they try to pet it. This gag is used TWICE in volume 9.
    • On the way to the Tokyo U entrance ceremony, Keitaro suddenly attacked by a pack of wild dogs and then a murder of crows for no particular reason (that is, other than making him a Cosmic Plaything).
  • Anime Theme Song
  • Arranged Marriage: Motoko is "threatened" with this to Keitaro should she lose to her sister in a fight in episode 25. Naru of course, isn't too happy to hear about that.
  • Author Avatar: Akamatsu makes two appearances in the anime, not to mention that he looks suspiciously similar to a certain protagonist of the series.
  • Badass: Seta may be the first to come to mind, but Haruka trumps him, especially in chapter 78 of the manga. Then there's Tama, who's a league of bad-ass all by himself.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: All the girls in the numerous Furo Scenes.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Keitaro to Motoko, and later, Tama the turtle. Yes, seriously. At both points, Motoko thinks she's hit rock bottom.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 16-18 spends time away from the inn.
  • Beautiful All Along: Subverted: Naru deliberately "geeks up" her looks to keep from being bothered by guys.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Keitaro and Mutsumi. But as usual for Keitaro, it's Not What It Looks Like, not that that saves him from a completely unfair Kangaroo Court trial and beating, with implied accusations of rape.
  • Between My Legs: In several episodes of the anime, for example, at the end of episode 21.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Seta has a few moments like this...though of course with a comedic twist.
    • Keitaro has a few straight instances of this, like when he dives out of a zeppelin to rescue a falling Naru.
    • Hilariously averted in one episode when Su has Kentaro suited up in some PowerArmor to retrieve Keitaro, only to have him pass out from the sheer exhaustion of walking with that thing on.
  • Big Eater: Su has a prodigious appetite for a girl her size, and her first impulse on hearing a word she doesn't know is to ask if it's tasty/edible.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: A minor case, but Mutsumi's eyebrows are much more prominent than anyone else's. Strangely, this makes her cuter. Kitsune's eyebrows are noticeable thicker than the rest of the main cast as well. A case of Author Appeal, too, as Akamatsu admitted he likes designing cute girls with these.
  • Big Secret
  • Blind Without 'Em: Keitaro and sometimes Naru. There's a whole episode centered on this.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Mutsumi's non-sequiters, puns and general daffiness are patterned after the idiot side of the routine, with Keitaro or Naru reacting like the straight man. (Though Keitaro is usually the one that ends up getting hit.)
  • Book Ends: Kicks off with a clutzy Keitaro arriving at the inn, and Hilarity Ensues. Finishes up with a clutzy new girl arriving at the inn, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Bound and Gagged: Kanako does this to Shinobu, when she stumbled onto her sniffing her brother's shirt and later imprisons Su and Sarah when they barge in on her room and see she had been impersonating Shinobu a few seconds ago.
    • This being Kanako's specialty, she ties up every character at one point or another.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Sarah McDougall.
  • Break Up Make Up Scenario
  • Breast Plate: Motoko's outfit for the video game dream world in the anime.
  • Broke Episode: Episode 14. Due to their excessive expenses/partying, the inn has to find 67,000 yen to pay the utility bills or else they get shut down.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Adopted sister, actually.
    • And it's entirely from her end. Keitaro is not interested.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Motoko's God Cry School of Kendo
  • Can Not Spit It Out: You could practically make a drinking game out of the number of times Keitaro tries (and fails) to confess his feelings for Naru in the manga.
    • Don't try it, you'll die of alcohol poisoning halfway through the series.
    • And when he finally gets around to it, he passes the trope right over to Naru, who arguably has an even harder time with it. Particularly since he always knew how he felt, whereas she tries to vehemently deny her own feelings.
    • Which causes a lot of problems because several girls who like Keitaro call her out on it (mainly Kitsune), and wonder why she won't let them near him (due to her tendency to knock him into the air when he's with another girl) but at the same time invokes this trope.
      • Reaches it's most logical extreme in physical circumstances when half of the Japanese media is chasing after her due to thinking she's a terrorist.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Shinobu
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Mutsumi: 'Oh my!'
    • Motoko: 'Don't worry, I used the flat of my blade' (only in the anime).
  • Cat Smile: Su often has one. Tama has one as well.
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: Naru becomes a singer in episode 11, but quickly learns to despise it, even going so far as to jump into the hot tub that Keitaro is using in order to hide from her manager.
    • Of course seeing as her manager was Jerk Ass Kentaro that would explain why she was having problems.
  • Censor Steam: Opaque enough for the audience, but apparently not enough to spare Keitaro's hide.
    • On a related note, we have, at one point, Censor Suu. This sort involves hanging one strategically-folded Kaolla Su around Motoko's neck, and letting her run around the screen for a few panels before and after to justify her presence.
  • Character Development: Keitaro, Naru, Shinobu and Motoko in the manga. In the anime... not so much, which is a common complain about it.
  • Cherry Blossoms
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Keitaro and Naru.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: And it starts getting really convoluted.
  • Chocolate of Romance: All of the girls do this for Keitaro since they all have feelings for him, in different ways and magnitudes.
  • Christmas Cake: Subverted - Haruka and Seta get married late in the manga.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Naru doesn't like it when Keitaro is with other women, even if they came onto him.
    • Kanako acts this way as well, and tries to drive the girls out.
  • Clothing Damage: Almost exclusively to females, though it does happen to Keitaro once or twice.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Mutsumi. In the nicest possible way.
  • Color Failure: Happens to Keitaro once after taking an exam.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Mutsumi is the only girl to not intentionally cause pain to Keitaro, the rest all did at some point.
  • Competence Zone
  • Cool Car: Seta's van. Never runs out of gas (unless the plot requires), never breaks down (despite crashing it into every available surface), and will always hold as many people as it needs to. Overlaps with The Alleged Car.
  • Costume Exaggeration: Motoko's breakdown after a fight with her sister persuades her to become the inn's housekeeper (sometimes dubbed as "Miracle Maid Motoko"), wearing a full maid outfit in her size (which she swiped from Kitsune's wardrobe).
  • Crash into Hello: Mutsumi gets this from Keitaro in both the manga and anime albeit two different scenarios.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Several characters display these, but mostly Naru.
  • Cry Cute: Aunt Haruka, Narusegawa Naru and Aoyama Motoko. Kanako does this occasionally, when Keitaro can't remember his promise to her.
  • Cute and Psycho: Motoko's older sister Tsuruko is usually calm and graceful, but when Motoko makes the mistake of... erm... being creative with the truth in front of her, out comes her Ax-Crazy side (complete with daemon eyes). Because of this and her Implausible Fencing Powers, Motoko goes back and forth between admiring her and being scared shitless of her.
    • Kanako is also introduced this way, what with the misery she actively puts the girls through because of their mistreatment of Keitaro.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Mutsumi.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: After Kitsune gave Keitaro his first grope, Naru assumed he was going to do this. It didn't end well.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: The Su sisters.
  • Date Peepers: Naru in episode 21 while Keitaro is on a date with Mutsumi. Kitsune and Mei, Naru's little stepsister also spy on them on their own.
  • Death Glare: Kanako gives a particularly vicious one to Naru after running out from shampooing Keitaro's hair and learning that he didn't remember his promise to her.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: Episode 8. It turns out to have been a dream, although it does help break Motoko out of her mold a little when she sees the other characters having fun and inviting her to join them.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Happens to Kentaro after he "loses" to Keitaro in one episode at trying to win Naru's heart. He even helps them out, such as flying Naru to the island Keitaro went to in the Spring episode. He does drive his car towards Keitaro in one episode, but it's largely by accident, due to Tama flying at him and distracting/freaking him out.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Motoko and Kanako (though she still doesn't take it well that her brother wound up with her rival).
  • Deliberately Bad Example(s): Shirai and Haitani, who really are perverts and whose lecherous behavior is exactly what it looks like.
  • Deus Angst Machina: It takes one of epic proportions in order to bypass Keitaro's amazing healing abilities and force him home during the first term of university.
    • Somewhat averted when he re-breaks the same leg right in the next chapter due to Kitsune tickling him.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: As noted various times, the girls tend to humiliate or beat up Keitaro simply because he arrives at the wrong time when they are changing or violate them accidentally. Its even more absurd when one also remembers that they themselves are perfectly all right with it if it's with themselves. Furthermore, the girls frequently "punish" Keitaro for their own mistakes, such as walking in on him naked. One chapter has them worrying about his marks, so they try to cheer him up by letting him bathe with them. When he tearfully thanks them and mentions his score (which is quite high - their concern had made him worry he'd done a terrible job), they attack him, even though they'd assumed he'd failed, and none of them had bothered to ask him how he did.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Kaolla Su is usually barefoot. Also, her sister Amalla Su is barefoot all the time.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: If anything turns you off of this series, it will be this. Had any of the genders been reversed...they'd quickly be arrested. The anime has it somewhat less frequently, but gets correspondingly more violent when it does happen. Kanako does call them on it very late in the manga, subjecting the worst offenders to almost a volume's worth of Humiliation Conga.
    • Motoko even beats up Haitani and Shiirai for talking to the girls while they're on the beach.
    • Averted when Motoko gets a stern warning from the police for hitting a man who supposedly groped her.
    • There's a joke amongst the fandom that Keitaro should have studied Law instead of Geology at Tokyo U; that way, he could get payback by filing excessive force lawsuits against the girls, and win really big.
  • Driven to Suicide: Played for laughs every time Motoko suffers a severe setback (e.g. the Barehanded Blade Blocks mentioned above): she suddenly and over-dramatically threatens to commit seppuku, Jidai Geki style.
    • Defied in the manga. The girls like to assume an unlikely worst-case scenario of Keitaro killing himself if hit with extremely bad news or misfortune. So they try to keep him away from the problem or just be exceptionally nice to him for a change.
  • Drives Like Crazy/Captain Crash: Seta, then later Keitaro (since the former taught the latter how to drive!)
  • Dropped Glasses
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: When Naru wields the Cursed Sword of Hina. She comes completely unhinged.
  • Dynamic Entry: Su LOVES to do this.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: At the end Keitaro gets everything he dreamed of and then some more, but before that he goes through a SHITLOAD of pain, both literally and metaphorically.
  • Ecchi: the manga is very ecchi, but the anime cuts most of the fanservice for the main run of the series.
    • The DVD-only episode, the Christmas and spring specials, and the Love Hina Again OVAs have a lot more fanservice, much closer to the manga.
  • Effortless Amazonian Lift: Amalla Su easily runs carrying Keitaro in her arms.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Kanako. Plus everyone else (except Keitaro) on the cover of volume 11, in which Kanako arrives.
  • Ending Theme
  • Evil Feels Good: The Urashima family's evil heirloom katana (see Sealed Evil in a Can, below).
  • Eyes Always Shut: Kitsune. Sometimes both eyes, other times just one of them. Very rarely she opens both eyes at the same time.
  • The Faceless: Kitsune, "hidden eyes" version.
  • Failed Audition Plot: An ongoing subplot of this series follows Keitaro and his many failed attempts at getting into Tokyo U.
  • Fainting: Done by Mutsumi on occasion.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Naru's dress when she and Keitaro marry in the Manga. His aunt also wears a fancy wedding dress in the penultimate volume.
  • Festival Episode: Episode 18 has one.
  • First Kiss: Episode 13 focuses on this, with primary emphasis on Shinobu, although other characters talk about theirs or get involved.
  • First Girl Wins: Played with; Mutsumi is presented as the first girl but ultimately it's Naru even though Mutsumi was first.
  • Follow the Leader: Akamatsu admitted he inspired himself of some Dating Sims when writing Love Hina : his main source must have been the Tokimeki Memorial series. Naru being an obvious Expy of Shiori Fujisaki? Check. The legend of getting happiness in couple by entering Todai? Clearly inspired from Tokimemo 1's Legend of the Tree. The crazy atmosphere and mood and wacky characters? Reminiscent of Tokimeki Memorial 2.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: In the manga, Naru's wedding dress has feathers on the sleeves.
  • Foreign Fan Service: The Su sisters.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Despite all of the noteworthy action between Keitaro and Mutsumi, it's ridiculously evident that Naru will be with him. By the final three volumes, there's literally no hope for the other girls.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Probably the poster child for this trope.
  • The Four Gods: The pets in the series resemble the Four Gods; Team Pet Tama the turtle (Genbu), Tsuruko's Shippu the crane (Suzaku), Kanako's cat Kuro (Byakko), and in the epilogue Ema has Leon the chameleon (Seiryu). The final page of the manga is the four of them on the roof.
  • Fourth Wall Observer: Kentaro Sakata's comments to the audience about the anime, its plot, and his role therein.
    "Well. I suppose that's all the screen time I'm getting this time."
  • Funbag Airbag
  • Furo Scene: "This is a girls-only bath!"
  • Gadgeteer Genius: who can build just about anything the particular episode needs, whether it's a giant mechanical turtle, an automatic kissing machine, or a mind-reading device.
  • Genki Girl: Kaolla Su
  • Genius Ditz: Mutsumi. Both Naru and Keitaro are shocked that she gets perfect scores and wonder how she failed the exam as many times as he did. She either forgot writing her own name down, or got lost on the way to the examination place.
  • Giving Up the Ghost: Happens fairly often with Mutsumi, and sometimes with Keitaro.
  • Godiva Hair
  • Goldfish Scooping Game
  • Greek Chorus: The Three Old Men Around Town in the anime, who may be ghosts.
    • Funnily enough, in the episode where Motoko dreams that she and the girls are in an RPG, they are NPCs, whose speech consists of only the same phrase over and over (which Su points out to Motoko when she reacts in confusion).
  • Green Rooming: Motoko (along with her "groupies") is introduced in the first minutes of the first episode, but she immediately leaves on a training excursion, thus freeing up screen time for introductions of the other characters before she gets her turn to take center stage in the third episode.
  • Hachimaki
  • Hadaka Apron
  • Hair Antennae: Naru and Mutsumi
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Naru and Motoko, nearly always as a result of Keitaro's Not What It Looks Like incidents.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Kitsune can hold enough liquor to turn a normal human's liver into foie gras. Not that she can't get smashed, though.
  • Hexagonal Speech Balloon
  • Heroic BSOD: Motoko has one in an episode where she believes that due to not wearing her traditional battle dress, she can't use her special attacks. At least until Keitaro snaps her out of it, and tells her that the clothing didn't matter, and that she was still the same person no matter what she wore.
    • Mutsumi gets her own Heroic BSOD in In volume 9, When Keitaro gets a "giant onion" dropped on him and it snaps his leg.
  • Harsh Word Impact: Very heavy use of this in the manga, especially metaphorical knives.
  • Hilarity Ensues: The wholes series can be summed up as: A man becomes the Land Lord of an all girls dorm, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Hime Cut: Motoko and Tsuruko.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Pretty much the entire series, except for the previously mentioned beach episodes.
  • Human Hammer Throw: Naru Narusegawa grabs Keitaro Urashima by the arm, swings him around a couple of times and throws him into the sky as he suffers from Ocular Gushers. Watch it here.
  • Humiliation Conga: The 10th volume was essentially about Kanako repeatedly subjecting the girls to this for constantly abusing Keitaro.
  • Identical Grandson: Keitaro looks suspiciously like his great-grandfather Keisuke in episode 20.
  • Idol Singer: Three of them!
  • I Have This Friend
  • Ill Girl: Mutsumi, until the end of the Okinawa arc.
    • Also Naru in flashbacks. In fact, had she not been an ill girl with severe asthma, she wouldn't have been taken to Hinata Sou as a little girl, and thus she would've never met Keitarou and Mutsumi there.
  • Imagine Spot: Keitaro has tons of these. They sometimes blur the line between imagination and reality.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Motoko and Tsuruko.
  • Important Haircut: Motoko in Volume 13 of the manga.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Motoko defeats her sister with the mechanical pencil that Keitaro used every time he took the Toudai entrance exams.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun
    Mutsumi: Hey, Naru, look at this! The capital of the Molmol Kingdom is called Todai! If you and Keitaro went there, then you'd have gone to Todai together!
  • Indirect Kiss
  • Innocent Innuendo: Mutsumi.
  • Invisible Parents: Keitaro's parents are never seen, although his mom can be heard in the first episode. Also played straight with Su, Kitsune, and Motoko, although the other girls (Sarah, Naru, Shinobu) avert this trope.
  • Is That Cute Kid Yours?: Happens when Sarah is first introduced.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: SO. MANY. TIMES. When it's played for comedy, the person (usually Keitaro) is certain that the beloved (Naru) would be happy with someone else, and doesn't waste a moment to let her get a word in edgewise.
    • kind hearted Mutsumi who manages to be this and Victorious Childhood Friend at the same time for the same boy.
    • Naru tries to do this to Keitaro with Mutsumi in the manga, although it's touched on a little in the anime as well.
    • Virtually all of the girls towards the end of the manga do this towards Keitaro, so he can get together with Naru.
  • Joshikousei: Suu, and later Shinobu.
  • Kafka Komedy: Keitaro's horrible luck, especially with the Accidental Pervert moments
  • Kewpie Doll Surprise
  • Ki Attacks: A staple of Motoko.
  • Kid Samurai: Early Motoko
  • Kotatsu
  • The Lad-ette: Kitsune.
  • Lady of War: Tsuruko.
  • Large Ham: Motoko in the anime.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Happens to Motoko who, through most of the first part of the series, constantly belittled Keitaro's attempts to get into Tokyo U. Come the second part, she finds out first hand that it's not as easy as it looks. Naru also finds herself on the receiving end of this in the second part when having to deal with Keitaro's half sister and subjected to the torture she put Keitaro through in the first part (specificlly trying to drive him out by overworking him when the girls initially didn't like him) Naru even wails out an apology for doing so (and rightly so, it was out of anger for an out of context comment from Keitaro). Not only her, it must be said, because Kanako succeeds in driving all the girls but Naru out due to this method (though everybody returns just a few pages later).
  • Last Confession Wins
  • Latex Perfection: Kanako, complete with rearranging her skeleton.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Subverted when Naru and Keitaro finally get together. The other girls catch up with them as they're kissing and get so upset over it they start to chase them.
  • Licensed Game: Several romance games and dating simulations were created using the Love Hina universe. Only the Gameboy Advance game Love Hina Advance ~Shukufuku no Kaneha Narukan~ received a Fan Translation.
  • Lost in Translation: In the official English translation Tokyo University is always called Tokyo U. Not a big deal? Wrong. In the original version Tokyo University was always referred to as Toudai. The problem with the official English translation is that when they finally reach the Toudai Ruins it becomes clear the story about two people going to Toudai is referring to the ruins, not the school. In the English translation Tokyo U being called Toudai is off-handedly mentioned by Mutsumi out of nowhere when they're actually at the ruins. In the Japanese version that same line is instead her curiously pointing out the ruins are called Toudai as well. The result is that the big plot twist about the Tokyo U, one of the core pieces of the entire plot, seems to come right the fuck out of nowhere and the significance is completely lost in translation.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Downplayed.
  • Love You and Everybody: Seta does this to Naru but then he also says it to Keitaro, then Kitsune, then just about every other main character trapped in the cave.
  • Mad Scientist: Su, self-proclaimed.
    Every evil invention must come with a self-destruct button!
  • Magical Girl: Sort of — Kaolla Suu and her sister Amalla.
  • Magic Realism
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Mitsune gives this as a reason for Keitaro's change after he returned from America. She even provides the evidence in form of a strand of blond hair she found on Keitaro's pants.
  • Master of Disguise: Kanako, to the point where she can relocate her skeleton to change her body shape.
    • Defied by Keitaro can see through them.
    • Shinobu in the manga was able to tell that "Naru" was "not herself" when smiling, even though the smile was visually perfect.
    • Su later develops X-ray goggles that let her see through Kanako's disguises... and her clothes... and the clothes of whoever else's in her field of view.
  • Meditating Under a Waterfall Motoko does this in an early chapter in order to train, Keitaro also does this later in the manga although he gets hit by a falling log.
  • Meganekko: Naru, though she lacks the sweet disposition common to the character type.
  • Megaton Punch: Naru Punch!
    • Taken to extreme in the anime. Keitaro receives several per episode, and a lot of times it seems any answer he gives Naru results in one of these. Fortunately he's pretty durable.
  • Megumi Hayashibara: Voices Haruka and sings the theme song.
  • Meta Guy: Kanako.
  • Moment Killer: Someone should count all the times this happens.
  • My Fist Forgives You: Explicitly done by Naru over the diary incident, but also by implication several other times.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours
  • Naked First Impression
  • Nerd Glasses
  • Nigh Invulnerable: The only explanation for Keitaro's survival past the first chapter, considering how much the girls attack him. The characters are aware of how odd this is, however: At one point, they're chasing an airplane as it's on the runway (long story) and they tell Keitaro "Jump! Don't worry, you're immortal!" Then another time he is hit by a car and gets up with nothing worse than a minor head wound, and all the strangers run away screaming "Monster!"
    • Immortal Life Is Cheap as consequence.
    • Lampshaded in the manga when part of the Budokan falls on Keitaro. He breaks a leg.
    • In fact, the number of times Keitaro gets hit over the course of the fourteen volumes (equal to three years in-story) is 430 times. Naru hit him the most at 172 times.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted, as Keitaro once walked in on Naru in the bathroom, needless to say it was not pretty.
    • And let's not forget Naru suffering from diarrhea as noted in the Potty Emergency below.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Keitaro and Kanako (she's adopted). Unusually for this trope, Keitaro refuses to think of Kanako as anything other than his little sister (the same can't be said for her, though).
  • Not What It Looks Like
  • Oba-san: Keitaro's Grandma.
  • Ocular Gushers: Most often Keitaro.
  • Odango Hair: Mei Narusegawa
  • Official Couple
  • Opera Gloves
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Naru may pull out one sometimes.
  • Parental Abandonment
  • The Peeping Tom: A bored Kitsune, Shinobu, and Su in episode 13 drills three holes into Naru's room to spy on Keitaro trying to kiss a sleeping Naru, but he stops himself. Naru, apparently awake the whole time, responds with a punch, and then pokes her finger into each hole to punish the three girls for spying on her
  • Petal Power
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Sarah
  • Poor Communication Kills: A lot of the incidents in the series could have been avoided had the characters actually bothered to speak up, but then it would not have been as funny.
    • Speak up or listen up?
  • Potty Emergency: Naru had diarrhea on the trip to the desert but was unable to use the bathrooom because Keitaro wanted to confess his love to her. Talk about bad timing.
  • Practice Kiss: In one chapter, Shinobu is wondering about kissing and Su constructs a kissing robot for practice... which then went crazy and kissed Motoko.
  • Precocious Crush: Shinobu for Keitaro. At the beginning of story, Shinobu is 12 soon turning 13, Keitaro is 6 years older.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Shinobu.
  • Red Is Heroic: Discussed about Journey to the West.
  • Reset Button: How many times has the inn been destroyed?
    • Subverted in the anime where they go broke due to the amount of times they had to get the inn fixed.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Takes a long time to happen, but it finally does between Keitaro and Naru.
  • RPG Episode: Episode 8
  • Robot Girl: Moe-chan.
    • Also, Mecha-Sarah in the Manga.
  • Ronin: Keitaro and others, modern meaning.
    • It's used in a tongue-in-cheek manner when Motoko gets in the same situation during the timeskip:
    Kitsune: (giggling) Imagine what Keitaro will think when he hears the samurai became a ronin...
    (cue Motoko threatening to commit seppuku with a knife and Naru holding her back)
  • Running Gag: When the Amusing Injuries go to the extreme (the first time being when he is thrown off of a terrifying and rocky cliff, only half played for comedy), Genre Savvy characters start remarking that Keitaro is immortal. After this turning point, the joke is used here and there throughout the rest of the series, usually in an offhand way.
    • Su wants to eat Tama. Aside from the Accidental Pervert and subsequent beatings, this is probably the second most frequently used gag in the series.
  • Sacred First Kiss
  • Samurai: Later Motoko, plus her sister Tsuruko.
    • Samurai Maid: When Motoko is defeated by her sister and left with her sword and her honor broken, she decides to "live as a normal woman". What does she do? Snatch a spare maid outfit from Kitsune's closet, do the chores around the inn and give the other residents her own brand of discipline!
  • Sarashi: Motoko
  • Scenery Censor: Usually played fairly subtly, but it's all over the place in the manga.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Of the syllabic variant. When Naru and Kanako are competing against each other in a fighting game at an arcade, Naru's character name is Luna, Kanako's Konaka (who's also totally a Captain Ersatz of Ibuki).
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Urashima family owns an heirloom katana that happens to be the vessel for a powerful demon that nearly obliterated all of Kyoto. The seal isn't particularly strong — simply drawing the sword will unleash the demon, allowing it to possess the wielder.
    • The Youto Hina appears in Mahou Sensei Negima!!. In Setsuna flashbacks recognizing it at Tsukuyomi's hands, Tsuruko says this. "This is the magic sword passed down in the East. Youto Hina. Today, this was lent to us by the East as a lesson." East or Kanto is where Hinata is at.
  • Selective Obliviousness
  • Self-Serving Memory: The first half of Episode 4, with Keitaro writing in his diary.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing
  • Sexy Santa Dress: A cover of the manga, and the anime Christmas movie had a lot of the girls wear some.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The episode about the stolen rent money.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: The "He Is not My Boyfriend" variant, a Naru speciality.
    • She gets called on this trope by several characters when they wonder why Naru keeps saying that, but then gets mad at him if any other girl tries to romance him, particularly Shinobu and Kanako.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Tsuruko ships Keitaro/Motoko. Understandable, as Motoko initially introduces Keitaro as her fiance in an attempt to avoid having to move back home.
    • Keitaro tries to do this with Naru and Seta. Fortunately for him, Seta doesn't see her that way, and instead points out the obvious. Then either Keitaro or Naru will try to deny it.
    • For all her forcing herself on him (drunk or otherwise, but mainly drunk), Kitsune honestly and openly ships Keitaro/Naru.
    • Naru herself tries to do this towards Keitaro and Mutsumi in the manga, while her sister tries it in the anime. The scene where Naru is dressed up like a nerd while Mutsumi is wearing a pretty dress is the same in both versions, although Naru does this herself in the manga, while her sister does it in the anime.
    • Hell, Mutsumi's been shipping Naru/Keitaro since childhood!
  • Shout-Out: As Keitaro's having a Heroic BSOD:
    Naru: Hey, who told you to go all Shinji on me?
    • Keitaro also jokes with Motoko about having Su find them an EVA to fight Tsuruko.
    • There are also a lot of Star Wars references, Seta's van has a license plate reading "R 2 D 2", and Naru gets stabbed by a lightsaber at one point.
    • A subversion of sorts: In the final episode of Love Hina Again, Keitaro falls down through the ruins of a haunted building holding the engagement ring he was going to give to Narusegawa. His pose, and the fact that he's holding a ring, are immediately reminiscent of Gollum falling into the Mount Doom crater.
    • The "Mecha Tama 3" from the Love Hina Spring Special looks like a turtle. It also looks like Thunderbird 2.
    • Also, Final Fantasy shows up every once in a while. Such as: some of Mutsumi's costumes being based on Aeri* of Final Fantasy VII fame, a Cactuar on a shelf (next to a starship) while looking for a job; in Volume 3, page 37, frame 6, you can see Squall and Rinoa sweat-drop at Naru and Keitaro crashing into a shelf of plushies; and in Volume 13, Keitaro mentions copying Motoko's Boulder Cutting Blade as being like "Kimahri's Lancet ability."
      • There's also a minor reference to Chrono Cross during Kanako's advertisement parade, where Suu is dressed as Harle.
    • The Pararakelse chapter where Motoko, Shinobu, S and co. discover through the latter's radar that they're surrounded by giant turtles, and then are chased by those, with team member rescue sequence and flight with the help of a transporting machine to boot, is a clear Aliens reference.
    • Su's Turtle radar is a reference, to the Dragon Ball series ,as it looks just like the dragon radar. Keitaro even jokes about the possibility of getting sued.
    • Godzilla series reference, In the RPG dream there is two tiny twin Mutsumis who sing to call out a giant Tama,in the same way the twins who sing to call Mothra from the Godzilla and its spinoff films.
      • May also count as a reference to Gamera, who is a genuine flying turtle Kaiju!
    • In Su's room there is a Sega Dreamcast, being a Sega reference.
      • It's shown in the manga that she also has a Nintendo 64.
    • Ma-kun gets a cameo appearence on the cover of chapter 71.
    • During the festival in Chapter 118, Shinobu has a fan with Chiyo's father on it.
    • The manga episode where Naru finally confesses she's in love with Keitaro with a screamed confession and a tasty deep kiss is called Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me (the "Kill Me" part strangely omitted, considering this is Love Hina).
    • In the first episode of Love Hina Again Naru is seen sweeping the path in front of the dorm with a wicker broom and apron that are suspiciously similar to those often sported by Kyoko Otonashi in Maison Ikkoku.
  • Shrinking Violet: Shinobu. She grows out of it by the end, and God help you if you cross her then.
  • Slapstick Knows no Gender: Everyone in the show aside from Haruka and Tsuruko gets hit with an Amusing Injury at some point.
  • Springtime for Hitler
  • Starving Student: A recurring subplot is Keitaro looking for a job to pay for his studies. Made worse in that he routinely loses money to the Pretty Freeloaders' hijinks (once Kitsune even gets him fired from a restaurant because she didn't want to pay the bill, and Keitaro didn't even have time to dig himself out of this).
  • Stealth Clothes: Keitaro wears the bandana-tied-under-the-nose getup when trying to move out of Hinata-sou without anyone noticing. It fails, but not in the common way (he is spotted, but escapes and isn't recognized until Naru finds the report card he left behind).
  • Suicide as Comedy: Motoko invokes this trope sometimes in both the anime and the manga.
  • Supporting Harem: Only Naru and Mutsumi had any chance with Keitaro. In a lot of media, Naru is also usually portrayed as the most prominent girl, either shown as the biggest character on the cover, or in the middle if they're all lined up.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "I...I don't want to explore every centimeter of my sister's glistening naked body!" Sure you don't...
  • Suu Is Useless: You'd think with her incredible knack for gadgets and electronics that she could be making a fortune...unless...so that's how she gets all those bananas!
  • Team Shot
  • Team Pet: Tama the flying Onsen Turtle.
  • Tender Tears: Maehara Shinobu sheds a few of these.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Keitaro and his breast-and-booty-attracting hands.
  • Theme Tune Cameo.
  • This and That: Keitaro mentions this during episode 19 when Lamba Lu shows up.
  • Those Two Guys: Haitani and Shirai (Keitaro's Ronin friends)
  • Took a Level in Badass: Keitaro. And it took him long enough, too.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Su loves food in general, but especially bananas. And Mutsumi loves watermelons (which may be a reference to her being the most buxom woman in the cast).
  • Trope Trigger: Keitaro's Accidental Perversions always trigger a Megaton Punch.
  • Tsundere: Naru and Motoko make up opposite sides of this coin. Motoko, with her aggressive attitude (particularly around men) embodies Type Tsun, while the somewhat more soft-spoken Naru (who usually only goes ballistic around Keitaro) embodies Type Dere.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Keitaro when punched by Naru.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: At end of the series before the epilogue, Keitaro shows Naru the Time Capsule they and Mutsumi buried in the old sandbox, and one of the items inside is a sheet of paper with a drawing of an umbrella with Naru and Keitaro's names under it, with Mutsumi's name over to a smiling face next to it.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: By the truckload, though that's hardly unusual for the genre.
  • The Unwanted Harem
  • Visual Pun:
    Kitsune: Stop slacking off up there!
  • Waterfall Shower:
    • During the trip Sara and Naru take one only to have Keitaro fall in on them.
    • Later lost on a desert island finding an Oasis Naru takes one while making a Leaf Bikini.
  • We Can Rule Together: Suu, in an unusually literal sense.
  • Web Games: A Flash game called Love Hina Sim Date was created by English speaking fans. It contained decent gameplay, but also a lot of out-of-character swearing.
  • Weddings in Japan: Keitaro and Naru's, and Haruka and Seta's.
  • Wendee Lee (in english dub): Kaolla Su, Amalla Su, and Tama the Turtle
  • We Really Do Care: Keitaro and Naru go off on their own vacations and wind up together anyway. Everyone else in the house believes they're going to commit suicide together, and rush out to stop them. They really weren't obviously.
  • What the Hell, Tsundere?: Kanako really reams Naru out for her treatment of Keitaro.
  • Who Is This Guy Again?: Nobody ever remembers Haitani and Shirai...not even Keitaro.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Motoko and turtles.
  • Why Didn't You Just Say So: And probably One Side of the Story and You Know What You Did as well.
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: Nobody believes it when Keitaro actually succeeds at anything.
  • Wooden Katanas Are Even Better: Motoko and her ever-present bokken regularly accomplish feats that defy the laws of physics and nature.
  • The Worf Effect: Motoko is said to be an excellent swordsmen, but she loses to both her older sister and Seta, and even Keitaro sometimes. Her sword even got blocked barehanded by a turtle.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: He almost gave Sarah a spanking in the manga when he was getting sick of her antics, claiming she "had it coming" - too bad he tried to do it IN PUBLIC and all Sarah had to do was scream loud enough to make him chicken out.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Motoko has the classic apperance but is too brash and aggressive to truly fit. Her older sister, Tsuruko, looks the part, far calmer and more elegant, stopped actively practicing kendo to become a House Wife and is not someone to take lightly.
  • Yandere: Kanako
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Chapter 102 subverted the Tsundere dishing out a Megaton Punch, with Kanako countering it and dishing it back to Naru. Keitaro ended up coming out unscathed......but guess who had to pay for the resulting collateral damage?
  • You Must Be Cold: Variant in the manga, with two females.


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alternative title(s): Love Hina; Love Hina
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