A title like that could mean anything. It could be a deluded Haruhi fan, declaring anyone who didn’t like Endless Eight not a true fan. It could be an oldfag returning to their favourite 1980’s series for the 6th time as the latest season of anime disappoints him yet again. What I am referring to, however, is my gateway to anime series: Love Hina. No wait, don’t leave! I have a genuine point to make with this post, don’t leave at the first sight of a harem, please!
Again, this post requires a bit of backstory. As I’ve said before, I’m a member of the Youtube Generation of anime fans so I’m still very new to all this. The first anime DVD I ever bought, a Noein full series boxset, was as recent as 2008. Now I loved Noein when I first watched it. I mean, I really loved it. We’re talking top 10 material here, alongside the likes of Samurai Champloo and Kaiba. However upon rewatching the series, my opinion of the series plummeted. It was still an excellent series but it was only upon second viewing did I spot all these flaws I hadn’t noticed the first time around. Buying and re-watching Noein had devalued the series terribly in my mind.
The Noein experience took its toll on both my viewing habits and my buying habits. Re-watching became something I was afraid to do, especially considering Noein was the first series I’d ever re-watched. This, obviously, put a complete end to me buying any more anime. What’s the point in buying if you didn’t want to re-watch? I was afraid of re-watching my favourites in case it tampered with my beautiful memories of the series.
Towards the latter half of this year though I finally went back to buying anime DVD’s and re-watching my favourites. I don’t think I can accurately describe the wave of relief that spread over me when I watched Cowboy Bebop and Mushishi again. They were both just as good as I remembered them. Cromartie High School, a purchase I was very wary about, was just as funny as I remembered. But none of these were quite as rewarding as re-watching Love Hina.
Love Hina was the first anime I watched online and I consider it my gateway to anime, so obviously it holds huge nostalgic value for me. But as I encountered more reviews and opinions of the series, it became increasingly clear how Love Hina was held in contempt by most of anime fandom. Love Hina was the most generic of generic harems and it was because if it that mountains of copycat series had been created over the next few years (it’s died down in recent years though, with moe taking over now). Re-watching Mushishi and Cowboy Bebop was hardly a worrying scenario. Both of these are highly rated series so a more anime-experienced me was still going to enjoy these series. But re-watching Love Hina now knowing how generic and how steeped in anime cliché’s it is, maybe it would have been better to leave the series untarnished in my mind forever.
But one day my sister loaned Love Hina volume 1 DVD from the library and, against my better judgement, I watched the thing. And you know what? I fucking adore Love Hina. There’s an honesty to Keitaro that’s so endearing, and a romance that’s so believable, I’ve never seen any other series replicate this feeling (well, except Chobits). So screw you guys and screw my usually elitist taste in anime. Love Hina sits right up as one of my favourite series of all time.