Anime, Shows

Ouran High School Host Club Season 1 is Fun But Has Serious Flaws

Anime Review:

Ouran High School Host Club Season 1

Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Overview

Pros

  • A relatable and interesting main character
  • The main character seems like she is good with all pronouns and the show handles that well
  • Entertaining supporting characters
  • Unique concept

Cons

  • Uses the T-slur
  • Has bad representation for lesbians
  • The incestuous love act between the twins goes a bit far at times
  • The banana peel tripping people was WAY overdone
  • Awful Wonderland episode

Warning: Spoilers Below!

Review and Reflection

Haruhi Fujioka gets into a prodigious high school on a scholarship. Ouran High School is mainly attended by the wealthy, so she is out of place. While there, when she tries to find a quiet spot, she stumbles upon a music room where the school’s host club meets. The host club is made up of a bunch of teenage boys who entertain girls for fun and profit. Haruhi accidentally breaks an expensive vase the boys were going to auction off for funds for the club, and since she cannot pay for it, is considered to be in debt. She can only pay off the debt by working as a host for the club. The other hosts don’t initially realize Haruhi is a girl because of her short hair and generally androgynous appearance, but have figured it out by the end of the first episode. Haruhi can only pay off her debt if she pretends to be a boy and works as a host. The rest of the season follows the antics of the host club, playing off common tropes to add to the humor.

Haruhi doesn’t care much which pronouns are used to describe her, and has no problem with pretending to be a boy. She is upfront, brave, and smart. She has varying relationships with each of the other members of the host club.

Tamaki Suoh is the “prince” of the club, the official leader. He always wants to help others out and oddly refers to himself as Haruhi’s father, even though he most certainly is not.

Kyoya Ootori is an intelligent, occasionally heartless and calculating teen. He is the third son of a rich businessman, and due to this position in his family order, he has no chance of inheriting the family company. Understandably, he resents this.

Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin are twins who are known for their fake incestuous love act. They have a lot in common and like to confuse others by pretending to be each other. Only Haruhi can continually tell them apart. Despite trying to trick people, they want to be individually known and to be regarded as separate people with separate personalities.

Honey Haninozuka is the typical lolita boy with a twist–he’s actually quite skilled at martial arts. He has a huge sweet tooth, even to the point where it is obviously unhealthy. He adores cute things such as his stuffed bunny.

Mori Morinozuka is simply the strong, silent type.

The characters are what drive this anime and make it entertaining. The concept, however, is very interesting as well, since I have never seen an anime that used the idea of a host club before. The story creates a lot of fun humor by introducing a bunch of wealthy kids to what the “commoners” live like: for example, it is hilarious when the host club is introduced to instant coffee. A lot of enjoyment is created by playing these character’s divergent personalities against each other.

There are several instances where the show dealt with serious topics poorly. Haruhi’s dad dresses in a feminine style, but still identifies as a cis man. He is introduced as a trans character despite that, but the portrayal is not accurate. He does do drag. There is another character that is introduced as trans who may actually be trans, but they were barely in the anime, so it is hard to know if they would have accurate representation. Unfortunately, the t-slur is used for both of them, which is terrible.

There are lesbians in this anime, which could have been good rep, but they all have horrible personalities and harass Haruhi. Kyoya also harasses Haruhi by threatening to rape her. Even though he is not seriously going to do that and Haruhi knows that, it is still super creepy and wrong.

There is an episode where some men on the beach threaten some girls, and Haruhi steps in to defend them. In the process, she gets knocked out and almost drowns. Tamaki is furious at her, because he doesn’t see her actions as befitting a girl, and he thinks she needs to know her limitations. His reaction is over-the-top and problematic, even though he is doing it because he cares about her.

Even though it becomes obvious that Hikaru and Kaoru are only acting like they are in love with each other, at times it is over the top and borderline incestuous. They talk about playing punishment games together and are very touchy….sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s not.

The banana peel trick the creators keep throwing in was only funny the first time, and that was only because the circumstances were somewhat explained. It was far-fetched yet slightly plausible. Later on it made no semblance of sense.

Finally, the wonderland episode just plain sucked. I might be a bit biased there because I hate the wonderland theme in general, but man…I hated it. Kyoya was the caterpillar and the twins were the Cheshire cat…it was just a mess.

Overall, the anime was fun but had the several key flaws mentioned above, preventing it from a high rating. I would recommend it for fans of romance and comedy anime.

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