This is one of the funniest anime I have ever seen. I've watched it nine times and it still manages to make me laugh. It's one of the only anime that made me laugh out loud, and its parody of the average shoujo anime is even funnier to me now that I've started watching more and more anime as a (unprofessional/amatuer/just doing it for fun and to share my own thoughts) reviewer.
So, the main cast of the show is introduced in the first episode, where we meet Haruhi, our heroine, and the members of the Ouran High School Host Club: Tamaki, Kyoya, Kauru, Hikaru, Mori, and Hunny(Mitskuni Honinozuka). The host club is, to quote Tamaki, "A place for beautiful young men with way too much time on their hands to entertain lovely young ladies, who also have way too much time on thier hands." Anyway, so Ouran Academy is a highschool for Japan's rich, elite, and surprisingly sheltered upper class. The only exception is Haruhi, a "commoner" girl, who is incredibly intellegent and managed to get a full scholarship to the school. Unfortunately, she is poor and can't afford a uniform, so she wears a pretty basic and gender neutral outfit. She finds herself one day looking for somewhere quiet to study and accidentally finds herself in the host club, where they not only assume her to be a man, but they also think that she's there to find her 'man'! She tries to explain her situation, but accidentally ends up accidentally breaking a ridiculously expensive vase. She then finds herself having to pretend to be a boy in order to entertain the young ladies who flock to the club daily. After they realize she's a girl, the clubs insane adventures begin.
While it may sound utterly stupid, that's kinda the point. Though it does bring up one thing that I would love to applaud the show for. Finally an anime managed to make the club feel important. It's the name of the show for a reason. The show's main focus is the club and their activities. It may sound silly for me to feel happy about it, but you'd be amazed by the number of shows that pointlessly throw the school club into the anime without it playing much role in the overall story or the character's development and relationships. This would be the polar opposite. Not only are Tamaki's(the head of the club) antics the cause of most of the story and adventures of the show, but it also serves as a hub for comedy and character development in the show. It is the heart of the show, pumping blood through the arteries of the story arcs, the viens of the characters who thrive there, and the capilaries of the quirky sense of humor the show has.
Anyway, the show focuses very much on the club members, their families, and the people they help. The club not only works on entertaining the female students, but it also holds dances, cherry blossom viewings, and various other student events. It also tends to help people in need, because that's just the way that Tamaki is.
The whole nature of this show is a satirical comedy of errors. As one of my fellow anime club members once said "It's weird, but good." The characters thrive through the comedy of the show, and unlike many shows that awkwardly destroy the semblence of a character's depth and personality throught the attempts at comedy, this show manages to keep everyone in character. Its sense of humor is unique, in a good way. It's not something you'll see a thousand times over in anime.
A play off of shoujo style animation with big eyes, bright colors and many overused sparkle and rose motifs, it is the ultimate satire on the sort of thing you would see in your average shoujo anime. The animation itself is played for the humor without bringing down the quality at all. The parody of the animation style is done perfectly, and any avid shoujo watcher will surely get a laugh from all of the familiar stylistic choices.
Character designs are nice and fitting, and are surprisingly well fitting for each character's personality and backstory. The school uniforms are well designed. Even Haruhi's father(who is, um, a bit flamboyant to say the least) is not too ridiculous looking.
Backgrounds are quite nice, if not a bit sparse in places. The host club's music room is large and populated with nice looking furniture, glorious vases, lovely red roses, and varied and richly detailed tea cups and pots. Other backgrounds are nice and relatively realistic - there aren't many pointless details, and it doesn't feel barren. The school setting does seem to be an ornately designed 'school for rich kids', and is quite beautiful to look at.
Both the opening and ending song are quite nice in both English and Japanesse. The music throughout the show is quite nice.
Voice acting is quite good in both the dub and the sub. I usually watch the dub because that's the one I actually own so it's generally easier for me. However both are quite nice and personally I love Vic Mignogna's over-the-top performance as Tamaki. The actors' timing skills are incredible, and their talents enhance the jokes and humor of the show.
The characters of the show are a generally quite good and funny. I know a lot of people take issue with Renge. Trust me, I understand these, but I do have a counterarguement:
Renge is another one of this show's oddball characters. She's a young French girl who is obssesive to be honest. Do you know those fangirls who go and scream that everything is kawaii and that they absolutely adore the heck out of people who don't exist?(Heh-heh... I wouldn't know anything about that(sarcasm)) Well she's mainly just an obsessive girl who thinks she knows a lot about romance. She really doesn't. Personally, I have no real issue with her. She's not meant to know a lot about things, that's why it's so strange and quirky to have her as 'manager' of the host club. Eh.
Well, lets talk about the most important characters in the show for a bit. By them I mean of course the members of the host club. They're all created as bishounen to fit with the show's nature. As with many characters in a show, they overexemplify and overdramaticize the standard and it makes it funny. So let's do it:
Haruhi Fujioka - Now she's a fantastic character. In comparasin to the average anime girl, she's much much stronger. I'm not saying she's a fighter, I mean she's a great dynamic character who is quite intelegent and starts off introverted. She does manage to break out of her shell a bit and open up thanks to the host club. She has a cynical and sarcastic sort of attitude at times, but overall she has a good heart. The biggest thing I'm happy about with her is that, other than her situation, is incredibly believable. I have met and known people in my life just like her! She's not your classic squeaky,good looking, flat, static protaganist, or any of the other classic anime cliches. She is real.
Tamaki Suou - The 'king' of melodrama and the Host Club, he's an over-the-top, gorgeous, obnoxious, concieted dummy. He, like Haruhi, really is a good person in spite of this. He has an impressive skill at playing the piano. Overall he's a good character, and incredibly fun to watch.
Kyoya Otori - The vice-president of the Host Club, he's a rather cynical and calculating person, but he does have a certain kindness to him, not allowing people to be taken advantage of.
Kauru and Hikaru Hitachin - Two mischevious identical twins, they manage to formulate tons of jokes with one another and fake blatant feelings for one another in the club to attract costumers. The two of them are seperable, though Hikaru was developed far better than Kauru was. Though, I guess I can forgive it as they mostly function as a unit.
Takashi Morinozuka(aka Mori) - Well... he's quiet. He shares a brotherly relationship with Hunny. Otherwise he's a strong character and the best of him comes out in bits and pieces, especially when Kasanoda is around.
Mitskuni Honinozuka(aka Hunny) - He's a playoff of a classic lolita character. While he adores bunnies, sweets, and cakes, he also has a shocking talent in martial arts to the point where he is considered a weapon of mass destruction by the UN. Very entertaining.
Secondary and minor characters are pretty darn good. The most memorable for me are Haruhi's father Ryoji Fujioka and Ritsu Kasanova. While the rest aren't as memorable I think they're either good or don't have a big problem with them.
It would not be a stretch to say this is my favorite comedy anime. It's hilarious and quirky. I highly recommend it.
Brilliance at its finest! Wow! Hit it out of the park.
So I was on Netflix, and I saw this show. And it was like "Huh, no idea what the hell this is." I turned it on and was hooked! They just blew me away, episode after episode.
The crux of their success lies in their characters. Each one a gem, filling a role, and still being developed into a three dimensional person. It's easy to just cajole them into archetypes, but they go so beyond that. Every single one of them has significant story arcs, and evolves over the show's (Disgustingly short) run.
I simply can't lavish enough praise for this show. One gripe, however, is with the voice acting. Not great, but not bad. It's simply average, which when compared to everything else, just doesn't hold up.
But who cares? The show is such a run romp through and through, one just has to sit back and start loving.
I recommend this to anyone who isn't blind. Go watch it, somehow, anyhow!
Story? Doesn't matter. Animation? Not good but it does the job well. Nothing else matters, all that matters is the Characters. It's a 26 episode anime, very long yes, but my motavation for watching all episodes was the Characters, they are all like-able, developed and the series used it's time up well (except episode 13, which was a pointless filler). This is way the anime gets a high rating, because of the characters, they make the series enjoyable.
More in video review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyjPD2_RL2Q
THE STORY IS: Haruhi Fujioka is a middle class girl who gets a scholarship to attend the high class Ouran Academy. While she roams the halls trying to find a quiet place to study, she comes across the Host Club, a group of six males who entertain female clients. Shortly after stumbling upon this group, Haruhi accidentally knocks over and breaks a very expensive antique vase. In order to repay for the broken vase, Haruhi is forced to work as an errand boy for the Host Club. The group soon realizes that Haruhi is a natural at being a host and they decide to promote her to full-time host, which will also pay off the debt quicker. The members discover one by one that Haruhi is also a girl. With that, they decide to keep the fact that she is a girl a secret.
This was one of those animes that I did not understand why it was rated real high or why it was so popular. Much like The World God Only Knows, it seemed to follow the same formula. Ouran started out that way in the beginning and got increasingly better as time went on. The story wasn't anything to brag about. Just a show about 6 guys in a host club and 1 girl that is charading as a guy and shananigans with every episode. There was not a set story to be followed. Ouran was funny at times and there were times where some of the stuff kind of got old, but it always mixed it up avoiding repetition and annoyance. This was definitely a decent anime. One of those animes that if it appeared on tv, you couldn't help but watch it. Just like an old cartoon. It may not have a definitive story, but it does have goofiness. Ouran definitely starts out a bit boring and slow, but just like The World God Only Knows, it gets better over time. The further you get into the anime, the better it is and more it's style has rubbed off on you.
ANIMATION & SOUND: The animation was a bit questionable. It reminded me of an anime made in the late 90s or early 00s. I don't know if it was supposed to be made like that. If it was, I'm cool with it. It didn't bother me one bit. It fit the overall theme they were going with.
The Sound was well rounded. The voices fit the characters and they were very good expressing the emotions and personalities of the characters. Music was good. Mostly stereotypical orchestral music, nothing special, but fit the anime well.
CHARACTERS: Every character was different, but more or less, the same in Ouran. What I mean by that is they had different personalities that made them their own person and were developed quite well for all characters. They were all the same in the matter of having the same "Crazy-high-class-rich" attitude. The characters called middle class people "Commoners" and get excited to see what a commoner's lifestyle is like with ordinary grocery stores, malls, and fast food restaurants. Besides having the same mentality of a rich person, they seem to all respect Haruhi, who is considered a commoner in their eyes. Haruhi is not rich by any means, but doesn't flaunt it. All the characters have some sort of background story to tell and it fits nicely within the realm of the actual anime. The cast of Ouran are some of the best characters I've seen in a while.
OVERALL: Ouran High School Host Club was a very good anime all around. Like mentioned earlier, it doesn't have a story that will blow your mind. Just a typical run-of-the-mill school life show. It will rub off on you the further you get into it. I was skeptical on whether I was going to be disappointed or not. I didn't want to watch a really popular anime and be one of those people that said it was terrible. It just took a little bit getting used to the flow of the show and it became quite a charming anime overall.
I will warn you now...this is going to be a rather extensive review. This is one of my favorite anime and I have seen it, all the way through, three times. Ouran, for me, is one of the best anime I have seen.
Haruhi Fujiyoka is a girl who just started her first year at Ouran Academy, a private school. She is a commoner who is there on scholarship. The anime opens to Haruhi looking for a quiet place to study. The libraries are full and noisy so she sets off to find an open room. She comes across an old music room that, she thought, wasn't being used. Opening the door, she is greeted by the Ouran High School Host Club!
This group of quite attractive boys believe that she is a boy accompanied by the belief that "he" is into boys because "he" is at the host club. Haruhi, who is dressed in casual clothes, short hair, and glasses, doesn't appear to be a girl at all. In the process of trying to escape their leader's grasp, she knocks a vase off its pedestal. They inform her that this vase costs approximately 8,000,000 Yen, or $80,000. Of course, she offers to pay it back, but she can't afford it so they tell her that she will be the host's dog until she pays them by through work. The boys do find out that she's a girl by the end of the first episode, but they decide that instead of being their "dog," she will work off her debt by being a host, thus, dressing as a boy the entire time.
The anime is ultimately about her time spent as a host, but it's also about the relationships between the boys and herself. A lot of people think of Haruhi as a "lesser being" because of where she's from. "Lineage counts first, wealth a close second."
The characters are some of my favorite characters of all anime I've seen. Tamaki Suou, the "Princely Type," is a rich French-Japanese boy who at times can be completely dense. He comes to think of Haruhi as his "daughter," and he her "Daddy." However, it turns out to be much more than that. Kyoya Ootori, the "Cool Type," is the genius boy who wears glasses. Tamaki calls him the "Mommy" of the group. Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, the "Little Devil Type" or otherwise known as "Twincest," are known for their forbidden love because they are twins. They are my favorites, especially Hikaru, who is the more dominant of the two. Takashi Morinozuka, or "Mori," the "Stoic Type," is the quiet one, but he protects his cousin, Honey, with his life. Mitsukuni Haninozuka, or "Honey", the "Lolita Type," is this super-cute boy who is always seen with his bunny, Usa-chan, and eating cake. Mori and Honey are both martial artists, though they may not act like it at all. One of my other favorite characters is a minor one. Umehito Nekozawa, is President of the Black Magic Club. He always dresses in a black cloak, because he can't be in the light, and carries around a cat puppet named Belzeneff. There are a couple episodes focused on Nekozawa. Tamaki is scared of him to a very comedic point.
There are plenty of moments where problems ensue. Hikaru and Kaoru get into a fight, Honey goes missing, Haruhi is kidnapped by a girl's school, and other character's have problems that need to be solved. Every episode has a new problem being brought up. There's an episode that involves the school's newspaper club; they have a problem with posting rumors and fake articles. It's one of the funniest episodes simply because of how Tamaki acts. He is the ultimate source of comedy in this anime. Although, the other characters have their moments, too.
Ouran Host Club is classified as being a drama, though it has more comedy as well as romance. Tamaki bases the club on his rule that they must make every woman happy no matter how young, old, poor, or wealthy. This causes him to want to help in quite a few situations that could possibly cause trouble. It's filled with so many moments where you laugh until you can't breathe and then want to watch again and again. However, there are times where the characters touch your heart and make you fall in love. (Damn Hikaru and Nekozawa for being animated! ^_^)
There are so many other minor characters that I could go into. Haruhi's dad plays a big part in most of the anime; I'll let you watch it and figure out why he's funny, though. Renge, who becomes a part of the host club, is a power-hungry girl who is madly in love with Kyoya. I don't want to spoil too much of the anime for you so I'll leave it there for now.
For me, this anime is a must see for anyone. Sadly, those who aren't into the romantic comedies won't be too thrilled with it. It's so much fun and you'll want to keep it in your collection forever. There are two songs, both of which are fantastic. The English Dubbed anime has the songs re-done in English. The English songs are as follows: Sakura Kiss by Kristine Sa (opening) and Sprint by Justin Houston (ending). The Japanese versions are: Sakura Kiss by Kawabe Chieco and Shissou by Last Alliance.
As far as voices, I thought the English was fantastic. Vic Mignogna does the voice for Tamaki, Caitlin Glass voices Haruhi, J. Michael Tatum as Kyoya, Todd Haberkorn as Hikaru, Greg Ayres as Kaoru, Luci Christian as Honey, and Travis Willingham as Mori. The Japanese version, I watched enough to hear the voices of each and thought that they were fine, but not near as spot-on to the personalities of the characters as the English.
Ouran Host Club consists of 26 episodes. There is a manga, which is at 18 volumes, 83 chapters. There is a visual novel (Playstation 2 & Nintendo DS), but they are only in Japanese at the moment. There are rumors, however, of them being released in English in the future.