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Ouran High School Host Club Series 1 Part 2
Distributor Manga Entertainment
Price £19.99 (SRP)
There are very few things that I watch nowadays that I can say I 100% enjoy. There are things that I find entertaining, there are things that I find amusing and there are things that I will watch when there is very little else to do. But I can put my hand over my heart and swear to you good people of the Internet that while I had my initial scepticism of Ouran High School Host Club, I have 100% enjoyed the series and easily class it as one of my top anime of 2009.
The second half of series one carries on the insanity as the Host Club brings in more props, cosplay and other items to help the fellas of the Host Club entertain their female and sometimes male quests. We’ll just have to hope that Tamaki doesn’t crack when Haruhi starts talking to another boy.
The one complaint I had about the first set of discs was the lack of any real character development, and even the jokes the characters made about the same thing. Well, like a response from the heavens the second half of the series answers just this very thing. I was worried that the second half would suffer in pacing should it again be a selection of standalone episodes without any real progression, but it seems I need not have worried in the slightest. During the course of the second half we actually do see at least some characters being developed. While some are designed to be quite flat, the others, like the Twins or Kyoya and even Tamaki and Haruhi start to move beyond their wacky antics and begin to not only show how they came together but why, moving beyond the superficial reasons that they fill in each character type. The series keeps doing its wonderful job of making sure that a smile is constantly plastered on your face while secretly getting under your skin to make it so that you give a damn about the characters.
I will admit however that the ending isn’t the greatest in the world - While we do get hints throughout the series, the ending takes up the last two episodes and can at times seem quite rushed. It does make sense in the context of everything, but it also feels somewhat unfinished and could easily have been concluded with an additional episode. That is not to say it is any less satisfying - Hell, my complaint could even be for the fact that the series ended and I just wanted one more episode. While writing this I’m still a little choked up.
One thing I will note as an issue is more of a technical problem for me. In fact it is actually two. The first are the subtitles - While they are fine to read, we do encounter a problem that is more problematic in this series than others and that is the appearance of Japanese text on screen. While the subtitles will tell us what they mean, it can be quite complicated for the DVD to display the translated text for a sign in a timely manner and should someone be talking over it, showing that text at the same time. There is an element of catch up that appears during some episodes and it can detract from the overall experience. It is by no means awful enough to make you stop watching, but it is a minor annoyance.
The second technical annoyance is watching the DVD on an upscaling DVD player on a HD TV. While DVDs are not HD (obviously) I personally do still watch normal DVDs on my PS3 as they do look slightly better on my TV. While watching Ouran, there would be times when the deep reds would show some bad pixilation and black outlines would start to appear broken when with this red. Again, while not horrible, it did detract from the DVD somewhat, especially with one character who had flame red hair where this issue would be most prominent. Whether this is an issue with the DVD being upscaled or the compression done on the DVD is hard to tell without doing side-by-side comparisons which I’m sure someone the internet will have done/will do at some point. It is one thing to point out.
Apart from this minor technical issues, Ouran High School Host Club carries on the second half of the series just as well as the first, if not better with some minor story improvements. If you enjoyed the first half, you’ll love the second half. If you passed on the first half because of all the pink and roses then I will personally come round and do a Clockwork Orange on you until you love it to pieces. Haters of comedy, high school anime or anything that isn’t someone’s insiders being ripped apart and spilled over the floor are not going to find entertainment here and should properly seek some help as it stands anyway. I can’t recommend this any hard without having an accident. So if you haven’t ordered already, do it now.
If you haven’t already ordered this, do it now. You won’t regret it.