As always, my Review FAQ is in my blog, check it out if you want to know more info on how I do my reviews.
There is very little plot to speak of in this anime. In fact, the reason why Haruhi must be in the host club seems to be forgotten from about the third episode all the way to the last; surely if Haruhi breaking that vase was the reason why she must join the club, then it would have merited mention sometime throughout the vast space between the third and last episodes (the anime spans one year). The smaller, internal plotlines save it from disaster, however, with most of them being entertaining and thoughtful, especially the stories about the club members themselves.
The characters are where Ouran shines. Each character has a wealth of backstory, and each one is so intertwined with the next that it forms its own kind of plotline. The majority of the characters are easy to like. The characters are mostly realistic, meaning that these people could exist somewhere. I have two main issues with the characters though. First, is the club members' initial confusion over Haruhi's gender. Haruhi is exclusively a feminine name. Why do the other students not know that she is female? My second qualm is with the character Mitsukuni Haninozuka ("Honey-senpai"); this is the only truly unbelieveable character in the anime, a high-school senior who looks, sounds, and acts like an elementary school student. I seriously doubt that Honey could exist outside of anywhere but imagination.
Ouran boasts a very high production quality. The art is very crisp and clean, and the styling (though shoujo, which I'm not usually a fan of) works well with the content. The coloring is very bright and vivid, and the animation is smooth. A bonus is that there are almost no speical effects in the show. Even the flowers that float through the air at random times are all hand-drawn.
In accordance to the quality of the artwork, the music is also very good. The intro (Sakura Kissu by Chieko Kawabe) and outro (Shissou by Last Alliance) were especially noteworthy; I still hear them in my head today (not in a bad way though, the songs are good). About one third of the songs within the show itself are variations on the main theme, which is to be expected. However, the majority of the music are new themes, mostly orchestral in composition, arranged by composer Hirano Yoshihisa. I found that even the more esoteric tracks did not detract from the overall experience, like in other anime.
PERSONAL CHOICE: 7/10
I liked the episodes in which something about morality or personality (any of the serious episodes, really), but there aren't enough of them in the middle of the series to keep one engaged. The last 6 or so episodes are a blast though.
Personal Choice 7/10
Filled with Many "WTF?" moments, the comedy is hilarious at times, hilariously embarrassing at others. As one keeps watching though, one gets used to it, and less moments like the one above get to you. Enjoyable, if you can get used to it.
WATCH AGAIN?: I'll think about it...