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Ouran High School Host Club 19 (Raw)

The clothes! The clothes! The fantastic clothes! *grabby grabby paws* Mori and Kyouya are wearing the exact kind of togs I adore on guys, and it's driving me nuts. Y'know I'm dying to steal them to try on myself.

This episode really comes up with jokes on a level of funny we haven't seen since about Episode 8 or so, when the show started to slack off. I mean, funny right from the get-go. Back at the first three episodes, the entire reason I picked this up was because the humour would have me at an asthma attack every other minute. The parodies were sharp, and the eye for detail even starker. If it's not filler, Ouran has really been slacking off with the jokes, opting for slightly more serious fodder over the last few. There have been casualties (kind of why I slacked off on reviewing this show), and there have been some interesting adaptations (Episode 13 was wonderful for how it took the manga and made it magic, literally -- I have never seen CG bubbles look so good; props to the animators for taking an otherwise wimpy bonus story and giving it depth). Episode 19 still isn't entirely up to scratch -- the lesbian girls' school joke was more creepy in this case than a parody of girls' school anime in the creepy boy-audience view, and I frankly found Beni extremely annoying. But, the Hosts and Ranka make an audacious partnership, and all the bad okama-papa jokes make up for the really terrible lesbian-jokes. Plus, the way expressions have been drawn for this episode, especially all the horrified ones, are top notch.

Within the opening seconds, I'm already giggling like a tiny rodent would giggle. The Hosts arrive at the Fujioka residence bearing gifts. They are greeted at the door by a familiar yet grumpy red-haired guy who seems hungover, with a peculiar shirt that has the character for "Father" emblazoned upfront. All Hosts immediately depart, apologizing for the grievous error. HaruhiPapa groggily plods after them to literally roll them all back into his house. Tamaki presents their gift to him, causing HaruhiPapa to immediately step on him in a repeat of the Father-in-Law Meets Giant Insect maneuver from Episode 10, while welcoming everyone else in his proper okama voice (dressed in jeans I also want to steal -- this series is starting to get notorious for cool clothes).

HaruhiPapa tells them the bad news. Haruhi isn't home. Worse, she's actually at St. Lobelia Academy, with the scary Lobelia all-women's theatre club girls, whom we might remember from Episode 9.

Speaking of which, we are then transported to St. Lobelia Academy, where the (Takara)Zuka Club in question are greeting their fanclub in style. This is funny for all the correct wrong reasons -- even Hatori Bisco-sensei has stated she doesn't want to make it seem like everyone in Zuka Clubs and their fans must be lesbians, but it is a sly dig at the girls' school genre's tendency towards this awful suggestion, nonetheless. Beni (Beni-Bara to fans), the Zuka Club's lead otokoyaku (actress-who-plays-a-guy), is presented with her favourite food: octopus-shaped sausages. [Insert ill-fated tentacle jokes here.] Beni immediately goes into an equivalent of the Tamaki princely mode, telling this fan that she's so cute she could eat her too. All female fans present go into a frenzy of Benio worship, thereby creeping me out very much.

The Zuka Club squirrels off to their own room. They check on Haruhi, who is trying on a Lobelia uniform (Nooooooooo!). Everyone starts cuddling her for looking cute (Noooooooooooooooo!). Beni touches Haruhi's lips (AUGH!) and drapes herself upon our hapless heroine, causing the author to greatly fear.

Back at the Fujioka home, HaruhiPapa is in despair, fearing that Haruhi will get her first kiss from one of those girls. (Except Haruhi already had her first kiss, and it was also from a girl.) Tamaki's brain short-circuits at the mention of Haruhi kissing, while the Yaoi Twins helpfully remember how Haruhi already got her first kiss. Tamaki cures them by binding both twins with bandages before they speak terrible words to Ranka-san. HaruhiPapa gets suspicious and starts a peering fight with Tamaki, who draws back in time to let HaruhiPapa fall and squash his face. Tamaki immediately launches an operation to save Haruhi from Lobelia, and the room clears out like magic!

At Lobelia, Haruhi recounts how the Zuka Club abducted her in front of her home earlier that morning. She reminds everyone she's part of the Host Club, and Beni-Bara freaks out about how Haruhi must remember she's a girl (says Beni-Bara). Although Beni disdains the Host Club for their exploitativeness, Haruhi believes the Zuka Club isn't very much better. The girls then explain that they brought Haruhi to Lobelia because they lost their lead actress for an upcoming performance when she got into a motorcycle accident, and were short on a replacement.

Haruhi refuses to help them. There's a cute sequence where she tries various methods of breaking the news nicely to them, with the girls frozen in surprise that anyone would even think of refusing them. Haruhi prepares to leave.

Beni falls to her knees, creating a Dramatic Moment(tm). She recounts her grief because she will now be unable to live up to the expectations of her beloved mother. Her friends explain (with dramatic soggy handkerchiefs on hand) that Beni's mother was Lobelia alumni, and the performance was an important one for the Zuka Club. If Beni was unable to fulfil her obligations at this performance, she might shatter her poor mother's heart. Haruhi falters at the mention of mothers, and agrees to help them.

Goddamn, HaruhiPapa looks great as a guy. Throwback to the manga parts where he was dressed as a guy -- I just really like HaruhiPapa in general. He's a cooler, more mature version of Tamaki. Outside Lobelia, Ranka fears for his daughter's sanity. (I would.) The Hosts think Haruhi, with her level head, will be fine. (Kyouya's clothes! Kyouya squee!) However, Ranka believes his daughter does have the genes for liking the Zuka Club, because his "cool" wife was a closet fan of takarazuka revues. Flashback time!

Ranka and Kotoko are seen talking over tea waiting for the birth of their daughter. One of the cute Ouran tags appear over Kotoko's swollen belly saying, "In Haruhi". While cleaning the house one day, Ranka finds a box of photos of Zuka photos which forever scarred his mind.

The Hosts start really freaking out. What if Haruhi joins the Zuka Club? What if Haruhi undresses according to Tamaki's perverse imagination? Oh, noes!

Tamaki demands that Kyouya obtains Lobelia uniforms. They need to go undercover and save Haruhi. HaruhiPapa responds by kicking him in the head (Go HaruhiPapa!), because how dare they think of crossdressing (Episode 9 - absolutely horrifying example of what happens when the Hosts do that) when he himself is a professional okama. Ranka has a plan!

Tamaki cries bitter tears because he's been usurped by the older version of him again.

At the rehearsal for The Memoirs of Senorita, Beni is going into conniptions of drama to Haruhi. Haruhi isn't even trying to act, basically shouting out her one line, "Frederick-sama!" with full robotic gusto. Not like it matters, since Beni's fanclub provide a captive audience for her alone. (Why did they even need Haruhi then?) Out come interpretive ballerinas!

The Hosts + Professional Okama watch from the window with terrible frowns. They're all wearing Beni-Bara fanclub shirts, except for Kyouya. Honey is tugging at Tamaki's shirt because he wants to know if Haruhi is in there, as the others are blocking his view. Mori is simply asleep. Kyouya simply doesn't care, he's following because it's merely interesting. Tamaki wonders after Haruhi's supposed heroine.

Haruhi bleats out another, "Frederick-sama!", causing the Hosts + Professional Ranka to grieve over her acting skills in general.

A huge snigger at Haruhi's expense is required for the frame where Haruhi's face is superimposed on a giant daikon. For lo, everyone kind of agrees, she might as well be replaced with a gigantic radish. Well, not really. By way of the extremely informative Memento's blog on Ouran, it turns out "Daikon Yakusha" is a kabuki term for a bad actor. Cue critique of Haruhi's acting, for which the consensus is that she's a robot.

The Zuka Club then require Haruhi to sing. Ranka is horrified, because his daughter has a terrible voice. However, Haruhi starts singing quite a lovely number, striking her critics dumb. Suddenly, we see a foot trip over a cable, and the music stops. Haruhi's mouth, though, keeps moving. Critics remain dumbfounded. Hinako (the youngest Beni-Bara hanger on) owns up to the accident.

Outside, the Hosts are discovered by the real Beni-Bara club. They all go into a chant to motivate Beni-Bara, which the boys seemed prepared for. During a break, some fans approach Tamaki and Mori about their fandom. Ranka saves the day in full-on okama mode (Go HaruhiPapa!) with cute small talk. One of Beni-Bara Fanclub organizers stress that no one will spoil Beni's performance, and they have ensured this will stay that way by hiring some gangster girls (there was a girl with a yoyo who, thanks to hyluko, I'll be associating with Sukeban Deka for a long time) for security. The Hosts fear that Haruhi's robotic performance might then be seen as crimping Beni's style. Ranka panics for his daughter's safety. Tamaki takes charge, switching to tough guy mode and making a speech at length about how they'll infiltrate the performance to save Haruhi (I think he's imitating some famous Japanese actor here, but I don't know who -- if anyone knows who the guy is, I'd appreciate knowing).

The guys sneak into Lobelia's theatre, but they're spotted by Beni. It's around this time that everyone realizes Kyouya is gone. Kyouya, however, has done his own infiltration by charming a teacher into showing him the control rooms (Go Kyouya!). He learns how the stage's digital screens work and where they're controlled.

Haruhi appears, in the most awful make-up to defy awful make-up. There are no words. The entire Host Club agrees with me. Even Mori is horrified, and he's just about never horrified at anything. Tamaki immediately wants to grab her, but Ranka stops him. Since Haruhi seems to be giving it her all, they should let her be. Ranka-san rocks as HaruhiPapa. Tamaki, and the Hosts, pipe down.

Tamaki does have a thought halfway through the show, however, as he remembers the fangirls they talked to earlier were describing The Memoirs of Senorita as a play essentially about revenge. Beni's evil intent becomes clear when the play's kissing scene manifests. Beni wants Haruhi's first kiss to be with her, to shame Tamaki. Tamaki immediately runs for the stage, but BONES' mysterious monkey trips him with a banana peel. Beni takes Haruhi up a hydraulic ramp even father out of his reach.

In the meantime, Kyouya (Go Kyouya!) is fiddling with the stage's controls as his security guys distract the supervising teacher. The digital screen drops behind Beni and Haruhi, showing a shot of Haruhi's first kiss from Episode 2, with Kanako from the dance party.

If you think Beni and Tamaki are horrified, you should check out Ranka's creepy face... Pure comedic moment ensues when Ranka makes for the stage, at some kind of bizarre half-job, and the Yaoi Twins are sort of just strolling behind him in spite of the speed lines all around them. BONES' monkey strikes again!

Dramatic boy moment! Haruhi is trying to run away from the manic Beni, and Tamaki is waiting, asking her to jump into his arms. She does, but kind of flattens him too. HaruhiPapa is mad at her for giving up her first kiss. The Zuka Club wants her to be with Beni. Tamaki swears to protect her with his -- gets squashed by Beni, who lands on top of him too and also wants Haruhi. Haruhi is last seen running around the stage away from everyone, except Tamaki, who is just about dead. And they all trip over banana peels falling from the sky!

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
countlibras
Aug. 24th, 2006 03:13 am (UTC)
When I saw the gangster girls, all I could think was Fruits Basket's Uo-chan. (UO-CHAN!)

The Lobelia girls scare me. Ranka is definitely cool.

I was going to say something else but I forgot.

(and I loved the Hosts in drag - it makes episode 9 so wrong and so awesome)
vampyrichamster
Aug. 24th, 2006 04:31 am (UTC)
Ranka's an old pro. He amuses me! :)

Hosts in drag = the funny part about this is that the manga actually had them in nice drag! I guess the Twins must suffer whenever there is bad hair and make afoot because they are the children of a fashion designer...

And yes, Uo-chan!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )