Love Hina-Volume 1: Moving In (2000)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2000|
|Running Time||86:35 (Case: 100)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Yoshiaki Iwasaki|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Smoking||Yes, Aunt Hiruka|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, name of next episode|
There are quite a few anime series which are centred on a male character who is something of a wimp (Tenchi leaps to mind, for example. One might also count Keiichi in Oh My Goddess). These male characters are frequently getting beaten up by female characters. They often lead a somewhat bewildered life, never completely sure of what is going on, or why they are being thumped.
Keitaro Urashima stands out, even in this distinguished crowd of likeable losers. He has tried twice (so far) to get into Tokyo University (the most prestigious university in Japan, and the hardest to get into), and failed. He is not willing to settle for a lesser university because he holds to a promise he made to a friend, a girl, when he was very young (about 5 years old) — when her family was moving away, they promised each other that they'd meet at Tokyo U. Keitaro is a dreamer, with a vivid imagination — he builds up elaborate fantasies in his mind, and sometimes has trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy.
Keitaro is summoned by his grandmother Hina. She manages the Hinata Apartments. When Keitaro arrives he discovers that she intends him to take over as manager of the Apartments. Sounds simple enough? It isn't. It turns out that the Hinata Apartments are now an all-girls dorm with four residents. Keitaro doesn't discover this small fact until he bumps into one of the residents (literally) in the hot spring outdoor bath. She takes great exception to this and punches his lights out. In fact, he get assaulted by three of the girls in a lengthy chase. The only thing to save him from a painful death is the arrival of his aunt Hiruka, who runs the Hinata Teahouse. She points out that the apartments need a manager now that Keitaro's grandmother is retiring — without a manager they must close. The girls give him a chance.
There are five girls involved in this series, although we don't meet all of them in the first episode. They are:
There are a few extra characters who appear regularly, including Hiruka, and the town elders (three elderly men who utter profound statements that may not actually mean anything). Oh, and Keitaro's friends at the preparatory school he's attending: Haitani and Shirai.
The four episodes on this disc are:
These are long episode titles, but the short version at the end of title is a bit cryptic (but each is relevant).
It's difficult to explain, but this series is rather captivating, even in just the first four episodes. It may help that each of the characters is inherently likeable, in different ways. Sure, it's a bit of a set-up, having a young man in charge of a all-girls dormitory, but providing you accept that, and the sight of Keitaro flying through the air regularly as one or other of the girls beats him up, you may find this quite entertaining. It's funny and sweet.
This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. That matches the original aspect ratio, which is exactly what we're looking for.
The image is reasonably sharp, especially on character close-ups, but there's a touch of softness to it. Film grain never seems a problem, and low-level noise is non-existent.
Colour is rather lovely, not all primary colours, but rather some attractive and unusual shades. There are no colour-related artefacts, but there seems to be some slight ringing, leading to faint haloing on characters on occasion.
There are no film artefacts worth mentioning.
There is a lot of aliasing and dot crawl on the black lines outlining everything, but this is often not annoying, because this animation style involves a lot of characters being relatively still, with just their mouth moving (and perhaps eye blinks, and sometimes hair moving) . There's no significant moire, and no MPEG artefacts. There are interlacing artefacts, but they're hard to see when watching the anime — you really need to single-step through scenes with serious motion in them to see the interlacing.
There are two subtitle tracks. The first subtitles only signs. The second provides full subtitles of the dialogue, plus the signs. The subtitles seem well-timed, accurate, and easy to read, in the traditional yellow. It's worth mentioning that the credits are not translated from the Japanese — the only subtitling we get during the credits is for the theme song.
The disc is single-sided and single-layered. All the episodes together take less than 90 minutes, so they fit comfortably onto the single layer..
The soundtrack is provided in English and Japanese, as is appropriate for anime. Both soundtracks are Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded, which is a reasonable presentation of a television track. The one big difference (and it's a big difference) is the recording level. The Japanese track is recorded at a normal level, so you can listen with your standard settings. The English track, on the other hand, is recorded at far too high a level — I had to turn it down at least 12dB to get it to a normal level. I hope the other discs aren't this bad. I suspect that the English track may be a little compressed, because I didn't notice any distortion, even though there is a reasonable dynamic range. I listened to both soundtracks in full.
The English dialogue is clear and easy to understand (once you've turned it down). The Japanese dialogue sounds equally clear. None of the voice actors sound unusual, although Kitsune's accent is definitely deep South (US), but somewhat fake — I know nothing about Japanese accents, so I don't know if the Japanese voice actor for this role has a similar accent. To be honest, this is one series I may prefer to watch in Japanese — we'll see how that develops over future discs.
The music, from Koichi Korenaga, is sprightly, pleasant stuff, sometimes quoting from the theme songs, sometimes completely original. The theme songs are from Ritsuko Okazaki. The opening theme is bouncy, cheerful, and rather fun. The closing theme is almost solemn, a touch mournful — I'm not sure why — but it is rather nice.
The surrounds and subwoofer are not called upon by this soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is animated with music. It offers the episodes (by number), setup, and extras — simple and functional.
This gives us a short bio for a character, plus seven images of the character. The characters covered on this first disc are Naru and Keitaro.
Eight images (sketches) from Keitaro's sketchbook.
The usual selection of trailers for various Madman titles. An interesting selection for this disc. Unusually, it includes the trailer for this title.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 disc was released early in 2002. The Region 4 was released in September 2002. There are a number of differences between the discs. Interestingly, the review of the R1 complains that the English soundtrack is too quiet (methinks someone vastly over-compensated in mastering the R4!). We get different artwork for the cover (I like ours, even if it's less appropriate to the content). The two discs contain the same episodes, and that's the main thing.
The Region 4 disc is missing:
The Region 1 disc is missing:
By reports, the R1 transfer is very good, with minimal aliasing. I'm strongly tempted to get the R1 so I can see if it is really so much better. At the moment I really can't tell you which one to buy.
Love Hina is a delightful, very funny series on a reasonable DVD.
The video quality is good, but there is a lot of aliasing.
The audio quality is decent, but the English soundtrack is way too loud.
The extras are limited, but nice.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|