Love Hina-Volume 7 (Christmas Special) (2000)

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Released 5-Dec-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Credits-Textless ending (1:31)
DVD Credits
Gallery-stills (20)
Bonus Episode-episode 25
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (6)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 45:29 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Yoshiaki Iwasaki
Studio
Distributor
Production IG
Madman Entertainment
Starring Yűji Ueda
Yui Horie
Masayo Kurata
Yu Asakawa
Reiko Takagi
Junko Noda
Megumi Hayashibara
Satsuki Yukino
Yumiko Kobayashi
Yasunori Matsumoto
Hiroyuki Yoshino
Michio Miyashita
Yukie Maeda
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Koichi Korenaga
Ritsuko Okazaki


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Titling
English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, pursuit of Keitaro during credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    It has been almost a year since our last dose of Love Hina goodness. Although I've seen catalogues listing this disc as Love Hina Volume 7, that's inaccurate. This is a special disc, a sort of OVA, released after the end of the series for those of us who were missing Keitaro, Naru, and the whole Hinata gang. I guess Madman decided to hang onto this title until it was almost Christmas (I wonder why?).

    This disc contains the Christmas special episode, which is a double-length special. As an added attraction, it also contains episode 25, which is a normal length episode focussing on Motoko (it's a good fun episode, called Motoko's Choice Between Love and Swords: Don't Cry).

    The Christmas special focuses on Keitaro and Naru. They will be sitting an exam on Christmas Eve, so they (and Mutsumi) are studying hard. It's a shame, because everyone else is looking forward to Christmas. And there's a rumour going around that this Christmas is special: if you confess your love to someone on Christmas Eve, then your wish will come true. As you can imagine, given the way that the series ended, most of the residents of the Hinata Apartments are keen to see Keitaro and Naru admit their love for one another (indeed, many of the audience are wishing the same thing, if only because we are getting over-tired by the way they are beating around the bush). As you can imagine, we get some of the usual misunderstandings, but we had to expect that.

    There are some other nice touches, including Motoko making short work of a subway groper. Shinobu is very sweet. Kitsune is well-meaning, even with her fondness for sake. Kaolla and Sara make a really mischievous pair. Everything you'd expect.

    All up, this is a pleasant Love Hina experience, and an excellent addition to your Love Hina collection. I think this is the best of the three specials. If they wait for the appropriate season for the next one (the Spring Special) we'll be waiting most of a year for that one, too.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. That's the expected aspect ratio, given that this was a TV special.

    The picture is sharp and clear — a little sharper than the previous Love Hina discs. There's no film grain, and no low-level noise.

    Colour is deep and rich, but I am not sure that the reds have been accurately rendered — the Christmas outfits worn by the girls look slightly off; that could well be the colours used by the animators, though. There are no colour-related artefacts, such as colour bleed.

    There are no notable film artefacts. There's aliasing, as always in a Love Hina episode, although it's really noticeable only on pans, and it doesn't interfere with enjoying the show. There is no significant moiré, and no shimmer. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are the usual two sets of subtitles in English, the first subtitling only signs and handwriting, the second being full subtitles. They are easy to read, seem well-timed, and (as usual) they don't match the English dub (but are probably a fairly accurate translation of the Japanese).

    The disc is single sided and single layered, which is perfectly reasonable given the amount of content.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are the expected two soundtracks, in English and Japanese. Both are Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround-encoded, at 224kbps. There isn't a whole lot of stereo sound, but there's enough to assure us that it is stereo, rather than mono. I listened to both soundtracks in full.

    The English dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The Japanese dialogue sounds clear, and I am starting to recognise the occasional word (particularly the word "senpai"), but I can't really tell you if it is comprehensible.

    The music is as bouncy and perky as ever, with a few extra songs included in the soundtrack. The special ends with a new, and entertaining, closing theme. Episode 25, on the other hand, ends with the usual closing piece — the contrast is strong.

    The surrounds and subwoofer are not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is animated, with music. It's very simple and easy to use.

Textless Ending (1:41)

    This is the ending to the special, which is lots of fun, but it's certainly not textless — some of the credits are gone, but far from all.

Stills

    Twenty pages of stills of scenes from the special.

Episode 25: Motoko's Choice Between Love and Swords: Don't Cry (24:31)

    This is an excellent episode, with Motoko facing an unpalatable choice: should she return home to be head of the Shinmei school of sword skills, or must she renounce her sword? Keitaro, as always, is supportive. We meet her sister, but I don't believe we ever get to hear her name.

Madman Propaganda

    Six trailers, all individually selectable:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This came out on DVD in Region 1 rather earlier than ours. The Region 1 and Region 4 discs have the same content, but very different menus (I prefer the menus on the Region 4). The R1 disc has a cover featuring everyone celebrating Christmas in red outfits with white trim; the inside of the cover is pretty, with a full width picture of the cast wishing us Happy New Year. All pretty and nice. The R4 disc has a more sombre cover, with Naru looking worried, Keitaro looking concerned, and Shinobu looking pensive. In a way, this is more appropriate to the story, even if it isn't happy happy happy.

    The R1 contains three trailers, the R4 contains six — that's not an important difference. The R1 includes the Dolby Rain trailer (but in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded, rather than Dolby Digital 5.1 — that's an oops). The R1 soundtracks are 192kbps, the R4s are 224kbps.

    The Region 1 transfer shows just as much aliasing (possibly a touch more, even). The one thing I have to grant is that the R1 seems to have slightly redder reds (the difference is small).

    This is pretty close to a draw, but I prefer the R4's cover and menus.

Summary

    A pleasant addition to your Love Hina collection, presented well on DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are good, especially the extra episode.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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