I will warn you now…this is going to be a rather extensive review. This is one of my favorite anime and I have seen it, all the way through, three times. Ouran, for me, is one of the best anime I have seen.
Fujiyoka is a girl who just started her first year at Ouran Academy, a private school. She is a commoner who is there on scholarship. The anime opens to Haruhi looking for a quiet place to study. The libraries are full and noisy so she sets off to find an open room. She comes across an old music room that, she thought, wasn’t being used. Opening the door, she is greeted by the Ouran High School Host Club!
This group of quite attractive boys believe that she is a boy accompanied by the belief that “he” is into boys because “he” is at the host club. Haruhi, who is dressed in casual clothes, short hair, and glasses, doesn’t appear to be a girl at all. In the process of trying to escape their leader’s grasp, she knocks a vase off its pedestal. They inform her that this vase costs approximately 8,000,000 Yen, or $80,000. Of course, she offers to pay it back, but she can’t afford it so they tell her that she will be the host’s dog until she pays them by through work. The boys do find out that she’s a girl by the end of the first episode, but they decide that instead of being their “dog,” she will work off her debt by being a host, thus, dressing as a boy the entire time.
The anime is ultimately about her time spent as a host, but it’s also about the relationships between the boys and herself. A lot of people think of Haruhi as a “lesser being” because of where she’s from. “Lineage counts first, wealth a close second.”
The characters are some of my favorite characters of all anime I’ve seen. Tamaki Suou, the “Princely Type,” is a rich French-Japanese boy who at times can be completely dense. He comes to think of Haruhi as his “daughter,” and he her “Daddy.” However, it turns out to be much more than that. Kyoya Ootori, the “Cool Type,” is the genius boy who wears glasses. Tamaki calls him the “Mommy” of the group. Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, the “Little Devil Type” or otherwise known as “Twincest,” are known for their forbidden love because they are twins. They are my favorites, especially Hikaru, who is the more dominant of the two. Takashi Morinozuka, or “Mori,” the “Stoic Type,” is the quiet one, but he protects his cousin, Honey, with his life. Mitsukuni Haninozuka, or “Honey”, the “Lolita Type,” is this super-cute boy who is always seen with his bunny, Usa-chan, and eating cake. Mori and Honey are both martial artists, though they may not act like it at all.
One of my other favorite characters is a minor one. Umehito Nekozawa, is President of the Black Magic Club. He always dresses in a black cloak, because he can’t be in the light, and carries around a cat puppet named Belzeneff. There are a couple of episodes focused on Nekozawa. Tamaki is scared of him to a very comedic point.
There are plenty of moments where problems ensue. Hikaru and Kaoru get into a fight, Honey goes missing, Haruhi is kidnapped by a girl’s school, and other character’s have problems that need to be solved. Every episode has a new problem being brought up. There’s an episode that involves the school’s newspaper club; they have a problem with posting rumors and fake articles. It’s one of the funniest episodes simply because of how Tamaki acts. He is the ultimate source of comedy in this anime. Although, the other characters have their moments, too.
Ouran Host Club is classified as being a drama, though it has more comedy as well as romance. Tamaki bases the club on his rule that they must make every woman happy no matter how young, old, poor, or wealthy. This causes him to want to help in quite a few situations that could possibly cause trouble. It’s filled with so many moments where you laugh until you can’t breathe and then want to watch again and again. However, there are times where the characters touch your heart and make you fall in love. (Damn Hikaru and Nekozawa for being animated! ^_^)
There are so many other minor characters that I could go into. Haruhi’s dad plays a big part in most of the anime; I’ll let you watch it and figure out why he’s funny, though. Renge, who becomes a part of the host club, is a power-hungry girl who is madly in love with Kyoya. I don’t want to spoil too much of the anime for you so I’ll leave it there for now.
For me, this anime is a must see for anyone. Sadly, those who aren’t into the romantic comedies won’t be too thrilled with it. It’s so much fun and you’ll want to keep it in your collection forever. There are two songs, both of which are fantastic. The English Dubbed anime has the songs re-done in English. The English songs are as follows: Sakura Kiss by Kristine Sa (opening) and Sprint by Justin Houston (ending). The Japanese versions are: Sakura Kiss by Kawabe Chieco and Shissou by Last Alliance.
As far as voices, I thought the English was fantastic. Vic Mignogna does the voice for Tamaki, Caitlin Glass voices Haruhi, J. Michael Tatum as Kyoya, Todd Haberkorn as Hikaru, Greg Ayres as Kaoru, Luci Christian as Honey, and Travis Willingham as Mori. The Japanese version, I watched enough to hear the voices of each and thought that they were fine, but not near as spot-on to the personalities of the characters as the English.
Host Club consists of 26 episodes. There is a manga, which is at 18 volumes, 83 chapters. There is a visual novel (Playstation 2 & Nintendo DS), but they are only in Japanese at the moment. There are rumors, however, of them being released in English in the future.
Overall: 10 out of 10
Honey x Honey DROPS is a manga that is far from my usual genres (at least in manga). I liked it fine, but let me preface everything by saying that this manga is for mature audiences only. It deals with a lot of sexual topics and includes some nudity.
In order for me to explain the plot, I need to first explain how the school system works. Within the elite school that the main character, Hagino Yuzuru, attends, there is a class called the Kuge, which is for the Masters. The Masters are a group of high school teenagers from esteemed families. Each Master chooses a Honey to assist them through the school year. These Honeys will, for compensation, attend school for free. For Hagino Yuzuru, this is important because her family isn’t well off and her little brother is attending a private music school.
Yuzuru’s Master is Renge Kai, a boy with a bad reputation for being a player. Kai is a very forceful individual and thinks badly of Yuzuru for accepting the position as his Honey for money (even though it was him who forced her into the position); he believes that she is no better than a prostitute, therefore, he treats her like one to begin with. After a while, their relationship grows into something a bit more, but without hardships. There’s one other Master, Yurioka Chihaya, (who refuses to have a Honey) who wants to separate them using any means possible. He’ll play his part throughout the entire series while another antagonist steps in. This person is Kai’s fiance, Kayaka.
The characters are well rounded and the manga touches on the relationships of the other Masters and their Honeys as well. Yuzuru is one of those characters that I don’t usually like. She’s “ditsy” and annoying at times. She’s like a child half the time and you just wait for her to start crying again. My favorite characters, though, were Kuki Genjo, Sakuragi Nayuta, and Yurioka Chihaya. Genjo and Nayuta are Honey and Master and they’ve been together since childhood (^_^ MOE!!).
The artwork was my biggest problem with this manga. I hate how the girls and kids faces are drawn. They look like aliens because the faces are so thin and the eyes are so huge. The guys are drawn very well and I love the profiles most of all. It’s also very easy to read, too. There isn’t too many side notes or too many words all over the place to confuse you.
I had the most fun with this manga just waiting to see what Chihaya would do next! If you like this sort of thing, you should definitely check it out. It’s not something that I would read again, but I’d recommend it to anyone interested in high school drama, romance, and Ecchi.
This manga consists of 8 volumes, 45 chapters.
Overall: 7.5 out of 10