My, what pretty boys ...
Ahem. Sorry. Got distracted there for a minute. Where was I? Oh yes, a review of Ouran ...
Well actually, that first sentence isn't a bad description of the series. Mind you, it doesn't mention the great humor and engaging characters, but it's certainly what you'll be thinking through much of what happens.
The physical characteristics of the characters are necessarily played up. The plot more or less demands it; it is about a group of boys (and one girl) who do their best to make the girls of Ouran Academy swoon. To this end, they dress up in elaborate costumes, and deliberately play up the specific anime archetypes all of their stereotypes are associated with. This can get a little squicky sometimes -- the Hitachiin twins are rather mind-bogglingly close, if you get my drift -- but mostly it comes off as charming and playful.
Still, this isn't just a series about the aesthetics, though that's a huge part of it (and the crisp look of the animation certainly doesn't hurt in that department). It's also about the characters, who by and large are tremendously engaging and highly entertaining. As the series progresses, they are each given depth as their history and background are explored, and we get to know better why they act the way they do. Even the extremely icy Kyoya, who was my least favorite character for much of the series, gets to emote and act like an actual human being towards the end of the series (the series finale, by the way, is fantastic).
That's not to say it doesn't get a little stale from time to time. While we may get to know them better, they never really change, which means that as the series wears on their reactions get rather predictable. It can also be tiresome for the series to constantly have the characters talk about how ridiculous the events going on are -- you may find yourself yelling "Don't explain the joke!" at your TV from time to time, is what I'm saying.
By the very nature of what the series is going for, it also fails to really build an ongoing story until the last few episodes, which can leave some episodes feeling rather pointless (the time spent away from school during summer break is particularly guilty of this).
Still, this is an enormously entertaining series regardless. The characters react and bounce off of each other very well, with a great mix of deadpan snark and over-the-top emoting. And almost every episode, no matter how predictable, is still remarkably enjoyable. Bottom line is, if what you're looking for is a fun, frothy series, with great characters and great humor, this could be exactly what you're looking for.
And of course, the pretty boys don't hurt.
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