I reviewed the first chaper of the Ouran High School Host Club manga a while back, so I was already familiar with the story. Back then, I gave the manga an above average score for the cool character designs. So how does the anime version of Ouran High School Host Club do?
I dunno if it’s because I’m already familiar with the story, but I really enjoyed the first episode of this anime. There’s somewhat of a spoiler if you haven’t watched the anime yet. Go watch it, and then come back! Seriously. Okay. Ready?
Ouran High School Host Club follows the story of Fujioka Haruhi, a poor female student attending a prestigious high school on a scholarship. While looking for a quiet place to study, she inadvertently stumbles into the Ouran High School Host Club. It’s sort of like a bizarro Otaku Maid Cafe where a bunch of pretty boys serve girls. She ends up breaking a really expensive vase and becomes an indentured servant to the host club. Did I mention that everyone in the club thinks she’s a guy?
Haruhi starts off as a popular host, and eventually even makes a girl jealous of her for trying to steal away the King of hosts, Tamaki. Her gimmick is that she’s the poor cute one, who does bizarre things like drinking instant coffee! “But my dad will scold me for drinking this!” Haruhi’s bag is thrown in the fountain by a bully, and Tamaki helps Haruhi fish her stuff out of the water. What a nice guy!
What I really like about the setup is that even the viewer doesn’t know (unless you read ahead) that Haruhi is a girl until the very end of the episode. As each member figures it out, a lightbulb goes on, until Tamaki finally figures it out.
When I read the manga, I thought the story was generic feeling, but on second thought, I think it’s actually very original. The setting is basically a backwards harem anime, where a girl is surrounded by guys. What I like about this anime is that the guys aren’t all generic bishounen.
Sure, it’s probably a given that Haruhi will end up with Tamaki, but I’m sure the other guys (and girls that will be hosted) will make things interesting for Haruhi. When Tamaki defended Haruhi, I seriously started cheering! Then I chuckled a bit when he said “Haruhi isn’t that kind of man.” You don’t know how right you are…
The character designs are this anime’s strong point. I think they did a really god job adapting the designs from the manga to the anime. We have a full range of weird male characters: The wild one, the shota-con, the yaoi brothers, the cool one, and the blond one. Each of the designs is original (except the twins, duh).
Honey is just incredibly cute (despite the fact that he’s a senior)! I find it funny that Tamaki figured out that girl threw Haruhi’s bag in the water pretty easily, yet he was the last to figure out she was a girl… Is he supposed to be smart, or a ditz? Mori is pretty strong to be carrying Honey around all the time, but it works in sort of an Iron Giant kind of way. The yaoi twins could possibly get annoying with their Rabu-rabu antics, but for now, they’re okay. Despite dressing like a boy, Haruhi still manages to be a pretty hot girl (or maybe I’m just weird?).
The animation is really good too. The art style is just how I like it, too (bold lines and wacky exaggerated expressions). Whenever someone makes a >_< face, I gotta give points.
As far as the OP and ED go, I think the OP is better. It's by Chieko Kawabe, who did the (inappropriately) upbeat "Be Your Girl" ED for Elfen Lied. With this OP, I'm becoming a fan of hers. The ED isn't bad, but it's not that great either.
Download the OP: “Sakura Kiss” by Chieko Kawabe
Download the ED: “Shissou” by LAST ALLIANCE
I think Ouran High School Host Club is shaping up to be one of the best anime this Spring season. I haven’t read that much of the manga, so luckily I won’t have the plot spoiled for the rest of this anime. If you can’t wait, I’d suggest picking up the manga, licensed in the US by Shojo Beat.