Love Hina - 5: Trip to Kyoto for just two (Close Contact)

Title:Love Hina
Episode:5: Trip to Kyoto for just two (Close Contact)
The day of the application test has arrived for Naru and Keitarou - "break a leg", as Kaolla expresses the wishes of all Hinata-sou inhabitants.
At the Toudai gate Keitarou is told that he "doesn't belong here" - is fate against him once more? Keitarou sees his future and happiness drift away - until he discovers that both Naru (who is focussed on memorizing) and he went to the wrong place for their test! So they hurry to make it in time... and Keitarou doesn't notice that he dropped his exam ticket. So when they arrive at the Komaba building of the university Keitarou is not allowed to enter. And what's more, a car is racing around the corner, heading straight towards Keitarou - who runs away in a panic. When he races around a corner he runs over a girl who falls to the ground - and doesn't show any more life signs! But from her head a turtle looks Keitarou's right into the eyes... then the girl regains her senses, mechanically telling her name: Otohime Mutsumi. Keitarou is still on the run, the car still chasing him; the boy is falling to the ground, the car crashes into a wall, and the driver, with blood on his face, hands him... his exam ticket! Before Keitarou can ask for the man's name he's gone already.
Back at Hinata-sou Keitarou is quite optimistic about his result while Naru remains unusually silent. But everyone else is celebrating a party and Keitarou already dreams of passing Toudai application together with Naru - who would then reveal she's his promised girl...
Some days later when they look for the results Keitarou's number isn't on the list, and Naru walks away without a word. Keitarou tries to apologize to Naru for his failure - but the girl runs away, telling him not to follow her. The boy believes she hates him now. But when he caught up to her she starts to cry, and then she tells him she didn't pass the Toudai application as well!
When Naru and Keitarou are eating lunch together he tells her they could make it next year and then be happy together... but Naru replies that 15 years ago she was only 2 years old, so how could she remember a promise from that time? Naru leaves, and Keitarou is in shock - everything is over for him now.
Naru decides to secretly take a journey to Kyoto as to clear up her mind what to do next. And as fate would have it, Keitarou does exactly the same in an attempt to forget about Naru. They nearly run into each other at the railway station but miss to recognize each other. They both call at Hinata-sou over the phone, and due to the circumstances (Keitarou's phone call is cut in the middle of an important sentence) the Hinata-sou inhabitants get the impression Naru and Keitarou are travelling together - on a Lover's Elope Tour!
Finally Naru and Keitarou "run into each other" in the train, destroying the glasses of both in the process. From this moment on they really travel together, roaming around in Kyoto later - and they get along well, still not recognizing who the other is. They even reserved rooms in the same inn - fate must have glued them together! But the inn has made a mistake and overbooked - would the "young couple" mind to share a room together? Right at that moment a messenger brings their fixed glasses...
After a table tennis match in their room it is time to go to bed. Naru announces she'll kill Keitarou if he tries anything weird at night, but when she hears the boy walk around in the dark and sees a rope in his hands she is getting less confident: What if...? [And no, I'm not going to spoil the closing scene. ;-]
(2004-04-07, Devil Doll:)
The fifth episode in a row where Keitarou is chased without having a clue why - but this time it was relevant for the ongoing story, introducing two new characters. Both the car driver and that Otohime Mutsumi girl have only one short appearance that doesn't give you any clue how essential these two are going to become for this series. And the same applies to the sticker photo that will play an important role in episodes 6 and 9. Many episodes contain references like this one; seeing how all the episodes are linked together by so many little events makes rewatching this series even more fun.
This anime episode covers no less than six subsequent chapters (15-20) of the manga in volume 2 and 3. So many things are happening this time, and despite a lot of slapstick elements this is one of the great suspense episodes of this series: Will they make it to the right place in time? Will Keitarou be allowed to enter the building? Will they both pass the test? When will each of them find out about their travel companion? And what will happen in their room at night? It was really hard to select only six images for this episode.
Don't judge this episode by the laws of probability. Way too many unlikely things happened this time that were all necessary for the events to turn out the way they did, like Naru giving her phone card to Keitarou without noticing who he is, Keitarou's phone line being disconnected, their both glasses being destroyed simultaneously, the inn's overbooking, and most of all them not recognizing their respective voices (while Kitsune is able to do just that over the phone!). Yes they both are in deep thoughts for sure but this might still not explain everything. But what counts for me is what they make out of the situation - and what we get to see is a much more relaxed Naru as well as a much less stupid Keitarou who is at least given one chance to show his true self to Narusegawa.
It is another nice idea to have Naru memorizing English vocabulary and citing relevant words for the story development (like "destiny" or "together") without being aware of what they might mean to Keitarou. And at the end of an episode where Keitarou failed to keep his Toudai promise the boy is wondering how important Naru has become for his life - he is aware that he might fall in love with a girl who isn't the one he promised to back then. Keitarou is about to leave his world of dreams and face reality (exactly what the intro song told him to do) - this journey marks an important turning point in his life.
Note that this episode didn't contain any Naru punch for Keitarou (very different from the manga version). Naru isn't in the mood for that now but Keitarou has also managed to avoid annoying Naru for the first time. So all is not lost - will there be hope for the boy to stop being the terminal loser one day? Today Keitarou made his first sticker photo together with a girl, and the next episode is going to provide another first experience for him...

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