Okay! From centre and then clockwise: Naru, Keitarou, Shinobu, Motoko, Kaolla, Kit.
Okay then! What do you think of the artwork? Nice huh? This is the creation of Ken Akamatsu, a mangaka famous for his, errrrr, 'creativity' in capturing the human body on paper... Well, hope that wasn't too subtle... Errrr, right! On to the story! The opening episode shows a solitary figure by the name of Urashima Keitaro arriving at his grandmother's inn, called Hinata-sou, or translated as Hinata Inn. (hence the 'Hina' in the name...) A two-time ronin (exam retaker) aiming to enter Tokyo University (or nicknamed Todai), he was pratically thrown out of home for persisting to try to enter said university, even though he clearly wasn't scholar material. Now, the reason for this is a childhood promise between him and a girl from 15 years ago, at the very same inn, where they promised to enter Todai together, and find happiness. (This is apparently a myth they have, which is central in this story) Because of that, he has been trying his best to enter Todai, and failing, not to mention being avoided by the girls (for reasons obvious later). Entering the inn, he finds it 'empty' and proceeds to take a bath in the famous hot springs located in the inn's premises. Then he is shocked as someone walks him on him, who is none other than: Narusegawa Naru! This pretty girl walks in naked (well, I did try to explain), sits in the bath, assuming the person in the bath with her was a friend, until she realises her mistake. This signals a general scream for help, and the getaway of our hapless hero as he runs for his life, and bangs into four more other girls in only his bath-towel.... Guess you know what will happen next... No, fortunately for him, he bumps into his aunt, Aunt Haruka who mans the tea-shop just next door. After some frantic explainations and some protests on the girls' part, he ends up being allowed to stay in Hinata-sou (which was actually remade into an all-girls dorm in Keitarou's grandmother's absence, which accounts for the general lack of acceptance to him staying). However, he accomplished that by capitalising on a mistaken assumption of Haruka, who thought him a Todai student already. In short order, he had lied outrageously to cover the initial lie, and was exposed before his guilty feelings could make him confess. Expelled from the dorm, he was later found by Naru at his favourite joint: a sticker-photo booth (.......any wonder for the lack of girlfriends?) He is allowed to return to the inn, since his absent grandmother has named him the owner of Hinata-sou and the land surrounding it, provided he becomes the kanrinin (manager) of the place. That starts his life in adapting to living with the inhabitants of the inn, all of them with their own quirks and personality traits, and their habit of literally kicking him around whenever he crashes in by pure accident while the girls are in... ummmmm... compromising positions. Well, for starters, there is, of course, the hot-headed Narusegawa, whom you have met, the master of sending poor Keitarou packs of pain everytime, like in this picture:Surprisingly, (or not) she is also the top scholar in Japan, also aiming for Todai because of a promise (It isn't... But yet, it is!) and whos obsession of studying has ruined her eyesight (that's why she mistook Keitarou for someone else...) and giving her a love life of zero. Moderation, friends, moderation... However, since she is the heroine, and Keitarou is the hero.... You get the idea. Then there is Maehara Shinobu, a shy and introverted girl who at first hates Keitarou for his lies and 'accidents' involving her, but later develops a strong crush on him... The ideal housewife, as she is the best cook among them and enjoys doing chores around the house, and also the most prone to crying... Then there is Aoyama Motoko, a child of the Shinmeiryu discipline of sword mastery, who spends her time sharpening her sword skills upon the balcony, and upon poor Keitarou... A tomboy, she can't stand Keitarou's so-called 'sissy' attitude and antics. And then there is Kaolla Su, a foreigner who is obsessed with electronics, mechas, guns, cannons, and kicking Keitarou as a form of greeting. The one with a smile carved on her face, she also has a mysterious side... And of course, we have Monno Kitsune, or Kit, the money-faced schemer and chain-drinker who enjoys 'tempting' Keitarou just for kicks.
Let me be frank, this is a romance-themed manga, though heavily tempered with 'violence' (hahaha, upon Keitarou, mostly!). At one point along the way, almost half of the residents fall for the blur Keitarou, with a few others joining the fray later, thus setting up a highly complex and confused love triangle (or more specifically, a hexagon of sorts...) that sorts of endears the story, though I really went through all that because of the sheer amounts of laugh factor induced. All in all, something girls would like and guys could learn to appreciate, though for varying reasons. Eye candy all the way, and humour slapped on without restraint. Truly something that readers and watchers (of a proper age!) can enjoy. =>