Tag Archives: rated T+/OT

Love Hina (Manga)

Mangaka: Ken Akamatsu

Status: Complete (14 volumes/5 omnibus volumes)

My rating: 4 of 5

Warning: Mature Audience, mostly for fanservice/nudity

Keitaro Urashima has devoted himself to attending Tokyo University in order to fulfill a half-remembered promise he made with a girl when he was just a little kid. But, being a bit hopeless in general, he’s managed to fail the entrance exams twice now. What’s more, his parents have kicked him out of the house. Lucky for him, his family owns Hinata Inn, which is actually fairly near the university, and he is able to stay on there as the manager . . . only it’s not actually being used as an inn anymore, but rather as a girls’ dormitory. So now, poor Keitaro–who has trouble even speaking with girls–finds himself living in the same building as five girls . . . which should be a dream come true, but with his luck, it’s likely to be more trouble than anything else.

By the author of Negima (which I love), Love Hina is also something of a classic shounen manga, although (in my mind) not nearly so much so as NegimaLove Hina is essentially a new adult romcom, at its core. And yes, the love story between Keitaro and Naru is cute and sweet and funny . . . but a huge part of the manga is these two trying to actually figure out how to tell each other their feelings. It’s kind of too much, especially with all the back and forth about Keitaro’s childhood promise and his insistence on making it into Tokyo University, even without really knowing what he wants to study or anything. Keitaro himself becomes a more interesting character as the story progresses, somewhat, but at the beginning he’s honestly a pretty stereotypical self-insert sort of character. Which I guess fits the ecchi harem sort of story that we have at the beginning. And fair warning, this is definitely an ecchi, fanservice-filled sort of story with lots of hot springs nudity . . . not particularly more graphic than is typical of a shounen manga, just lots of it. The girls in this story are what really makes it shine, though. They are quite the group of characters, with larger-than-life personalities and all sorts of quirks. They’re a lovable group though, and certainly fun to read. I would love to call this a slice-of-life story, and it really is at the beginning; however, the further in we get, the more fantastical things become. You’ve got island princesses and flying turtles and secret sword techniques . . . let’s just say that it gets more bizarre the further you get into the story. And yet, there is definitely content that makes this a proper new adult story as well–the challenges of dealing with complicated emotions, trying to figure out what you want to do with your life, accepting responsibility. These are the sort of things that make this story not just a self-insert harem fest or a quirky fantasy but also a relatable story about growing up. So yes, Love Hina has things about it that I don’t love, but at the same time, it’s still a really good story that’s worth the read.

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Mononoke Sharing (Manga)

Mangaka: coolkyosinnjya

Status: Ongoing (currently 3 volumes)

My rating: 2.5 of 5

Warning: Mature Audience. This is at least a hard T+ with lots of fanservice. Fair warning.

Yata is an average student going to school on scholarship and desperately in need of a cheap place to stay. She finds one, but her five roommates are, well, different. As in, not human. But hey, the rent’s cheap. She’ll make it work, right?

I have so many mixed feelings about Mononoke Sharing. By the same author as Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, this story shares the messy-cute art style and the light-hearted slice-of-life comedy with a supernatural element of that manga. But Mononoke Sharing is a lot less serious–not so much the drama and deep backstories and such, more goofy slapstick and waaaay more sexual content and ecchiness and flat-out fanservice. The fanservice aspect is one reason that I didn’t like this so much; it’s just too much. Plus, I’m not so much into that sort of humor. This story has been described as “oddball,” “over-the-top,” and “raunchy,” and yeah, all of those descriptors fit. But at the same time, I love the concept–a human dumped in a house full of yokai, or mononoke as they’re called here, and just doing life with them. As with Miss Kobayashi, the whole otherworldly-beings-interacting-with-normal-life aspect is intriguing and amusing. And the relationships that are developed between these roommates can be quite sweet at times. I also really loved that, while this story included some more commonly seen beings such as a devil and a kitsune, it also included less common ones such as a kappa, a yuki-onna, and even a stretchy-necked rokurokubi. They’re interesting characters, even if some aspects of their character design are so physics-defying as to be frankly annoying and very weird. So yeah, mixed feelings. . . .

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Urusei Yatsura

urusei yatsuraMangaka: Rumiko Takahashi

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Boy meet alien. Now play tag with her, the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Never mind that she can fly and deliver massive electric shocks at will. Spoiler: Ataru Moroboshi (miraculously) saves the world. Now he’s got a bigger problem: the alien, Lum, has decided that she loves him and has moved into his house (to his parent’s dismay). Lum follows Ataru everywhere, shocking him when he practices his usual skirt-chasing techniques (to Ataru’s dismay). Not only that, but Lum’s presence attracts a huge cast of unusual characters, both alien and human. Add alien technology, and naturally, mayhem ensues.

Urusei Yatsura is truly a classic manga. Although it was one of Takahashi’s first major works, it already displays many of her classic elements. It has a sprawling, episodic plotline; an enormous cast of rather dysfunctional–but highly amusing–characters; and a perfectly balanced blend of comedy and romance. The art style is also typical of Takahashi’s work, although the character designs aren’t quite as defined as in her later works. I would recommend this manga to anyone interested in classic manga that have been influential on more recent works, as well as to anyone who enjoys an easygoing romantic comedy with a zany twist.

Note: The English version of this manga was published in two sections–Lum: Urusei Yatsura and The Return of Lum: Urusei Yatsura. This is because there was a chronological break in publication in the U.S. The plotline is continuous between the two, and they should be read as a single work. Also of note, the English translation is flipped (reads left to right) and omits several chapters. (I still hope that some amazing publisher will do with Urusei Yatsura what VIZ is currently doing with Takahashi’s more recent work, InuYasha: publish the complete work, unflipped, in nice omnibus editions.)

Update 6/16/19: So it looks like we’re getting that re-release of the English translation. We’ll see how it ends up, overall. I’ve read the first volume, and although the translation work isn’t superb, the volume is decent on the whole. Holding out hope for a complete and reasonably well-done release of the series.

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