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Ouran High School Host Club 18 (Raw)

This was another pretty cool episode, focusing on Haninozuka. It sort of parodies assassin fighting shows, one of my special interests, which immediately grabs my attention, and it does it well.

As it turns out, Honey has a younger brother called Chika, who visits him at the Host Club. Chika immediately begins to engage Honey in mortal combat, resulting in a very neat fight sequence involving lots of bouncing Honey ninjaness, one baton and numerous shuriken. Fight scene gets my stamp of approval for being fast, nicely choreographed and cool. Although this is not a fighting show by definition, BONES does solid work with their fight scenes, and has in fact produced some cool almost-fight-ish moments along the earlier episodes of Ouran as well.

Renge-kun shows up pre-battle to volunteer her MCing. I know Renge-kun embodies all that is kooky about the fangirl for this show, but she's starting to grate on me in how she turns up everywhere and does very pointless voiceovers. The manga doesn't use Renge-kun beyond her first appearance very much, for which I am quite grateful.

The fight takes a nasty turn when Chika tries to bash in his brother with a baton. Honey is sent flying into the air, and at first appears to have lost. However, Renge spots something, and Mori approves of this. Chika looks down to find his pants legs tacked to the ground with kunai, as Honey gets back on his feet.

Later, in a very long sequence of flashbacks, we are told the origins of Chika vs. Honey, which coincides with why Honey left the Karate Club for the Hosts. Apparently, about two years before the current storyline, Honey was still actively the head of his father's karate school, training students as the best there was. This was hard on Honey, who really wanted to be among cute rabbits and eat lots of cake instead of having to put up a macho facade. One day, a mysterious rabbit shows up at his doujo, and leads him to a young Tamaki, who encouraged Honey to be the person he really was inside (and recruit him for his own Host Club -- leading young boys to prostitution with kawaii bunny rabbits is fiendish! Fiendish I tell you!) Honey took up the offer with his father, who said he could leave the club only if he could beat him in unarmed combat.

Honey doesn't just beat his dad in unarmed combat, he beats him into a hospital bed and a coma and full-body bandages. His retainers at the doujo beg Honey to leave before he brought trouble upon them with his great fighting prowess, practically dangerous enough to be a human WMD. I guess Tamaki's pep talk about being yourself and fighting for your identity really sunk in.

I just loved the swanky cabaret-style music they were playing during the flashback to Honey's fighting days. It was pretty funny to hear that juxtaposed over these otherwise serious karate school scenes. The sepia-toned scenery was great stuff. It even had the Master and Pupil moments with those nifty bamboo water features as seen in most samurai flicks. (Quite interesting to note Mori's unassuming presence behind Honey in these flashbacks -- he looks stoically cool, as usual, but also apparently worried about his cousin.) Poor Honey, having to be like a grown-up boy tough kid, eating steak that makes him cry. (I can't stand steak either, so if given a choice, I think I would choose the cake.) But the scene of those sympathetic fangirls chewing their own handkerchiefs in the traditional grieving stance was horrifically funnier under the circumstances!

Tamaki's definitely got a knack for charming anything that breathes. I thought the creative use of a rabbit puppet rather adorable. Even if it was for nefarious near-prostitution purposes in the long run. I ended up following every bobble of the little puppet's head as much as Honey did. I also absolutely adore Honey's voice actress. She did Momiji the Rabbit from Fruits Basket as well, and Momiji was simply one of my favourite characters from that series (apart from the Rat and Snake). It's just such a cute voice (and now quite firmly entrenched in rabbits in my mind). I do sometimes wonder if Honey wasn't based on Momiji, but the little cute boy archetype is pretty widespread.

I also liked the pan to a worried-looking Mori after Tamaki left, having listened in on the conversation in secret.

Since that time, Honey has been as we know him, free to snuggle bunnies and eat piles of cakes. However, his relationship with Chika was strained in the process, and Chika wants to remind his sibling about his responsibilities as a fighter, as well as prove his own karate skills. This prompts Tamaki to make bringing Chika and Honey together his next great project.

At the Karate Club, Chika now leads the classes in place of his brother. The students complain he's quite the taskmaster, and is absolutely undistracted even by girls trying to peek in. The Host Club including Honey show up. Chika sets about berating Honey for his irresponsibilities and especially his fascination with sweets, which happens to be the major reason the two siblings don't get along anymore. First, Honey eats three whole cakes every night before bed. Then, once a week, Honey has a special midnight feast of bunny-topped cakes with his pink stuffed toy, Usa-chan. Even though Honey has invited Chika to this, Chika tends to run away in pure horror. (The faces of Tamaki and Haruhi as the camera moves between Chika and Honey during Chika's explanation of his brother's habits were comical to watch.)

Chika really doesn't like sweets. It haunts him so badly, he imagines the creepy expression on his brother's face when he's about to gorge himself on cake in the same breath as an attacking horde of flying bunny-embossed UFOs.

Honey apologies to his brother for bothering him with his sweet tooth, but points out that he won't be returning to the Karate Club regardless of what he does. He likes who he is now, and he's happy. (Props to Mori for prompting the apology.) To settle things honourably, Honey challenges his brother to a fight, Haninozuka style.

Sudden switch to wind-swept field background! Count on Haruhi to think outside the box and ask, "How did we suddenly end up in a place like this?"

Honey ups the ante, saying that if his brother beats him, he will forego cake forever. They fight. Another great sequence by BONES -- I really heart their knack for dodgy physics and acrobatic attacks now. Mori provides the obligatory voiceover for this battle (all good fighting shows have obligatory voiceovers during key battles!), predicting Honey's retaliating move for his brother's shuriken. This move really comes true, but Haruhi then has to ask, where exactly did Chika hide those shuriken that appeared out of thin air anyway?

Mori also believes that Honey will probably let his brother win out of love and honour. This is seriously the most I think we've heard him speak in the whole series. (Mori speaking makes me happy, because, a) I like his voice and b) Next to Kyouya, he's my second favourite character.)

Except, well. By the power of cake and bunny rabbits, Honey actually goes ahead and beats the stuffing out of his brother anyway. His victory chant of, "Kee-ki! Kee-ki!" at the end just made me giggle. Haruhi wonders if the lure of cakes really was that strong. A devastated Mori falls to his knees, as the Baka Tonou and Yaoi Twins try to cheer him up.

The episode ends with Honey on a rooftop basking in the evening sun, all sad-like, thinking over Tamaki's words to him about staying true to himself. There's a nice sense of depth to Honey's peculiar character about this. He's clearly never been either as childish or as innocent as he appears (again, a link with Momiji of Furuba, though perhaps with far less angst), and I appreciated that we are seeing some development with regards to his character this way. Our final shot of Honey has him hugging Usa-chan against a background of daisies, reaffirming that he really likes rabbits.

And now you can probably guess, after Kyouya and Mori, my third favourite character is of course, Honey!

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
countlibras
Aug. 23rd, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)
USA-CHAN DAISUKI!

:)

I love the little pop-ups around Honey when he's happy. It's very cute.

I'm still trying to figure out why Mori is listed as the "wild type." Do you know why?

I think Okaasan and Otousan Kyouya and Tamaki might be my favorites.
vampyrichamster
Aug. 23rd, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC)
I like Tamaki, I really do, though his Gacktness causes me to stick him in a whole different category in terms of characters liked best. ;)

I've wondered why Mori gets stuck under "Wild" too. He's not really Wild, but I guess in terms of the silent rebel type, it probably makes a slight amount of sense... He's not very rebellious, otherwise. Hatori Bisco, the mangaka for Ouran, has said she needs to get some backstory going for Mori, at least something to do with his Kendo Club obligations, so I'm waiting around for that.

I like the little pop ups around Happy Honey too. ;)

USA-CHAN DAISUKI DESU YO!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )