I had no idea what it meant by “Host Club,” or what hosts were, in this context. Going by what I saw, a host is someone who dresses stylishly and entertains people in luxurious settings, giving them a pleasant, satisfying experience. Thus, the Host Club of Ouran High, a most prestigious school almost entirely populated by the children of the super-elite upper class, is a group of handsome, popular young men who fulfill their obligation of participating in a club (a common requirement in Japanese schools, as I understand it) by entertaining mostly their female classmates. It’s an unusual premise, perhaps, but one which is invigorated by the arrival of a “commoner” among their ranks.
As a slice of life, reverse-harem comedy and drama, Ouran High School Host Club tell the story of Haruhi Fujioka and her experiences with the titular Host Club. An honor student, the only one to get into this prestigious academy by her own work, instead of by her money (she’s poor) or her status (again, poor), Haruhi is much more down to Earth than most others at this school. Indeed, she’s so practical that she doesn’t take much care in her appearance, leading to others confusing her for a boy. So, naturally, she becomes involved with the most absurd, ridiculous, over-the-top, and stylish club of boys in the entire school.
The Host Club is led by Tamaki Suoh, a handsome and eccentric young man, heir to a vast fortune, every bit as flighty as Haruhi is grounded. But, he has a way with people, and a surprisingly earnest desire to see them smiling and happy. He understands more than it seems at times, and possesses an uncanny ability to read people, to see what they need and give it to them. That’s how he recruited all the other hosts into his zany Host Club scheme.
Kyoya is the brains to Tamaki’s heart and soul, the financial genius who keeps the club running and subtly influences the others; Honey is an adorable little boy, but apparently so formidable that he is classified as a living weapon of mass destruction by the military, but, fortunately for everything except the budget, he devotes most of his time to eating cake; Mori is the gentle giant of the group, always looking after others, and especially taking care of Honey; Hikaru and Kaoru are mischievous twins who look, talk, and act all but identically and in unison, yet have their own cares weighing on them as well, behind those impish eyes.
Each member of the club, outside Haruhi, has been somewhat suppressed, no matter the apparent luxury which they come from, and, including Haruhi, they have all been harshly molded by their life experiences. That is what is so appealing about the club, and Tamaki: he gives them a place to be themselves, a refuge in which their souls flourish and they grow stronger together.
Mind you, in Haruhi’s case, being confused for a boy at first complicates this a bit, in hilarious ways. Poor Tamaki is the one to take the revelation the hardest, and while it’s clear he has feelings for her almost immediately, for once he has no idea how to behave. He’s not the only one to like her, of course, and it’s up in the air who she’ll eventually end up with when the end comes. But, her common sense, sincerity, and insight make her quite popular, and even the boys’ fathers don’t seem to mind the idea of a daughter-in-law who has already stood up to them. But that’s a bit of a digression. The show is much more a slice-of-(extraordinary)-life comedy, with a bit of drama.
Now, the final part of the show was a little idiotic, truth be told. A girl comes in, ready to take Tamaki away, and his loyal friends refuse to let her infringe on Tamaki’s happiness, as he has nurtured and guarded theirs already. Thing is, this girl deals with this in an absolute all-or-nothing fashion, and she never bothers to tell Tamaki that she could reunite him with his mother, whom his well-t0-do family cast out long ago. I don’t know about you, but a more subtle, friendly, less demanding approach would have worked quite a bit better, I think. Maybe something like, “Hello, this is my name, I know your name, and I would like to get to know you better, and, oh, by the way, your mother is my maid, would you like to see her again?”
Seriously, they really stretched a bit to get some tension at the end.
Outside that, however, I generally enjoyed the show, and found it to be great fun. Funny, cute, wholesome, heart-warming, a bit heart-wrenching at times. It makes you smile, laugh, and cry in turn. If that sounds like your thing, then Ouran High School Host Club may be right for you. 🙂
It may not necessarily be a contender for my top favorites, but it’s not that far removed. 😉
Rating: 8 stars out of 10.