Ouran High School Host Club – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Ouran Koukou Host Club

 

Similar: Special A

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Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Reverse Harem High School Comedy Romance

Length: 26 episodes

 

Positives:

  • Good humour.
  • Silly fun.

Negatives:

  • The serious episodes.
  • Cringe dub music lyrics.
  • Protagonist’s voice.

After smashing a vase worth eight million yen, poor frumpy girl Haruhi must join the Ouran Host Club in her high school reserved for the rich and prestigious – she got the scholarship. Despite the school’s image as one of style and elegance, Haruhi cares little for beauty and fashion. So much so, that she is thought to be a boy. Unfortunately for her, the host club is the height of pomp and circumstance, as handsome boys (with far too much free time) entertain the silliest girls (with far too much free time) by playing dress-up. Sometimes they work as matchmakers, at other times a vapid Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Ouran High School Host Club is the epitome of fangirl anime. Like the host club itself, every element of this series hits the target audience’s desires. The cast has the full spectrum of high school girls’ fetish archetypes – the handsome, the studious, the yaoi (yaoi twins, no less), the child-like boy, and the brooding, all wealthy, of course – even touches of yuri when Haruhi dresses as a member of the host club. Each episode picks a shoujo desire and nails it (not literally!).

I found that episodes were either hilarious or average (amusing but not laugh out loud funny), nothing in between. Particular standouts were the feminazis imposing their feminine ways on others, and the host club manager, a girl obsessed with dating sims, who sees all the boys as stereotypes from her games. She breaks the fourth wall often.

My only significant complaint against the comedy is the use of text pop-ups after punch lines. All they do is repeat or explain the jokes. It reminds of people who have to add their own rubbish commentary (or text) over already funny videos – think the trash Funniest Home Videos franchise. This device is neither clever nor funny.

Sadly, Ouran High School Host Club falls into the most common pitfall of comedy anime: trying to include serious story. What can I say that I haven’t said against similar suckers (Please Teacher, Midori Days)? It’s standard, predictable, shunting what makes the show entertaining – humour – aside. Comedies are allowed to be about comedy until the end. (Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun)

I’ll be honest. Judging by the cover, Ouran High School Host Club looked and sounded trash. “Another harem except it is boys instead of girls?” Woo…exciting… However, it won me over with its humour and not making the plot about a harem dynamic (only one boy is romantically interested in Haruhi). Ouran High School Host Club gets my recommendation.

Art – Medium

Very girly art – roses everywhere. All is neat and clean, but lacks animation and visual depth.

Sound – Medium

Not a fan of Haruhi’s voice choice in English – so nasal. Shame because the other characters sound hilarious – Ed Elric as the princely type killed me. The Japanese version balances Haruhi’s male and female personas better. OP and ED made me curl with cringe; skipped them after two episodes.

Story – Medium

A frumpy girl, mistaken for a boy must join the Ouran Host Club of handsome boys to pay off her ludicrous debt. Fun, charming, and humorous, though attempts at serious story fail.

Overall Quality – High

Recommendation: For anime comedy fans. Ouran High School Host Club is better than the sum of its parts, delivering a quintessentially ‘anime’ comedy many viewers will enjoy.

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Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None

Negative: None

 

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