Reviews: Ouran Highschool Host Club
5 Things I Learned From Ouran Host Club
1. Good Characters Have Witty Lines. Haruhi is flat and I'm not talking about just her chest size. She is rude, annoying, and apathetic to whatever the club does and somehow they find this endearing. If I was to do crazy stuff with my friends would I want to drag around a wet blanket to criticize everything I did? Just once i would like one of the main characters to snap at her "I know what I did was stupid, that's why I did it". Haruhi is not entertaining and she is not funny. My greatest fear is that other series will copy and paste this formula, populating the shoujo with shallow, overly sarcastic prudes that are somehow considered to be good role models. 2. Men are Entertainers, Women are Commentators. The Host Club does a lot of crazy situations, however Haruhi barely does anything. Most of the time she just dragged into the comedy. I once mentally replaced her with a sandbag with a voice recorder taped on repeating the phrase "That is stupid." and it didn't change the format of the episode. There are only two points in the plot that she does anything noteworthy, when she helps the twins with a problem they should have resolved themselves and the grand finale which I will address later. 3.Parody Justifies Everything. Seriously, half the dialogue in this show is fanservice for teenage girls. A parody is not playing every cliche straight than pointing it out. A parody makes fun of situations by subverting viewers expectations for the norm. Haruhi's entire existence revolves around reminding the audience that this is a parody with all the subtly of a sledgehammer. Making a stupid plot and then pointing out the plot is stupid does not make a good story . It just points out that the author's ideas are uncreative. They say this show is original but it couldn't be more mainstream. 4. Parody Incest is Fine. Kaoru's and Hikaru's relationship is supposed to be a parody but how much is actually a joke? I mean they make incest comments all the time when their customers aren't around and Haruhi never buys their act in the first place. Girls are disgusted by shows like Koi no Kaze and Kissxsis but find this relationship to be endearing. Ugh! 5.Cliche Endings Need No Effort. Out of nowhere, a new character, Eclair, is introduced and somehow is more shallow than Haruhi. Review continued in comments.
Ouran: One Man's Perspective
I don't really remember why I decided to start watching this series. I mean, I hadn't heard much about it beyond that it was a fairly well-regarded Shoujo anime, and I'd never really watched any shoujo, so I figured I'd give it a look as a break from an Monster marathon. I was somewhat familiar with the premise, so I thought I knew what to expect. Sure enough, the first episode opened with an uptempo theme song that I still can't stand and still can't get out of my head, and we were introduced to Haruhi. For some reason, I wasn't really expecting her to have that much of a personality. Instead, I found her instantly likeable, and actually became interested in what was going on. Then, I noticed the loud blinking arrow pointing to the inevitably broken Priceless Ming Vase, and cracked a grin. And by the end of the first episode, I was holding my sides laughing harder than I have at anime in a very long time. Let me be clear here: this is probably one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. It pulls no punches in its parody of all things anime, especially the oh-so-annoying fangirls. Ladies, you know who you are. It's loud, raucous, rapid fire comedy backed up by a cast that takes every obnoxious bishie archetype so far beyond the extreme that they become completely hilarious and centered around one of the better protagonists I've seen in any series. Contributing to the hilarity is the English voice cast, which surely deserves an entry on the Superlative Dubbing page if nothing else. Caitlin Glass is perfect as the straight man to everyone else's totally over the top antics, and special mention should go to Vic Mignogna and J Michael Tatum for their pitch-perfect delivery as Tamaki and Kyoya, respectively. The only voice I don't care for is Aaron Dismuke in his one-episode role as Honey's Big Little Brother, and that's only because he doesn't quite reach the level of inspired insanity that's otherwise ubiquitous in the show. While it does get extremely syrupy at times, this is generally one of the most pleasant surprises I've been exposed to in quite some time. I heartily recommend that you give this one a look. Many belly laughs are in store for those of you brave enough to push past the pink frilly curtains and give this series a fair shot.
What Shojo is Truly About.
This is the defining work of Shojo work. Both a parody and a straight example. Deconstructing and Reconstructing without peer the entire Premise that not only created the Shojo world but the Harem Dynamics of the Manga verse down to its roots. While silly and just plain funny, it tackle several serious issues of family, trust, legacy, working class versus rich life and their inherent flaws but without going to the Grimdark avenue, without wallowing in its depression but looking for a better life, a solution to its problem and the ability to grown up without losing the innocence of childhood and the spring of youth. It also has the most uplifting Ending you could ever hope to get, one that would left you with a smile and a warm feeling in your chest, unlike other works of Shojo we could name. Its a mature, lovely drawn, beautiful constructed work that only ask you to left your Jade Colored Glasses and give it a try. You won't be dissapointed.
Destined to be a shoujo classic
Shoujo is definitely one of anime's greatest genres, since it's usually full of juicy character development and complex emotions and lacks the tacky Fanservice prevalent in other shows, but I generally like shoujo comedies better than melodramas. Ouran is definitely a shoujo comedy, and a great one too, one that will probably go down as one of the best shoujo anime ever made. It can be hard to explain why this show works as well as it does. The main reason is probably its sheer, infectious energy: most of the time everyone's in a good mood, jokes fly fast and furious, and the wacky slapstick, facial expressions, text flying across the screen, etc. usually associated with Japanese comedy are all deployed with expert precision. The concept is ridiculous, especially the extravagance everyone in Ouran exhibits, but it allows the show to work in a lot of class-based jokes as well (the hosts refer to the middle class as "commoners" and don't seem to understand anything about them). The two leads are great: Haruhi is probably one of the most sympathetic anime heroines ever, succeeding with sensibility and intelligence instead of Moe Moe or other cliched feminine personality traits, while Tamaki... well... he sure is a moron but he sure is a lovable guy too. As a bitter review on ANN points out, most of the gags (early on especially) revolve around tired shoujo/Yaoi cliches, but the show is also very self-aware and does a good job of making the hosts seem ludicrous. In fact, I would say this is one of the best examples of making Lampshade Hanging work for comedy. (IT CAN BE DONE!) In general, though, I feel the comedy works better than the drama. Being a shoujo, Ouran does feel the need to get serious once in a while - increasingly in the later half - and although the drama is well-done too, it's not as good as the comedy. Some episodes, especially 8 and the last two, even feel more like excerpts from a cheesy soap opera or J-Drama than Ouran. I do appreciate most of the backstory and character development, but some of it is frankly too melodramatic and unrealistic for my tastes. Also, the twins and Kyouya can be quite the Jerkasses sometimes. Overall, though, Ouran is an excellent show and well worth watching, even for guys.