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Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 21, 2010 by  



Delightfully fun and hilarious!  On Blu-ray, “Ouran High School Host Club” looks absolutely vibrant and colorful in HD!

Image courtesy of © NTV/VAP/BONES/Hakusensha. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series

DURATION: 102 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Windowboxed 4:3, English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: March 30, 2010

 

Originally created by Bisco Hatori

Directed by Takuya Igarashi

Series Composition by Yoji Enokido

Music by Yoshihisa Hirano

Character Design by Kumiko Takahashi

Art Director: Norifumi Nakamura

Chief Animation Director: Kumiko Takahashi

Anime Production by BONES

Featuring the following voice talent:

Maaya Sakamoto/Caitlin Glass as Haruhi Fujioka

Mamoru Miyano/Vic Mignogna as Tamaki Suou

Ayaka Saito/Luci Christian as Mitsukuni Haninozuka

Daisuke Kirii/Travis Willingham as Takashi Morinozuka

Kenichi Suzumura/Greg Ayres as Hikaru Hitachiin

Masaya Matsukaze/J. Michael Tatum as Kyoya Ootori

Yoshinori Fujita/Greg Ayres as Kaoru Hitachiin

Ouran High School. An institution of extravagance and prestige where learning is secondary to luxury. Bookish Haruhi can’t afford to slack, being on a scholarship and out of place among the moneyed. No matter – the Host Club is now open! A group of handsome boys dedicated to selling their charms to their bored female classmates, Haruhi is suddenly in debt to the club after breaking an expensive vase in their lair. The only way to pay for the damage? Haruhi will work as a Host! The only problem? Haruhi is a she!

Between the wildly inflated ego of the expert escorts and the potential calamities of constant cross dressing, Haruhi’s freshman year looks like it will be one to remember.

In 2003, Bisco Hatori (creator of “Millennium Snow”) released her manga series “Oran Koko Hosuto Kurabu” (Oran High School Host Club) which was serialized on Hakusensha’s “LaLa” magazine.  The popularity of the series led to three audio dramas that same year and eventually a 26-episode anime television series released in 2006 and aired on NTV.

The anime series would be directed by Takuya Igarashi (“Soul Eater”, “Sailor Moon SuperS” Special and the second “Konjiki no Gash Bell!” film) an adapted to a television by Yoji Enokido (“Neon Genesis Evangelion”, “Sailor Moon S”, “RahXephon”).  Character designs is by Kumiko Takahashi (“Dragon Ball”, “DNA^2”, “Cardcaptor Sakura”, “Witch Hunter Robin”) and music by Yoshihisa Hirano (“Midori Days”, “Air Master”, “Maria Watches Over Us”).

The manga and anime series has attracted many fans outside of Japan and in the US, was the fourth biggest selling anime video series in 2009.  Now the complete series will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.  “Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series” features 26-episodes on three Blu-ray discs.

“Ouran High School Host Club” revolves around a group of guys who are members of the elite Host club of Ouran High School, a private and prestigious Acdemy for teenagers from very rich families.  These members which consists of six guys have one goal and that is to entertain their clients.

One day, a student named Haruhi Fujioka, a scholarship student who is not rich, was looking for a place to study and ended up in the music room of where the Host Club gathers.  Immediately, the guys start teasing Haruhi and he ends up walking backward and knocking over an antique vase which costs Y8 million yen.  Because Haruhi is not rich, he has to pay the club back and that is by becoming the pet for the guys.

Immediately, the guys (especially club leader Tamaki Suoh) starts taking advantage of Haruhi and eventually making him one of the host club members.  They will forego any debt he owes, if he can host over a thousand clients.  Of course, Haruhi being broke has no choice, so he reluctantly does what they say.

But one day while Haruhi is changing in the dressing room, Tamaki walks in and finds out that Haruhi is not a “he” but actually a “she”.  Now the guys must keep up the charade that Haruhi is a boy but at the same time, Tamaki finds himself being attracted to her.  But also, some of the other guys of the Host Club.

The main characters of “Ouran High School Host Club” are:

  • Haruhi Fujioka – The main character who is from a lower-class family but has a scholarship to study at the prestigious school.   She literally gave up dressing up as a girl after a boy put gum in her hair and had to chop it off.     At first she seems like a person who has no interest in the lives of the host club and could care less of what is going on, but eventually we start to see her change.  But while she’s a member of the Host Club, she must keep up the charade that she is a boy in order to pay off her debt.  And somehow she is able to attract the girls (while disguised as a boy) by her charm.
  • Tamaki Suoh – The Host Club president at Ouran High School.  He is so rich that he can’t imagine any life outside of being wealthy.  So, he is amused by Haruhi because she is not rich.  He’s very passionate for the duties of the host club but finds himself becoming attracted to Haruhi.
  • Kyoya Ootori – The vice president of the Host club who manages to keep his cool.  Also, has data on nearly everyone at the school and usually is planning on some sort of scheme.
  • Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin – Two identical twins who like to flirt with Haruhi and make Tamaki jealous.  But also known for their shonen-ai ways of playing off their sexuality (ie. if one has a cut, the other brother goes to suck his finger) in front of other female students that go crazy over them.
  • Mitsukuni Haninozuka – The child prodigy young child who is called “Honey”.  The Lolita type that is known for his cuteness and carries a stuff-bunny around.  But behind those child-like looks, he is very strong and a capable fighter.
  • Takashi Morinozuka – Mori is the strong and silent member of the group and usually is the protector of Honey.

VIDEO:

“Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series” is an anime television series which aired on television in 2006.  It’s important to note that a) “Ouran High School Host Club” is a television series and not an animated film or OVA.  The second part to note is that when it comes to anime television series, prior to 2008, pretty much a  lot of the anime TV series on Blu-ray have been upconverted.

With that being said, “Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series” is an upconvert and where the back of the package says the series is 16×9 widescreen, the series is actually presented in 4:3 format and black bars can be seen on the sides.

With it being an upconvert, I will say that the video is going to be a mixed bag for some.  On the positive side, this series is absolutely vibrant with colors.  Many reds and pinks, light blues and these colors do pop.  There is a bit of aliasing but seriously, I didn’t really pick up on any major artifacting and the fact that this anime series is so vibrant, it worked for this series and I felt series looks good.  The painted backgrounds of the scenery and the schools are well-painted, character designs are good.  But the biggest part of “Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series” is its color pallet and how vibrant and colorful this series is.

But I am well aware that there are anime fans who are not thrilled by upconverts let alone video quality that is not widescreen.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series” features lossless Dolby TrueHD English and Japanese 2.0.  Personally, I was surprised that the English dubtrack was 2.0 and not 5.1 since FUNimation Entertainment tends to have given their anime series, especially recent releases a 5.1 soundtrack on DVD, so I was expecting a 5.1 soundtrack for “Ouran High School Host Club”.  But considering that this series is a comedy, the lossless audio is satisfactory and the fact that there is an actual Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Japanese lossless track was a surprise (since previous releases were just Dolby Digital 2.0).

The audio on both soundtracks are quite clear and understandable and through the front channels, the series soundtrack and music definitely was good and clear.  Personally, I wasn’t digging the dubbed English music track but hardcore fans of the series include the English dub voice talent were well-selected and ADR Director Caitlin Glass did a good job on voice talent selection.  But personally for me, I preferred to watch the series in Japanese but needless to say, both vocal tracks were well done.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series” contains the following special features spread out on three Blu-ray cases.

DISC 1:

  • Episode 1 Commentary – Featuring ADR Director and voice actress Caitlin Glass and Greg Ayres.
  • Episode 4 Commentary – Featuring ADR Director and voice actress Caitlin Glass and voice talent and script writers J. Michael Tatum and Monica Rial.
  • Episode 5 Commentary – Featuring ADR Director and voice actress Caitlin Glass along with voice talent Greg Ayres and Todd Habekorn.

DISC 2:

  • Episode 18 Commentary – Featuring ADR Director and voice actress Caitlin Glass along with voice talent Aaron Dismuke and Luci Christian.

DISC 3:

  • Episode 22 Commentary – Featuring ADR Director and voice actress Caitlin Glass and voice talent Christopher Sabat and Travis Willingham.
  • Episode 24 Commentary – Featuring ADR Director and voice actress Caitlin Glass along with voice talent J. Michael Tatum and Vic Mignogna.
  • Ouran High School  Host Club Manga Pages presented by Viz Media – 14-pages from Viz Media’s “Ouran High School Host Club” manga series which viewers can cycle through the pages using their remote.
  • Outtakes Part 01 – (15:07) “Ouran High School” English voice talent bloopers #1.
  • Outtakes Part 02 – (18:26) “Ouran High School” English voice talent bloopers #2.
  • Textless Opening Song – Sakura Kiss
  • Textless Closing Song – Shissou
  • Trailers – FUNimation Entertainment trailers

EXTRA:

“Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series” comes with a Blu-ray slip cover with metallic hot pink foil.

“Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series” was a pleasant surprise.  When I started watching the first episode, the first thing that went on my mind was “is this a shonen-ai” or “yaoi” anime series?  Especially with the sexuality displayed by the twin brothers. But the way things unraveled at the end of the first episode made sense, especially the voice acting for the character of Haruhi.

But I will say that the big positive for me when it comes to this series is that FUNimation Entertainment has chose to bring a comedy series on Blu-ray.  The majority of all releases are action-based and thus, it was great to see something different when it comes to anime on HD.  After watching the series, I enjoyed the overall humor and crazy hi-jinks that take place in the series.  If anything, the series reminded me of “The Wallflower”, “Special A-Class” and “Hana Yori Dango”.  If anything, the series never gets too serious and maintains its humor throughout.

As for the Blu-ray release, I think it’s a good start for FUNimation Entertainment to have the Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Japanese soundtrack included and hope this continues with future releases as many anime fans have hoped for a Japanese lossless audio track.   But the fact that this series is upconverted and has the black bars on the sides is probably going to upset some hardcore anime on BD fans.  But I’m not as disappointed since this is a TV series, not a film or OVA and since it was pre-2008, I was not expecting for anything spectacular in terms of picture quality.

But I really did enjoy “Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series” as the series had a lot of heart, humor and for the most part, fun and enjoyable characters.  Again, this is the first anime comedy TV series on Blu-ray in the US and for those who have been demanding anime series on Blu-ray that is not always action or sci-fi related, “Ouran High School Host Club – The Complete Series” should definitely be excited that FUNimation Entertainment is bringing this series out on Blu-ray.

Vibrant, fun and enjoyable, “Ouran High School Host Club” is an anime series worth checking out and even worth having in your collection.

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