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Anime Christmas picks: ‘Love Hina’

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Christmas in Japan sets the scene for all kinds of scenarios involving romance. For some, it is a time to confess those bottled up feelings of affection. For others, Christmas is a time to rue being alone. The anime series, ‘Love Hina’ spun out a Christmas movie that shows a Japanese Christmas from each of those perspectives. Along the way, a variety of universally recognized Christmas themes help weave the story together.

Christmas miracles:

Various forms of media have helped define the idea of a Christmas miracle. Uniting would be lovers and overcoming obstacles are common examples of a romantic Christmas miracle coming to fruition. The ‘Love Hina’ Christmas special puts a lot of effort into setting up such a miracle for Keitaro Urashima and his love interest Naru Narusegawa.

For much of the movie, Keitaro and Naru have difficulty connecting due to a few well placed misunderstandings. In addition, Naru also struggles with coming to terms with her own feelings about Keitaro in the face of his advances and bold confession. Naru further complicates matters by continually denying her true feelings (even if those feelings are obvious to everyone else).

Meddling friends joined by a series of lucky events set up Keitaro and Naru for their Christmas miracle. In dramatic turn of events the two protagonists finally get a chance to share a special moment for all of Tokyo to see.

Gotta get that gift:

Most can relate to the feeling of wanting to get that special someone the perfect gift. One of the common problems in getting the perfect gift is the price tag. Since Christmas has a tendency to thin wallets, many seek extra work in order to buy gifts for loved ones.

Keitaro steps into the all too familiar role of poor sap seeking expensive gift. Keitaro catches Naru fawning over a coat. Unable to afford the precious gift, Keitaro takes on a part time job for the sole purpose of winning Naru’s affections. Despite obstacles at every turn, Naru finds and accepts the gift as well as acknowledges the effort and sentiment that went into getting it.

Christmas woe:

Though far from a cheery thought, Christmas comes with its share of misery. The predominantly female cast of ‘Love Hina’ experience more troubles than bliss. Mutsumi Otohime, Shinobu Maehara, and Mitsune Konno all suffer from unrequited love. Furthermore, the typically stoic Motoko Aoyama feels the stirrings of an emotional need to fill a yet unkown growing void.

Though the main characters get a semblance of a happy ending, the supporting characters represent the dejected. Each character has lovable qualities but they find themselves without.

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