As I mentioned last time, Jounouchi Ayame (Nakabeppu Aoi) is the guest character in this week’s episode of Ouran, providing something new to anime-only fans such as myself. A quick glimpse of the manga showed that this is episode is taken right out of chapter 17, when Haruhi’s grades slipped from their number one ranking and put her scholarship in jeopardy. Watching this episode actually made me wonder why it wasn’t included in the anime, since it was relatively self-contained and added some interesting developments in Tamaki. From his Kuma-chan teddy bear to its mechanical pencil variation, it showed more of his eccentric side in contrast to his more respectable one. It didn’t feel like it took away too much from the focus on Haruhi either, given that Ayame was brought in by Kyouya to help tutor her because all the other alternatives were far less approachable.
On that note, I’m still dumbfounded by how the host club members are the top students in their respective grades, especially Tamaki as the runner-up behind Kyouya for second-years. Honey is technically the smartest student in the entire school too, leading all third-years. Haruhi makes sense since she got into the school because of her grades and only fell behind this time because of a careless mistake, so she probably didn’t really need to be tutored at all. I’m well aware that this over-the-top juxtaposition of the characters’ images and personalities is exactly what the series is going for, but it does demand a fair bit of suspension of disbelief on my part. In Tamaki’s case, I do see how it helps bring out his playful innocence, but when he stays up all night drawing two hundred flyers by hand rather than photocopying them, I sometimes stop and wonder. Because of that, I can understand where Ayame’s coming from and why she “claims” to hate Tamaki. After being sweet talked only to learn that he’s a womanizer, it was pure insult to injury to learn that he’s academically smarter too.
Of course, Tamaki has a tendency to twist our image of him around and it was no different this time around. I still think he cuts the cheese incredibly thick with his lines about how the rain is a pretense to clear skies — as a metaphor to describe the effect the weather has Ayame’s naturally frizzy hair — but that’s Tamaki for us. Regardless, his cheesy lines still served as a nice follow-up to the way she suffocated everyone with her Morse Code-like monotone lecturing, which I enjoyed quite a bit because of its anime-esque roots. A quick flip through the manga proved how incredibly faithful that scene and many others were in this episode, so there’s very little to fault about the direction of this drama. The summer party was added (and modernized to this year), but came with the added bonus of a real-life lesbian kiss. More importantly, it created a larger rift between Haruhi and Tamaki. I originally found it odd how the drama between Tamaki and Ayame was much more prominent than Tamaki and Haruhi after a single episode (which may explain why it was left out of the anime) but that final scene helped turn things around.
Next time, we’re going to see Houshikaguji Renge (Tsuchiya Tao) like I pointed out last week. This should be interesting. The preview already had me amused by the prospect of it.
* P.S. Watching a real-life tsundere feels so weird.