Well it looks like my doubts about Haruhi’s father “Ranka” making an appearance were quickly put to rest, as the drama does provide its own take on the house visit. Much to my surprise, Totsugi Shigeyuki played him amazingly well — as well as one could probably expect from a cross-dressing father anyway. There’s little doubt in my mind that the six weeks of watching this drama made the transition easier, seeing as it took me less time accustomed to the idea of a real-life Ranka than it did a Honey-senpai in episode one. Between the two of them, Ranka is by far and large the creepier character. The key difference is, Ranka was just as creepy in the anime when he was first introduced, and Shigeyuki provides a very good and believable portrayal of that. I dare say he stole the show with his performance this week, emphasizing the protective nature of Haruhi’s father.
Much like the anime, the visit to Haruhi’s place was somewhat annoying to watch because of the host club’s unintentional yet downright disrespectful and rude attitude towards how commoners live. The fact that it’s an intended gag didn’t make it any funnier either. What I did enjoy was Tamaki’s attempt to try keep comments like “cramped” from coming out of the others, even though he failed miserably. Then there was his dream-like infatuation with a kotatsu and his demonstration of how to sit to save space. It looked painful when he jumped into the air and landed in a seating position, much like it did when he did a jumping dogeza begging forgiveness from Ranka. Things did flip over to a more humorous air when everyone looked genuinely surprised by the practicality of commoners though, and when they showed interest in checking out a supermarket.
I still find the faithfulness to the original material impressive, particularly during the comedic scenes that are a lot harder to portray in real life. The huddle was easy enough, but Ranka tossing Tamaki off of Haruhi required some CG. There were also the piercing insults as Kyouya and Ranka chatted away and the mushrooms Tamaki started growing in Haruhi’s closet in his depressed state. In other cases, it was cool just to see the key scenes intact, like when Tamaki slipped and fell on top on Haruhi, and when Ranka stepped on Tamaki to show his disapproval. The drama even put a humorous spin on Mori and Honey’s shopping cart antics by having them break the fourth wall and give the usual warning about how good kids shouldn’t imitate them. I even got a good laugh out of Tamaki running away in tears, though I admit his crying came off incredibly forced afterward.
While they did shake up the supermarket portion of the episode a bit, the flashback of Haruhi grocery shopping on her own and Ranka closely watching over her was actually funnier when he wanted to strangle the two kids for making fun of him. Having Tamaki protect Haruhi from a tower of tomato cans proved to be a nice touch too, since it mirrored a similar incident in the past. Together, they were a nice sentimental follow-up to the respect Tamaki showed Haruhi’s late mother. They also led to a short-lived moment where Ranka had a better opinion of Tamaki, before he took it back over their nabe (hot pot) meal by telling him he’s the enemy. Again, that was more or less straight out of the source material, putting a nice final touch on the episode as a whole.
Given how this episode went, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Ranka show up again in future episodes. If nothing else, it’s always fun to see Tamaki get slapped around.