Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $69.98 US
Running Time: 625 minutes
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now
A series that will make you wish your High school had a Host Club.
I have to admit that when the manga came out and, much later, the anime was released, Ouran High School Host Club never really caught my attention. It wasn’t until fellow reviewer, Sophie Stevens, handed me her copy of the first part of the anime series that I got hooked enough that I just had to check out the manga. This is when I discovered that Ouran High School Host Club was the type of series that would instantly make a fan out of anyone who loves quirky comedies and shoujo that strays from the typical shoujo elements and that alone makes this series worthy of a Complete Series box set on Blu-ray in a three-disc set.
You see, Ouran Academy is a school where Japan’s elite and prestigious families send their offspring. It’s a school that looks more like a mansion and its students are pampered and have way too much free time on their hands. So much free time, mind you, that the girls in the school visit a club where they are treated like royalty by the handsomest students that make up the Host Club. One day, the boyishly nerdy Haruhi Fujioka – who is attending Ouran because of a scholarship – stumbles into the Host Club and manages to break an expensive antique vase the boys were planning on auctioning.
As a result of this little blunder, the Club’s President (who calls himself the King) named Tamaki Suou has Haruhi do odd jobs for them until the six boys discover that Haruhi is actually a girl. Giving her a makeover, Haruhi turns out to be good-looking enough to pass off as an attractive boy and soon she finds herself working as a Host and entertaining cute girls.
While it sounds like a simple enough task, Haruhi discovers that she has to put up with the boys as well who begin to change as a result of her being around. There are the twins, Kaoru and Hikaru Hitachiin, who had just turn to each another for help (and, for some reason, drive the girls wild with their pretend “twincest” as one character calls it) but now that Haruhi is with them they become more socially accepting of others. Then there’s the tall, silent and handsome Mori who is almost always seen with the genuinely adorable Honey-senpai. Finally, there’s Kyoya Otori, Vice-President of the club and actually the real mastermind behind the Host Club.
Before she knows it, Haruhi finds herself actually enjoying her job and the girls – not knowing the fact that Haruhi is a girl – enjoy her company. She discovers that there’s always something different going on in the club whether they’re going with a tropical theme, use cosplay outfits or hold events such as a cherry blossom viewing party.
What she also discovers is that Tamaki is really determined to make his guests happy by going out of his way to help them. In one episode they help a client get together with the boy who picks their chinaware and in another they help a boy try to win the heart of the girl he likes. In one of my favorite episodes, a tough kid who is next in line to become a Yakuza boss wants to be loved by girls just like Mori and he asks for help to become cute. They even help the President of the Black Magic Club who wants to be close to his little sister who is afraid of the dark and the Newspaper Club that is on the verge of being disbanded.
The series is filled with plenty of wacky humor, much of it at the expense of Tamaki who is so delusional that he sees himself as Haruhi’s “daddy” and doesn’t understand why he becomes so insanely jealous when the twins or other boys that know her secret try to become romantically involved with her. We also get background on each member of the Host Club such as how somebody as cute as Honey-senpai can be so skilled at martial arts that he can take down a small platoon of U.S. Marines. Then there’s the Otaku fan girl named Renge who becomes obsessed with the Club that it almost seems that she lives under the club’s floorboards.
The comedy is one of the many elements in the show that makes this one of the most entertaining comedies. It’s fun to see these rich kids and the girl they consider a mere “commoner” help them understand themselves. Even Haruhi’s life changes as a result and not because she has become a cross-dresser like her father but because she begins to branch out as well and enjoy herself in ways she never would have on her own. There’s romantic elements as well but the series never force feeds it down our throats and – as a result – it becomes even more endearing.
The Blu-ray package comes with a large number of extras that were included in the two sets that were released a few years back and yes it looks absolutely amazing in HD. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it looks even better than other Blu-ray anime releases.
The Complete Series of Ouran High School Host Club is simply a comedy of insanely fun and hilarious proportions and on Blu-ray it is a truly Must Have collection that should be on your list. Yes, it’s pricey but you cannot go wrong with a series that will win you over by Episode 1 down to the very appealing ending. We can’t recommend this one enough and even more so to those looking for a romance-comedy anime that’s insanely funny.
BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Haruhi Fujioka isn’t the wealthiest student in Ouran Academy and when she accidentally breaks an expensive vase in the school’s only Host Club run by the handsomest boys in school, she is asked to become a host herself to pay off the debt … by posing as a boy. As she comes to accept her new position, Haruhi slowly begins to change the lives of each of the boys.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
This is just what you would expect from an anime transferred to the Blu-ray format. The animation looks even more crisp and clean in HD and even the menu screen is impressive. Now this is how you present anime on Blu-ray.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The series sounds just as good as it looks so watching this one on a good sound system is a definite Must. The original score works beautifully for this series as does the amazing voice cast for the English dub that includes Vic Mignogna, Caitlin Glass, Greg Ayres and J. Michael Tatum just to name a few of the great cast. The original Japanese voices are great but I can’t imagine anyone else doing Honey-senpai quite like Luci Christian.
Each disc contains audio commentary tracks for six different episodes with Caitlin Glass (ADR Director and voice of Haruhi) and different cast members that include Monica Rial and Aaron Dismuke to name a few. The best stuff comes in the form of two hilarious Outtakes features, pages from the Ouran High School Host Club VIZ Media manga. You can also watch the opening and closing without text and there are a few trailers as well. You just have to love a Complete Series set with so many extras.
A straight up fun, quirky and completely likeable series from start to finish, The Complete Series of Ouran High School Host Club is a collection that not only deserves to be on Blu-ray but also deserves a place among your collection if you like a romance-comedy anime that is laugh-out-loud funny.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment