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
Overall, though, Ouran
is an excellent show and well worth watching, even for guys.