Naru Narusegawa (成瀬川 なる, Narusegawa Naru) is the deuteragonist of Love Hina, with most of the story centering around her and/or Keitaro Urashima. A studious high school graduate, she desires to enter Tokyo University to fulfill a promise she made in the past.
Appearance and Personality
The unofficial "leader" of the girls living at the Hinata House, Naru possesses both physical beauty and intellectual brains. She is the most reliable and compassionate member of the household, and will stick her neck out for anybody that needs help, even people that would initially dislike her.
Naru is a kind, caring, and responsible girl. In contrast, Naru is characterized by her short temper and physically aggressive nature when irritated. Naru's hair antenna has since become a signature appearance that is synonymous with her character, as well as Mutsumi Otohime.
On the flip side, she has a very short fuse and is quick to judge (particularly when Keitaro is involved). Naru is the first and most insistent to protest the idea of having a "pervert" as landlord of an all-girls dormitory. Her frequent and eventually predictable response to anything Keitaro may do to irritate her is to physically beat him senseless, usually sending him flying into the stratosphere with what the dormitory residents dub "the Naru Punch".
She often wears thick glasses, sweaters, and braids when going to cram school to deter attention from guys, whom she classifies as pointless distractions. Her school clothes makes her almost indistinguishable to what she normally looks like.
However, her studies resulted in a decline in her social activities as well as damaging her eyesight to such a degree that, when not using contacts, she has to wear glasses with thick lenses in order to see clearly.
Naru first came to the Hinata Hotel as a sickly child. Her parents would travel with her to the onsen in hopes that the different environment would be better for her health. While at the Hinata Hotel, she met a young Keitaro Urashima and Mutsumi Otohime.
During a conversation between the Mutsumi and Keitaro, where the two talk about a legend that if two people go to Tokyo University they would live happily ever after, Naru learnt of Tokyo University and the name would become her first words.
Gaining her health, Naru grew up and became a day dreamer and a poor student during Junior High School. Moving to Hinata House (now a girls dorm), Naru was given a tutor, a Tokyo University student named Noriyasu Seta. Naru developed an unrequited crush on Seta and went from a laid-back dreamer to the number one exam student in Japan. After Naru entered High School, Seta left to go overseas, but Naru promised him that one day she would get into Tokyo University.
Kicked out of his home for his continued persistence to get into Tokyo University and promising that he would not return until he entered Tokyo U, Keitaro makes his way to the Hinata Apartments to stay, however he soon discovers that it has become an all-girls dormitory. Mistaken for a Tokyo University student Keitaro is allowed to stay despite mistrust from the girls, particularly from Naru. While she deduces that he was not a Tokyo University student his persistance to make ammends makes him endearing and she attempts to keep his secret. Eventually the secret is discovered by the other residents and they force Keitaro to leave, however on the same day Keitaro receives a fax from Grandma Hina Urashima and becomes the landlord of Hinata House.
Keitaro manages to gain Naru as a study accomplice and tutor. While accidentally peeping in her diary, Keitaro begins to suspect that Naru was his promise girl. While failing his mock entrance exam and experiencing a bad luck prediction during the New Year’s festival, Keitaro’s relationship with the residents of Hinata House, and Naru in particular, began to improve; with Keitaro receiving his first Valentine’s Day chocolates from the girls. However, in spite of this, when Keitaro learned that the promise that he had read in Naru’s diary was not to him but to her old tutor on the eve of the entrance exams, his distraction was such that he ended up failing the exam.
Having failed the exam, Naru blames Keitaro and decides to take a trip of healing through southern Japan away from him but ends up repeatedly running into Keitaro, who had also failed the exam and was following the same travel route as Naru. Opting to travel together, they run into Mutsumi Otohime while on a cruise to Kagoshima. Discovering that she, also, was on a trip of healing after having failed her Tokyo University entrance exam and concerned over her anemia, the pair include her in their travel group to see her home to Okinawa.
During the trip Keitaro and Mutsumi exhibit uncanny similarities and discover many similar interests, so much so that Naru begins getting jealous over their compatibility.
Following their return to Hinata House, Keitaro begins looking for a job and is employed as an item mover for Noriyasu Seta and Naru and her tutor are reacquainted.
Attempting to avoid her, even when the Hinata residents are employed by Haruka to work at the Hinata Seaside Teahouse, the pair’s relationship becomes strained after a misunderstanding caused by Haitani and Shirai’s meddling however after Keitaro makes a stand against Seta during a play rendition of Journey to the West and Naru and Keitaro become stranded on an island thanks to Sarah’s antics their relationship begins to heal to the point that Naru and Keitaro go on a date through Hinata.
When Mutsumi arrives at Hinata to attend the coming Tokyo University Entrance Exams Keitaro becomes torn between which girl to pursue, and matters are complicated more when Naru discovers that Mutsumi might be the promise girl Keitaro had pursuing these past years. Similar to how Keitaro performed when Seta arrived, Naru begins encouraging Keitaro and Mutsumi’s relationship in spite of Keitaro being undecided on who to choose.
When Keitaro daydreams during an entrance exam and becomes convinced that he had failed the exam again, he boards a boat heading overseas and ends up stranded on a tropical island called Pararakelse. Meeting Seta on the island, Keitaro volunteers to work as a hired hand in his excavations of the island.
Chasing after him, Naru joins Keitaro in the excavations; ending up getting lost in the island’s desert in search of the Turtle Civilization. When the rest of the Hinata residents also pursue after them after learning that they had both passed their Tokyo University entrance exams Keitaro manages to send his entry ticket to the university on time to finally become a Tokyo U student.
On the first day of attending the university, Keitaro suffers a broken leg when a roof ornament falls on him. Forced to take a leave of absence he admits his love to Naru while in hospital.
Following his return to the apartments he attempts to receive a response from Naru only to have her avoiding the subject in spite of Mitsune’s well-meaning meddling. When Motoko’s sister makes a proposition that Motoko either best her in combat or marry Keitaro; whom Motoko had lied about being her fiancé, and witnessing Seta and Haruka’s own ponderous relationship, Naru finally reveals her conflicted feelings to Keitaro.
While traveling to Okinawa with Mutsumi to visit her family, Keitaro and Naru end up having to look after her when she loses her memory and regresses to her childhood, reliving the circumstances surrounding his childhood promise.
Returning back to Hinata, Keitaro learns that he would have to wait until the following year to study at Tokyo University due to having had to skip classes due to his injury. Choosing instead to study abroad for the intervening year he follows Seta to America, working under him on various excavations.
During the intervening months, Naru takes over as temporary landmistress but becomes embroiled in a conflict with Kanako Urashima, who had come to Hinata House to take over landlord duties and find her brother's Promise Girl so that she could replace her.
As Keitaro returns in time to disrupt a coup being staged by the Hinata residents against Kanako, he attempts to start where he and Naru left off in their relationship, but also attempts to mend the perceived antagonism between his sister and Naru. When he accidentally proposes to Kanako instead of Naru while inside the Forbidden Annex, he and Naru attempt to break the spell binding himself and Kanako, when Naru loses hope and runs, he chases after Naru through northern Japan before finally giving her the engagement and breaking the spell’s hold.
When Keitaro is drafted by Seta to help him in returning an artifact to the Kingdom of Molmol, the Hinata residents all pursue after them for varying reasons, resulting in a competition over who would have him between the girls. However, in the end they all bow out to let Naru and Keitaro be together.
Following the return to Hinata House where Grandma Hina gives Keitaro the entitlement of ownership of the apartments, it is revealed that Naru was indeed the Promise Girl he had made his original promise to and the pair get married three years later.
Ken Akamatsu initially designed a character named "Midori" who would later become the basis for Naru. Though her basic appearance did not change, with the exception of the signature hair antenna, Midori was the complete opposite of Naru in character; acting very kind and nice like Mutsumi Otohime in personality.
Upon first encountering the main character she was to fall naked from the ceiling on top of him, losing her memory in the process. Because of her amnesia, not much would be known about her past and she would stay with the main character who instantly falls in love with her. Midori would eventually get a part time job as a waitress but due to her clumsiness she was prone to tripping and falling while carrying food.
Midori's character changed as the Love Hina story was fleshed out, resulting in her current personality, and she was renamed multiple times before it was finally settled as "Naru Narusegawa".
Akamatsu consider's Naru's personality to be an extension of Cindy from A.I. Love You. When colouring her hair, Akamatsu uses IC screen's #51, which is the same as Saati's hair (the heroine of A.I. Love You).
He made Naru to be completely different to other heroines of romantic comedies, like Miyuki from Orange Road, who was too "perfect" for his tastes.
Personality-wise, the main heroine for Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Asuna Kagurazaka, is very similar to Naru. They are both attracted to older men (Asuna likes Takahata Takamichi. Naru likes Noriyasu Seta). They also both act very violently towards the main male leads (Negi and Keitaro respectively) but eventually warm up to them and generally care for them.
- Naru has appeared in a promotional image alongside fellow female leads Saati and Mai (from A.I. Love You and Itsudatte My Santa! respectively).
Negima! Magister Negi Magi
- A high school rendition of Naru in her school uniform appeared on the inside of the dust cover of Negima! Magister Negi Magi #16 (published by Shonen Magazine Comics) along with Shinobu, Kaolla, Kitsune and Motoko.
- Naru's Japanese voice actress, Yui Horie, also voices Makie Sasaki from Negima! Magister Negi Magi.
Ground Defense Force! Mao-chan
- In the Mao-chan! manga series, Naru makes a cameo as Nana Nanasegawa; the owner and mistress of the Hinata Ryokan which she operates alongside her fiance Keinosuke Urashima. Known as the number one hotspring in Japan, the ryokan came under a crisis when the Onsen King, secretly Emperor Galactica, attempted to steal the hotspring water for himself as part of the aliens' plans to steal all of Japan's landmarks. As the Defence Corps also booked a stay at the ryokan on the same day, the two parties ended up fighting over possession of the hotsprings through a game of Table Tennis.
- Colonel Kagome Mishima bears an uncanny resemblance to Naru/Nana, a resemblance that is noticed by Keitaro/Keinosuke upon meeting her. Possibly due to this, Dorothy Elias-Fahn; the English voice actress of Naru, also voices Kagome in the Mao-chan television series.
- In the anime Ground Defense Force! Mao-chan, the Hinata Ryokan is again visited by the Ground Self-Defense Force and Nana is the landmistress once again. Quick to anger, Nana blames the ryokan's beaten down appearance on her husband, Keinosuke, however, it is revealed that the holes in the walls are caused by Nana due to her rampaging temper over assumptions about Keinosuke. When Nana disappears from the lodge, Mao-chan and the Defence Force takes over running of the Inn and defends it from a cute monkey alien who wishes to use the hotspring to become smarter.
- The name Naru means "to become", while her surname Narusegawa means "to become a raging river".
- Naru's height and BWH Measurements are 163cm, B83-W56-H86 as of Chapter 1 and 165cm, B88-W60-H89 as of Chapter 120.
- Naru owns a Liddo-kun doll that Keitaro gave her when she was two years old; it was originally Mutsumi Otohime's but she gave it to him to give it to "Na-chan" as a love gift.
- Because of her aggressive yet caring personality, Naru is one of the best known examples of the tsundere anime character archetype.
- A frequent cosplayer, Kanon Akamatsu's costumes have been the inspiration for some of the outfits Naru wears.
- According to Love Hina Mugendai, Naru put on glasses 920 times and changed her haircut 53 times throughout the manga's run.
- In a poll among the manga series' fans, Naru was rated #1 despite her temper. Naru was ranked #67 Favorite Heroine by fans in a 2002 survey conducted by Newtype Japan.
- The company Tokyo Mint, LLC obtained the rights to release a series of cold-cast resin statuettes featuring the girls from Love Hina, of which three were dedicated to Naru. Because of Naru's popularity, the first figure in the series- a 1/8 scale size of Naru in a bikini- was the first ever sold-out statuette made by the company. Two more releases were produced, "Naru in pink" and a 1/6 scale of "Naru in yellow" which were the last in the line for her character. Six-hundred of each release was imported and distributed in North America.
- Naru's profile of her after the events of Love Hina from Love Hina Mugendai is as follows:
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Sports: Bowling/Anything involving physical exertion
School Subject: Math/Home economics
Clothes: Dotera/Short skirt
Men: That have dreams and objectives/Irresponsible
- She is a middle school teacher.
- Currently has short hair.
- Hobbies: Teach something to others and create hairstyles.
- Specialty: Bowling
- Philosophy: Be honest with herself
- Ring tone: "Hard to say I'm sorry" (Chicago)
- Idol: Anne Sullivan
- Goals: To improve her low self-esteem: to travel
- Her first student: Keitaro Urashima
- Her treasure: the ring Keitaro gave her after he returned from America
- According to Akamatsu, her antenna attracts problems