I stumbled upon this show back in ’06 and was addicted; this is practically the only show to date that I’ve watched in a marathon run and didn’t get bored with it. I’m still surprised by that fact, but I’ve realized that I can only watch about five episodes total of a single anime before I get completed bored with it, no matter how good it is. I wish it weren’t so, but it is and there’s not much I can do about it, its in my character. I’m actually unsure as to how I stumbled upon this anime, I must have been reading a review about it and thought the premise was interesting, ridiculous, but interesting enough to give it a shot. This was also at the time I was really getting into Bleach, Tsubasa and xxxHolic and this series completely took over my attention and I didn’t even return to those anime’s until I was finished with this one.
It centers around six beautiful (no, seriously they’re gorgeous) and filthy rich guys who got bored one day –well, maybe Tamaki got bored– and decided to put together a host club to entertain the school’s female population, who of course, adores them. It features your pretty typical stereotypes, such as Tamaki who is the pretty boy, then Kyouya who’s the cool, calm and collected genius, the twins (who are perhaps the most popular) who offer most of the eye candy and fan service and makes a killing out of being mischievous; Honey who’s the cute little loli (though he’s the oldest) who you just want to huggle and Mori who is the strong, handsome and silent type. The last character who matters is the lone female in the bunch (who makes a cute boy) Haruhi, whose of course pretty typical in a reverse harem girl type of way as she’s smart, but poor and has to work hard, but not too hard for everything she does–oh yeah and she’s immediately loved by all and everything she does is amazing and celebrated.
However, despite that she’s actually quite a likable lead girl reverse harem character, as I don’t hate her or find her annoying. Its like Tohru from Fruits Basket, as she’s not my favorite character, but I like her so its OK if they’re going to have her stick around for the long run. Needless to say I liked all the characters, the main characters, I also liked the creepy guy Umehito who has a cat hand puppet named Beelzenef; despite his dark and unsavory appearance there is actually an episode where we find out what he looks like underneath the hood and I’ll say he can rival Tamaki in the pretty boy looks. It was quite the shocker, but it wasn’t that shocking. The only character in this series I can say I disliked is Renge, she was so annoying in loud and not in a good way like Naruto, but in an amazingly annoying way like 8/10 of the characters like her; every time her character would appear –in the most ridiculous way, coming up randomly from the ground on some sort of platform– I would literally cringe and it took everything inside of me to keep my myself from fast forwarding. Thankfully she became sparse in the later episodes.
The plot is pretty much straight-forward, but like all shoujo/shounen comedy anime’s such as this the characters get caught up in all kinds of antics and mishaps. There didn’t appear to be any set storyline, I mean we of course got the whole character background episodes and the episodes dedicated to certain characters, but other than that everything just seemed random. The only thing that really stayed consistent was their host club gig and the whole Haruhi being poor and that for some reason being fascinating to them and of course the heavy doses of harem, such as certain characters and Haruhi having interactions that border on romantic, but it never quite gets to that point, though, the episodes were always interesting and engaging. I laughed a lot, I smiled a lot, had a swelled or aching heart on certain occasions and found myself rooting for all the main characters and shockingly found myself hoping that if Haruhi ever got with anyone in the host club, it would be Hikaru, because there’s was the only one that actually touched me in a way in which I could see it in the long run, perhaps.
I also like how they didn’t throw the harem in your face. I really dislike harem anime, in actuality I can’t stand it and other than this the only harem anime I can tolerate is Tenchi, so of course I was a bit disappointed when it was revealed that Haruhi was a girl, but it seemed to even itself out from day one and instead of loathing her I ended up liking her, because Haruhi doesn’t take in the attention in a typical harem girl way, but ignores it gracefully, because honestly it doesn’t phase her. It was a relief and I don’t really look at this series as an harem, but a nice little shoujo/shounen comedy anime. I also thought her interactions with Tamaki right down to Honey was solid and believable, because in most harems it gets annoying when things just seem to happen like the male character invades her personal space and she’s all flustered and its just so exasperating, but in this the characters weren’t forcing themselves on her, it seemed like a genuine curiosity and the more they got to know Haruhi the more their respect for her grew and she became one of them.
I mean this isn’t the best anime of all time, but as far as harem shows go this is as good as it gets and the only one besides Tenchi that I would recommend unless I happen to watch another that changes my mind. It seems to give you a little bit of everything and it never drags or becomes boring and all the characters are interesting and the plot though basic has enough going for it to keep you coming back for more. I mean I haven’t read a review yet where watchers came out of this anime unsatisfied. I’d have to say though the ending was pretty disappointing, I didn’t like how it seemed like a rush job, everything from the random chick forcing Tamaki to marry her, to them going after her to save him and bring him back and the little dance at the end was just too contrived, but luckily all the episodes before that are pretty good and well, they all ended up together in the end, despite how that went about.
I enjoyed Ouran High School Host Club immensely. I honestly wish they would do a second season, or a movie or even a slew of OAV’s; I want to see those doors open up again.