Ouran High School Host Club
It’s not often I am confused about my reaction to a movie
or TV show. Ouran High School Host Club has managed to do this to
me. In a way I resent it (because not much can stump me) but I also
enjoy it (not much can surprise me). I have very scant familiarity with
anime or Japanese culture in any form. I have however visited
Tokyo and this scrap of insight is useful!
I should explain that my confusion probably stems from
not knowing exactly how to relate to the humour going on. I wish I
grasped Japanese irony a lot better. But it is probably safe to say a
lot of “piss-taking”, as we Aussies would know it, is taking place. This
inherent playfulness in the show made it instantly endearing.
With a vigorous Avril Lavigne-like sound, we are thrust
into the poshest highschool the imagination can devise. And in its
inner-most gilded walls, the richest, prettiest boys entertain the
richest, prettiest girls at tea ceremonies where antique china is
idolised as part of the Host Club.
A girl, pretending to be a boy in order to attend the
school, ends up working for the OHHC because she knocks over a vase. She
must repay the boys, which include a self-obsessed and self-declared
leader-prince, a “brains” who runs the show, a prodigy and two twins,
who only have eyes for… each other!
The intense, involved visuals can be overwhelming. There
is so much going on. I found myself switching from Japanese with
subtitles over to the English sound-track just so I could keep up and
not miss signs or pop-ups or other information! It’s also unclear what
exactly is meant to be going on with the sexuality of the show. I fear
something was lost in the cross-cultural translation.
But it is a riotous romp with many zany moments. The show
and its characters are also self-aware, tending to think the viewer’s
thoughts: for example, this is a love story, we’re the main
characters, we’re supposed to fall in love! There is, alas, a fair
dose of strobing.
Animation tends to look very great on DVD transfers and
Ouran is no exception. It is annoying that the soundtrack is 2.0
(that is, stereo without bass), but this I guess is because it was
originally a show on broadcast TV.
The extras include out-takes; textless opening and
clising songs; and, audio commentary.
is a fantastic, high-camp intro to pulsating, schizophrenic Japanese