- Alt. Name
- Ouran Koukou Host Club
- Release Date
- Spring 2006
- No. of Episodes
Ouran High School Host Club is a 2006 Comedy anime series with a slight Romantic element sprinkled throughout from a Japanese animation studio that has created some of the most beloved franchises of all time, Studio Bones. At the same time, many lifelong anime fans will support this favored anime series, mainly due to the viewers growing up with the series or being introduced to anime through the series. It’s sometimes hard to disassociate oneself with nostalgia when viewers have rose-tinted glasses on but in this anime series, as good as everyone recalls? Can one’s first jump into the world of anime be as good as one remembers years later, or perhaps this series isn’t an excellent jumping-off point to get into anime altogether?
Haruhi Fujioka is a bright scholarship candidate with no rank or title – a rare species at Ouran Academy, an elite school for students of high pedigree. When she opens the door to Music Room #3, hoping to find a quiet place to study, Haruhi unexpectedly stumbles upon the Host Club. Led by the princely Tamaki Suou, the club – whose other members “Shaddow King” Kyouya Ootori; the mischievous Hitachin twins, Kaoru and Hikaru; the childlike Mitsukuni Haniozuka, also known as “Honey”; and his strong protector Takashi “Mori” Morinozuka – is where handsome boys with too much time on their hands entertain the girls in the academy.
In a frantic attempt to remove herself from the hosts, Haruhi ends up breaking a vase worth eight million yen and is forced into becoming the eccentric group’s general errand boy to repay her enormous debt. However, thanks to her convincingly masculine appearance, naturally genial disposition towards girls, and fascinating commoner status, she is soon promoted to full-time male host. And before long, Haruhi is plunged into a glitzy whirlwind of elaborate cosplays, rich food, and shenanigans that only the immensely wealthy Host Club can pull off.
When any potential viewer reads a synopsis on an anime series, they hope that the series is as interesting as what they’re reading. Ouran High School Host Club has created a story that is entertaining and unpredictable throughout its twenty-six-episode season. The series has no solid arc outside of the main character’s debt, but they play it off as a rich and fancy version of slice-of-life anime. While some may not particularly enjoy the slice of life genre, they will most likely enjoy this type of series due to the random gags and jokes that the characters go through.
Another positive aspect of this story is that the pacing is exceptionally well crafted. While there are a lot of characters within this series, each one gets its arc and enough character development for viewers to fall in love with. While Ouran High School is highly classified as a romance series, don’t be confused by this, the romance one faces in this series can easily be considered less than mild. Having a series focus more on the character development over forced love interests gives this story and plot more depth and emotion that the viewers can sink their teeth into.
However, as with any story, nothing is perfect, and unfortunately, this is one of them. The biggest negative this series will probably get is that viewers may be disappointed if one has read the source material. If a viewer has read the manga, don’t expect everything to be the same or in the same order because, unfortunately, it isn’t. The middle episodes are a bit hard to get through, mainly because the comedy and gags get redundant and common. The series had an excellent beginning, but somehow the story felt like it hit a wall for a couple of episodes before picking itself back up again. While this may not be a problem to some viewers, that sudden stop may turn people away from the series due to the story flatlining, the gags and comedy aren’t new, and lastly, it just goes in a small circle.
Another problem area this story had was that the series didn’t need to be twenty-six episodes long. This story can easily be crafted as a “Greatest Hits” storyline. Viewers don’t need to listen to every episode from the creator’s series, but just the ones with the highest impact. If one did this, they wouldn’t lose anything from the story or the characters, and to be frank, it’d be an overall better experience if one did.
The art style of this animation is one of the high points of the series, and rightfully so with its beautiful colors and designs, which aces criteria that any shoujo anime may have. Though the character designs are a bit outdated, they are still rememberable and enjoyable, which is somewhat unexpected given the age of this anime. The color tones and vibrant colors shift so suddenly and wonderfully that the viewer is submerged into an almost fantasy-like realm that only their imagination can create, or at least what the Host Club can think of for the week.
However, this series’s shocking characteristic was that the animation production was far better than what one may expect. The opening animation is a little outdated, but the animation is clean, crisp, and perfectly created to entice any viewer for the episode that’s about to start. The opening theme song is catchy and easily a fan favorite, titled “Sakura kiss” by Chieko Kawabe. When the music is played with the opening, it is easily a perfect match, and the ending theme is more of an exciting creation to take. While the closing animation is not as flashy and smooth as the opener, the song makes it skippable. The animation is blurry even when viewers watch it in High Definition, which is a bit sad because the artwork looks lovely though it looks a bit sun-bleached, which viewers may not be interested in seeing.
When one watches Ouran High School Host Club, they will be submerged in a world of character development, and that’s a beautiful thing to bestow on viewers if done correctly. Haruhi Fujioka is the lone female commoner in a sea full of wealthy children. Upon discovering that Haruhi is indeed a girl, Tamaki insists that they keep her secret a secret, even though she could care less what people think her gender is believed to be by others. She cross-dresses as a boy is pragmatic mainly due to her inability to afford the $3,000 school uniform herself and her need to act as a Host to pay off her debt. Though she is dedicated to her studies, she is oblivious to physical or sexual attention in general.
She dislikes needless extravagance, by which she often finds the Host Club’s antics rather annoying, but she enjoys her time in the club room with her friends. She is best described as a selective rebel without a cause, willing to get into fights even if she is outmatched and outnumbered. She initially was a loner when she came to Ouran Academy. Still, after being a Host Club member, she looked forward to being with everyone and talking to her friends regularly.
Tamaki Suoh, whose full name is Rene Tamaki Richard de Grantaine, is a second-year student at Ouran Academy, a co-founder, and president of the Host Club. He is very flamboyant and narcissistic; he is dedicated to his duties as a host to the highest degree possible. He is the princely type, entertaining customers with upper-class etiquette and shameless flattery. Tamaki is known to play classical piano music and plays exceedingly well and is not shy about referring to the host club as his “family” with himself as the father figure; Kyoya, the mother; Haruhi, the daughter; Hikaru and Kaoru, the brothers; and Mori and Honey, the uncles.
Though Tamaki is the main comic relief of the series, he is also outspoken and naïve for his age, viewing himself as an obsessive father figure to Haruhi when he is indeed in love with her. Although he states he enjoys the other girls’ feelings towards him, he gets extremely jealous of other boys expressing interest in her. Overall, when it comes to the comedy within this character, they land almost every time.
Kyoya Ootori is an attractive, calculating second-year student at Ouran Academy and vice president of the Host Club. A fun fact about this character is that he is the only host to wear glasses. Though it may not seem like it from his cold demeanor, Kyoa is best friends with Tamaki. He is secretive and brilliant, as his ability to calculate the financial and social benefits from the Host Club’s adventures demonstrates. He is the most realistic and pragmatic person in the group and officially acts as the club’s accountant and manager. Unofficially, he is considered the “Shadow King,” running the club behind the scenes by influencing Tamaki and their guests. Overall, he is generally irritable or simply giving an unapproachable look towards everyone – other than guests of the host club or people he seems to find of value to him.
The Hitachiin twins are Hikaru and Kaoru, and they’re depicted as mischievous, devious, and otherwise childish young men who toy with people, including their schoolmates. Their backstory is arguably the most exciting and saddening, but it is best if one experiences it without knowing anything beforehand to get the full effect. They are best known for using an act of “forbidden brotherly love” as their main draw in the Host Club. Although they are considered naughty, they have their differences: Kaoru is more agreeable, more mature, and considerate of the others, while Hikaru is more immature though he is the older twin. Their differences are best seen when they are separated.
Mitsukuni Haninozuka, who goes by “Honey,” is a third-year high school student. He is depicted as a childish and dessert-loving boy much older than his elementary school appearance indicates. He is also an expert martial artist from a famous martial arts family. Though he is very fond of stuffed animals outside of sweets, his favorite plush bunny is Usa-chan (an abbreviation of the Japanese word for bunny). Takashi Morinozuka, who goes by “Mori,” is also a third-year student at Ouran Academy. He is depicted as tall and very quiet, almost intimidating, but he is also very protective of his cousin Honey, whom he calls him by his first name. He is also very protective of anyone in trouble and calls his name.
After viewing this anime series, the viewer will understand multiple things. For instance, Ouran High School Host Club was ahead of its time with gender norms, using cross-dressing as normality and slight comedy. Nonsexual fan service is used appropriately with the cuteness and character development without going overboard. While also showcasing that no matter where a person comes from, we all have a story, and sometimes that story is a little hectic, but it is well worth it to get to the finish line of where we need to be.
Ouran High School Host Club is an excellent anime series that focuses on having a good time with friends and can easily be watched multiple times without being bored. The characters and art style make this series stand out, and anyone new and old within their anime journey will enjoy this fantastic series. Don’t underestimate a series based on how old it may be because sometimes older series have the highest impact on one’s life, and that’s what it’s all about in life.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.