Now that I’m settled in with all the actors in their respective roles, I have to say I found this second episode absolutely hilarious. None of the material being covered is new to me, but when I compare Miyano Mamoru’s over-the-top portrayal of the idiotic Tamaki in the anime to Yamamoto Yuusuke’s variation in this drama, I find myself thoroughly amused. It all starts with his growing obsession to get Haruhi to go back to her feminine appearance and his wild delusions of what it would be like. This then leads to his absolute life-shattering realization that Haruhi wouldn’t be able to stay in the host club if it’s discovered that she’s a girl during the school’s physical examination.
I got a good laugh out of Tamaki whining like a little girl when Haruhi had absolutely no interest in keeping her gender a secret, as images of the same scene in the anime quickly popped in my head. No one ever said that the craziness in anime translates normally to real-life, but if you’re familiar with the manga or anime that a drama is adapting, it’s easy to appreciate all the source material that’s faithfully included. Just loosen up and enjoy the moment, even the hard to get through ones between Kaoru and Hikaru, which weren’t any easier for me in the anime thanks to Suzumura Kenichi.
Admittedly, it took me a good while before I finally got through the anime, having put it on indefinite hold when the eccentric characters and brotherly BL aspects completely threw me off. It wasn’t until much later that I finished the series and was completely sold on it, so I can only imagine the reaction of those diving head-first into this drama. Irksome would probably be an understatement, considering that I was pretty irked myself in the early parts of the first episode. Since then, this show has quickly shaped out to be something that I’m really enjoying. The best approach is to just take everything at face value and not read too much into the intentional stupid behavior. Before long, all of it really grows on you and helps define the characters. At least initially anyway, because they later surprise you with amazingly reliable moments, which Haruhi may not always agree with, but does open up to when Tamaki does something really considerate despite being filthy rich.
Tamaki is probably one of the most bipolar male anime characters that I can think of, so it’s hilarious how that can translate so well in front of the camera. His shrieking is feminine to the point that you would question his sexual preference, but oh so amusing given the context that prompts it. The scene where he came out pretending to be Haruhi was too funny, especially after seeing the others laugh at him because he actually believed it would work. It really brought me back, much like Haruhi’s stare. Like all actors and actresses in these adaptations, I’m sure Yuusuke thoroughly studied his character both in the manga and the anime, and even borrowed some ideas from Mamoru’s interpretation. It would’ve been really interesting to see Mamoru play the lead role, given that he does have the looks to star in a drama and could’ve used the exact same voice as the anime, but I haven’t been the least bit disappointed by Yuusuke.
As for the other actors, Chiba Yuudai is really showing his boyish charm, particularly in this scene, so he is looking more and more like Honey to me. If anyone’s going to give me some difficulty, it’s going to be Haruhi’s okama (i.e. drag queen) father, who was briefly mentioned here much to the host club’s disbelief. I’m actually not sure if he’s going to make an appearance. The next episode looks like it’s going to feature Jounouchi Ayame (Nakabeppu Aoi) as a guest character, who only had a small cameo in episode 24 of the anime. That should prove interesting since I know very little about her character. For those wondering about Houshakuji Renge, she’s slated to show up in episode four and is played by Tsuchiya Tao. I can’t wait to see what the self-proclaimed manager brings.
I’ve been making a point of watching live-action dramas based on manga/anime that I enjoyed, and some of the more recent ones include Moyashimon and Honey and Clover. They were both pretty good watches in terms of entertainment value, and this Ouran variation has been right up there with them.
* The material in this episode was covered in episode three of the anime. All the key scenes were covered, including the suspicious-looking doctor Yabu, who came looking for his daughter and mistakenly wound up at Ouran High School instead of Ourin High School, and the guys using Ootoro (fatty tuna) sushi to convince Haruhi to try and keep her gender a secret.