So many shoujo anime are born each new season… So, yours truly decided to get back on track with the genre. How? Well, I completed one of the most famous reverse-harem series I know of – Ouran High School Host Club. Well, as much shoujo as it is, I do find it much different from the more recent projects.
My full review will reveal the opinion of someone who doesn’t really watch such shows much, and often considers them unworthy. So, let’s get it on and don’t forget to bash me in the comments! (Nice words are also accepted)
Ouran High School Host Club is a TV anime series based on Bisco Hatori’s original manga from 2002. The anime itself aired in the spring anime season of 2006. It is a romance-filled charming school story of a poor girl that, due to her super intellect and ambitions, enters into one of the most renowned high schools in Japan. What happens at her very first week, however, will mark her whole life.
Love, hate, fear and tragedy engulf the story, even if it’s not as developed as it is in the manga.
I shall not pay too much attention to the anime vs manga comparison because, well… The anime ended quite some time ago and it just set the stage for the manga’s continuation of the story. The print version covers more development, more drama and even more love as it shows how things progress.
Hatori-san’s manga continue until 2010, four whole years after the show’s finale.
Now, back on to the anime series…
The story focuses on Haruhi Fujioka, a very intelligent 16y.o. girl who enters the extremely prestigious Ouran High School on a full scholarship. One of the first things this girl does was, however, to shatter an expensive antique vase in the Music Room, a vase that belongs to the latest set of the Host Club. Due to having gum stuck in her hair a bit before the new school year, she has cut her hair short. Because of her androgynous looks, the hosts that saw her break the vase order her to repay her due for the antique.
How? Well, she is to become a host herself! A male one at that!
Well, you can imagine how baffled the group of guys were to find out she was a female. That, however, doesn’t make them stop. Haruhi goes on acting like a male host to repay the debt.
The Host club soon become Haruhi’s new home. She enjoys fun moment with their many roles and settings, as well as meeting many new friends on the way. After all, the idea of the Host Club is to have fun alongside whoever has time to waste.
The whole story is full of comedy and laugh. Just think of the possibilities! Hatori-san definitely explored a lot of them and the good thing is, the anime covers the arcs quite well.
The animation is suitable for Hattori-san’s original manga. The character designs are gentle, slender and with big eyes. It all means a lot of old-school shoujo animation, right?
The art style also makes this show much different than the newer anime. Without the extreme use of white and light, the anime brings classic 2D animation to the table. And I did enjoy it much more than I did with the newer styles.
One thing that I loved about the show was the note of drama it inserted. The good thing – it developed the male characters and not the lead female. We get to know more about each of the male hosts and see that not all that glisters is gold.
Character development is a huge benefit for this series. You have the six male hosts (Tamaki Suoh, Hikaru & Kaoru Hitachiin, Mitsukuni Hanizuka, Takashi Morinozuka and Kyouya Ootori) and you have Haruhi. All of them are in fact fully fledged characters with personalities, background stories and a lot of personality. The only bad thing is that everything appears in the second part of the series.
See more on the character development underneath the images in this review.
One of the things that I found lacking, in comparison with the more recent anime series, is the music. Well, I don’t even remember it to be precise. The in-episode theme songs must have been very dull for this to happen. Nonetheless, the OP and ED were charming, but I skipped them all the time after seeing them once.
In conclusion, I would have to give the thumbs-up to Ouran. It’s so much better than recent series. Or should I say bearable? It’s fun, well-paced and has a lot of development, even if it covers a tiny bit of the manga. For more of the romantic side – read the series. If you want a light-hearted anime with a tiny bit of drama in the later part – watch the show.
Ouran High School Host Club in The List
Official Ouran High School Host Club Anime Website (NTV)