お待ちしております – Review: Ouran High School Host Club

I really wonder how anime bloggers have time for any of this. Writing any kind of review takes me hours, so I’ll never be a weekly blogger, even if it’s one series a season (and besides, someone else will always cover the series, one just has to know where to look…time willing…).

Anyways, Ouran seems to be a candidate for really thorough write-ups this season. Besides the comments upon viewing episode 26 (eg – Garten), several prominent bloggers have gathered some interesting streams of words together. I particularly like this one at Karoshi, because Os really delves into a number of metaphors that bring further insights to the thoughts of some of the characters in the show (see also the Anime on My Mind wrap). Although these metaphors are not quite at the level of, say, Evangelion or perhaps Suzumiya Haruhi, this simplicity is part of its charm.

To get the bad part out of the way, I disagree with many of those bloggers as to Renge’s impact on the series. She seems to be a favourite character, particularly for guys (excuse me if I’m assuming things here – one of the bloggers linked above is definitely female), but I hate it when characters are there predominantly for show (read: for the fanboys (<.<|>.>)//). Her introduction in episode four was MAGNIFICANTLY handled:

; it made perfect sense for her to be in charge of Nekozawa’s makeover; and I’ll accept her intrusion into episode 7 because of the RahXephon reference – alledgedly, Ayato’s tattoo…but I’ve had a look around – both manga and anime art concur: Ayato’s tattoo is reddish in colour, so Renge’s got it right.

but why was she in episode 17? (And I just saw it again today at the club – really could have done without her here…) Hatori-sensei did mention that she’d intended for Renge to have a larger role, but it didn’t turn out that way. Perhaps she was an effective tool for explanation of particular Japanese characteristics/events etc, particularly those associated with otaku, but the additional “MOE” actually ruined several sweeter moments from the manga (cf. the Honey-sempai toothache episode), replacing welcome characterisation of various Host Club members in favour of inserting fanservice into the show. That also coloured the Honey-Mori relationship in a slightly different way – I preferred the understatement of the manga.

I’ll admit it – I was predisposed to loving Ouran. And since I hadn’t read all the relevant chapters, I was able to enjoy most of the episodes (except for the afore-mentioned factor, of course). But why? After all, it contains many factors that can break an anime for me – episodic stories, irritating characters, an excess of fanservice, albeit different form the usual kind…so why did it work so well?

First of all, I had no problems with the lack of plot. It’s character-driven, simple as that. I pity anyone who didn’t realise or can’t appreciate that. Also, the annoyances here aren’t quite as annoying because they didn’t occur in every episode, thank goodness for that. I can generally watch my favourite eps quite safely…

The seiyuu, although changed from the drama CD cast, were mostly excellent. Whilst I still wish at least one change hadn’t been made, especially after that 50-episode series that really didn’t do wonders for that seiyuu, but 藤田圭宣 and 松風雅也 generally made up for it. Sad thing is, neither of them is an anything major this season – that I’m watching anyway, and I haven’t heard good things about 地獄少女 so it’s unlikely that I’ll start it. Unfortunately, since I can pretty much recognise 宮野真守 now, I’m going to have to drop one of the major new series for at least a few months. I DO NOT want to associate those two characters. And I almost forgot! こやぴ was absolutely brilliant! Only in three episodes (IIRC), but

(*O*)/ (*O*)/ (*O*)/ (*O*)/ (*O*)/

Finally, last but never least,

BONES *(^O^)* BONES *(^O^)* BONES

Much much love to them ♥♥♥♥. The direction was excellent, the art design perfect – just look at all the architecture and interior decor!




(can I have Kyouya’s room? Pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaase?)

The metaphors, the music – all these many elements just created the near-perfect setting that was Ouran. There’s something about being able to perceive really clearly just how filthy rich these people are, which then makes their dissonance with the ‘common people’ (not just Haruhi, but even many others in the school) so much more disquieting. And just the little details, such as the positioning of the episode titles in each episode! those arrows! the blocks of text on screen! They took a series full of individual stories and wove them into a large coherent canvas, changing a few things along the way (mostly rearranging episodes so that we didn’t see two Halloweens, for example lol). Nevertheless, they managed to keep a certain gravity about the series through the development of the characters.

As for the ending…meh. Well, I accept it as an appropriate end for the anime. It’s difficult to write anything here without referring to the manga, so I’ll just give up on that for the moment. But there’s the Kyouya thing of course – that was another major change from the manga – come on! even if they’re rich, they’re Japanese! Face is too important for Kyouya’s father to do something like that in public, isn’t it? And he’s been in the club for over a year, surely his father knew about it before? Why get angry now? Just doesn’t make sense…(and just watch…I’m going to have to eat my words when I re-read the manga and see that something like that really happened, it’s just that I missed it the first time around…)
And so, the highlights…

Ep 1: the lightbulb idea was classic. If I hadn’t known of the manga, I’d probably have been hooked right there and then.

Ep 4: And of course…


Haruhi, just don’t worry about it ^^;

Let’s recap the mistakes in ep6 – I’d make a clip of them…but I can’t get to my episodes atm…

And episode 10 introduced the wonderful Ranka-san! And the strawberry incident! (This is just one of subtle little things that makes the pairing so sweet!)


うわああぁああぁあ(((( ;゚Д゚))) ハルヒ怒ってる怒ってる!XD

Ep: 16: as twinkl33 pointed out – ED!!!

Ep 17 the beginning of the longest understated laugh. It’s a lot more amusing when you watch it alone though, since you’re the only reason you’re cracking up.

(and you know what – I would have like 18 a lot more if another character had appeared…)

Ep 21: awww…Kaoru! (but thank God it won’t be with Haruhi! If there’s one het pairing I won’t accept, it’s this one…largely because of Suzuken’s voice unfortunately…)

(and er…I dislike it when ppl slash them…no reason, I just don’t like it…)

Ep 22: the one with Mori’s WTF! faces! Loved that

Ep 23: Tamaki was literally rolling around on the floor for 2.5 minutes here, trying to figure out what in the world he was feeling about Haruhi…

Lord..and given the next episode, that’s saying a lot…

Absolute favourite episode was 24…we get to see Tamaki at arguably his craziest…Kyouya losing it several times, and his true face…nice ^^

Os has written an analysis of it too.

Really liked the metaphor this time…

And the extras that don’t really go anywhere in particular…

I do love the direction (camera angle-wise – that’s direction, isn’t it?)

only Tamaki could make Kyouya this mad, huh?

But part of it is that Tamaki is the only one stupid enough to make Kyouya this mad at his stupidity…

And of course – it’s not for everybody. Won’t be boring you with a graphic description of just how difficult it was to find those four (which are never worse than average though)…and obviously, I’ve totally missed out on those people who simply skipped the show for whatever reason. And here’s someone who changed opinions somewhat… And don’t you love it how some ppl can love yuri but absolutely despise the complementary half?

On another note, since the ending sequence was largely designed to accommodate the credits, the creditless ending looks really strange. Could be brilliant if one is looking for a convenient Ouran layout, I suppose.

And…two questions to anyone and everyone…

Upon reflection (and the reviewing of episode 17 and 18 – well, the club has been marathoning it, and I wanted a break from study)..17 was really the episode that started all those flashbacks off. It’s almost as if that’s when Haruhi started taking a proper interest in the club members, resulting in the audience being shown what the benefit each one gets from the club – and unlike the impression Kyouya gives in 17 – they’re not material (after all, these characters are filthy rich!) and they’re not really that selfish either. I mean:

  1. Honey – Tamaki gave him an excuse to be himself
  2. Hikaru and Kaoru – it was the door to the outer world, the door that eventually led to Haruhi, someone who could tell them apart
  3. Kyouya – a bit tougher. He says that he “might see a view he hasn’t seen before”, but as his father said, Kyouya seems to have found ‘something more important than taking over his father’s company’ through the world that Tamaki brought him into.

The question? – what about Mori and Tamaki? The former never truely had a sob story – unless the point was that the Host Club enabled Mori, a person with a supposedly scary face, to become popular… Tamaki…is what he is. As long as he can be himself, that seems to be all he needs at the moment (although…recent manga events suggest that this is changing), and the thing is, it’s his own characteristics that have led to the creation of a place where he can be himself – naive in all but the things that matter, and able to get away with it because of the way his friends care for him. So is the benefit for Tamaki the fact that they are all looking out for a person who might otherwise be ruined given the cut-throat world that they live in?

Secondly, with regards to the discussion between Honey and Mori at the end of episode 23 – which of the two (Kyou-chan and Kao-chan) do you think had not acknowledged his feelings yet? (Nevermind that Tamaki and Hikaru both like Haruhi but are just too stupid to realise it).

About karice
MAG fan, amateur translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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