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Ouran High School Host Club 8 (Raw)

This episode in summary, with no spoilers:

1. This episode is based on the beach/summer holiday arc from the manga, if you've read it.
2. Mori shows us he can think like a perfectly normal teen boy for all of 5 seconds, albeit in that silent, "uhn!"-type way of his.
3. There is a totally inappropriate yaoi moment that will probably make you cry.
4. It makes my inner mock-just-about-all-yaoi heart fill with dark glee!
5. And then, it's time for...Tamaki Dream Theatre!
6. Even though the lines are in Japanese with no subtitles, their corniness breaks the language barrier, resulting in my cringing in a tiny corner of the ceiling.
7. And then it's Mori and Honey's turn to do the contrasting style joke thing!
8. Followed by enviable amounts of crab. Haruhi is a bottomless pit. I suddenly want a lot of fried man tou.
9. OMG the dramatic music and clutching!
10. Well, they did the important part of the chapter right...
11. On the other hand, the setting is slightly skewed and they didn't include the best joke in that whole arc!

What the hell did they do with Nekozawa?!

No, I'm serious. Nekozawa was the why, what and where of the whole beach trip. Without Nekozawa, there is no Bergenef, no "horror movie" beach, no scary Cat Cave, no gothic mansion in context, no dystopian Game of Life, no especially funny dual identity complex, even, no Nekozawa! He's like the necessary furikake in the Host Club's tea!

So without Nekozawa, the episode actually manages to be flatter than poor Haruhi's chest. Most of the jokes are still present and are reasonably functional. They would probably work fine for someone unfamiliar with the manga. In fact, thanks to a couple of great Mori-Honey moments and the one really cool Yaoi Twins joke, at least the swimsuit and part of the fear challenge jokes do work. (Please look out for the Ariel-style seashell bikini and the humongous beach ball.) But even then, I must say the fear challenge came out more rushed than it should, and the changes to the kinds of fears tested was less funny than in the manga. The fight scene at the climax was certainly stylish. Probably because Tamaki and the Yaoi Twins weren't given as much conversation time as they had in the manga leading up to the fight (in fact, none of that good bit of dialogue was included at all, it seems), the fight itself didn't feel as desperate as it could've been. Though yes, that entire Haruhi under fire and diving off a cliff part was stylishly executed.

As for the latter part of the show, where Kyouya conducts his own Haruhi stress test, I must say his character didn't feel half as malicious as he could've been here. Kyouya is one of my favourites, and I really like the way his voice actor seems to get all the deadpan-ness of his character right, but Kyouya as the potentially eville bastard just lacked punch. Even if that was deliberate, given the way the scene worked, it would've been nice to have some actual malice. And when push came to shove, he wasn't nearly amused enough at the results -- another key point about his character in the manga version of the same scene.

But the truly awful shoujo part of the chapter, where Tamaki figures Haruhi out? That was done right. In fact, better. In truly gruesome and grisly shoujo style, dramatic wind, vintage movie gripping of clothes and all. Actually, I think the fact the anime took that scene and made it go right over the top was itself a great parody moment. The manga was flimsy at best.

Animation is still slick, though voice acting is sporadic in this episode, possibly the first time it's done that in the series thus far. Kyouya actually sounds too deadpan for the most part, close to Mori-level flat, and not quite evilly amused enough when he should be. Haruka and Kaoru both suffer from generic mischievous boy voices, being snide even when they should be speculative. They may be the synchronised gremlins of the show, but barring the obligatory BL scene that was so horribly good, there's none of the personality that showed through in say, Episode 5 (though that did require extra effort in differentiating the twins). Haruhi sounds like Haruhi, though I might have to think twice about her "girl" voice - for some reason, the "boy" voice works better. Tamaki's conflicting Prince, teenboy and Gacktly mature voices are all in good order, especially for the crucial scenes where he blows a gasket or two and sounds great. Honey and Mori are probably beyond the reach of any kind of voice-acting inferiority, seeing as how one is always "cute" and the other speaks in singular syllables.

I've also recently discovered Solar Fansubs' version of the show. Their subs are actually equal to Lunar Anime's in terms of (high) quality, though I'm currently watching Solar's versions purely based on stylistic preference.

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
eekers
Jun. 3rd, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC)
I love Ouran High School Host Club. I wish I had something more meaningful to say about it, but I enjoyed your post about it and nodded a fair bit... not having read the manga makes me lose some of your issues, obviously....
vampyrichamster
Jun. 4th, 2006 01:16 pm (UTC)
YAY! A person to talk Ouran with apart from Mokie! :)

Seriously, even Mokie thinks I'm reading too much into the manga vs. anime here, and I'm inclined to agree. The anime version is good on many levels, and since they are working with a shorter timeframe, they're doing a great job with what they have.

But, the eeeeeeeebil Kyouya. He makes my heart flutter. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )