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Headscratchers / Love Hina

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  • Ledge: Does it bother anyone else that, once Keitaro comes back from America, he's basically just Seta 2? (Are you allowed to have a character who is an Expy of another character in the same title?) If I were Naru I'd be pissed that I got over my crush to fall in love with this new guy, and when he comes back from not having seen him for six months, he's exactly like the crush I got over instead of the guy I fell in love with. Although I guess from her vantage point she's getting the best of both worlds. She gets her crush who is already in love with her. Still, that interpretation makes her incredibly shallow, which I don't think was the impression I was supposed to get. Yes, I was able to handle things going into the outrageous in the second half, with mecha-turtles, impossibly effective disguise masters, Macross Missile Massacres and giant fleets of airships, but the more Keitaro acted like Seta, the more it bothered me. I found that the parts I liked the most were when he and Naru were not involved in Wacky Hijinks where he had to act like Seta, not because of Wacky Hijinks, but because they were just hanging around Hinata House or walking around town where and still acted like Keitaro.
    • I agree actually. I preferred Keitaro prior to the end of volume 11. I liked how he had to learn to deal with all of the Hinata Housers who outclassed him in pretty much every way. When he comes back everyone wants him.
      • I also concur. Why is taking the proverbial levels in badass a requirement for the reader to continue liking and respecting the guy?
    • I don't. Naru was already in love with Keitaro before he went to America and became more like Seta (she realizes she's in love with him as soon as the Okinawa arc or the airport date chapter). When he returned her feelings towards him remained exactly the same, with only a few off-hand comments to his newfound confidence. In the end, this confidence was necessary to HIM, since it made him able to chase Naru to the end of Japan and finally get her to admit her feelings.
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    • The second he came back with the Seta glasses I had been keeping that in mind. In a story telling wise 11 volume of getting outclassed by everyone seems to get old. Anymore and the readers might actually give up on Keitaro. Increasing Keitaro's stats isn't a bad move, however it does gets weird when the entire house wanted him and what pissed me off was that Mutusmi on the other hand became Sarah-Status after the time-skip.
    • He may have taken a level in badass, and he may have cooler glasses and a better haircut, but until the epilogue short, he wasn't much like Seta. Seta's a clueless lout who never seemed able to see past himself. Keitaro may be a slightly clueless idiot, but he always stood apart by how much he paid attention to the others and how much he cared. (Which is why I don't like the epilogue chapter, they basically turn Keitaro into a complete carbon copy of Seta; he loses pretty much all of his original personality)
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    • Truth in Television: There are girls who stay in love with a guy even after a complete personality change (in some cases even committing evil acts as seen in some marriages with hardcore Nazi members post-WWII after the allies forced the remaining German government structure to admit crimes and the newly built one after the war to repeat emphasizing the Holocaust event publicly decades after all the way up until now). Even if a spouse or lover hates the person for becoming completely different years into the relationship, the memories alone are enough to bear up with the changed personality in hopes of reverting back to years earlier. Even when girls do admit its hopeless, the memories and nostalgia alone make them feel its worth living with the guy and the long time together makes it feel like wasted investment to give up after decades together. In addition there are girls who will stick with a guy no matter what once she falls head heels for him even as he's abusing her, etc.
  • Something that I never got over was the big secret plot of finding out who Keitaro's childhood sweetheart was. Yeah, that's great to keep that a mystery until the very end, but Mutsumi outright told them near the end of the 7th volume!
    Mutsumi (paraphrased): When I was little, I made the promise with Naru. Keitaro made his promise with his very first love, but she was too young to remember, so when she was a little older I made the promise again with her. So that means that Keitaro's first love was— *convenient interruption*
    • She just told them! And they remain clueless up until the very end of the series. No wonder they can't get into Tokyo U if they can't connect the dots that are shoved under their noses!
    • Poor Communication Kills. It's one of the staples of this manga. Remember when Keitaro almost read Naru's diary in volume 2 but got interrupted and only managed to one year later, despite nothing too important being written in it? That's another pretty huge example.
    • I read it this way. Mutsumi made a promise with Naru, and Keitarou made a promise with his first love, implied to be a different girl. But in the exam hall, Keitarou does connect the dots and thinks "If it's not Mutsumi, there's only one other option left". However, the memories are still incomplete at this point in the story.
    • For that interpretation hold, you would have to assume Mutsumi made a promise to two people, Naru and Keitaro's first love. While possible, it is definitively weird she would have phrased like that if it was the case. The only excuse I can find is Keitaro and Naru wasn't paying attention at the time.
    • Yeah, that's exactly what happened, Mutsumi made the promise with Keitaro and then made it with Naru.
    • Related to this, one thing that bugged me was that at the end of volume 8, Keitaro and Naru stop Mutsumi from revealing the truth about the promise because they wanted to leave the past in the past and focus on the present from then on. So why, then, did Naru spend most of the last volume freaking out and trying to break up with Keitaro... just because she was afraid she might not turn out to have been his promise girl?
    • This whole subject could use a good explanatory chart/article with data points from volumes 7, 10, and a few other places. My understanding, though, was that:
      • Promise #1: First Mutsumi (age 6) met Keitarou (age 5), they liked each other, then they met Naru (age 2 and a half) whose parents had gone to Tokyo university in their youth (and Naru's mother had since died), and Mutsumi heard about that situation. Mutsumi loved both of them- quite a lot, it would seem, from what happens in the Okinawa chapters in volume 10- and decides to try to get the two of them together and step aside herself (the whole thing with playing janken where Naru always did scissors for some reason), and so Keitarou promised to go with Naru (when he was 5 and she was 2 and a half).
      • Promise #2: The problem is that Naru was very young and couldn't remember it, so a few years later when Mutsumi met Naru again, she made a promise with her to keep Naru on track (which Mutsumi talks about in volume 7)...
      • Promise #3: ...and then Naru eventually forgot the details of that, too, and came away with the impression that it was very important to go to Tokyo University but not so much why (and made a much more minor promise to Seta as her tutor that it was what she wanted to do, which is the promise she was talking about in the early volumes).
      • Keitarou meanwhile never forgot about the promise with Naru, only who he made it with, while Mutsumi remembered all the details but didn't explain it too well- especially since Naru and Keitarou asked her not to at the end of volume 8 when she started to. (also, back in volume 3 and 6, it probably took a while for her to realize that they were the same two people she'd known in the past.) She also seemed to remember/relive it a little more vividly after some head trauma in volume 10, where she basically does explain to Naru (albeit partially through amnesiac re-enactment)... (also, volume 10 left this troper really shipping for a Keitarou/Naru/Mutsumi threesome/open marriage/polyamory thing, but that's getting semi-off topic...)
      • ...and then, in volume 14, Naru and Keitarou weren't too sure about Mutsumi's version in volume 10 being correct under the circumstances, so basically at that point they're worried that they don't really know what happened and don't want it to get in the way of the fact that they love each other here and now, but then Keitarou's grandma shows up and hastily confirms Promise #1 without explaining this whole thing in depth again. So, did you catch all that?
      • Oh, and then there's Keitarou's side promise (#4?) with Kanako to add to the confusion, but that's mostly isolated as it didn't have anything to do with Tokyo University and was just about running Hinata House (as an inn) together. And in the anime version, the whole thing is never really resolved (Keitarou and Naru just sorta decide not to worry about it anymore...) and there's a vague hint that it (their version of 'promise #1') might've been with Moe-chan, the sapient doll from the basement (one of the anime-only characters), who smiles at them becoming a couple and then vanishes.
  • One would wonder since Keitaro is the Manager of the Hinata Inn... did it ever occur to him that he can just evict any of the girls for beating him up, especially Naru?
    • He wouldn't because he's simply that nice a guy. A rea glutton for punishment, he is.
      • In volume 14, Keitarou and Naru explicitly open up about how much they enjoy their routine of him catching her naked and her hitting him. It almost gives the impression it stopped being an accident at some point later on, too... also, hilariously, eviction and selling off the hinata house are mentioned in Keitarou's character concept sketch (most easily found at the end of volume 1 in the tokyopop version), along with him owning a motorcycle. But Love Hina got some pretty heavy re-writes in the early creative process it seems, since Naru used to be an amnesiac named Midori and Haruka used to be a single mom.
  • What's the name of the guidebook which reveals that Motoko is scared of turtles and Does Not Like Men because she caught Tsuruko and her husband "in the act?"
    • I thought most of this was indicated by volume 9 (or possibly 13) of the manga during Tsuruko's visits in those? Also, if Setsuna Sakurazaki is any further indication, romantic repression seems to be one of the key elements of the Shinmei Ryu secret arts techniques, or at least a very common side-effect...
  • Are Keitaro and Mutsumi cousins? I heard somewhere that they were.
    • I also heard this once but have never seen any indication in the anime or manga, so I think this may be rumor/fan interpretation (to explain why they're so ridiculously similar in certain ways). Another, lesser point of confusion is whether Mutsumi has anemia, but I think that one's an issue of the anime saying something the manga didn't (...which it kind of did a lot).
  • So if Sarah isn't Seta's actual daughter, why is she with him? He's clearly a terrible parent- Sarah doesn't seem to go to school, she's an incredibly Bratty Half-Pint, he just ditches her at Hinata House whenever he wants to after he meets Keitaro...
    • For the part about school, Koala doesn't seem to go to school for about half the manga and even Shinobu is not shown doing school related stuff for the first several volumes. I'd chalk it up to the manga being told from Naru and Keitarou's POV so we are only seeing it from his POV and also the manga focusing on the exciting bits of the Hinata sou's daily lives. I mean they do show Motoko in school uniform coming home (often during a very whacky chapter filled with out of norm events) and even Shinobu's school life doesn't get emphasized until she decides to go to Todai enough that it feels like she isn't going to school either. So Sarah probably does go to school but that stuff would be boring and Sarah is an extra so of course the manga doesn't emphasize.
    • Going by in-universe and within the plot, most of when Sarah is shown is during summer vacation with Seta out on his adventures. Also its stated that Seta just returned recently to Japan so the paperwork may still being processed. By the time she lives at Hinata, so much time has passed and so many big events are happening that Sarah's day to day life gets glossed over. In addition, she's given less screen time and shown as side kicked to Su, supporting my first stsatement even more.
    • As for Seta taking care of Sara- remember Sara's mother was Seta's first love. Nothing's stated in the story but perhaps Seta made a promise to Sara's mom? Or maybe familial problems were happening and Sara's blood relatives decided Seta (as the man who loved her mom so much and also a highly educated professor) would be a better caretaker?
    • As for Seta's relative irresponsibility and seemingly neglect of Sara is Truth in Television. People who work in careers involving lots of travel and overwork time often have to let someone else look after the child and as someone who has military relatives and friends from military families, I can confirm Seta's parenting irl. Thats not counting Values Dissonance in Asia where a parent (especially a father) isn't seen as neglectful for doing such a thing especially if the parent's is bringing money home and the child has his basic needs covered. If anything, Asian culture tends to view such parents as very good ones, even ideal.
  • So, I don't know if this is just because Social Services Do Not Exist, but most of the characters in the house are actually underage. (While age of majority is 20 in Japan, you can argue that Keitaro and Kitsune are alright because they're 19) How does this not raise any eyebrows? Shouldn't Keitaro and Kitsune be considered the legal guardians of the 9-15 year old characters in the dorm?
  • So, has anybody else noticed the Fridge Horror of Keitaro being trapped in an abusive relationship at the end? Happy Ending for Naru maybe, but Keitaro's life is going to be miserable.
    • I have seen it. The main reason I despise this pairing.

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