Ouran High School Host Club (Drama) – 09
The Ouran High School Host Club drama isn’t quite over yet, but a movie announcement has already been made. The timing for it seems appropriate, coming off an episode about Haruhi and Hikaru’s first date that gave a healthy dose of everything this live-action adaptation has to offer. Unfortunately for me, that includes some pretty awkward scenes where Kyouya is fawning over a cross-dressing Haninozuka and sharing a drink with him. *shudder* I really wanted to pretend I didn’t see that, but they made it so prominent that it was impossible not to notice. Luckily, there were a lot of slapstick moments to offset it to some degree, most of which was at Tamaki’s expense. Heck, even Honey got in on that and looked genuinely pissed off when he smacked Tamaki too. Kudos to the staff and cast for going all out in both aspects though, as I was reminded of the same awkward yet humorous moments seen in the anime.
The drama aspect wasn’t too shabby either, particularly in the opening scene that introduced Tamaki’s grandmother, Suou Shizue (Enami Kyouko). As suspected, the writers continue to be build up that subplot every episode in preparation for the finale, dropping signs for both Haruhi and us to pick up on. In comparison, Hikaru’s spiteful nature toward Haruhi’s childhood friend Arai (Akimoto Ryuutarou) was a little harder to swallow, mostly because he acted like a jealous little kid. Yes that was part of the story and the reason why Kaoru set him up on a date with Haruhi, but it still came off somewhat forced. That’s even without the part where Haruhi finally learns that Arai had a crush on her in middle school and gets grilled for it, which as much as I would’ve liked to see included, actually made sense to take out so that it didn’t disrupt the mood leading up to the slap she gave Hikaru.
On the plus side, the melodrama did get better when things shifted to their date, where Kaoru was taken back by Haruhi’s cuteness. He eventually opened up to her for realizing he was worried about Kaoru, and things looked like an actual date until they bumped into Arai. That bit of conflict served as a nice setup to the church scene, which was not only really well done, but also add new developments the anime didn’t have. It started the same way with Hikaru’s stark realization that he didn’t pick up on any of the signs that Haruhi’s afraid of thunder and led to him apologizing to her, after which there was a really sweet scene between Tamaki and Haruhi where the former made good on how he said he’d go through anything for her. Amazingly enough, that didn’t take away from Hikaru’s moment with Haruhi. I was expecting Tamaki to hit him for leaving Haruhi behind but he patted Hikaru on the shoulder for finding her instead. Talk between the others of how Kaoru inadvertently opened Pandora’s Box and made Hikaru really fall for Haruhi was also something I don’t recall, yet really emphasized the love triangle in a powerful way.
As a follow-up, the usual switchover to a comedic air for the credits was much appreciated this time around, as it showed there wasn’t any bad blood between Hikaru and Tamaki. They were back to their usual selves and planning for the Host Club anniversary party next time, which Tamaki’s grandmother will probably have something to say about as she tries to dissolve their club. In addition, it looks like the drama’s going to feature Komatsuzawa Akira (Nagase Tasuku) and his school newspaper shenanigans. I’m not looking forward to that, but I’ll have to see how it plays out.