Haruhi Fujioka is a bookish girl, clever enough to be granted a scholarship into the prestigious private Ouran High School. However, she remains a “commoner” amongst the wealthy and elite around her, so when she accidentally breaks a priceless lamp, she finds herself paying off her debt in the most unusual manner.
Enter the host club – a group of attractive young men who spend their time entertaining and charming the young women of the school. This group is comprised of each kind of anime male archetype – the prince, the stoic quiet one, the cynical smart one, the adorable one and mischievous twins. Haruhi finds herself joining the group and dressing as a male host to pay off her debt.
Ouran High School Host Club is a mixed bag. It draws much of its comedy from parodying the shoujo genre with exaggerated motifs such as flower petals and sparkles, alongside postmodern references – at one point Tamaki (our prince figure) observes that he and Haruhi are the key players in a romantic comedy, and the rest of the host club are the “homosexual supporting cast”. Slapstick and melodrama is also frequently used, which can be tiring or distracting in places, but often works well to highlight the differences between the superficial emotional tendencies of Tamaki with Haruhi’s pragmatic nature.
For all of its fooling around, Ouran High School Host Club offers some hilarious moments, and some truly moving ones too as we witness the blossoming relationship between Tamaki and Haruhi, and are offered some touchingly presented emotional scenes as we learn more about how each host club member has become the person they are.
This is a classic shoujo anime with heart and humour, if you can get used to the over the top antics, you’ll enjoy its spirit.