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.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more impressed with any other title in the shoujo genre. The pacing and character development is absolutely remarkable. It is because Ouran Highschool Host Club was so successful that it has become the roots of other titles in the reverse harem genre that have attempted to be its equivalent. But no matter what else comes out, it seems that Ouran Highschool Host Club will always be the best in the world of one girl and many guys. It stands alone in the fact that its main characters see that friendship, family, and getting along are more important than having a hot boyfriend or girlfriend.
Ouran Highschool Host Club falls into a category of storyline plots that I like to call “Young People Doing Things For Fun”. When I put an anime in a category like this, it means that I know there isn’t some deep or spontaneous plot line that I need to pay attention to but I do expect to become fond of the characters and watch them develop as the show goes along. This also means that introduction of characters is critical in order to impress me and make me want to see the next episode. I will be honest with you for the first 2/3 of the first episode, I was very tempted to just drop the show. The guys seemed like such jerks; they acted so full of themselves and looked down on people who weren’t rich. All of my sympathy went to the female protagonist who had unintentionally gotten herself involved with the host club. However, during the last third of the first episode, the guys did something that rarely any character does in an anime.
They stood up to a girl who was bullying Haruhi!
After that I loved the guys and was willing to give the next episode a shot. So after that terrible introduction, I continued to watch the show and found myself loving it more and more. We learn more about each main character as we follow them on their comedic adventures in daily life and become attached to each of them in some way. The same kind of attachment can be said for the characters as their bonds with each other grow stronger the more they are together. The Host Club guys gradually change their opinions about middle-class people and Haruhi changes hers about rich people. The last few episodes are probably my favorites though. It’s during those episodes that the characters’ friendship is put to the test. That is when we see the real strength of the characters that we have followed since the beginning and I just love how the power of friendship made the last episode so epic. So overall, the things that usually come to my mind when I think of Ouran Highschool Host Club are not the weak beginning, but the many good qualities of Haruhi, Hikaru, Kaoru, Kyoya, Hunny, Mori, and Tamaki and of course, all the funny moments.
Best looking school I’ve ever seen! I don’t think that in any other school-related anime, I’ve seen that so much detail has been put into the actual school. Usually the school is just there, and we’re not supposed to think about it too much. But here, they’re not afraid to flaunt everything the school has to offer and make us believe that Ouran Academy is every rich person’s paradise. I loved all of the bright colors because they went perfectly with the show’s comedic, hyper, and generally friendly atmosphere. It is also important to note that some of the funniest faces I have ever seen come from this anime, particularly from Tamaki. Basically the animation is one of the main reasons why Ouran Highschool Host Club is such a lol-fest. It will either direct your attention at certain objects to make you anticipate an upcoming funny moment involving that object (those moments are always hilarious) or someone or something random will appear when you least expect it too (silly face, monkey, random role-play, etc.) and the end results are always priceless. And even more important than that, the guys in this show actually fit the definition of a bishounen! They have every right to brag about their looks because they really are hot, especially during close-ups!
The pop opening was nice and fit with the anime. The ending was awesome; it’s sort of a pop-rock kind of song. It’s just such a treat to listen to, kind of like a bonus dose of happy so that the feeling of excitement stays with us even after the episode is over. The music played during the show is good too! As for voice acting, I prefer the Japanese version and I liked the twins’ voices the best.
I love Haruhi! She’s just one of the most amazing heroines I’ve ever seen! Others could learn from her example! And obviously the guys are great too, they have a lot of qualities that set them apart from other characters from similar animes; plus also they are loveable. But man I love Haruhi! She’s clever, blunt, level-headed, confident, and non-judgmental! What more could you possibly want?
The reason why I have given this rating for the characters actually has nothing to do with Haruhi and the Host Club guys at all. It was some of the minor characters who brought down the quality of the show. Sure, they only appear in 1 or 2 episodes, but the episodes they’re in are practically centered on them and we end up putting up with them instead of enjoying time with the main cast. However, this is only a few episodes so of course we still get to see a lot of Haruhi + guys but some of those minor characters were just not necessary and certain episodes would have been better without them. Besides, the only thing these minor characters proved was just how selfless the Host Club is.
Good minor characters include: Arai, Ritsu Kasanoda, and Isao.
Bad minor characters include: The Lobelia Girls, Shirou Takaouji, and Kanako Kasugasaki.
I would also like to bring up a secondary character who goes by the name of Renge Houshakuji. She seems to be one of the most hated characters in the franchise. To be honest, I did not think she was a bad character. I actually kind of liked her. She wasn’t mean or anything and she was occasionally funny. My only problem with her is that she is so unoriginal. I don’t mean that her whole character concept is unoriginal, it’s her ideas. She claims that she knows everything about what a guy can do to win a maiden’s heart, but in reality she just uses visual novels to tell her what girls like and does not come up with anything by herself. Until she has her own ideas, she needs to stop bragging about a talent that she does not have.
In the end, all I have to say is please give this anime a chance if you haven’t already. This series has so much to offer with quirky characters, pure (good) nonsense, stunning character design, feel-good sensation, happy moments, and more. I think most people will find that they like many aspects of Ouran Highschool Host Club and it might even become one of their favorites.
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.
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