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Ouran High School Host Club 22 (Raw)

I was kind of warned about this one. Oh, yeah. Pretty boys in period costumes? With swords? Growling at each other?

Why, I don't know what to say, really. ;)

Opening moments of Tamaki doing his Sakamoto Ryouma lines in pure, growly, maleness was...the Gackness of it...I can't even begin to enunciate what this is like. Not without rude words, and maybe a few flowery bodily functions. Oh, yes, wait. I can. KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Yakuza-style household with the young lord himself walking out the gates? It's like Fudoh: New Generation meets Shinsengumi Imon Peacemaker meets all my terrible obsessions about Rurouni Kenshin.

Host Club dressed as Shinsengumi members? KYAAAAAAAAAA!

Kaoru falling over Hikaru in sudden pain? KYAAAAAAAAAA!

Ikeda-ya incident name-dropping? Okita Souji falling ill? Incidental Yamazaki Suzumu?! KYAAAAAAA!

And that was me just trying to get past the first 5 minutes.

And then we have Mori waving around the Spear! The Spear!!1111111

So this week, our plot revolves around Kasanoda Ritsu, yakuza boss in the making and a student from Class 1-D. Kasanoda has a fearsome reputation around the school for his frightening glare, which is purpoted to be able to send people to hospital with a single glance. Kasanoda (alternatively, Casanova or Bossa Nova) comes to Hosts to request help in becoming a more likeable person. His ideal personality type is Mori -- gruff, yet serene, dangerous, yet zen, with an inclination towards the same frightening glances. He can't understand what makes Mori so well-liked, or why people would like him even when he broods so much. This gets the immediate sympathy of Honey (who was in the same shoes not so long ago), though Mori himself is more along the lines of a tragic hand stapled to his forehead.

Tamaki believes that since Kasanoda has come specifically to Mori for help, it's up to Mori to decide what to do with him. Mori decides to give Tamaki the Eye Signal of Doom for help. This just about had me pausing the darn thing to laugh. Mori almost never opens his eyes, and if Kasanoda's Evil Eye is terrifying, Mori's secret desperation glance is freaky stuff.

Tamaki, being rather dense, takes it as a compliment. He'll train "Bossa Nova" himself. Tamaki's theory is that Mori's reputation is uplifted by his posession of a "Lovely Item", ie. Honey. With Honey on his shoulders, Mori's reputation could take even having him beat up and fresh out of a fight. Needless to say, Mori is horrified he asked.

Honey is in tears! You mean all this while, Takashi was just using him as decoration? The mortified Mori has to console his old friend against this idea, Looney Tunes-style.

It's decided that the problem with Kasanoda is his Yankee fashion. In order to salvage his reputation, they must first dress him in less scary clothes. Honestly, when doing this sort of thing, they should probably not depend on the Hitachiin twosome...

Kasanoda gets dressed in dreads, a dotted scarf and has Tamaki's Kuma-chan on loan in lieu of a "Lovely Item" of his own. When he gets home, he startles his faithful retainer, Tetsuya, and all his other gang members. Embarassed by the fashion disaster, he scares all his lowers with an Evil Eye, though Tetsuya seems unaffected by this, and genuinely worried about his master besides.

The next morning, Kasanoda goes full tilt into apprenticing himself with Mori. He also subjects his allegiance to Honey, which kind of freaks out the poor kid and chills every other student within range to the bone. A flower pot falls from the heavens. Mori shoves Kasanoda out of the way and slices another falling pot with his hand. This not only gains the eternal loyalty of his new student, but simultaneously causes me to remember I like this guy with good reason. BONES still does great action scenes. Dramatic slow-mo with potshards!

Back at Music Room 3, the guys are still set on changing Kasanoda's image. After yesterday's fashion disaster, Kasanoda is wary of pursuing this further. Tamaki reminds Kasanoda that they're doing their best, and yesterday's problems were all the twins' fault. A humbled Kasanoda apologizes and accepts their help. The Host boys huddle for new strategies. In the meantime, Haruhi serves Kasanoda tea and tries to get to know him. She introduces herself as another First Year student. Kasanoda asks if she likes playing "kick the can". Haruhi hasn't played that before, but wouldn't mind trying it with him. Kasanoda is a bit disturbed -- why does this boy look so much like a girl?

Thankfully, the Hosts have decided on their next experiment. For their next "Lovely Image", they will use the magic powers of -- cat ears.

... not like that worked.

Which is what happens when Tamaki gets his advice from Renge. The Twins offer to improve this by pairing neko-mimi with a maid outfit. Tetsuya shows up just as Kasanoda is trying out this idea. The embarassed Kasanoda runs away, chased by his faithful retainer (who's actually something of a soft-spoken, girly type, hrm -- didn't they need a "Lovely Item"?). Haruhi picks up the cat ears he dropped and remembers how badly Kasanoda wanted to fit in. Honey sits down beside her with the same hope for their new friend.

In the garden, Kasanoda remembers the frightened voices of the other students. He tends to a sparrow with a broken wing he saved, and hid in a picnic basket there. For no apparently "good" reason I can think of, he has to reassure the bird over a shot of a fountain, specifically the fountainhead that is a peeing boy. (BONES has a weird sense of humour, not unlikeable at that.) Haruhi finds him, and is immediately taken in with the bird (Kasanoda's bird, not the other bird). As Haruhi plays with the bird, Kasanoda still can't help but think she's awfully like a girl.

Honey shouts at them to take cover. A paint can flies at Kasanoda, though Honey kicks it out of the way. (Go unintentional action sequences! This was cool!) Haruhi is still hit with red paint though, which terrifies Tamaki, who thinks it's blood. Mori finds the two students responsible for the pots and cans. The Twins helpfully tie them up with sai-on-a-rope (and the spoken sound effect, "sai!"). The two students make a lot of noises about doing this for their own young master. Kasanoda is overwhelmed by Mori's aid, and wonders how he deserved such kindness. Mori pats him on the head (like he does Haruhi and Honey), telling him he can tell the difference between good and bad people just by looking at them.

Haruhi wanders off to change her clothes, declining an offer of help from the Twins. Tetsuya appears to beat up his retainers. It turns out he is the young master they were referring to, and mistakenly believed he stayed with Kasanoda under threat. A year ago, Tetsuya had a fight with his own father, the head of the Sendou gang, and ran away during a storm. Kasanoda found him, without knowing who he was, and offered him shelter. Since then, he's stayed with Kasanoda, and would now like to officially defect to the Kasanoda gang on account of their kindness to him. He offers Kasanoda an umbrella, as Kasanoda had offered him an umbrella before, and Kasanoda accepts his allegiance.

Kasanoda remembers he forgot to apologize to Haruhi for the trouble he's caused, and goes off to do so. Everyone's ready to let this end well, until an unimpressed Kyouya reminds them that Haruhi happens to be changing. Kasanoda finds Haruhi in Music Room 3, and catches sight of her in her bra. Horrible shocking revelations, in the next Ouran!

I don't believe I've ever reviewed anything with so many smileys and exclamation marks before, but that's what you get when pretty boys in period wear with swords come into the picture. Plenty of good characterization with this episode. Kasanoda is an easily likeable ruffian, even without the fluffy sparrow to be his "Lovely Item". Tetsuya's sudden switch from soft-spoken gentleman to full-on gangster was very nicely executed. The accidental action scenes from Mori and Honey were great fun. Animation is still of a consistently high quality for this show -- if I don't mention it, it's really because there's nothing to complain about. I did seem to notice recycled voices for the two gangsters who were out to get Kasanoda (weren't these the same guys from Episode 6 or so, when Renge was first introduced?). When I saw the two pairs of shoes outside the Kasanoda household, and heard the plotting, I thought it was Tamaki and Kyouya talking. It wasn't a bad thing, but it did throw me off for the few seconds it happened. I could be mistaken though, as I wasn't paying attention to the credits later. Haruhi steals the show for her affinity with others, while Tamaki seems to be in another one of his real Baka Tonou phases. However, it's Honey who deserves the characterization credit for being the questioning voice of reason. One of the unstated factors at play seems to be how he can easily sympathize with Kasanoda's plight. After all, he was raised under not too dissimilar circumstances, having to be extremely macho even though that didn't reflect who he really was. And of course, Mori's misery over his reputation for being a Giant Teddy Bear was just as neat to see. (He is kind of a giant teddy, isn't he?)



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2006 05:54 pm (UTC)
It's too strange to hear Tamaki talk that way! I'm too accustomed to hearing him be all princely.

But, yeah, good episode.

Are you watching these without any fansubs? I'm assuiming you are because you keep putting (Raw) in your subject titles. My Japanese is so horrible that there's no way I could understand anything on my own.
Sep. 19th, 2006 02:06 pm (UTC)
*giggles* It was a shock to hear the sudden, "Gakuto-desu" voice come on. I keep hearing or seeing Gackt in Tamaki. I'm sure sooner or later, this closet repressed Gackt fascination will eat my brain! More to the point, I thought it was th3 s3x.

I am watching it with fansubs, yep. Wherever you see (Raw) in my reviews, I'm watching it without fansubs (mostly due to impatience, and I follow Solar Fansubs rather than Lunar, so I haven't been able to get episodes to date lately). My Japanese is crazy bad too. I recognize keywords and sort of wing it with the grammar. When the episode gets too talky, I have a ton of trouble. I cheat a lot by consulting other sites. For Ouran, I like Memento.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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