The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Ouran High School Host Club

Title: Ouran High School Host Club aka Ouran Koukou Host Club
Genre: Comedy
Company: BONES
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 4 Apr 2006 – 26 Sept 2006

Synopsis: Fujioka Haruhi is attending the prestigous Ouran High School, a school normally only available to the children of very rich and powerful people. After stumbling into the 3rd music room looking for a quiet place to study Haruhi discovers the fabled host club, a club dedicated to playing host to young ladies. After accidently breaking a priceless vase the club decides to let Haruhi join them in order to pay off her debt. But, to do so, they must keep her gender a secret from the rest of the school.

Concept: Unique backwards harem makes for tons of fun.
Comedy: Ranges from laugh out loud funny to just plain annoying.
Characters: A uniquely cliche bunch.
Story: Suffers from many of the same problems as School Rumble.

Lately it seems that BONES can do no wrong. With hits such as Fullmetal Alchemist and Eureka 7 secured safely under they are still churning out terrific titles and Ouran High School Host Club, while being their first shoujo, looked to do much of the same.

After the first episode it becomes apparent that Ouran is definitely something out of the ordinary. All too many times we see the standard anime harem where one guy is surrounded by a horde of girls who fall madly in love with the main character. However, in Ouran we see what many call a “reverse harem” where there is one female protagonist surrounded by a group of boys who fall in love with the main character. Many of the same jokes from regular anime harems get used, and the comedy for the most part is downright hilarious. There are a few episodes, however, that just miss, and a few of the running gags grow stale quickly. The Lobelia girls were especially annoying.

The best part of Ouran is far and away the terrific cast of characters. At first glance you have all the cliche shoujo bishounen: the princely character, the devilish twins, the cool and calculating one, the shota character, and the stoicly quiet one. Their wackiness is of course balanced out by the down to earth female lead, Haruhi. All of this is of course fairly common in a shoujo series, but what is unique is the amount of development and depth some of the characters recieve. Four characters in particular are extremely well handled. However, this of course leaves the question, why weren’t some of the other characters given just as much depth? Even the female lead, Haruhi, is incredibly dry and boring compared to those that get developed, as her own development seems to get put on the back burner in favor of some of the more minor characters.

Unfortunately, Ouran‘s story never really goes anywhere. The characters seem to develop over the course of the show, but at the end of everything nothing changes. It really feels a bit like School Rumble: a lot happens during the course of the show, but in the end none of it seems like it mattered all too much.

Although Ouran never really went anywhere, it was still a whole lot of fun. With likable characters and a unique concept Ouran High School Host Club seems to have all the ingredients to make a great show and even though it had a few pitfalls, it turned out to be a genuinely fun ride.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: DarkKanti

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