48 CommentsAnime Analysis, No Anime is Dropped Forever / By Scamp /

No anime is dropped forever: Ouran High School Host Club

There’s no point in doing these ‘no anime is dropped forever’ posts if I don’t actu­ally watch any of the anime fea­tured. This time it’s into the dreaded shoujo realm with Ouran High School Host Club (which, btw, will possibly be followed by the overwhelming manliness of Princess Tutu).

Picked up on: Episode 1

Why I picked it up again: Because you lot told me to. However there’s also the reason that I have now grown increasingly tolerant of bishie-laden anime to the point that I’m actively seeking anime with BL undertones…which probably isn’t a good thing.

Review: There is a difference between parody and what Ouran is doing. Parody suggests you are mocking something, usually in a satirical manner. Playful parody is no different. You are still making fun of the very thing you are parodying but saying it in such a way that suggests you love these faults anyway. This is not what Ouran does. Ouran goes through the process of absolute blatant fan-pandering and the humour is based around the fact that they are pointing out that they are performing this fan-pandering. Pointing out what you are doing is not funny! It’s not parody either, it’s still just a constant exercise in fan-pandering. I am now writing a sentence which I’m using as an example as to how pointing out what I’m doing isn’t funny. You’re not laughing are you? Good, glad to see my readers have a proper sense of humour.

This was pretty much my reaction throughout the first 10 episodes of the show. However I was intent on enjoying this anime. Everyone else seems to love this anime, what the hell am I missing? Am I really still prejudice against an anime because it’s trying to appeal to women? One method I tried using to change my attitude towards the show was the glories of flirting. I have a post half-written in my drafts about how I love proper flirtatious characters like C.C, Horo and Senjogahara instead of the typical moe girl who’s reacts to any possibility of flirting by blushing and hiding her eyes under her fringe. When you think about it, Tamaki is the ultimate flirting machine. If you solidified fabulousness and gave it life, you would get Tamaki. That method didn’t work though and I’m not sure why. Maybe because his flirting was all fake?

I tried a bunch of different methods to try change my attitude towards the show, each ending with a  total failure to enjoy the show. (Incidentally there were two episodes in a row that impressed and I thought I’d stumbled across a mindset from which to enjoy the show, but the crap episode returned instantly. Looking back, the reason was because the two episodes focused on the class issue instead of the pretty boys). Eventually I tried the mindset of genderswapping. If this was an anime about one poor loser guy finding a club of beautiful women who nearly all fall for him, would my attitude towards the show be any different. Well, yes it would. I would have had a far easier time dismissing the show as crap instead of spending endless amounts of time worrying that I wasn’t approaching the show with the right mindset.

Please don’t go telling me this is a parody. The way Haruhi enters the abandoned music room the Host Club screams wish fulfillment. You too could find a room full of beautiful men, all of whom are in love with each other as much as they are in love with themselves, and having them attend to you. I didn’t watch this all to the end. I gave up after the episode where Honey hurt his tooth. The episode was set up entirely so they could have homoerotic scenes between Honey and that big bloke who never talks. They even go so far as to call it pure and utter moe in the show itself.

Was it worth picking up again: Not sure whether to toss this into the ‘I hate shojo’ pile or the ‘I hate moe’ pile. Or how about the completely homoerotic pile?

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48 Comments

  1. akani
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, really? I thought Ouran was hilarious and one of the best comedies out there besides Azumanga Daioh. But different people have different opinions, I guess.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      mwahahaha go my biased views, go!

      (for the record, I do like Azumanga myself a lot. At least there’s one of your favourite anime I don’t hate~)

  2. luffyluffy
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Which episode did you get up to?

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

      13…I think

      The one with Honey getting the toothache

  3. Posted June 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Not a parody? Do you have no soul?!

    How can you tell me that Ouran, being the ridiculous reverse harem farce it is, isn’t at least partly parody? It’s so absurd at times there’s no other way to view it than parody. Of course it’ll indulge in some fangirl baiting too, but even the in-show fangirl squealing was wryly humorous.

    • luffyluffy
      Posted June 23, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Did you get up to the episode where Casanoda visits Haruhi at the host club and all the girls start squealing because they think it’s actually a gay man?

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Nope, no soul here. I sold it when I bought this domain.

      Being ridicolous sounds much closer to laughing at something for being stupid. That’s like saying Umineko is a good show because it makes a mockery of the mystery murder island trope. Nope, I aint buying that

      • Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        Dude, how do you get to Umineko from what I was saying? Ouran is so clearly being self-parodying, the outrageous club themes, the exploitative merchandising, how each club personality plays up as an extreme exaggeration of stock bishie tropes. If the humor doesn’t tickle you, fine, but saying Ouran is only “a constant exercise in fan-pandering” is selling this particular anime way short.

  4. Posted June 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was parody that these guys were supposed to be attractive men even though they all looked like girls. Then I found out that’s how it’s supposed to be.

    The parody parts are minor, and even if it’s parody, it still has to be funny. None of the few parody elements here impressed me.

    It’s a show to itself. You watch the character interact and develop. They overcome their emotional issues and everyone lives happily ever after and whatnot. I guess they try to be funny at times too. All in all, this show wasn’t so great.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      These are women’s ideal men. Therefore it goes to show that women like other women. With no nipples or bellybuttons btw. Or hair. Come to think of it, is there a single anime character with hairy legs? I feel like they are tragically under-representated in anime.

      That sounds worryingly like a ‘it is what it is’ review.

      • Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

        Fra…

      • Leah-san
        Posted June 25, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        Sanji from One Piece I think.

  5. Hogart
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I think I felt the same way. There are far better shows to watch, and I didn’t find it as funny as people kept trying to convince me it was. I managed to get through it with sheer force of will, just like Love Hina back in the day. I just couldn’t care about a bunch of spoiled kids, let alone parodies of spoiled kids. It’s a bit like Maid-sama in that regard, and is one of the reasons I just don’t care to finish that series.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Love Hina…

      I actually thought of that series while writing this review. Nobody has brought it up so far, but I absolutely love that series even though it goes and contradicts slightly what I said in this review. It was my gateway drug so it gets a bit of leeway for nostalgia factor, but I have since re-watched some of it and still liked it.

      I know this isn’t the question you brought up and I’m just springing it on myself, but I guess the reason I like Love Hina and not Ouran is because one feels genuine while the other just points out that they are pandering to you.

  6. Elysium
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    … I’ve never checked out Ouran, and I’m not sure if I’ll do it now… ^^;

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      Watch Berserk. The two main male characters have a naked waterfight in episode 4, and they are proper men with muscles and nipples and everything. Plenty of fanservice there as well as actually having a plot

      (sorry if you’re not a girl btw~)

      • Elysium
        Posted June 25, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        How did you know I was a girl? D:

        … but I think I’ll go watch that… for the sake of story, of course. Yeah. Of course. Story means everything to me, more than naked men in waterfights.. yeah…

      • Leah-san
        Posted June 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Eh.
        But Ouran is not that bad. Check out the manga.

  7. Random_Lurker
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    I never really looked at Ouran as a parody to be honest. To me it was just a comedy show, plain and simple. It seems like some people label every over-the-top comedy as a parody, when that isn’t the necessarily the case. And just because some parody can be found in a particular series, doesn’t make the series as a whole a parody.

    That said, I can understand why some people wouldn’t like it. It’s just like Baka Test, some people found that to be the funniest thing ever, where I found myself hardly laughing. I find it kinda hard to say if comedy shows are in general good or bad, because it all depends on your taste in humor. I thought Ouran was hilarious, but not everyone is going to find extravagant men acting ridiculous to be funny lol.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      The thing is, I have in the past enjoyed watching extravagent men acting ridiculous. When you put it that way, Ouran sounds like exactly the sort of thing I should love.

      There’s very few anime that could be called a straight up parody. Maria Holic is the only one I can think of and even that’s debatable. I do think Ouran tries to present itself as a parody though, and that’s what I’m taking issue with here

  8. Posted June 23, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    This was one of the first anime I was seriously into. Ha ha, watched it three times in a row. I wonder how I would feel about it if I watched it again now, after more than three years and a lot in between.

    For what it’s worth and what I remember of the anime, the manga is more enjoyable overall.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Strangely, I heard the exact opposite from many people. That they preffered the anime version because it cut out a lot of the melodramatic crap

  9. Posted June 24, 2010 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    You don’t like the same things I do and your opinions are different from mine! Ergo, you’re a horrible person!

    Seriously though, like I said, if the first three episodes aren’t your thing, I figured there wasn’t any way that you’d like it. The way I saw it was that it exaggerates the reverse harem tropes far enough for comedic effect, but not so far that it’s eye-roll inducing, and that’s where I got a lot of my mileage out of that show.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      I hate all your favourite anime. Including Gunbuster, which someone even brought up in the comments below here.

      I don’t think I was ever eye-rolling though. Just unammused

  10. Posted June 24, 2010 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    A few years back when I watched this, I didn’t like it and when I was bored enough to watch a few episodes again a few months back, I still didn’t like it despite having developed some level of tolerance to shows like it…

    I had a similar reaction as you did when I just simply didn’t get why this is even considered funny at all even when it tries its best to be. Haruhi…well, let’s say I wasn’t too fond of her. I didn’t exactly come to hate her, but the situations she got herself in were very…what was the word for it? Ah — “staged”. Like something the author knew fans of the genre would like seeing the characters do instead of anything actually believable.

    In the end, I came out of this series extremely stressed due to frustration…which I assume is the opposite of what it aimed to do. Obviously, this series was not my cup of tea, and I still can’t understand why it’s so popular, but I can somewhat understand that some people would like it anyways.

    • Posted June 24, 2010 at 5:27 am | Permalink

      staged? i think that’s the entire point. in shoujo they try to pass off those scenarios as genuine and the real deal. at least in host club they’re being honest about it’s ridiculousness. (and sometimes flat out break the 4th wall and point it out too)

      @scamp: i figured you wouldn’t like it. lol. i guess there is a degree of your original assumption of “you have to be a shoujo fan to like it” except instead of shoujo fan you just need to have put yourself through enough shoujo to know all the tropes. when i was watching it i was waiting for their twist on all of them: the hot springs scene, the trip to the beach scene, the awkward first date scene, the rival in love arrives scene, etc, etc ,etc.

      and yeah, maybe the premise screams wish fullfillment, but if that’s screaming then other shoujo reverse harems are blaring through huge stereos and taking out cities jericho style.

      just please tell me that one of the episodes you enjoyed didn’t include the alice one. ugh. did you even get to the kyouya episode? i cant remember what order the eps went it.

      • Posted June 24, 2010 at 5:54 am | Permalink

        I suppose that’s why I just generally don’t deal well with Shoujo, huh? There are a handful that I like, but they’re few and very far between.

        Even if I knew enough of the tropes going around the second time, my personal sense of humor just didn’t stick with the series’ style of messing around with the normal tropes/being over the top sometimes. Even breaking the fourth wall to point out the ridiculousness really didn’t do it for me…

        Though I was okay with the series at first…and then the series just hit all the wrong points in my personal tastes and…yeah. It’s just a difference in tastes. I can’t call the series bad at all, but I can say that it just isn’t my type of anime.

        Hmmm…there was that episode where the twins feuded that was pretty funny though…Not outright “Haha” but generally amusing.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      I agree with @gw_kimmy here, the whole point of the show was that it was staged. That’s what it builds its humour off.

      I have watched a bit of shoujo though. My dislike of the genre is far from unfounded (unlike yuri, which I’ve watched about 4 episodes from 3 different series of. However, they were all hopelessly dull). Checking my MAL now, I’ve seen all of Fruits Basket, Itazuru na Kiss and Lovely Complex (which is notable in that it doesn’t drown in shoujo stereotypes, and remains the only shoujo I actually enjoyed, albeit only mildly) along with the first few episodes of Kimi ni Todoke, Skip Beat and Maid-sama.

      It does run back to my point that you have to enjoy the thing they are parodying to enjoy the playful parody itself. However after watching even further I have my doubts about even that. Does pointing out what you are doing now constitute palyful parody? Or is that what it’s always been and I’ve not been paying attention?

      • Posted June 25, 2010 at 6:05 am | Permalink

        I think the whole “pointing out what you’re doing” is necessary, especialjy in a “shoujo parody” since that’s exactly what most shoujo NEED in terms of a reality check. normal shoujo make men sparkle with roses and stuff and the heroine is in awe because somehow his amazing-ness is believable and logic says the roses make sense. in ouran they instead go “wtf are roses doing in your background”.

        i used to enjoy shoujo back in my earlier teen years and read boatloads of it, but the same definitely can’t be said now, but i enjoyed ouran just the same for pointing out the stupid things i used to enjoy.

        i do agree that sometimes ouran overloads on the moe factor, though. the honey’s tooth episode was fillerish and annoying, although im thankful they included the short strip about honey’s usa-chan getting soaked with tea.

        pity you didn’t make it to some of my favorite eps, especially kyouya’s episode with his gendo father, lmao.

  11. Posted June 24, 2010 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    I thought Ouran is pretty good, but what i dislike most is the scene starting out with all these flowery background when entering the club room. I dislike them all posed out like models. It was like they were so prepared to welcome someone???

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      But wouldn’t you just love it if you went into a room one day and, while carefully evading projectile rose petals, encounter a group of beautiful men at your beck and call?

      bleargh

  12. Leah-san
    Posted June 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Wow.
    The manga, that I would place in my top 5 because it has such great humour, wonderful, likeable Characters who grow in the process of the story, is so underrated in your review?
    The manga, but also the anime never failed to make me laugh. But in the end, it’s your opinion. I just hope that you like Princess Tutu. If you can’t see that PT is a masterpiece with heart, than I’m really dissapointed. But hey, there are also people who don’t like FLCL. Insane, isn’t it?

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard that there’s people who don’t like FLCL. I tend not to think of them as people though.

      I hope I like Princess Tutu, partly because I love the feeling when a show lives up to the hype, but mainly because I can see my viewcounter being drastically cut if I don’t like that anime

      • Posted June 25, 2010 at 6:08 am | Permalink

        i didn’t enjoy flcl…

        *gets stoned to death*

        well, what can i say, i wasn’t impressed. *shrugs*

  13. Vinnie
    Posted June 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    You know, I liked Ouran up to a point. I liked it for its silly comedy episodes. When they introduced the drama from around episode 20 onwards, I got really, really bored. Yes it sucks being rich, yes it sucks being bethrothed at a young age, yes you will have parent issues… yawn… I did finish it (I own it on DVD) eventually, but not without a lot of boredom.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard the manga is even worse with that. Reviews I’ve read said that the anime cut out a lot of the melodrama and people preffered it because of that. So you lucked out there

      • Leah-san
        Posted June 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Well, the melodrama sucks, but the manga is still 100 times funnier than the anime. When I was watching the anime, I was always smiling, or chuckling at their sillyness. When I was reading the manga, I was almost crying because it was so insane funny. Also I like the character of Kyoya alot more in the manga. He was just so evil, it was fun. But yeah, the melodrama is a big turnoff there, and it’s filled with clichés. Also I can’t understand why ebing rich is such a problem. I think it’s more off a problem if one is poor, has no job and shares an apartment with an gay guy who looks unbelievable good but is gay so you can’t get him, an emo girl who tends to throw sharp thing at said guy and a fat cat. Not that this applies to me…. *cough*

  14. Posted June 24, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Been a while since I watched the series, but I remember the the Lobelia episode being particularly hilarious, like some absurd war between idealized yaoi types (the host club dudes) vs. idealized yuri types (the Lobelia ladies) for Haruhi’s fandom. Always kills me whenever I think of it.

    Just commenting on the “wish fulfillment” criticism for a moment. I think it’s a valid criticism in Ouran’s case (if it’s distracting and not entertaining for you, then there’s really nothing to say), but isn’t a lot of anime wish fulfillment to some extent? Death Note? Gurren Lagann? (Mecha in general, really.) Haruhi Suzumiya? And on and on and on. Is there anything that makes that type of wish fulfillment different for you aside from the gender it is generally aimed toward? (An honest question lol.)

    Anyway, not liking Ouran doesn’t make you as evil as not liking Gunbuster. I think the series is plenty funny, but I can see why others would think it is dumb and boring.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      The Lobelia episode was one of the two I enjoyed because it ramped up the ridiculous factor. The other one I liked was the one where they met Haruhi’s dad, mainly because it had Tamaki’s dream about visiting her house in it. By far the funniest scene from the entire anime.

      Urgh, putting me on the spot with a question. These comment replies are taking forever! I think I wrote a comment on THAT that is slightly related to that, let’s see if I can find it….aha!

      Those most popular anime you mentioned, Geass, DN, FMA etc. All these do have people with powers that can be viewed as escapist. But in those three (bleh @ Naruto and Bleach) the characters with these powers suffer constant grievences from having them. If the idea that people are watching these anime as an escapist route, then these anime are shoving their escape back in their face by showing what would happen if you had these powers. Ed gets owned hard for trying too much with his power and both Light and Lelouch are made to pay for their actions as well. So much for escapism~

      Replace escapist with wish fufillment. Although looking at it now that’s not a very good answer to what you’re asking. urgh, I better try again….Ouran….doesn’t have a point outside of wish-fufillment

      • Posted June 25, 2010 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        that is true for like, 99.9999% of all shoujo reverse harems.

        only difference with ouran is haruhi. she isn’t exactly thrilled about having to spend her time with a load of bishounen (CRAZY, RIGHT?!?!>!1211). instead she gets to know them as friends and blahblahblah, etc. it’s one of the points this anime gets praised on a lot.

  15. Posted June 24, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Not that this would be the first time we’ve disagreed on a series, hehe, but what you called explaining the jokes to me came off as the show’s method for parody. When it did state something explicitly it felt to me more like it was using the staged or stereotypical event or trope as an example of what’s in most shoujo and then have the characters make the commentary. You can do parody the straight way, as Ouran does by making the commentary itself, or you can parody something in a more artful way by making something so ridiculous that the characters don’t realize it and the commentary/interpretation is left up to the viewers. Just because Ouran takes the simpler route doesn’t disqualify it as parody in my view.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      But that’s my problem! Does doing something and then pointing out that you are doing it now constitute parody? I could use the example of parodying these posts. Ouran is like someone writing exactly what I’m writing except with more exclamation marks, followed by a sentance of ‘this is quite like Scamp’s posts, isn’t it’. That’s not bloody parody in my book!

  16. Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    I want to force you to watch Ashita no Nadja so hard.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      …I want to watch more manly anime…

  17. Posted June 25, 2010 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    This does not bode well for Tutu…

  18. Posted June 25, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    for some reason, this show has a brain-shutting effect on me. I just enjoy the ride and the silliness thoughtlessly. The episode about Honey-senpai’s cake addiction is so funny.

  19. Sy
    Posted July 16, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I have to say, THANK YOU for writing this, because I have been thinking about this for a long time. I, myself, used to believe that Ouran was a parody too (or at least, I wanted it to be), but now no longer, particulalry with the way the manga has gone.

    I think the problem comes with the fact that people have a different definition for what a parody is. I think, when you get right down to it, what people often call a parody (for example, Haruhi Suzumiya dressing up as Phoenix Wright) is actually a pastiche. It’s just imitation without any commentary on what they’re actually imitating. The definitions with regards to parody and satire are hazy I suppose.

    But back to your original point. Pointing out what you are doing does not make you a parody, and pointing out that you are actually using typical shoujo tropes doesn’t make you a parody of shoujo, you’re just a shoujo that has decided to point out what you are doing.

    Of course, pointing out can help with a parody, and so does some form of observation and awareness, but if there is no real commentary, then for me, it also falls flat

    and, in my opinion, you really can’t be parodying something whilst still trying to be it at the same time, for me that doesn’t work, and I think that’s the case here too. It’s like Ouran wants to be a parody (or the praise with being known as a parody/satire) whilst still wanting to be a shoujo.

    Not that it has to take away from Ouran or mean that people can’t enjoy it, but I have to say that often, labeling a show as a parody, and particulalry a satire gives it credit for cleverness and wit that it doesn’t deserve. To go on a slight tangent, I have seen people have the same problem with Glee for that reason.

  20. KnightMasters
    Posted January 2, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    what anime is that bottum one from o.o

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