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Ouran High School Host Club 16 (Raw)

Edit: I am such a dunce. Checked up other journals about this episode, and it seems this is canon after all -- chapters way ahead of things I've read. I've also made an error with Haruhi's old schoolmate's name. It's supposed to be Arai, not Nagai. Post has been edited to reconcile this new information. Other thing I forgot to mention: when Tamaki shreds his little booklet, I swore he said he was doing it for a hamster. My joy! My glee!

So we're on to Episode 16. It starts off with a cliffhanger from Episode 15, where Haruhi runs into an old schoolmate at the inn she's working at during the summer break. The entire Host Club is there to "visit" her, ostensibly to prevent her from being diverted to anyone else, with all the usual malarky. Tamaki has been in a mushroom-growing funk since Haruhi refrained from calling him an outright friend, and is now even worse with the introduction of some new friend he's never heard of. The Yaoi Twins are at an awkward pause from Ep 15 as well -- the realization that Hikaru really likes Haruhi, and this is coming between the brothers, is starting to really bug them. But when it turns out Haruhi's old schoolmate, Arai-kun, is also one of her famous rejections, everyone immediately takes a liking to this easy-going guy, and why not? He's not a threat anymore.

Hikaru, however, is still out to hurt, and he openly insults Arai-kun's lack of success with Haruhi, which results in her slapping him in front of everyone else. The rest of the Host Club try to cover for Hikaru while Kaoru wanders off to console his brother. Kaoru's boiled it down to the idea that Hikaru must somehow resolve his feelings for Haruhi, because the wedge between the twins has to start with one of them letting go, and Kaoru is willing to be that party if it will make his brother hurt less. A thing I've noticed over the course of the series -- the art for the Hitachiin brothers, actually everyone, but particularly the Hitachiin brothers, seems to have been gradually improving. The guys look great. And their wardrobe makes me want to steal their clothes, except I can't wear them because I am not a lanky tall cute boy.

Kaoru, dressed as and on behalf of Hikaru, goes forth to apologize to Arai-kun. Out of the Hosts, only Haruhi is able to guess right off that that this Hikaru is a fake. Kaoru takes it in his stride and invites Haruhi on a not-date with the him and Hikaru as their combined apology.

The next day, Haruhi shows up in suspiciously girly clothes -- it's revealed that the Hitachiin twins' psychotic twin maids were hired by Kaoru to go dress her up, complete with hair extensions (this makes me cry -- Haruhi doesn't need this indignity). Also, only Hikaru shows up for this non-date, because Kaoru has mysteriously called in sick. And so, Haruhi and Hikaru set off for a trip through a resort town, with Kaoru and the very unhappy Tamaki as well as the Host Club following behind strategic pieces of public property. Kaoru explains his intentions to the Hosts - he is trying to give Hikaru space to grow, and although the twins have never been separated since birth, Haruhi has managed to be the first thing they've diverged on. As such, he's going to be the bigger man and let Hikaru, who is essentially selfish, learn the true meaning of earning his friends by hopefully gaining Haruhi as a true friend. The Hosts are impressed with Kaoru's noble intentions, though it seems Hikaru himself hasn't quite gotten the idea yet.

Haruhi and Hikaru start off by being awkward. Hikaru has no idea what to do with her, or what she could be interested in, or even how to start asking. Kaoru prepped him before the date by telling him to treat it just like their escort service -- which still doesn't help. An inspired Honey-sempai pretty much kicks the two into getting ice creams (Mori having to quickly grab Honey and shoving him behind a wall before the other two figured him out was a laugh). Haruhi picks up the ball from there by making it a day to go find souvenirs for the other Hosts, which quickly breaks the ice. The two kids really start enjoying themselves, and of course, Kaoru watches cautiously but kindly over his brother from afar, while Tamaki does a relative equivalent of the same, after being physically restrained by Kaoru before he clawed the guy who was trying to get his paws all over "his daughter".

Unfortunately, about halfway through the date, dark clouds start building up on the horizon, and worse, Hikaru and Haruhi run into Arai-kun on the street. Hikaru can't resist being snide at Arai again, and when he realizes what he's done, runs off. Haruhi, now very worried because thunder can be heard on top of the imminent rain, tries to run off herself. Back at the inn, the Hosts have no idea where the two have disappeared to. Tamaki is working himself into a fit, because it's pouring outside, and Haruhi's alone. Hikaru, spacing out to his music in the rain, gets an angry call from Tamaki (his ringtone for Tamaki is the ED!), who rails at him for letting Haruhi be alone while it's raining, and tells him that her greatest fear happens to be thunder. (Just a thing I noticed -- why are so many girls' manga heroines afraid of thunder?)

It starts dawning on Hikaru that he's made a huge mistake, and also that he's missed all the little clues Haruhi dropped throughout their date -- she was nervous about the coming storm right from the beginning. He goes back into town to look for her, eventually finding her in a church, under the altar table. In a truly cool Hikaru moment, he sort of drapes her with the tablecloth, puts an arm around her and apologizes for what he's done -- sounds like the first time he's apologized for anything in his life. There is crying (on his part), and much apologizing.

Later, everyone is back at the inn. Arai shows up with a watermelon for everyone to share. Hikaru comes along and starts being nice. Kaoru and Kyouya watch from the balcony. Kaoru appreciates that his brother has learnt a lot from this experience, but concedes his brother's too much of an idiot (for Haruhi) still. I kind of wonder what sort of competition Hikaru could really be for the other major idiot of the show. As the series likes to remind us, Tamaki and Haruhi should be the main pairing because they're the lead characters -- not like Haruhi really cares.

Perhaps my biggest gripe with this episode has been the girlification of Haruhi in big, crazy ways. Haruhi's strength as a character hinges on her being the anti-shoujo in what kind of hangs on by its teeth as a shoujo manga parody-comedy, and she's great this way, foiling the boys and their rose-coloured backgrounds at every turn. The original apperance of thunder fear bugged me in the manga, but contributed a great scene with Tamaki, and similarly worked in the anime. While the rehash of this with Hikaru was very nicely done, the judicious snuggling with Hikaru that was the result just felt weird. The dress and hair extensions thing -- y'know, I really like that the animators are throwing all these great bits of wardrobe at us, and have dressed Haruhi in some neat, tomboyish-casual stuff. But the dress? And the hair extensions? And the earrings. It's just really far out of her character range for me. The accidental dress joke is also starting to get stale.

Over the course of the show, we have seen the twins' really develop their individual voices, and it has worked for their characterization. As characters, I prefer Kaoru over Hikaru for his simple quiet strength. Kaoru seems to take falls for his brother with a lot of dignity, and ultimately comes off as the more mature sibling overall. Hikaru's lack of socialization just annoys me in a lot of ways. He's too much of the standard annoying boy archetype that way. I suppose if Kaoru was not part of a pair as much as he currently is, he would be a very nice young man.

The introduction of Arai-kun as a plot thickener didn't work for me though. It's just too convenient, even for Ouran, though it is also nice to see more people from Haruhi's life outside the school filtering in. Arai-kun's character, as mentioned earlier, comes off as being laid back and friendly, quite different from the molds of the Hosts. It was refreshing to see a reasonably normal male character in this show, and I guess if we looked at it like this, good to see Haruhi interacting normally with an old schoolmate. (Just as good to see how the Hosts reacted to the presence of a normal guy.) I did like his character, but I wasn't entirely sure if he was necessary, as such. However, again, it makes more sense plot-wise to have a completely new outsider cause the panic between the twins than it would've been for one of the Hosts. All's well that ends well.

Preview for next ep: Kyouya dresses as a Miami Vice gangster, and Haruhi's going out with him?!

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Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
eekers
Jul. 26th, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
I had a problem with the hair extensions.... they bugged me badly... :(

vampyrichamster
Jul. 26th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
The hair extensions are indeed narf. I need to catch up on my Ouran reviews, for I have such a backlog of them! There's at least one more ep I didn't like in a big way (the Nekozawa's kid sister one) and lots I did like, such as the Alice in Wonderland ep which was such a dire upgrade from the manga. *nodnodnod*

Have you seen the manga, by any chance?
eekers
Aug. 2nd, 2006 02:42 pm (UTC)
I made a stupid blunder with the Alice one, I assumed that it was the animators bored and wishing to prove that they could draw so much more than just a high school set going mad and making a magical kingdom and thus choosing the story of Alice as their plot... I completely forgot it was based on the Manga... By watching everything in the anime format all the time and never experiencing things in the manga I have become so far removed from the process that I forget the stages even exist...
Admittedly it may be the initial artists who got bored and wished to prove their skills in the Manga, but still....
I kinda realised I need to see anime more as a process sometimes....

Thus I clearly havent seen the manga... I cant read very well at the moment due to Hercules, so if writing is small I have to give up on it, my fonts are all up huge on IE and Mozilla right now... I'll book mark the link tho for a day when my head is good tho, specially for a look at the Alice episode.

Also I was gonna ask you... did Spirited Away start out as Manga? do you know?
vampyrichamster
Aug. 2nd, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
I really liked the art in the Alice one. Psychedelic bubbles made me stare and stare...

I've often suspected the Alice chapter in the manga was the manga artist wanting to draw something different and decorative, also...

Spirited Away didn't start out as a manga. It was an original story written by Hayao Miyazaki. Many of Studio Ghibli's movies are based on novels or children's books, unless they were written by the directors themselves, though Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind was a very long-running manga by Hayao Miyazaki before it was a film, I believe. Good place for this sort of info is Nausicaa.net, the best Ghibli resource in the known web. Ghibli's doing an Earthsea adapation now, I'm so excited!
eekers
Aug. 2nd, 2006 03:49 pm (UTC)
Do you get "Film Four" on Sky in Upsidedownland? They are having a Ghibli season in August? I am neurotic cos we only have shyte terrestial tv at home and i will miss it..

I might just use the list of films they show and rent them from screen select as a good over view, somewhere to start you know? its hard to know where to start when you are a novice...

Spirited Away was blummin fantastic, I couldnt believe you had never pimped it at me, you know? :) thanks for the info.:)
vampyrichamster
Aug. 2nd, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
I didn't? Goodness! What was I thinking! :)

Sadly, we do not have cable. But we do have SBS, a channel dedicated solely to foreign films, documentaries and foreign news, which did have a huge Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki special to coincide with the launch of Howl's Moving Castle here.

I should also recommend Howl's Moving Castle. I wonder if you've ever read the book, because it's by some Welsh lady, and is supposed to be some kind of English classic, and having read it myself, I am simply in awe how Hayao Miyazaki took a somewhat narf book and turned into an epic against war. No offense to classic English fantasy lit intended. ;)

And since we are on pimpery, and it's often dangerous to encourage me to pimp things at people, really. ^_^ My favourite Ghibli titles are as follows, in order:

Howl's Moving Castle
Spirited Away
Kiki's Delivery Service
My Neighbor Totoro (had to include this, because of the giant hamsters)

But yes, Ghibli made a lot more other films besides, and using a list of films they show on cable is a good reference, I agree. I used a similar list based on the films they showed here (don't really work well with dubs) to go look up DVDs also!
eekers
Aug. 2nd, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)
No I have not read it, I never read much fantasy lit... In times of mass reading I went more for horror :) Now I have screen select you can pimp anything on DVD at me you want! I added Oh My Goddess Vol.1 on yesterday ;)

I have added your favs onto my list :) I get to watch anything animated in the daytime as Rog isn't too keen, tho he does watch Neon G.E when I have them out... but he insists on seeing things dubbed, which annoys me intently... it RUINS things... erg...

Actually you'd probably snigger loads if you could see how your pimpage had populated my screen select list of DVDs :)
vampyrichamster
Aug. 2nd, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
Oh My Goddess! I still have that to watch on my HD! *scrambles*

NGE dubbed. I know this animal. *shudders*

I'd be actually more fascinated that so many of my pimpages can be found on Screen Select! Filled with wonderment! *impressed at this imagined range of titles*
eekers
Aug. 2nd, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC)
http://www.screenselect.co.uk/visitor/browse.html?node_id=6136

This section appears endless.... it is filled with things I want to watch.... I cant imagine that I have enough life to watch it all! :D

If you spot anything funky, let me know! :)
vampyrichamster
Aug. 2nd, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
OOOOO! That, which is my favourite hamster icon of yours! *gleeeeee*

Wow. I could get lost in this stack. There is *so* much stuff! And there's also a Chinese selection! And lots of stuff I want to see I haven't yet! And even old stuff I'm actually looking for! And stuff I could never imagine anyone carries but they do! *goes batty*

Here's a quick list of stuff, in Cantonese and Japanese, of movies I can recommend -- hopefully one of them might interest you!

Japanese (non-anime):

Hana-Bi (great story by my favourite Japanese director, Takeshi Kitano; a bloody and arty cop film, but the most moving use of paintings to provide segues in a film, ever)

Dolls (another Kitano film -- about psychopatic people in love)

Zatoichi (another Kitano -- *NOT* about psychopatic people in love, but it has funky tapdancing crossdressers, in a samurai film)

Pistol Opera (it's a very, very, very weird film about assassins -- and virtually anyone who's ever watched this is never quite sure what this thing is supposed to be about, including me, but tea drinkers will get a complete kick out of the surrealistic art film imaginary tea ceremony down the middle)

Audition (creepiest Japanese horror film I ever saw; also about psychopatic people in love -- Mokie swears the scary girl in this thing is really me)

Stereo Future (they don't have this -- but if it does come up, I would really recommend it. It's seriously among the coolest Japanese films I've ever seen, and very funny. About filming a samurai film, translating for a living and obsessive English researchers haunting cute Asian girls in Japan.)

Anime:

Samurai X/Rurouni Kenshin Vol. 1 - 2; Trust & Betrayal (My favouritest anime of all time -- arty samurai fare, which people are allowed to smack me for suggesting, largely because I suggest this to everyone. ^_^)

Any anime title I recommend risks being about creepy little quiet girls, swordfights or futuristic dystopias, to be honest. If you have something in particular you're after, do tell, and I might be able to suggest something. (Plus, the Ghibli list alone would be enough shows for a month!) ;)

Cantonese: (top 3 are my favourite Cantonese movies of all time, and they cover a range of plots)

In the Mood for Love
Hero
Chungking Express
Red Sorghum

*still wants to take home the cheery hammie and hug it and feed it*
eekers
Aug. 22nd, 2006 11:25 am (UTC)
*added these to my recommendations list, or my list on screen select!*

Just realised if i add them all at once Rog might start to complain :) thanks for that Vamps, took me a while to come back to you, apologies! I couldn't find a few of them, but I knew they had to be there cos you had found them, it was very frustrating, I felt stooopid! :D
vampyrichamster
Aug. 22nd, 2006 12:30 pm (UTC)
No, no! Don't feel stoooopid! The lists at screen select are hyooooge. I got lost in them.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )