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Title:
 Ouran High School Host Club Series 1 Part 1

UK Distributor:  Manga Entertainment

BBFC Certificate:  15

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  19.99

Episodes:  1-13 (of 26)

Audio Options:  English 2.0, Japanese 2.0

Subtitles:  English

Release Date:  20th April 2009

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)
 

Ouran Host Club tells the story of Haruhi, a scholarship student at the Ouran Academy.  From the start you jump straight into the thick of it when Haruhi stumbles across the titular host club and breaks a very expensive vase.  As Haruhi does not have the money to pay off the debt, she is forced to work in the host club and thus has to conceal her true gender.  The first episode of the series shows not only how she only joins the club but also how the host club come to realise that Haruhi is not a boy!

It is pretty apparent from the start that this series does not take itself very seriously at all.  After all it pokes fun out of all the stereotypes that commonly appear in other 'Shojo' series.  For example Honey-Sempai, who looks like the youngest 'lolita' boy of the group, is actually the oldest.  Not only that but he is also the most dangerous as he is a prodigy in martial arts (and is obsessed with cake).  There is also the twins, which makes humour out of people who like incestuous yaoi pairings.
 

The series also makes jokes out of the ignorance of the rest of the club at Haruhi's differing circumstances.  For example, they often call Haruhi a "commoner" and are fascinated by simple things such as instant coffee and ramen.  The series isn't all comedy though, as it does like most Shojo titles include a romance element.  This for now is rather one sided, as club member Tamaki has a keen interest in Haruhi.  However, she views him to be a bit of an airhead and thus has no interest in him!


Each episode of the series is treated as a standalone story showing Haruhi's adventures as part of the Host Club.  By far the best episode in this first half is Haruhi in Wonderland.  As the title suggests it is an interpretation of the much loved book, Alice in Wonderland.  It shows Haruhi dreaming about the day she enrolled into the Ouran Academy.  She is distracted by Honey Sempai's rabbit who leads her down a hole and into Wonderland.  This episode is excellently done as the main characters fall in well with the original characters of the book.  For example, the twins play the role of the Cheshire Cat and Tamaki as the Mad Hatter.

One thing that the English dub is lacking is the translation of the constant messages that appears alongside each episodes.  However, these can be viewed in the Japanese dub or through the subtitles.  It is a shame though that these could not be included in both the dubs as these are often witty quotes which adds to the overall comedy.  Another extra of the English dub is the English opening and closing titles.  These though are annoying as they sound like bad karaoke renditions of the original tunes.  However, if you are like me and the

English songs are not to your taste, you can listen to the original songs on the Japanese dub.

The art style of Host Club is very smooth and keeps to the original style of Bisco Hatori's manga.  It also includes many of the over the top touches which are included in the manga.  These features include the close up shots of the main cast with large roses in view and excessive use of sparkles.  These all help to further add to the series' comedy element.


Even though this series does not have a story which develops from episode to episode it is still a very compelling watch.  It is a series which allows the viewer to watch not only the characters develop but the relationships between each other develop.  I would recommend people to watch this when you have had a bad day as it is guaranteed to leave you with a big grin on your face.

Extras

Clean Openings, Artwork and Trailers - pretty much the anime standard.

Ratings

Feature:   Extras:
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