I don’t recall ever watching a beach episode in a drama, but Ouran presses on with its own version of an anime mainstay. It’s just too bad the only glimpse of Kawaguchi Haruna in a swimsuit came as a Tamaki’s imagination. As for the episode itself, it started as a host club event at Nekozawa’s private beach and later became a game to find out what Haruhi’s afraid of after water bugs didn’t even make her flinch. The prize, care of the always resourceful Kyouya, was none other than a collection of photos from Haruhi’s middle school years. As expected, things soon turn into a frivolous affair, but what’s noteworthy about this episode was the dramatic turn it took when Haruhi wasn’t afraid of three guys hitting on the other girls and was pushed off a rocky cliff trying to defend them. Cue in Tamaki, who went diving in after her without any hesitation.
In hindsight, that would’ve been pretty cheesy if it wasn’t executed well, so this adaptation deserves some credit for being able to switchover to a serious tone with a flick of a switch. The same goes for the character interactions, like when Tamaki got upset with Haruhi for not calling for help, and refused to talk to her until she realizes she was wrong. It’s pretty hard to take Tamaki seriously when he’s a goofball most of the time, but that scene worked for me with the beach cove setting and the background music. The humorous follow-up was a nice touch with Tamaki kicking himself for getting into a fight with Haruhi and then claiming she’s not cute at the dinner table when he got a nosebleed from
Nekozawa’s puppet Haruhi’s outfit. During it all, Yuusuke’s performance remained my personal highlight of this drama, as he continues to bring out all of Tamaki’s idiocy.
In comparison, Shunsuke undoubtedly had the harder scene this time around, as Kyouya tried to play the villain to help get Tamaki’s point across about how they were all worried about her. More so than seeing Kyouya on top of Haruhi in bed, the real surprise was learning that he dove into the water as well, wrecking his glasses in the process, and lost his cool out of concern for Haruhi. That was completely out of character for Kyouya and something new compared to the anime, where he simply left the room after his lesson backfired. The differences ended there though, as the remainder of the episode concluded with Tamaki learning that Haruhi’s afraid of thunder and is used to having no one to depend on. The hug could’ve been a bit better if Haruhi jumped into Tamaki’s arms rather than him pulling her in. They didn’t shy away from the S&M misunderstanding though. The drama actually took it a step further by having everyone tease Tamaki about it the next day.
While it wasn’t flamingo pink, Hikaru did differentiate himself from Kaoru by dying his hair blond. Kaoru on the other hand stayed his usual light brown, after Haruhi spoke her mind and got the twins fighting. Or at least, that’s what they had everyone believe just to kill some boredom and trick Haruhi into letting them visit her home.
Unlike the beach episode, I remember this one a lot more clearly for some odd reason. It may have been the hair color change or the way the twins messed around with girls who confessed to them in the past, but there was definitely something that made the material in this episode a lot memorable. Because of that, it was a lot easier to pick up on the changes, like when Kaoru and Hikaru whipped out the Airsoft guns with Haruhi caught in the middle. That replaced all the furniture throwing seen in the anime, yet retained the goofy essence of it.
However, much like the anime, I didn’t particularly care for all their fighting even if it were for real. I always found it kind of hard to sympathize with them before and it’s really no different now. That’s not to say this episode wasn’t entertaining at all though. It was quite the contrary in fact, as watching Tamaki get repeatedly brushed aside about Haruhi’s homemade lunch was pretty darn amusing. I got a good kick out of his reactions to all of Kaoru and Hikaru’s traps too, followed by his disbelief over almost getting killed two times over. I actually like how the CG arrows made added to the anime-like silliness. The Matrix-like “bullet time” wasn’t too shabby either.
Similar to the anime, Renge also made a brief appearance in support of the fight over Haruhi (albeit without a powerful motor lifting her up from the floor). So did Nekozawa’s cat-like voodoo doll, which was used in the climax of Kaoru and Hikaru’s scripted act. Unfortunately, Haruhi smacking them both on the head looked pretty exaggerated compared to the hits that Tamaki took, and didn’t quite live up to what I remember from the anime. The drama did however include Kaoru and Hikaru realizing that Haruhi is special, being the first person to be able to definitively tell them apart — even after they swapped hair colors the next day to fool everyone. That proved to be a nice follow-up to the flashback where Tamaki invited them to kill time in his host club. We don’t see it too often, but that was another example of the Prince’s dependable moments. In comparison, I am used to seeing Haruhi get the last laugh in every episode. It’s a subtle addition, but suggests that she’s enjoying her time in the host club a lot more than she lets on.