I want to give kudos to Kodansha for bringing 'Love Hina' back into print. For the uninitiated, 'Love Hina' is a romantic comedy manga by Ken Akamatsu, best known for his current work Negima (Negima! Magister Negi Magi) and also for on e of my favorites, A.I. Love You (think a manga version of 'Weird Science'). 'Love Hina' is the story of Keitaro Urashima, a ronin (student who has failed his college entrance exam) working to get into Tokyo University. Keitaro, through a series of events, becomes manager of Hinata House, an all-female dormitory, where he is surrounded by a bevy of beauties (only in manga and anime does this happen).
As I said, I give kudos to Kodansha for bringing this omnibus, which collects the first three volumes of 'Love Hina', into print, because this is a title which deserves to have new readers discover it. Unique to this edition ('Love Hina' was previously published by Tokyopop) is a new translation along with a series of translator's notes explaining explaining various cultural references that appear throughout the manga.
That said, there are some disappointing things about this volume. The proofreading of this omnibus leaves a little bit to be desired. For example, the first two translator's notes (which appear in the back and reference the page in the manga to which they are related) refer to items that they say appear on page two. However, the first note refers to kotatsus (a table with a heater underneath) which actually doesn't appear until page 130. The second reference (about kendo) doesn't occur until the sixth chapter, which begins on page 163.
Next, page 3 is incorrectly labeled as page 215. It's a minor thing, but a bit odd. There's a grammatical error on page 112, where Naru (the girl with the iron punch) says to Keitaro "You know, at this rate, you won't make into any university" (it should be make 'it' into any university). As a comparison, the Tokyopop version has Naru saying "You know, at this rate, you won't be able to get into any school, let alone Tokyo U".
There's more (the volume two translator's notes appear to be each off by two pages), but you get the idea. For something that has been greatly anticipated (okay, maybe not greatly anticipated, but I've been wanting it, even though I have the previous release, 'Love Hina' is a favorite of mine), the sloppiness in the editing is a big letdown. I would hope that future editions correct these errors (at least get the page numbering right).
If you already have the previous Tokyopop release, you may wish to forgo buying this one from Kodansha, at least until (when/if) they correct the errors in a future edition.
However, if you're a fan of Ken Akamatsu, or enjoy romantic comedy manga, 'Love Hina' is still one of the more enjoyable titles out there, and is a must-read, in my humble opinion. Yes, it has its detractors; it's been called a poor man's Maison Ikkoku, among other things (some of which are unprintable, at least here on Amazon). Coincidence and luck (good and bad) reign supreme within its pages (along with every cliche imaginable). If you're looking for a literary masterpiece, check out Dickens or Twain. But if you want a fun, entertaining ride, where you can turn your brain off for a while and visit with some amusing characters, then give 'Love Hina' a whirl. For twenty bucks (and probably less) for the first three volumes, it's an inexpensive introduction to a manga classic.