Ok, so after getting distracted with Tumbling for a couple of weeks (which was totally worth, fyi) I can finally accomplish the post I’ve been meaning to get to for awhile now. As you know from my super excited post way back in June, the Ouran Highschool Host Club drama was released in Japan at the end of July. So far, 8 episodes have aired, and I’ve seen 7 of them (still waiting for the 8th to be posted). It’s fun, because I’ve seen the anime enough that I know what happens, so I don’t need to wait to watch the English subtitled version. Although, some parts do deviate a little from the original, so I end up watching them twice. But hey, I’m cool with that. Anyway, 7 episodes is a sufficient amount of viewing to write a reasonable review, so here goes. By the way, there’s no spoilers here.
Mainly, my review, though it’ll go on for several more paragraphs (which you’ll still probably read), can be summed up in a single statement: IT ROCKS! Yes, yes it does.
First off, yes, there are a few things, especially with episode 2 where it doesn’t follow the anime. But that’s ok! No, seriously. What was changed, I can see why they did it as far as the story line goes, and I think they did a fantastic job with it. They kept all the ‘happy fan’ parts in the right place (and no, that’s not a ‘dirty’ term, by that I mean scenes that fans would kill people if they were cut out).
In episode 2, they took a character who literally had a walk-on role in the anime (she stood next to Kyoya in principal’s office when Tamaki started his first day of middle school, and all she did was gush when Tamaki told her she had pretty, straight hair) and made her important. That little moment caused a huge break down in that episode, where Tamaki’s words held quite an impression, and it was a much better character story to use than whiney Kanako and her tea cup, host swapping crap.
Also, episode 5, if you ask ANY Ouran fan, will be ranked in their top 3, depending on which character is their favorite it’ll be in either spot there. They pushed the episode one step further, keeping the BEST scenes in there, but adding more “OMG!” moments to it. For Kyoya fans, it’s extremely pleasant surprise, because, as we know, Kyoya’s character development in the anime doesn’t happen until two-thirds of the way in. Well, in the live action, it starts in episode 5. I’m not going to give any spoilers on that one. I’m just going to tell you it’s awesome, like, “finding money in your winter coat pocket from last season that you didn’t know you had” awesome.
As for the casting, and this is coming from someone who had no prior experience with any of these actors (Ouran’s my first J-drama. I know, where have I been, right?), I think they’re all well casted. I have a couple minor nit-picks, but don’t we all. I’m not complaining, I think the cast is great. Starting with Haruhi, solely on looks, she’s perfect. When dressed like a girl, it’s completely obvious she is one, even with short hair. When she’s a host, that line blurs a lot, as it’s supposed to. Good call on that. Kawaguchi also captures the annoyance that Haruhi feels frequnetly very well.
As for Tamaki, when I first saw him I thought to myself, “wow, his face is very unique.” But that’s not in a bad way, in fact I think Yamamoto Yusuke is a very good looking actor. Honestly, that was the thought I was hoping for with him, after all, Tamaki’s character is supposed to be half French anyway. I do wish his hair was significantly more blonde, but again, I’ve got no complaints on this one. Yamamoto nails his outlandishness and overzealous behaviors, but is still completely capable of more serious moments when they’re needed.
Kyoya, oh geez, where do I start? He was the only character that I actually wasn’t too horribly impressed with. That was short lived, mind you. I guess we’re most critical of our favorite characters. Daito nails the ‘cold as ice’ vibe that Kyoya’s known for putting off, but there’s a slight pompousness to Kyoya’s actions and speech that I feel like is missing. As the episodes go on though, and especially after episode 5, I don’t miss it. I even think I might like the live action Kyoya better than the anime one. But now after seeing the Japanese drama Tumbling, I just love Daito as an actor, period. And did I mention he’s got the most gorgeous smile that I’ve ever seen on any human being, ever? Truth.
As bizarre as it sounds, I think I might have been convinced that Japan doesn’t have celebrity twins, because I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the casting for the Hitachiin brothers. Perfect. That’s all I’ve got to say. Except, again with the hair, I wish it was more orange, but that bothers me less and less as the episodes continue on. Something I’ve noticed in the anime, is that they have this attitude when they realize Haruhi can tell them apart together that’s a cross between “oh crap, what do we do now” and “well, that’s interesting.” The Takagi twins nailed it. It’s a bigger depth of character for the Hitachiin brothers than just their goofy antics and trouble making.
Here I am thinking they got some twelve year old kid to play Honey, when really he’s 22 years old. Facially, they’re spot on in my opinion, but his hair drives me absolutely nuts. He’s supposed to be BLONDE, not red. But, I’ll give Chiba credit. His rendition of Honey, I think, is impressive, so again, whatever on the hair color. I was very curious as to how they would deal with the height thing, because while Chiba isn’t that tall, he isn’t short either. The shrinking when he jumps is hilarious, and I’m ok with it. As far as characters go, this casting is the one I read the most complaints about. I think they’re all nuts. He’s an excellent Honey senpai!
Now Mori, I really don’t have a lot to say about. Sorry, the pun wasn’t completely intended, but it’s true. (If you didn’t get the pun: Mori doesn’t say much, ever.) Frankly, as far as characters go in Ouran, Mori seems to be the least important. Really, he just follows Honey around, and only has somewhat of a character development in one episode: Honey’s Three Bitter Days. That episode is not until the latter half of the series, so hopefully that’ll make me less indifferent about him. But in his favor, he does do a great job of, you know, not speaking.
I am thrilled with how Ouran is playing out. To first time Ouran watchers, keep in mind: the bizarre things are part of the charm. It is, after all, based off of an anime. As for Ouran anime veterans, keep an open mind. It’s true to the story, and even though some things are a little different, it’s still right on in character development and vibe.