New student Haruhi stumbles on the Ouran High School Host Club, an all-male group that makes money by entertaining the girls of the school. After breaking a precious vase, Haruhi passes herself off as a boy to become a host and repay her debt.
Scholarship student Haruchi is attending Ouran Academy, a prestigious and extravagant prep-school populated by the sons and daughters of Japan’s uber-wealthy business moguls, politicians and even yakuza. Looking for a quiet room to study, Haruchi stumbles across the school’s Host Club, an extracurricular run by Ouran’s most popular and handsome young men, for the benefit of the young ladies of the school. After accidentally breaking an antique (and extremely valuable) vase, Haruchi is more or less conscripted into the club to pay off her debt. (Haruchi is originally mistaken for a boy due to her androgynous looks and clothing.) The show follows Haruchi and the batshit by lovable boys of the Host Club, and their clients in what is a bizarre but charming anime series.
So, I know when you have to explain a joke, it’s maybe no longer funny, but I think it’s worth giving a bit of background on this show. The anime was adapted from the long running manga series of the same name and is more or less a satire of shojo culture and manga, which is aimed at tween and teen girls in Japan. The different guys of the host club purposely try to fill certain stereotypical roles in order to please their audience. For example, the two identical twins in the club are always playing up a twincest vibe because of the positive reactions they receive. so anything that might seem bizarre to the viewer is usually being played up for laughs.
Well, everyone in this show is animated, so this category isn’t really relevant. However, if you’re big into anime, you may notice most of the voice actors in the English dub have had prominent roles in other popular anime series.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Medium
Since the entire series clocks in at about ten hours, your initial viewing probably isn’t best in a group setting. But since it’s a comedy, re-watching a few of your favorites episodes in a group setting would be the best way to go. Now that I’ve watched the entire series by myself, I definitely want to watch it at a later date with my friends who are fans as well.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Low to High
Your first run should be dry, because this show can be so hilarious at times and you don’t want to miss it. Like, snort out loud when you’re completely alone funny. With repeat or group viewings, you can and should definitely throw one or two back.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Good, but Not Required
What I mean here is that a Netflix subscription isn’t required. That’s because in addition to Instant, you can also find the entire series run on Hulu (Plus not required) and on the Funimation website. Plenty of free (and legal) options for US viewers. Which is to say, no excuses!
So if you want some silly and lighthearted fun, that also manages to take an interesting look at themes like gender identity/fluidity and class, then queue this shit up. Even if anime isn’t typically your thing, it’s worth giving a shot. (Just pick the dubbed version, not the subtitles. Or you will be like Alix who emailed me saying she felt like she was on drugs until she fixed her mistake.)