Love Hina: Spring Special: I Wish Your Dream (2001)
Directed by Yoshiaki Iwasaki

Artistic Value: * * ½
Entertainment Value: * * *

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While taking the entrance examination for Tokyo University, Keitaro allows himself to drift away into a fantasy. When he finally remembers where he is, he only has five minutes remaining to complete the test. Afterwards, believing he has failed, Keitaro is too ashamed to return to the Hinata Apartments and flees to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Several of his friends, Naru in particular, refuse to abandon hope so easily, however, and chase after him.

Yoshiaki Iwasaki's animated Love Hina: Spring Special: I Wish Your Dream, which is a sequel to the director's television series Love Hina, is a fun but largely forgettable movie.

There is little to say about the film that cannot be said about the original program since Love Hina: Spring Special plays out like an extended episode of the series. Regrettably, most of it resembles the more exaggerated of Love Hina's installments, which are never as appealing as are those concerned with the daily lives and troubles of its characters.

In fact, Love Hina: Spring Special is absolutely filled with bizarre adventures, outrageous incidents, and absurd silliness. Over the course of the movie, the viewer is presented with an ancient turtle civilization, flying turtles, a girl who can communicate with turtles through song, a giant robotic statue of a turtle, a rocket propelled flying machine shaped like a turtle, and more. Fortunately, the director does add to these elements a number of other details and so prevents the viewer from being completely overwhelmed by turtles. At various points in the movie, Iwasaki thus depicts the awkward development of Keitaro and Naru's affection, several moments of tenderness shared by his characters, and even a few sequences focused on the bikini clad Naru's ample, often jiggling breasts.

While none of these elements may awe the viewer, Love Hina: Spring Special is usually sufficiently silly and light-hearted for it to be fun to watch. Its excesses do occasionally get tiresome, but, as such uncomfortable moments are usually brief, they do not greatly detract from the movie's more enjoyable qualities.

What is more, Love Hina: Spring Special finally reveals whether or not Keitaro's efforts to get into Tokyo University and to win Naru's heart have been successful or in vain. By doing so, it provides a sense of closure to the series and, consequently, is a nice epilogue to Love Hina.

Review by Keith Allen

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