Animation Studio: Bones
Original Run: 26 Episodes
English Licensor: Funimation Entertaiment
Adaptation of: Bisco Hatori's manga "Ouran Koukou Hosuto Kurabu"
Summary: High school, the place where young adults go to study, make friends, and prepare for their future. Well, that goes for Ouran too, but just add a couple of twists. Students do prepare for their future, but it is to inherit their wealthy families' companies; and study? Sure, if you enjoy the library where no one is quiet and would rather talk about what they did on their latest trip to the Alps. And of course, making friends is always important, especially if you are trying to get a foot in the door for your family to climb up that social ladder. But, if one is a female and bored with such a school life, take a step into the Third Music Room and be pampered by a group of male students who also have quite a bit of time on their hands. This is the host club.
Haruhi Fujioka is a scholarship student, and your everyday "commoner". She can't see eye to eye with all the other students as all they seem to do is fool around, while she would much rather study and take a couple steps towards becoming a lawyer like her late mother. Yet her world came crashing down when she accidentally stepped into the Third Music Room. Due to her outer appearance, the Host Club mistakes her for being a guy at first sight and treat her, well, not as kindly they would a lady. Well, their first meeting ends in disaster as Haruhi breaks a very expensive vase (around 8 million yen), and is forced to become the host club's "dog". Yet when the guys realize that this "boy" isn't really that bad looking (if you take away the dorky glasses, the shaggy hair cut, and the frumpy clothes), they decide to make "him" into a host. Throughout the first episode, each member figures out this very down to earth commoner is a female, with the president of the club being last and, as a result, being utterly embarrassed.
The president of the club, or "King of the Host Club", is Tamaki Suoh, a second year in high school and quite the "prince-like" character that makes the girls swoon. Yet his real character is that of a complete moron who is constantly being shot down by Haruhi, whom he has an obvious crush on, but is too stupid to realize it. The first to realize Haruhi was female is the cool and collected Kyouya Ootori, who is in the same class as Tamaki and is the Vice President of the club (more so the "Shadow King" of the Club). Despite his calm demeanor when serving the girls, he's true character pretty darn horrible, but it is because he is so calculating and manipulative that the club's funds stay balanced. The other members include the Hitachiin twins, Hikaru and Kaoru, who entertain the customers with their "brotherly-love" and displays of forbidden incest. But not to worry, it's just for show, they actually pretty spoiled and devious and enjoy mocking Tamaki by sticking close to Haruhi, as they are in the same class as her. The last two members of the club are Mitsukuni Haninozuka (aka Honey-senpai) and Takashi Morinozuka (aka Mori-senpai). The two are 3rd year students, and are cousins. Honey has a little boy like appeal to him and loves his sweets while Mori is the strong silent type who really doesn't say much.
With this crazy new bunch of friends, Haruhi begins to work as a host to pay off her debt, without letting any of the customers or her classmates know of her true gender (And surprisingly, she is a natural at being a host). The series revolves around the Host Club's internal relationships and activites along with Haruhi's new experiences with this rich and over-the-top-glamourous lifestyle of her classmates. Another important aspect of the series is her interactions with the members as well as the family-like bond the Club shares. At first Haruhi thinks that everything about the Club is ridiculous and as she gets to know them, she still thinks they're ridiculous but learns to respect them.
The series is a romantic school comedy, and the whole thing just mocks the romantic and wealthy cliche stereotypes to no end. The characters break through the fourth wall every now and then, giving the series some pretty hilarious moments. Yet it does have its serious moments and the characters do have some depth to them, so it isn't just a pointless comedy routine. It's a great story and if you want to watch it, prepare to laugh.
A.I.'s Rating: 9/10
A.I.'s Review: "Ouran High School Host Club," is one of those series that one never forgets. I stumbled across this series without any expectations, and I was rolling on the floor laughing after episode 1. Okay, I wasn't rolling on the floor laughing but I was pounding my fist on the desk thoughout episode 1, laughing. The series has a lot of humor in it, as well as a fair dose of romance and drama. Yet what this series is known for is definitely the comedy, and that is what I got hooked on. What keeps it funny is the characters' characters. Haruhi's blunt and realist views collide with Tamaki's fluffy and romanticist character which leads to some pretty funny moments especially when he is caught doing something stupid by her. The stereotypes are hilarious especially when the rich boys of the Host Club are exposed to "commoner" things, like instant coffee, department stores, and supermarkets.
I gave this series a 9 because the voice actors did great in portraying their characters (I liked the Japanese dub more but the English dub is good too), the story line is wonderful, the comedy is stellar, and the characters are loveable. I lowered the rating by one since there are some things left unresolved by the end of the series and in some episodes the artwork looked awkward. Other than that, I can't say much else other than I wish the series was longer. The manga the anime was based off of is also equally hilarious and I laughed several times while I read it (Interested individuals can read the series online or go to a local bookstore and buy the manga series).
Ouran definitely has a huge fan base now, with both girls and guys. I would highly recommend this series to those that want a good laugh. So, tune in next week for two more series!