Ouran High School Host Club

‘Ouran High School Host Club’ Review

Not often times do people make a ¥8 million mistake, but when they do, of course the repercussions are going to be a bit…well, outrageous.

Ouran High School Host Club first existed as a manga series by Hatori Bisuko, published in Hakusensha’s LaLa magazine from Sept. 2002 to Nov. 2010. In 2006, the first few chapters of the manga were made into a 26-episode anime series under Bones Studio.

Summary

Ouran Academy is a prestigious institution for the obnoxiously wealthy students of high pedigree—something a first-year named Haruhi Fujioka (Maaya Sakamoto) isn’t. The only thing she’s high of is highly intelligent, and the sole reason she’s there is because she’s on a scholarship.

Haruhi unexpectedly opened the door to the Music Room #3, where the Ouran Host Club meets—a club ran by a couple of not only rich, but also handsome guys, whose purpose is to entertain the rich girls in their free time—when she was trying to find a quiet place to study. In an attempt to leave the situation, she accidentally knocks over and broke an antique item worth far more than she can ever imagine in her “commoner” life (¥8 million).

As a form a payment, they make her the errand “boy” for this outlandish organization. Haruhi has short hair and an overall boy-ish appearance, so that’s the gender she was perceived as. However, because of her masculine looks, in combination with her amiable attitude towards girls and her “enthralling” social status—she gets promoted to being a full-time host, alongside Tamaki “Prince” Suou (Mamoru Miyano), the Hitachiin twinsHikaru (Kenichi Suzumura) and Kaoru (Yoshinori Fujita)—Kyouya “Shadow King” Ootori (Masaya Matsukaze), Mitsukuni “Honey” Haninozuka (Ayaka Saito), and Takashi “Mori” Morinozuka (Daisuke Kirii). From that point on, she steps into what seems like a whole new dimension. From the crazy cosplays to exquisite activities, Ouran Host Club transformed her ordinary life to a wacky, but glamorous series of events.

Commentary

Giving this a chance

Initially I had zero interest in this anime. Based from the cover I thought, well this looks bland. But after scrolling past it several times, I finally decided to give it a chance. And you know what, after having watched this series about three times—I laughed the same amount, if not more with each time, no exaggeration—I learned that Ouran High School Host Club is the furthest thing from bland. This anime is the perfect blend of humor, sarcasm, satire and charm.

The Fourth Wall

An example of a scene in the anime series "Ouran High School Host Club" where the characters break the fourth wall.
Credit: Bones Studio

One of my favorite things is when characters break the fourth wall—a theatrical term for the imaginary “wall” that exists between actors and the audience—and Ouran does this frequently, in combination with poking fun at cliches and stereotypes often associated with shōjo manga, in a friendly manner of course.

What I like about the characters

The characters are each uniquely written and you really can’t help but to love them all. Haruhi is anything but interested in these rich dudes. Unlike the rest of the female population at the school who are bat-shit crazy for them, she actually finds them annoying and over-the-top. Eventually, as she’s continued to be forced to partake in the Host Club’s…eccentric shenanigans, she comes across situations where they allow her a new perspective of each of the boys—new perspectives that help her feel more comfortable around and grow more fond of them.

Then there’s Tamaki, who is extremely self-absorbed, but at the same time is considerate of others. His thinking is…rather different, and his reactions to situations are overly dramatic, but they never feel extra. One of my favorite things is that Tamaki’s love for Haruhi surfaces every episode as he doesn’t try to conceal it at all and it’s so cute, but Haruhi just shrugs it off. The rest of the cast are superb as well.

I think you might find the Hitachiin twins odd at first and I won’t blame you, but just remember that Ouran is a meant to be a satire of shōjo and just anime in general. And as playful as Ouran is intended to be, there’s substance to this show.

The Animation

As for the animation, it’s very vibrant and colorful, which I really appreciate. Although some things aren’t as distinctly drawn— lacking some details—I didn’t mind it one bit. I enjoyed it all wholesomely. Some of my favorite scenes are the fourth wall breaking moments and whenever Tamaki overreacts— the visuals here are amusing to watch and adds a more humorous effect, watch it and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Conclusion

What’s special about Ouran High School Host Club is that it took the risk of not conforming to the general anime-making standards and instead of being a flop, it succeeded. This anime contains various elements that I think would feed to a wide range of audience’s tastes. You want to laugh your buttocks off? You want romance? You want sarcasm? You want kawaii? You want to feel? It’s all jam-packed in this nice little anime series for you.

Let us know on Twitter @GeekGalsCo what you think, if/when you do decide to give this classic a watch.

Featured image credit: Bones Studio

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