Ouran High is a school for the extremely wealthy or, in Haruhi's case, the extremely talented. But no amount of talent will help when Haruhi accidentally drops an eight million yen vase in a music room. The vase was the property of Ouran High School Host Club, a group of attractive young men who, for a fee, provide their time and affections for their lovesick clientele: the female students. Fascinated by this strange new specimen, a poor and clumsy commoner, they force Haruhi to work for them until the debt is repaid; but they get a lot more than they bargained for...
StoryThe strongest episodes in the Ouran High School Host Club are essentially nothing more than character development. In them, the show will take one of the characters and crack his very soul open for all to see. The standouts are by far Kyouya, a self-proclaimed egoist who ends up being anything but, and the identical pair of twins, whose need for personal individuality conflicts with their inability to relate to anyone else. Unfortunately, excluding both the brilliant beginning and the fantastic character-building episodes, much of the storyline feels uninspired and dull by comparison. While watching through many of the middle episodes of Ouran, one gets the feeling that the writer is complacently leaning too much on his characters. The biting satire of the first few episodes eventually gives way to safe and surprisingly routine comedy, a problem that is compounded by the fact that there is no significant plot until near the end. Worse still, the wonderful character development is limited to only a handful of episodes; in the rest of the show, the characters remain tragically static. The result is somewhat uneven. There are superb episodes, but sadly, Ouran is not quite the superb show that I was hoping for. At no point is the plot ever bad, but with more ambitious writing, Ouran could have been the best of its genre.AnimationThe character designs are appealing and colorful, which is almost all that a shoujo show really needs to be good. However, Ouran also happens to excel in other departments as well. Backgrounds are detailed and lively, and movement is never jerky or awkward. However, the best part is probably in the surprisingly clever and creative visual humor. In particular, I enjoyed the deliberate overuse of roses and sparkle effects – a nod to the visual techniques of other shoujo shows.SoundOne cannot mention Ouran’s characters without praising the remarkably talented seiyuu behind them. Put simply, these characters would have only been half as likeable with lesser voice acting. The most obvious case of this is with Haruhi. Due to the character’s transgendered nature, voice-acting the character in a way that was at the same time believable and pleasant is something that few seiyuu could actually do. However Sakamoto Maaya (who was equally wonderful as Lark in Gunbuster 2) pulls off the feat fantastically. The rest of the seiyuu are nearly as impressive – there isn’t a weak link anywhere. The music is serviceable without ever standing out all that much. Suitably wacky songs play during the (numerous) comedic moments, while pleasant instrumental music is used for the more serious moments. I enjoyed the OP, but didn’t like the song enough to actually download it.CharactersThe characters are easily the best part of Ouran Host Club. For one, in an age of generic, unmemorable shoujo leads (the interchangeability between Full Moon wo Sagashite’s Mitsuki and Fruit Basket’s Touru comes to mind), Haruhi stands out as a unique and thoroughly loveable protagonist. As in other shows, she serves as a “normal” grounding to contrast with the comparably wacky supporting characters. However, at the same time, she is anything but average. Equal parts intelligent, blunt, and pragmatic, her piercing wit doesn’t ground the other characters idiosyncrasies so much as puncture them. The result is always hilarious, and makes for one of the best characters of the year. For the rest of the characters, the show brilliantly recognizes the numerous archetypes of the shoujo genre, and manages to build its characters in a way that both lampoons and transcends the stereotypes. To mock these shoujo “staples,” the anime’s characters cynically play to them in an effort to garner popularity among the girls of their high school (one character deliberately acts like he’s eight for the lolicon points). On the other hand, to transcend the stereotypes, all of the characters in the show are far more complex than they initially appear. Beneath each one-dimensional façade is a compelling, loveable, and unique character of surprising depth and believability.OverallOuran Host Club is a good show that could have been extraordinary. Anyone who watches the first episode can see the amazing potential in the show; the premise is clever and feel-good, the characters are loveable and unique, and the seiyuu are just plain wonderful. Oddly enough, only a lack of ambition on behalf of the writers really prevents the show from rising to the amazing heights of shows like Azumanga Daioh and Princess Tutu. However, the fact that this anime could have been more doesn’t change what this anime is: an undeniably witty and charming shoujo comedy. If you enjoyed Fruits Basket, there’s very little chance that you won’t love this.
This won't be a good review because I honestly don't know what to say except I loved it. I didn't like the shoujo genre, still don't, but I love this. First off some complaints: 1) I wish the opening credit animation style was used in the anime every once in a while. Its a very neat style that I couldn't take my eyes off of. 2) It stops. At only 26 episodes. I know the manga goes further than the anime and I wish that the anime could have continued on. Reboot anyone? :) 3) *spoiler* because I realize this might be an important thing for some, just skip to 4. . . . . . . . Haruhi doesn't get with anyone. My ship didn't sail, your ship didn't sail. To continue with the metaphor, the dock is full and no one wants to leave apparently. They spent the last few episodes hinting that some of the boys would start declaring their love for Haruhi but it never happened, I assume because the rest of their school thinks that she's a boy. But still. I want to see friendships deepen and romances blossom. Is that too much to ask? 4) The Lobelia Girls. I realize they were designed to be hated but that was a bit too much. They went beyond harassing Haruhi to try to get her to leave Ouran and make a bad name for ordinary feminists with their over the top man hating ways. No thank you. That aside, here's what I love: 1) Haruhi. She's very relatable and loveable. She treats the boys of the Host Club with loving sarcasm and is unafraid to question them. Smart, dependent and absolutely not worried about getting a boyfriend, she's a breath of fresh air in the ridiculousness of this anime (in a good way of course). 2) The anime is funny. It makes fun of itself, whether there's cross-dressing, or overly dramatic shoujo moments. The entire thing highly unrealistic, but it recognizes and embraces this, using Haruhi to point this out. At the same time, it doesn't cross the line to offensive (at least most of the time. Those damn Lobelia girls need to learn a thing or two about respect and the signs of harassment dammit!) 3) The twins. As a twin myself, they were by far my favorite (and the most attractive) characters in the show. Though the fake incest thing that they pulled in the Host Club irritated me, their humor and loyalty to themselves and their friends won me over. 4) Everything? Like seriously, I love this anime too much. I need more, I'm addicted. Yeah, I can read the manga and I will, but the anime needs to get on it and be more! So 10/10. Because I'm obviously a reliable and non-obsessive compossed reviewer here. :)
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.
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