I forgot to post this on Saturday (when it happened), but LOOK! We met Vic Mignogna!! Best part of Salt Lake Comic Con by far!
Today, I met one of my idols. This man inspired me to become an actress and made me want to make people laugh and smile. He made my middle school years bearable with how he made me laugh and cry all in the same hour by just using his voice. I love this man so much. Thank you for existing.
Sorry I look really fat in this picture.
Guys I got to meet vic mignogna yesterday and it was so amazing!! I was wearing my edward elric cosplay and he told me so many times how great it looked, he was just so darn nice!! And he signed an FMA wall scroll for me!!
Fullmetal alchemist was the first anime I ever watched and I completely fell in love with the story and the characters. Especially Ed. And while normally I’m a subbed anime kinda gal, the dub for FMA and FMAB will always be super sentimental and cherished! So I’m really just grateful that I was able to meet the man who contributed to something so important to me.
For awhile, Brittany had been recommending this series to me fervently. My initial assumptions of it based on her descriptions were:
- Anime - probably ridiculous
- Uninspired - probably similar to stereotypical over-romanticism in substitute for proper character development
- High School - inane, insignificant plot consistency
Having finished the series yesterday, I can confidently say that two of these three assumptions were false. And the first assumption, after reflection, I am overjoyed of its pervasiveness in each episode.
Perhaps it’s due to the fact that some of my friends had been talking about the series for awhile that I feel I should have seen this years ago.
Ouran High School Host Club revolves around first year student Haruhi Fujioka’s enrollment in the prestigious Ouran Academy. Upon her arrival, she comes into a collision course with the Host Club, an eccentric group of “boys with too much time on their hands” that take advantage of their charm, charisma, and physique to entertain “young ladies who also have too much time on their hands”. Haruhi enters prolific “Music Room 3” where the Host Club meets and accidentally topples a vase worth far more than her family can pay to replace. In order to repay her misdeed, she joins the Host Club in service.
The main conflict presented almost immediately is the Host Club’s inability to distinguish Haruhi as a female due to her short hair, semi-androgynous physique, and seamless conversational tone with the other members. This conflict continues through the series’ 26 episodes, becoming more or less prominent in certain ones more than others.
The other major conflict is the purpose, dynamic, and sustainability of the Host Club and its members. Tamaki Suoh, Kyoya Ootori, Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, Mitskune “Honey” Haninozuka, and Takashi “Mori” Morinozuka comprise the original members of the Host Club and embody specific personality types that appeal to different “tastes”. All of the characters are explored with specific episodes pertaining to their insecurities that pushed them to joining the Host Club, as well as their ambitions that become pronounced upon joining the Host Club.
While it is easy to associate the Host Club with a juvenile manipulation of pre-adolescent whims, true romantic plot points take a back seat until the very end. I think this is a very important concept when analyzing this anime. The nature of the show depends on the viewer’s knowledge of common tropes that exist in shōjo anime. These tropes may include hyper-sexualization and characters developed centrally on romantic relationships. Both of these concepts are lambasted in Ouran stylistically and narratively. The hyperbolic amount of effort that goes into the constant costuming of the Host Club coupled with the hyperbolic reaction of the Host Club’s audience is a criticism on the demographic the show wishes to gain viewership from. However, it does not directly segregate or ostracize this demographic. The storytelling is perhaps one of the most compelling and convincing examples of granting accessibility to a critical lens for an already established viewership while also entertaining and integrating a new viewership willing to give the show a chance.
By embracing being ridiculous, the show gets away with commonly controversial topics such as violence, transgender characters, gender roles, distribution of wealth, parental responsibility, and inheritance. None of these issues are approached with disrespect and once introduced are grounded in the show’s fiction without seeming contrived or out of place. The writers and directors acknowledge each issue and utilize them to enrich the subplot of the episode if not the rest of the series through foreshadowing. Whether or not it is problematic that the show does not provide ideologies to remedy toxic retaliations is arguable. It is “Ouran High School Host Club’s” advantage that it adheres to its isolated universe in an effort to explore a variety of subject matter that may make viewers uncomfortable with as much subtlety and without bias as possible.
The core characters as well as the supporting, recurring characters never seem intrusive or unnecessary. Each seems to serve a vital role in the scenes they appear in. However, I would venture to say that pacing within the episodes towards the end seemed convoluted with the core Host Club members’ relationship with their parents being an afterthought. And I would have liked far more insight into Mori than what we were given.
This last portion of this review I want to talk about Haruhi and Tamaki separately and together and how that dynamic enhanced my experience overall. Throughout, Haruhi seemed to be able to function on her own; self-sufficient and not impressed or influenced by the actions of the other members. She establishes the “Club” in “Host Club”; that the experience with the other members is voluntarily involuntary and optionally necessary. It is never Haruhi’s concern to change the way the club is structured despite her having complaints and questionable opinions on its inner-workings. At its conclusion, Haruhi becomes the integral observer; finally choosing to act in favor of the club’s continuation and expressing true emotion.
Tamaki functions as the bumbling yet confident ringleader of the Host Club. It is explored in multiple episodes of his recruitment of specific personalities in order for the club’s inception. Being thorough and direct grants results to his ambition. Tamaki knowingly accepts that the club’s purpose is not a tangible one. The Host Club does not provide sexual services or matchmaking, but instead focuses on the idea of making people happy for the sake of their happiness. Although realistically misguided, Tamaki understands and embodies the “Host” in “Host Club”, persuading others and himself to believe in the agenda of indomitable happiness. The club is absolutely ingrained in Tamaki’s identity and with no Tamaki there is no Ouran Host Club. Tamaki becomes the vessel of idealism.
Haruhi being a misunderstood character and Tamaki being the completely reaffirmed character provides a perspective that I have not seen many times in any media. They need each other to survive honestly. Whether or not they do end up together (forgive a lack of knowledge outside the anime) is minor to the idea that both character’s were catalysts for each other’s knowledge and growth. Both are equally important to each other as they are individually to outside characters. They are both halves to a whole. And it does not need to be romantic.
Ouran High School Host Club has affected me far more substantially than many other anime types. It can be easily enjoyed by anyone knowing what to expect as well as not knowing what to expect. The key is an open mind. This is definitely a show rife with excitement and there is still so many other points I want to tackle including the music, supporting roles, and its interpretations of social stigmas. I thoroughly enjoyed the show in most every single aspect and will be returning to it both for continued analysis and just simple comfort