Love Hina - 4: The promise to get into Tokyo University 15 years ago (Diary)

Title:Love Hina
Episode:4: The promise to get into Tokyo University 15 years ago (Diary)
The girls confront Keitarou with the Prep School ID card that Kaolla had found. So he is a fraud and Motoko wants to kick him out, but Naru intervenes: If Keitarou succeeds applying to Toudai this year it won't be a lie any more. So Keitarou is allowed to stay under the condition to be 'above the line' on next week's test - additional to his dorm manager's duties of course.
Kitsune makes the boy clean the whole inn; Naru tutors him in mathematics. But she can't understand why he tries so hard with so little brains - why has it to be Toudai, the most difficult university? Keitarou asks her whether a girl would remember a "Toudai promise" made more than 15 years ago - and to his surprise Naru insists that this girl would surely remember! Right at that moment Kitsune appears - she has heard a male voice in Naru's room. Naru hides Keitarou under her table and they manage to fool Kitsune - at the price of another Naru punch for Keitarou in the end.
The next day Keitarou decides to repair the hole in the floor of Naru's room. But one of his "daydream attacks" makes him hit a book shelf, causing Naru's diary to fall on the ground, opening right before his feet. Keitarou reads a couple of words: "... Toudai promise... 15 years..."! Suddenly Naru is standing in the room - and she gives Keitarou the silent treatment after that, so he has no chance to apologize.
Keitarou can hardly concentrate on learning now. But he still tries to do his best - for his "promised girl", for Shinobu-chan, and now for Naru as well. They both attend a self-grading test at the Sasaki seminar, and as usual Naru passes easily. But when Keitarou starts to check his own results his first three answers turn out to be wrong; he panics, running away without checking the rest... passing this test was the condition for him staying, so he decides to leave without telling anyone: It's all over now.
But his belongings, including his credit card, are still in his room at Hinata-sou. Keitarou tries to 'steal away' secretly but runs into Shinobu and is mistaken for a burglar... once again the chase is on. Keitarou narrowly escapes both Motoko's sword strikes and Kaolla's bazooka - but his diary has fallen to the ground, right before Naru's feet.
So this could only have been Keitarou who must have failed the test then. Naru tries to stop Shinobu looking after him: It might be the best for the boy to give up now. But Haruka makes her remember that she had been in a similar situation herself two years ago when only her tutor Seta supported her. And wouldn't Naru feel bad in case Keitarou froze to death in the winter night? Shinobu runs out to search for her senpai; Kaolla is bored without her "playmate" and follows; Motoko feels she has to protect the two kids on their search. And Kitsune asks Naru were they not still in need a dorm manager. But the snow has covered Keitarou's footprints - the girls can't find him anywhere...
Keitarou is standing in front of the Toudai building, his shattered dreams passing by before his eyes. Suddenly he notices a girl with an umbrella nearby: Naru has figured out where Keitarou would go in this situation, and she has even brought along his diary. Keitarou apologizes to her, and one Naru punch shouldn't be enough punishment for him - so he lets Naru read his diary while they return home.
Keitarou still feels he has broken his promise to everyone - until he finds out that despite his first answers being wrong he actually passed the test! And Naru has told Keitarou she has made a "Toudai promise" herself... and this (plus the diary fragments he has seen) convinces the dreamer boy: Naru must be his "promised girl"!
(2004-04-07, Devil Doll:)
Gosh - this time it was really close! But Keitarou still is the manager of Hinata-sou. At the beginning of this episode his odds are bad already: He has disappointed Kitsune (who turns against him) and betrayed Shinobu (who is stunned and unable to help him at this point in time). Naru is his only support at this moment, and it is surprising how easily she can convince the others to give Keitarou another chance. But the first thing happening after that is Keitarou destroying the last support he had by (inadvertantly, but nonetheless) reading Naru's personal diary. So he must not fail from here on - and then the self-corrected test blows away his hopes. When he seems to have missed this chance as well even Naru turns against Keitarou. But time has healed Shinobu's wound already, and she is able to stand up for her senpai once more. Kaolla's support for Keitarou looks like a random event; more interestingly Kitsune makes Naru remember that they're still in need of a dorm manager. But everything would have been in vain had not Haruka made one of her rare appearances and "saved" her nephew Keitarou like she did in episode 1 already: This time she made Naru reconsider - and only Naru is able to find Keitarou.
Watching how much Keitarou humiliates himself is painful - but this was to be expected when his fraud (actually Haruka's mistaking him for a Toudai student) will be uncovered (which happens in chapter 1 of the manga already but is resolved differently there). Even more painful for me was to see how much Keitarou deceives himself in his diary - he is still drowning in daydreams, and now fantasizing about Naru. In volume 1 of the manga version (loosely covered by the first three anime episodes - episode 4 is mostly stuff from volume 2 already) Keitarou at least found out that the girls wanted to drive him away by putting all the work on his shoulders (and he showed determination, thus earning respect from Naru); in the anime he is just plain clueless at this stage, and he will remain this type of loser for quite some time. Then again, in the manga Keitarou has much more problems with the girls and not a single real supporter at this stage (especially Shinobu is mad about his fraud)...
In one aspect Keitarou is correct: He and Naru are getting closer. Naru starts to give direction to Keitarou's life: She practically kept him at Hinata-sou (we can't actually tell her motivation at the beginning of this episode), and she tutors him so that he might at least have a chance to pass the test. What's more: They are able to talk about personal matters like why Keitarou applies for Toudai, something he wouldn't be proud of or tell anyone else. Naru was just about to become Keitarou's confidante...
...but then Keitarou continues to drop every brick her can put his hands upon. His fantasizing and fooling around in Naru's room triggers the "magic of the location" by making him read Naru's diary (after he blamed Naru for reading his sketchbook in episode 2!), a severe breach of trust that isn't to be forgiven easily by the girl.
But in the end it is Naru who correctly guesses where Keitarou would go in such a situation, indication how well she can understand him (and his Toudai dream that she shares) already (in the manga she even tells Keitarou so) - we'll have to revisit this scene in episode 24. And she actually went by train for a 90 minutes journey to bring Keitarou back! So she does care about the boy - although Haruka's intervention was necessary to make her aware that she must not let him down in this critical situation. Naru searching for Keitarou in this anime episode is a much better gradual development than what happens in the corresponding manga chapter (where the girls believe Keitarou has failed and try to let him experience one last happy day, including a lot of fan-service.)
When Naru becomes more important to Keitarou she and the "promised girl" will actually compete in a sense one day - but what if they're one person? At least this is what Keitarou is convinced of now, and this is going to be the fundamental story line of this series. In forthcoming episodes we are going to learn more about Naru's motives for applying to Toudai - and whether the "promised girl" actually does remember.
Shinobu is the only one to recognize the change in relation between Naru and Keitarou, she knows how hard the boy worked for this test, and she feels sorry for him if he failed - she soon has recovered from her disappointment by the 'Toudai fraud'. Of all the girls only she cares which type of test these two are writing; we will find out later that only she knows Keitarou's cram school ID which is going to be crucial in episode 27. And it is Shinobu who instantly decides to go and look for Keitarou when Naru is most reluctant of doing that.
I found a lot of nice symbolism in this episode. Keitarou's attempt to cut the physical connection between his and Naru's room (by repairing the hole) led to cutting his growing emotional connection with the girl. And when Naru pushed him down the hole he sprained his ankle - note how Keitarou (while being "immortal") still gets hurt by Naru's punches now and then, always indicating some emotional crisis between Naru and himself (see episodes 26 and 28 for more examples). And in many scenes of this "Toudai promise" episode you can see Naru's "Liddo-kun" - this yellow toy animal is going to be a key item about that very topic in episode 22.
Missing in the anime, the manga has a little episode at that point about Valentine's day where guys are receiving chocolate presents from girls - a nice way to recap the current state of relation between Keitarou and each of the Hinata-sou inhabitants. But the anime story is going a different way from this point on.

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