- "It doesn't matter. I could walk forever and I'd still end up in the same place. I know where I want to go, but I have no idea how I'm going to get there. So I just keep walking."
- —Shinobu Maehara
Shinobu Maehara (前原 しのぶ, Maehara Shinobu) is a character from the series Love Hina by Ken Akamatsu and a primary protagonist in Kuro Arashi: The Black Storm. She is an extremely shy young girl, though she does develop more confidence as the story progresses. She is in the seventh grade at school, but because of her shyness she does not know her fellow pupils well.
When her parents went through their divorce, she expected to leave town with one of them. She chooses instead to become a resident at the Hinata House.
Almost nothing is known about Shinobu's life before she moved to Hinata-Sou.
Life at Hinata
Shinobu initially met Keitaro Urashima when she was crying n the bridge leading into Hinata. Keitaro draws a flattering sketch of her that is misinterpreted as mocking when she accidentally sees it. He flees, leaving behind his sketchbook on accident. She finds her way to the apartments to return him his sketchbook, against the wishes of her mother, who initially forbids her from being there because of her view that it is filled with "immoral girls". Naru Narusegawa and Mitsune Konno cause a commotion over the book when they take a peek at some of the racier drawings inside, making Shinobu cry and run away. She eventually returns to the apartments to escape the tension surrounding her parents' tumultuous divorce, and tells them that she wants to stay as the Hinata House cook to earn her keep.
Shinobu is among the group that goes to check the examee's scores after Keitaro had fled to Pararakelse. Along with Kaolla Su, Mutsumi Otohime, Mitsune, Mei Narusegawa and Sarah McDougal all of them go to look at the posted scores for the three young hopefuls. Mutsumi is the first to find hers and exclaims happily that she has finally gotten into the University. Mei discovers that her older sister has also managed to get into the school. Mitsune then states that the group is ready to depart, but Shinobu protests, stating that they should check Keitaro's score. The entire group displays shock, upon their discovery of the score, that Keitaro still managed to get into the school, despite rushing and fleeing the exam.
Accompanied by Kaolla and Mei, the younger three determined that they need to go look for Keitaro as well, with Shinobu stating she wants to be the one to tell Keitaro he passed. They are stopped for a moment by Mitsune and Mutsumi, though Kaolla remidies this problem swiftly via means of her Mecha-Tama and a jet pack installed in Shinobu's stuffed animal and the three head off to Pararakelse.
Powers and Abilities
- White Magic: Shinobu's heroic talents have thrust her into the center of responsibility for maintaining the health and safety of her companions as a white mage healer. Distinct from the divine healing of Naru or the Lifestream-granted powers of Mutsumi, Shinobu's healing magic is provided by the purity of her soul. Along with her healing talents, she has a number of buffing spells as well.
- Protect: Magical shielding that increases the physical and magical defenses of a target and those allies around them.
- Haste: An enhancement spell that increases the physical movement speed and reduces cast timers of a target. Shinobu is also able to cast the multi-target version, Hastega.
- Esuna: Removes a harmful debilitation effect from a single target.
- Bar(x): A defensive spell that increases the target's resistance to a particular elemental attribute (Barfire, Barthunder, etc). The -ga version of the spell allows her to affect multiple allies.
- Repose: Inflicts sleep on a single target.
- Cure: A basic healing spell that recovers damage to a single target.
- Cura: A more potent healing spell that also may trigger a surge of magic, allowing Shinobu to achieve greater healing with a Curaga.
- Curaga: A healing spell that recovers damage to a targeted individual and all allies within 10 meters of the target.
- Medica: A healing spell that recovers damage to Shinobu and all allies within 10 meters of her.
- Regen: Grants healing over time to a single target.
- Asylum: Generates a shield of magic that prevents any damage from passing in either direction and provides healing to all allies within its bubble. While active, Shinobu may lower or raise certain sections of the shield to allow allied attacks through, but she is immobile for the time that the shield is active.
- Assize: An area-effect burst of magic centered on Shinobu that deals unaspected damage to any enemies while also restoring health to herself and any allies within its range and recovering some of her own magic.
- Weapon Proficiency (Bludgeoning): Though by no means primarily a fighter, Shinobu is capable of defending herself with heavy cudgels should the need arise. She is especially adept at turning her normal implements of food preparation into makeshift maces, but now wields a pair of war fans that are purpose-built with this in mind and also increase her healing potency.
- Domestic Engineer: As a result of assisting with her parents' restaurant and helping take care of the home, Shinobu is exceptionally talented at cooking and cleaning, despite her youth. She has taken it upon herself to handle all the cooking and laundry duties at the Hinata, and her meals are universally regarded amongst the tenants as being equivalent or better-quality than can be found at a five-star restaurant.