「Episode 1」

The live-action Ouran Hight School Host Club drama is here and boy is it a doozie. I thought an eccentric Suou Tamaki voiced by Miyano Mamoru was a bit much, but Yamamoto Yuusuke takes it to another level. Don’t even get me started about the twins, Hitachiin Kaoru and Hikaru, played by real-life twin actors Takagi Manpei and Shinpei respectively, who take their forbidden love act to uncomfortable extremes. That’s the number one thing that I wasn’t looking forward to at all. 3D can be pretty dangerous.

At the center of all the antics, we have poor Fujioka Haruhi (in every sense of the word poor), played by Kawaguchi Haruna. For those completely unfamiliar with the 26-episode anime that aired back in 2006 and the 18-volume manga that was published from 2002 to 2010, the quick rundown the premise is that Haruhi is a commoner, who enters the prestigious school intended for the rich, Ouran Academy, on a scholarship. She’s often mistaken for a guy since she doesn’t care about her appearance and only hopes to pass the next three years of high school as unnoticed as possible. That all changes when she enters the No. 3 Music Room in search of a quiet place to study, only to find a host club run by Tamaki. She inadvertently breaks an 8 million yen vase and winds up working in the club to pay it off. Most of the other members — vice president Ootori Kyouya (Daitou Shunsuke), the aforementioned twins Hitachiin Kaoru and Hikaru, and third-year seniors, Haninozuka Misukuni a.k.a. “Honey” (Chiba Yuudai) and Morinozuka Takashi (Nakamura Masaya) — initially believe that Haruhi’s an unattractive guy, but when the glasses come off it’s a whole different story. Most of them realize that she’s a girl fairly quickly, except Tamaki who finds out last and falls head-over-heels in love with Haruhi even more.

If you’ve never watched a Japanese drama based on a manga/anime, Ouran High School Host Club will probably be too much to take in. It actually took me a while to get accustomed to all the actor versions of the characters, even though I’m familiar with both the anime and these shoujo drama adaptations in general. Once I did, I was pretty impressed by Yuusuke’s performance as Tamaki. The only other drama I’ve seen him in is Hanazakari no Kimi-tachi e, where he had a relatively soft-spoken role, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Also, Tamaki’s not exactly the easiest type of character to play — often going off on a complete tangent when no one even cares to listen — yet Yuusuke brings out all his sudden mood changes remarkably well. He’s goofy and eccentrically idiotic, but that’s the way his character’s meant to be as far as I’m concerned. Throw in some CG effects to give it the anime-esque feel and we’re golden.

Haruna on the other hand is in more of a “reactive role” as Haruhi, since she gets caught up the host club’s pace more often than not. Because of that, she didn’t really leave much of a first impression other than she definitely looks the part. As for the others, Kyouya’s calculating like he should be and Mori is tall and quiet, leaving Honey as the last role that I wasn’t sure how it would play out. I had enough difficulty getting accustomed to an anime character who looks like a cute kid, so it was even harder with a 21-year-old actor acting like one. At first, I found Yuudai befitting of Honey’s character, but still incredibly awkward to watch. To the drama’s credit, they did make it somewhat easier by making a gag of how Honey seems to shrink in size, and even got a child body double to that end when he’s seen from behind. It definitely helps but I’ll still need a couple of more episodes before I’m used to the live-action version of him.

Much like the manga and anime started off, we’re given a quick introduction to the characters and shown how Haruhi gets dragged into the host club, before everyone makes a big deal out of instant coffee because they’re all filthy rich and never had it before. That had its fair share of quirky moments and then things got kind of ugly care of a jealous Ayanokouji Seika a.k.a. “Princess” (Ookawa Ai). Both aspects were pretty entertaining to watch, since it’s fun seeing how certain scenes are adapted. I was surprised to see Black Magic Club president Nekozawa Umehito (Ryuusei Ryou) and his cat hand-puppet Beelzenef get as much screen time as he did though. It seemed to suggest that he’s going to be a much more regular character in this drama. In any case, I like what I see and got a really good laugh out of Tamaki’s shock at the end. I’m going to go out on a limb and say female audiences that Ouran High School Host Club is targeted toward will appreciate the real-life fan-service too. There’s plenty more of that next time, when Haruhi has to somehow slip past a physical examination as a guy after becoming so popular with the female students. It’s like Hanakimi all over again now that I think about it. I can’t say that’s a bad thing though.

 

Preview

80 Comments

  1. This just looks weird. I can never quite imagine Ouran High School Host Club in live action. All the 3D manservice isn’t such a hook for me either. And Divine, is this just a one off review?

    gandalf8
    1. Gotta agree with you there… I love the host club… but just seeing them live is weird plus the funny facial expressions is part of the reason why the show is so hilarious… I dont know how Kaoru and Hikaru can pull it off…..

      Totoro!!
  2. Well then. If this ends mo better then the anime I’ll gladly watch this. And by mo betta I mean I want a damn actual kiss/confession scene or whatever…. not no. Take my hand as I ride my beautiful horse.

    Forloko
    1. Well they really have no reason to give us no confession scenes since the manga is finished. That’s why I’m expecting quite a bit from this drama. It’s been a long time since I’ve scene a well adapted live action drama. I’m a bit worried about how some of the comedy will translate in 3D, I’m hoping they keep it on a similar level to HanaKimi where even when it’s exaggerated its not cringeworthy.

      Saya
  3. I just can’t stop laugh after watching this. I really got accustomed with Haruhi and Kyouya after seeing them talk and act but tamaki and the others took me a while. I agree with you with Honey sempai. Still akward to see. I really wished they used a real innocent boy about 9-12 years old.
    Finally I really like “ANNOYING” CG. Tamaki just went flying XD.
    Thx Divine for telling me this series.

  4. I never enjoyed Japan drama before and I don’t think this one will change my opinion :/
    such a shame because I really LOVE ouran!! I really wish to be able to enjoy the drama too 🙁

    KGFJ
  5. “Most of them realize that she’s a girl fairly quickly, except Tamaki who finds out last and falls head-over-heels in love with Haruhi EVEN MORE.” Wait wat?

    babawaba
  6. baha the preview. The gheiness of Hikaru and Kyouya ♥ The only normally posed ones are Yuusuke and the dude who plays Kaoru.

    And OMG that dude is 21? I saw the cast list before but I thought for sure they would at least cast a teen.

    Can’t wait to watch it. Hopefully HOPEFULLY this restores my hope in live-action adaptions. Most of the ones that have aired (and that I’ve seen) in the last couple of years were pretty disappointing. I hope it is somewhat like HanaKimi all over again if not better. I was pretty against Yuusuke acting out Tamaki …he’s just so…boney…but its seems he’s doing a pretty good job so far from your impression. 😀

    If the adaption goes well I hope you do keep blogging it even IF your posts come out later since it takes longer for dramas to be subbed anyway~

    Saya
    1. Just finished watching it. Man its funny how I didn’t want Yuusuke but he ended up doing the best in translating his character into real life. Mori was pretty good too, but that’s only cause he doesn’t say anything.

      Honey’s actor look totally awks trying to do the cute act, I do like the “gag” with him shrinking all the time though. It was so cute watching the double ride on Mori’s shoulders. The Nekozawa guy is really annoying right now, that’s the type of overacting I hate.

      Will definitely continue watching. Hopefully it’ll improve along the way. I wonder how many episodes the drama has especially since they’re 30 min episodes. It’d be a waste not to cover the entire series, they might as well do it properly.

      Saya
  7. This was actually awkward for me :/ the acting wasn’t all that great and its a freaking live action dont make it a live action anime! not that i hated it or anything, i love ouran manga and anime, and I hope I’m able to at least get used to this…thing :X

  8. Can’t read this yet haven’t found a sub yet. Still it’s a shame all my old favourites gotten too old for this. I figured horikata maki (the girl in ikemenotachi and lots of other stuff) and yamapi would have been perfect to play the two leads if they were a bit younger.

    outcast
      1. Not really. Ouran is less than 30 minutes (23 minutes I believe), most Jdramas (without CMs) run for 35~60 minutes (45 minutes most of the time). Korean dramas run for 1 hour or more.

        minase
  9. i liked it so far. i thought they should have just cast a little kid to play hani-sempai, the guy they got seems to be extremely awkward while everyone else fits as much as you can for being live action.

    RickyMack
  10. LOL LOL LOL
    Very surprised at how convincing Yamamoto Yuusuke is as Tamaki and the CG effects make his scenes even funnier.
    They really should have gotten a kid or teenager to play Honey sempai. This version is just too awkward to watch but I suspect we all LOL-ed hard at the gag of how he seems to shrink in size.

    Seishun Otoko
    1. This did stand out for me. You can be very cut by simply having low bodyfat. My first reaction on the “manservice” pic was they’re all sticks. How people find this appealing is something I’ll leave to culture differences.

      Gambler
    1. Agreed, not to mentioned they got an impressive cast there of people I’m familiar with, especially the relatively newcomer Kawaguchi Haruna. Mind you though she did scare the hell out of me when she played Himeji Rinka in Yankee-kun to Megane-chan.

      Gekokujou
  11. Quick, Haruhi, make love with Tamaki before he becomes a WORM!

    Tamaki: I am the man who stands at the top of being an idiot!

    BTW Tamaki is the only character who actually fits in the show…

    Suppa Tenko
  12. I think I would definitely watch this drama, if Tamaki was played by Yamapi or Mizushima Hiro, but I guess they’re too old for that role now .__. But they’d definitely have that “Prince”-like feel (or could act it anyways) and especially Mizushima Hiro woul dbe just oerfect imo |D

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say female audiences that Ouran High School Host Club is targeted toward will appreciate the real-life fan-service too.

    I surely would, if their shirtless performance would look a bit like Ryan Gosling’s. Guess I’m not young enough to appreaciate that fanservice.

    SummelBaerli
  13. =A= Everyone in my class agrees that most live action dramas should leave anime/manga alone. Well, I guess shoujo manga and stuffs aimed for mostly children (like the new Nintama movie) care okay. There’s so many dramas in the same genre out here latel… including the new Hana Kimi… wonder how this will go.

    One thing I am NOT looking forward to is the Kenshin live action GAH! *hides*

    Fumizuki
  14. Holy crap, I LOVE Yamamoto Yuusuke!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He was my favorite character in Hana-kimi (well, no one tops Toma Ikuta’s Nakatsu, but right after that!)

    Defiantly going to watch!!

    ((I love Japanese Dramas, and I haven’t watched one in a while so this’ll be good for me I’m sure))

    Hotaruzuki
  15. After watching…I really liked it. Naturally, it was a bit…odd. But lots of manga-to-drama dramas are. I enjoyed it though. And I’m glad that in this version, Ayanokouji was able to be redeemed. It was nice. 🙂 I will be watching next week too!

    Hotaruzuki
  16. Watched this yesterday and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, though I did go in there with very low expectations. It’s a good thing Ouran is a comedy, because the ridiculousness and overacting in most Jdramas fit in there very nicely. I thought I would be turned off by the cg (which i kind of was at the beginning and also with the heart pumping scenes), but once you get used to it and realize the show isn’t taking itself seriously, it’s pretty funny.

    And like Hotaruzuki said, I also like that Ayanokouji was able to redeem herself, though i wonder if they’re going to still do the Haruhi in wonderland episode and have Ayanokouji be holding a grudge in there.

    All in all, I like it. I’m just going to keep on not take it seriously, and hopefully it’ll be a fun ride.

    Amurita
  17. I laughed so much at Tamaki. Brilliant interpretation of the original character! I was a bit surprised it was so short though. I’m used to drama episodes being 45 minutes and some of them even have a 2 hour first episode. But I guess this show will have more episodes than regular dramas. DramaWiki doesn’t have so much info so IDK. But I’m going to enjoy this show very much for sure!

    Stereoman
  18. Finally I can watch this show, you know for a adaptation. This is actually better than most other live adaptation. Having a bit of common sense(explaining Honey-sempai size) and quite true to the story. This might prove to be a gem. (at the very least better adaptation than hayate)

    Not that anyone else will read this now that episode 2 is out.

    lkaze
  19. hehe… im little disappointed with Tamaki in first expression but it change when i found my self watching the live action drama of Ouran High School…
    Tamaki acts well the Tamaki(in anime version),hehe…
    Not only Tamaki,all of them,hehe:)

    Shin Roan

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