Ouran High School Host Club – Volume 1
Ouran High School Host Club is handsomest boys with too much time on their hands entertain ladies also with way too much time on their hands. This group of immaculately dressed with pristine skin boys spend their spare time allowing women who also attend the school faun over them whilst they make the girls feel like they are the centre of the world at all times – even though there are literally dozens of other people in the room having the exact same thing done to them.
The Ouran Academy is a prestigious school that’s exclusively for the elite of Japan; these children are rich, powerful and are going to be the crème of the world in the future. Naturally, for these children the best of the best is considered average, so the Academy itself has it’s own “Big Ben” and could easily pass for a cathedral in architecture, with expansive rooms, expensive decorations and exclusive clubs, this school is completely out of this world. Then Haruhi turns up. Haruhi is a “pauper” who has managed to secure an elusive scholarship to this exclusive Academy. This in itself automatically means that Haruhi is out of place, with tatty hair, old clothes and thick glasses Haruhi is the exact opposite of what Ouran Academy is – perfection in beauty.
Within a few days Haruhi is desperate to escape the luxuries of the school and start studying – after all, she’s earned a scholarship at the Academy. Unfortunately for her she enters Music Room #3, which is meant to be unused. However, she stumbles across the Host Club. This club exists purely to keep the girls of the school happy, and is a very pure and innocent Host Club and consists of the host King, Tamaki Suou, the male loli Mitsukini Haninozuka (Honey-chan), Takasahi Morinozuka (Mori), the mischievous, brotherly love, twins Kaoru and Hikaru Hitachiin and the club Queen (and not in a drag sense) Kyoya Ootori. These boys manage to not only stun Haruhi but manage to make this pauper knock over an 8 million yen statue. Naturally Haruhi is unable to pay this and is forced into joining the club.
One problem though, Haruhi is a girl. Throughout the first few episodes the members of the club recognise this, unfortunately the Club’s King, Tamaki, fails to realise this until it’s too late and walks in on Haruhi changing. Of course they try and hide this so that she is able to pay her debts off, and she ends up taking off her glasses, exposing her beauty and becomes a full club member, which in itself causes problems.
Throughout this 13 episode double DVD volume there is hilarity throughout. Haruhi manages to capture the attention of boys and girls alike, and unlike many shows like this there is very little fanservice and at no point does it become too risqué, this show is pretty clean and is not here to service the satisfaction of certain sects of the community it’s pure comedy through and through.
From the very first episode it’s clear that there’s a complicated and long storyline that’s not only going to be somewhat complicated but will also have a lot of room for character development and more than one storyline to be played out. First and foremost this show is like a sitcom, whereas most sitcoms are somewhat clichéd, have bad backing tracks and are acted poorly this one is in a league of it’s own.
As this is a Japanese shows much of the Japanese comedy has been left in through the translation, and fortunately most of it’s universal and is laugh-out-loud funny and the pure addictive nature of the show will keep many people watching the entire thing in one or two sittings. With the twins being declared homosexual support characters, the club treasuring actually being in control, a mad otaku manager and a few dark characters who curse people along the way Ouran High School Host Club is the epitome of how to do an anime well.
Poking fun at the class divide, gender, incest, the way people actually work as a whole, cross dressing, love, fear, anger and regret Host Club deals with a mountain of issues and treats all of them sensitively but with equal good measure of humour to make nothing too much of a pain to watch. There’s no cringe worthy moments due to bad scripting and throughout the comic mayhem the tender dramatic moments are played out brilliantly. This brilliant acting and scripting allows the audience to really understand the motives behind the actions and excess of the wealthy.
Having watched this show when it was first aired in Japan many years ago, the English dubbing has been done brilliantly. If one is able to bare the absolutely hideous introduction and ending songs, that in Japanese were amazing, the actual voice acting itself is first class. The casting has been done well, and the voices all sound very close to the Japanese cast and the emotion and humour conveyed in the voices are clear to hear. The Japanese track is just as brilliant and the opening and ending songs are brilliant, especially the introduction song, which is, sang by the voice actor of Haruhi.
It was the US version of the show that was reviewed due to time constraints by the publishers, so the extras that end up on the UK version I can’t vouch for. However, the US features were plentiful and brilliant. There are the usual textless introductions, but the highlight of the extras was the bloopers. The voice actors mucking up their lines are brilliant and it’s clear that they were really enjoying what they were doing.
Ouran High School Host Club is simply stunning. With care and love in each episode, this beautifully animated, brilliant voice acted and fabulously scripted show not only deserves a place on all anime shelves but also demands the right to enjoy the masses.