Posts Tagged ‘ouran high school host club’
When I started watching anime, I had hundreds, thousands, millions of titles to choose from and absolutely no idea where to start. I just remember having this mindset of “It’s from Japan which means it is made of win and awesome and goodness,” and wow did that bubble pop quickly. Since then I’ve picked up series from a variety of genres and while I still enjoy picking up a title randomly just to see if I’ll like it; I have noticed my tastes getting slowly refined now that I’ve entered the ‘way too many cartoons’ stage of my life. Now when I pick up a new series, I notice my tastes slowly trending towards moe and shoujo like K-ON and Kaichou wa Maid sama with occasional dips into action or comedy. I may enjoy series from other genres but these are the series that I can’t help but love.
Right now, I’m sharing a house with someone who is slowly starting to find her anime tastes. While she may not be a huge consumer of it, it’s not uncommon for her to call out to me randomly to ask me for an anime to watch. Unfortunately she’s still at the stage of whenever I do give her something to watch we end up in a rarely changing sequence of events: I give her a DVD box, mention what it is, she’ll look it over and then ask “But are there bishies in it?” Like I said, she’s still finding her tastes but this is how I got her to watch The Wallflower and Ouran High School Host Club so it’s a start.
The one time this plan backfired was last year when a military bishie series called 07-Ghost premiered. After watching a few episodes myself, I thought I had found the perfect series for her and pointed it out:
“Hey, I’ve been checking out this interesting new show that you’d like. It’s got bishounen coming out of every pore and they’re usually dressed up in some kind of uniform.”
“Hm, but would I like it?”
“What? I just named all of your primary criteria for a good anime in one long sentence.”
She never did end up watching the series but in the hindsight that was probably for the best. I’d like to think that it was her anime survival instincts protecting her (the otaku is strong in this one). That does remind me though; I should add Mirage of Blaze and Vampire Knight to my next convention shopping list.
In the second half of OHSHC, the host club continues the same over the top trends that made the first half such a pleasure to watch!
In the second half of OHSHC not a lot changes from the first. There is still no real story to follow leaving everyone to just have fun along the way. Luckily for everyone else, watching them is quite a fun time in itself. Not everything stays the same though; in the second half of OHSHC just about every member of the host club will be featured in at least one episode. Giving the audience brand new insights to them and their relationships with each other and showing new sides to the series.
When Haruhi gets a summer job, her relationship with Hikaru will become strained by his insane jealousy over an old friend. While later Kyoya gets the spotlight when the host club takes a field trip to a shopping expo showing the audience the very rough upbringing that brought him to the host club. An episode about Honey in between puts him into battle against his younger brother before the series wraps up on a new admirer of Haruhi and the host club being challenged by outside influences.
So, as promised here are my picks for this year’s SPJA awards. Though as usual, just a couple of notes about my picks. I’ve already deleted every category that I don’t feel I can give a good enough opinion on (such as all of the manga categories). If I even tried to make a pick there I’d just be taking a stab in the dark. So here we go… here are where my votes and predictions are going to lie this year.
So, as promised, here is the interview that I conducted with Funimation voice actor J. Michael Tatum at SakuraCon. In the interview, Michael talked to me about the premieres of both ‘Heroic Age‘ and ‘Romeo x Juliet‘, some of his previous roles and the challenges he faced as a writer, actor and director in both series.
~ So I’m sitting here with voice actor J. Michael Tatum at SakuraCon 2009, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me. So have you been enjoying yourself so far? This is your first SakuraCon isn’t it?
J. Michael Tatum (JMT): This is my first SakuraCon. It’s actually my first time in Seattle and I am having a great time! I came to this con with Joel McDonald, who’s done a lot of great stuff, and this is his first con. And it’s so much fun to be with him while he’s taking it all in because he’s just so impressed with everything. This is a party; this doesn’t feel like work at all.
According to reports that surfaced on 2ch and ANN earlier this morning, Maaya Sakamoto (Mishio in Kanon, Haruhi in Ouran, Hitomi in Escaflowne the Movie, Tomoyo in Tsubasa… the list goes on) will be voicing the new character in Eva 2.0 named Makinami Mari Illustrious (yes I’m serious). The announcement will be made official in the upcoming EVA-EXTRA01 magazine. There are few details regarding what type of character Ms. Illustrious will be but the ripples it will create in the Eva universe are certain to be noteworthy.
Also set to be announced in the magazine is news that Asuka will be voiced by her original seiyuu, Yuko Miyamura. The film is set to be released to Japanese theaters on June 27th. Funimation has already licensed the first movie of the quartet with plans to release it in the states at a to be determined date.
Ouran High School Host Club Set 1
Ouran High School Host Club (from now on referred to OHSHC) contends strongly for best recent bishie comedy release.
Attending the very upscale Ouran High School, Haruhi goes through her daily life doing her best not to stand out and just blend in. All that changes when she stumbles into the host club and accidently breaks a vase worth eight million yen! Indebted to the club, Haruhi is made into a member who will work off the debt by working as a host entertaining the ladies who come in to gawk at pretty boys. What most of them don’t realize until later though is that Haruhi is actually a she.
What follows are thirteen episodes of outrageous comedy filled with keeping Haruhi’s gender a secret, members of the host club developing crushes on their new host, cosplay, managers, beach trips, secret police forces and much more taking us through the first half of this hilarious series.
Good and the Bad
Wasting absolutely zero time in getting the story and characters set up, OHSHC does an incredible job of pulling the audience into this series without a moment of hesitation. Within moments of the first episode beginning, the audience is set up to know exactly what is coming. I can tell you this because running gags are an important part of OHSHC’s comedy and the first one they set up is a blinking, audible arrow pointing to anything that the staff thinks you need to pay attention to.
From there the running gags just keep on coming in as many different forms as the staff can think of. It will start with Tamaki’s jokes about poor people and how they must live. Haruhi may attend a fancy rich high school but she’s just as common as the rest of us. The rest of the club however is super rich. Obscenely rich. Rich enough that it would make normal people cringe with annoyance. From there the gags expand outwards and onwards. In one episode the club discovers the wonders of instant coffee and constantly sends Haruhi out to buy more, then there’s the banana peels and Renge’s rising platform every time she enters the series or a number of other things coming from every character.
Running gags are just the beginning of the hilarious comedy in this series however. If running gags are just the tip of the iceberg, character jokes are going to be the base that everyone stands on. Not including Haruhi or the ever growing number of supporting characters, OHSHC has six characters to draw from that each fill a bishie character type. At the top is Tamaki, the president (or king as he refers to himself) of the club who reigns surpreme in the club with his dashing good looks and instant crush on Haruhi (after he figures out that Haruhi is a female). Next up are the twins, Hikaru and Kaoru (Twincest anyone?), Mori who fills the quiet cool type, Honey the boy loli and finally Kyoya who wears glasses and handles the business side of things.
What impressed me about the comedy in this series however is how layered it is. While there are a wealth of sight gags and character jokes to make the audience laugh, another section of the audience are going to enjoy this series in an entirely different way. Littered throughout this series are a number of cultural and language jokes that are going to be completely missed by most of the audience. This can be frustrating at certain points since its obvious sometimes that you’re missing out on a big joke because you don’t know why it’s funny.
The only real nagging flaw that is sticking out at me from the rest of the series in one major plot hole that no one bothers to fix. Late in the series Haruhi dreams about her entrance to Ouran High School. While they never really go into when she cuts her hair, does no one at this high school even know that Haruhi is a female? No one at all? I know she’s the poor kid but that is one point I could never get past.
To look at this series, it’s hard to find any real flaws with the animation style or quality. The colors throughout this series are always very bright but not blinding. Going through each episode nothing really stands out as flawed beyond some bad facial expressions. In particular this stands out with the entrance of Lobellia (another language joke, look it up) High’s Benio where the lines on her face look terrible when she first enters the club room with Haruhi. Beyond lapses along those lines, the character design and artwork for the series really plays on the bishie and bishoujo theme never letting up for a moment. If you like reverse harems, this is your eye candy.
Like the writing, the music throughout the series stays solid for almost the whole way with few misses. Most of the music really plays well into the scene and helps sell the dialogue with few issues. The one place where OHSHC really fails at this however is during the scenes where the series does their best to be “dramatic”. Every time one of these scenes come up, Yoshihisa Hirano came up with this incredibly overdramatic sweeping full string orchestra though. Now I realize that these scenes are meant to be firmly tongue in cheek but the music just comes across as way too over the top and killed the comedy for me more often than not.
As has become common with Funimation releases, both the opening and ending theme songs have English versions attached to each episode (along with the original Japanese naturally). The opening theme is sung by Funimation regular Kristine Sa and really comes across well. This is another theme by Funimation that had I heard on its own without the anime behind it I would likely want to add it to my own personal music collection to just enjoy. One can hope that Funimation has plans to release their English themes songs to fans at some point this year if they are going to keep on producing great themes on this for their releases.
Dub vs. Sub
Both the English and Japanese casts really play well off each other creating a fun viewing experience each time. As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of cultural jokes throughout this series however and those always sound better in the Japanese track. However, if you’re just watching for the sight and character jokes than the English cast is going to provide you with more than a few laughs. Caitlin Glass and Vic Mignogna both turn in absolutely amazing performances as Haruhi and Tamaki respectively. Caitlin absolutely amazed me with this performance (while also serving as ADR Director) as she sounds like nothing I’ve heard from her before.
On the first disc, episodes 1, 4 and 5 all have commentaries with members of the dub cast. All three episodes will feature Caitlin Glass but who joins her changes with each episode. On episode 1, Caitlin will be joined by Vic Mignogna. On episode four it is J. Michael Tatum and Monica Rial and finally its Greg Ayres and Todd Haberkorn for the last episode. Whenever commentaries are included with a release there are times when listening to the commentary is the least interesting part of the release. They can always be interesting but it’s rare for them to be really fun to listen to. In this instance though, listening to the cast members go back and forth about the series can be as fun as the episodes themselves. The main reason for this is the tone in all of their voices, every cast member loved being in this series and you can tell by how much fun they all have when talking about their experiences recording it.
On disc two, no commentaries are featured but there are manga pages (as released by Viz Media) though the pages are again hard to read and blurry. Also included on the disc are a series of outtakes from the dub cast. The fifteen minute extra has flubs, bloopers, slips and alternate lines that are good for some extra laughs and there’s always Vic’s token Star Wars line. Not all of them are going to be funny but the joke lines are good for some laughs. This extra might’ve been a bit better had they edited out the cue beeps before each line of dialogue but those are easily ignored.
There has been absolutely no shortage of bishie comedies this season but this one is in a class all by itself. Always hilarious but not lacking in story, OHSHC is a great comedy to pick up for the bishie lover in your life!
For those of you who are anxiously awaiting the news, Funimation has revealed that Ouran Host Club, Season 1, Part 1 will street on 10/28/08 and will contain the first 13 episodes.
The official Funimation website for Ouran High School Host Club has been opened for fans to check out. So far the only cast announcements that have been made are Caitlin Glass as ADR Director, Carrie Savage as Kurakano and Eric Vale as Toru Suzushima but there is a countdown on the site that promises to reveal another cast member in just under a week. Be sure to check back for updates.