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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6762
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:46 pm Reply with quote
So what is the deal with the clock always being 3:00? They made a point of that in the Alice in Wonderland episode and in this one we see it too (and others I'm sure) even though the bell tolls six.
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1055
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:38 pm Reply with quote
@ Gina Szanboti

To be honest, I'm not quite sure. Part of me thinks that it's stock footage, and another part doesn't. Three o'clock, I believe, is when school gets out and club activities begin.
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Akane the Catgirl



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Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:26 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Ouran Episode Twenty One: In Which It’s All Hallow’s Eve

Last time on The Young, the Rich, and the Air-Headed:

Once upon a time, there were two brothers, twins to be precise. While they were two separate people, the world treated them like they were the same boy. The brothers, named Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, hated this. However, they were afraid of being hurt, and so they clinged onto each other. They grew crueler and colder as the years went by, until they day they met a young man named Tamaki Suoh. He insisted on playing their game of “which is which”, and though he wasn’t successful at first, he refused to give up. Finally, after some clever spying, Tamaki guessed correctly, yet Hikaru and Kaoru refused to befriend him. He left, though not before giving the twins sage advice on letting people in. And that was how Hikaru and Kaoru joined the Ouran Host Club.

And so we reach the Ouran Halloween special “Until the Day it Becomes a Pumpkin!”. It’s a rather charming short, but after the previous episode, I’m not sure if it can beat it. I mean, the last episode was mind-bogglingly good, so how can this one stand out? Let’s see.

***

The episode begins with a recurring image that was used during the last episode (which I didn’t mention). In this image is Cinderella’s coach on it’s way back from the ball. What is the meaning of this? Well, that’s for the last two episodes. I can’t explain further.

We cut to...an actual class scene. Any of you more astute viewers may have noticed that despite taking place in an academic setting, the hosts have never been seen during class hours. It took twenty episodes- TWENTY- to see any of the characters during school hours outside of flashbacks. It’s...actually kind of emotional.



Anyhoo, the class representative (Kazukiyo Soga, voiced by Kyle Hebert) is announcing some upcoming events. As vice chairman Momoka Kurakano (voiced by Carrie Savage) explains, there’s going to be a Halloween party to celebrate the end of fall exams, followed by a brief vacation period. Suddenly, Renge! She’s just here to sing the praises of Halloween. Oh, and propose the idea of a haunted house competition.

Everyone but Soga likes the idea of a “test of courage” contest. (Culture Note: tests of courage, or kimodameshi, are a common summer activity amongst Japanese schoolchildren. As explained in the above paragraph, it is quite similar to American haunted house attractions). In fact, the temperature seems to drop the further Renge explains her plan. Still, there’s no use trying to convince the majority to not do a test of courage. In spite of his phobia, Soga is still a slave to democracy.

Personal story time! I live about half an hour away from Universal Studios. You know the haunted house they have there? I could never get through it without bursting into terrified tears. And one of those times, I was in middle school. That’s why my family is firmly Team Disneyland.



[Go away forever, is what I'm saying.]

We then cut to a Halloween-themed host club, where the boys are dressed up as vampires. (Side note: creator Bisco Hatori studied underneath Vampire Knight’s Matsuri Hino. Coincidence?). However, it’s only the sempais who are in costume, as Haruhi and the twins are too busy prepping for the test of courage contest. Upon hearing about this, Tamaki fantasizes jealously over a Haruhi-Hikaru-Kaoru threesome. As he tries to dissuade her from this, Kaoru reflects on the Cinderella theme once more, but once again, I’m saving that.

The twins bid Tamaki adieu as they and Haruhi head out, leaving their president with a rather intrigued Nekozawa. Meanwhile, as the meeting for the test of courage contest begins, Haruhi is beckoned by Soga. He explains his various phobias to her (the dark, horror movies, ghost stories, loud noises, and scary film trailers). In other words, he’s Chuckie Finster. The point is, since Haruhi didn’t help oppose the idea, Soga wants her to be his partner for the competition and not the Hitachiins.



[Well, speak of the devils.]

As the world is disproportinately cruel that day, the twins overhear their conversation and join up anyway. On Halloween night, Hikaru and Kaoru mercilessly troll Soga, much to Haruhi’s consternation. However, her genuine attempts to help the class rep with his problems only makes his anxiety worse. It takes bringing up Kurakano (who he’s had an unsubtle crush on since childhood) to get him to stop cowering.

In fact, the reason Soga couldn’t bring himself to oppose the idea of a test of courage was because Kurakano liked the idea. As the twins put it, he’s utterly pure. They can’t even pick on him like they do with Tamaki. But before anyone knows what’s happening, the competition begins.

The small group is sent running by the various monsters/hosts, with Haruhi and Hikaru ending up in a trap together. However, Soga is the one who gets it the worst, as even Honey claiming to be a wolfman (actually a jack-o-lantern) scares him sh*tless. It shouldn’t be surprising that Nekozawa planned this whole thing out. Bonus for his loyal servants showing up to help.

Meanwhile, Haruhi sets out to free herself and Hikaru from the net trap, having kept a sewing kit on her person. As they bicker over how mean he is without Kaoru, Hikaru gets a nice view of Haruhi’s chest as she reaches to cut the rope. Needless to say, Tamaki is bursting blood vessels. Good thing Nekozawa is there to keep him from overreacting!

In a locked classroom, Soga has calmed down from the multiple heart attacks he’s been given. Kaoru reveals that all of what happened was a plan to get him and Kurakano together. However, Soga is convinced that his crush has a thing for Haruhi (dammit, Show, how did you know lesbianism was my weakness!?), but he’d rather things stay the same. As Kaoru states, he’s “cast a spell on the carriage”.



[...Goddamit.]

Well, I guess I can’t avoid it now. The Cinderella motifs, as you may have noticed, are only going to get stronger to the end. See, said motifs tie into a common Japanese theme known as “mono no aware”. To put it simply, “mono no aware” stresses the idea that nothing truly lasts forever, and that one should appreciate your current circumstances because of their impermanence. Ouran Host Club is no different in these regards, as you will soon see.

Anyhoo, Hikaru reaches the classroom and reunites with Kaoru and Soga, while Haruhi only joins up with them minutes later. The group catches up with the rest of their classmates, who it turns out have canceled the contest after Haruhi and friends went missing. After one final scare via a Belzeneff shadow, we cut to the next day, where Kurakano reveals that she knew all along about Soga’s phobias, but doesn’t care. And so the episode ends on a bittersweet note, as Kaoru reflects on what he’ll do if Hikaru and Haruhi get together.

***

This episode was surprisingly very charming. What's even more shocking is how well it works as a standalone Halloween short. You can show this to someone out of context, yet anyone can enjoy it. But what surprised me the most was the tone. It's very bittersweet, foreshadowing the ending in a way the previous episodes haven't. Overall, I recommend watching this every fall, even if you're normally not a fan of these sorts of things.

Next time:

The rest of this month will be dedicated to (finally) finishing this series. October will be dedicated to Code Geass.
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1055
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:11 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Ouran Episode Twenty Two: In Which The Hosts Become Yakuza Accomplices

Last time on The Young, the Rich, and the Air-Headed:

It's Halloween at Ouran Academy, and everyone's excited to have a scaring competition to celebrate. However, there is one glaring exception, that being Kazukiyo Soga. He's absolutely terrified of all sorts of ghouls and spooks. Still, being just one person, the test of courage contest must go forward. Of course, since the universe itself seems to want to give Soga PTSD, he and Haruhi are paired up with none other than the Hitachiin brothers. But there's another reason why Soga doesn't speak up; his crush, Momoka Kurakano liked the idea of a haunted house contest. Despite this, he's convinced she likes Haruhi. Ironically, the scares the group received came entirely from the other hosts, and the actual contest was canceled. Still, as revealed the next day, Kurakano knew about Soga's various phobias and doesn't mind. Yet despite this happy ending, there's a touch of bittersweetness in the air...

In "Mori-senpai Has an Apprentice Canidate", one of the most popular guest characters makes his debut. Yes, he's just as- if not more- popular than Nekozawa, which is saying a lot. I'm talking about the resident Yakuza prince, Ritsu Kasanoda. Let's see how well he fares among a stellar cast of one-shots.

***

The episode begins at the Kasanoda syndicate's very very traditional house. Ritsu Kasanoda (played by Christopher Sabat) is getting ready to go to school. As his family servants wish him a good day at work, he angrily corrects them while flashing a face that makes them all collectively wet their pants. Here's a visual reference.



[We are a far cry from All Might, ladies and gentleman.]

We then cut to straight after school, where it's Samurai Day at the host club. There's an entire history lecture given by Renge on the Edo period, which...I won't get into how accurate it is. I don't know enough about the subject, and frankly, I'd rather move on to the main plot. Several jokes later, Mori discovers and reveals Ritsu, who has snuck inside the clubroom, to the hosts. But he's not here to fight; on the contrary, Ritsu wishes to become Mori's apprentice.

As Kyoya helpfully exposits, Ritsu is the heir to the Kasanoda family and one scary motherf*cker. Despite his fearsome reputation, Ritsu hates having a resting b*tchface, as while it's useful for a future crime boss, it's not very good for making friends. Seeing as Mori is a living oxymoron to him, Ritsu has come to him for advice on how not to give others heart attacks.

With some desperate signalling from Mori, Tamaki decides to help Ritsu on his quest to become popular. He begins by analyzing the "moe couplet" trope as it applies to Honey and Mori, determining that THAT is the reason Mori is so beloved by the host club clients. He also decides that Ritsu needs a non-delinquent fashion style, as Yankee-clothes (look it up) just won't do. And so he's sent home with a ridiculous haircut, accessories, and a teddy bear. Needless to say, Ritsu does not get the results he wants.



[Wah wah wah...]

The next day at school, Ritsu aggressively greets Mori as "big brother". Suddenly, two flowerpots fall from a ledge, Mori knocking them down before they can hit Ritsu. Predictably, the other students are more concerned over the former's well-being than the latter's. As Ritsu discusses the events with the hosts (believing someone is after Mori), Operation Make Ritsu An Angel goes into effect, much to his consternation.

Still, he is rather touched that the host club supports him all the way. As he waits, Haruhi comes over to have a small chat, and Ritsu finds himself falling for "him". Before much can happen, the hosts have found a solution! And...it's cat ears. Which make him look like, as Honey puts it, "a cat monster".

So one of Ritsu's devoted servants (named Tetsuya) walks in to see his master dressed up as a...cat-eared...maid...

...

...

...



Tetsuya gets the wrong idea, and Ritsu, deciding that he has been humiliated for the last time, leaves in a huff. As the hosts realize that maybe Ritsu doesn't need an image change, we cut to him in the rose garden. It turns out he's been nursing an injured sparrow back to health, which gains Haruhi's attention. As she smiles over Ritsu's good deed, the flames of love grow hotter as the former notices the latter's girlish look.

Suddenly, Honey tries to start a game of kick-the-can with a full container, staining Haruhi's clothes and startling the bird, who is able to fly away, much to Ritsu's relief. Furthermore, Mori and the twins have caught the perpretators of the flowerpot crime, who were after Ritsu all along. He can't believe that the hosts went out of their way to help him, to which Mori replies: "We can tell who the bad guys are by looking at them."

To elaborate on the perpetrators, they were actually looking for Tetsuya, who himself as a fellow Yakuza heir. He'd ran away after a fight with his father, and was rescued from a life of homelessness and starvation by Ritsu, which is why he's so loyal. While is everyone is touched by the (slightly homoerotic) origin story, Ritsu decides to go and apologize to Haruhi...who's gone to change out of "his" stained clothes.



And so we cut to Ritsu in the host clubroom. He realizes that Haruhi is in the prep room and goes there, only to walk right into her taking off her shirt. She blushes, he screams, and we cut to the credits before the hosts presumably beat him up. To be continued!

***

There's a reason Ritsu is so popular amongst fans of Ouran Host Club. For one, his motivation is very compelling. Most viewers can relate to a desire for companionship. Another factor is how his discovering Haruhi's secret breaks the status quo the series has set up. Lastly, his personality is unique and easy to empathize with. Yes, he's got some anger issues, but he also has a compassionate side, as demonstrated with Tetsuya and the sparrow. It's plain to see how Ritsu was able to secure a place as one of the most beloved characters in this show.
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Chiibi



Joined: 19 Dec 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:59 pm Reply with quote
Ritsu's almost like one of those tough, shounen side-character punks who wandered off into the wrong show to be surrounded by all this girly fluffy atmosphere and that concept alone is amusing. Laughing
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:19 pm Reply with quote
I love Tatum's cheeky delivery of the line "So none of you are concerned that he's going to where Haruhi is changing clothes?" Very Happy
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Akane the Catgirl



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Posts: 1055
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:53 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Ouran Episode Twenty Three: In Which Love Is In The Air

Last time on The Young, The Rich, and the Air-Headed:

Ritsu Kasanoda is a man with a scary face, befitting that of a Yakuza heir. However, in spite of this, he desires friends. Who other than Takashi “Mori” Morinozuka can teach him how to be popular? Unfortunately for Ritsu, the other hosts decided to “help” him with his problems. Despite not getting the results he wants and a flowerpot incident that nearly gets him injured, Ritsu finds the host club’s efforts touching. He even starts to fall for Haruhi! However, when Ritsu is caught in a cat-eared maid costume by his most loyal servant Tetsuya, it appears that he’s lost all hope. That’s when the hosts realize something; Ritsu doesn’t need to change. He already is kind and compassionate, as demonstrated by him caring for an injured sparrow and his charity towards Tetsuya. But just as all’s well that ends well, Ritsu accidentally discover just what’s under Haruhi’s shirt...

Well, we’ve reached the last of the regular episodes in “Tamaki’s Unwitting Depression!”. After this, we have a flashback, and the two-part series finale. Let’s go.

***

The episode begins right from where we last left off. Ritsu rushes out after getting an accidental peek of Haruhi’s female body, only to run right into the Hitachiins. He fearfully blubbers as he tries to explain himself, but to no avail. While Tamaki freaks out over Ritsu’s unintentional perversion, Hikaru and Kaoru propose a way to fix the status quo.



Kyoya is swift to prevent the twins from committing battery and assault on poor Ritsu. He instead settles on simple blackmail to keep Haruhi’s little secret from getting out. Speaking of, our heroine chastises the boys and assures Ritsu that everything’s cool. All the while, Tamaki continues to despair over the idea of Haruhi/Ritsu. Pray he doesn’t go online.

That night, at Ritsu’s house, Tetsuya and the rest of the Kasanoda servants are very concerned over the young master’s well-being. He hasn’t been eating his meals, despite the moral support he’s been receiving. He won’t even come out to play kick-the-can. And why? Ritsu’s a little busy doing this:



Indeed, he has finally accepted his feelings for Haruhi. While the servants are like “no homo”, Ritsu despairs over his crush. All this waffling about, however, leads to him deciding that he’ll keep Haruhi’s secret under wraps. Even if it kills him.

The next day, Ritsu arrives at the host club and requests Haruhi. As the yaoi fanclub explodes, the yakuza prince realizes that black is white, up is down, and short is long. Haruhi comes over and prepares some tea, not realizing that Ritsu is this close to melting into a twitterpated puddle. Indeed, everyone is enjoying the (seemingly) gayfest, which is while Kyoya hasn’t kicked Ritsu out yet.

Meanwhile, Tamaki is still “shell-shocked” over the whole affair. The twins throw him into the fray, the club president moving about like a robot. Oblivious to his suffering, Haruhi gives him a freebie toy she got at the supermarket, which he solves, still robotically. It’s not until Hikaru reminds Tamaki of the threat of Haruhi becoming a mob wife that he snaps out of it.

Now reenergized, Tamaki goes Super Saiyan and makes it quite clear that he wants Ritsu to p*ss off. His rant on how the yakuza prince should enjoy his youth and stay far away from his “daughter” just comes off as confusing to the poor lad. Ritsu’s probing on Tamaki’s self-declared fatherhood leads to Tamaki spiraling back into BSOD mode. This leads him to wonder; if his love for Haruhi isn’t paternal, than what is it? Needless to say, nobody can believe Tamaki is THAT oblivious or THAT stupid in regards to his own very obvious crush.



[Sadly, this moment does not involve gospel music in any way whatsoever.]

Back at the couch, Ritsu just what the hell is going on, while Haruhi mentions that Tamaki is kind of like her dad. Of course, the club king overhears this and is delighted. Suddenly, it’s time for the Big Love Confession, as both the clients and hosts eagerily await to see what will happen. However, before Ritsu can tell Haruhi how she feels, she assumes that he just wants to be friends.

The girls are quite disappointed in how things turned out, but Ritsu graciously accepts what happens. (Which is better than most guys who are rejected). He decides that he wants Haruhi to be happy and accepts her friendship, moving everyone to tears and deciding to be his friend too.

Meanwhile, Kyoya has noticed that something’s up with Tamaki. The latter admits he feels quite sorry for what happened to Ritsu, which the former notes is an unusual reaction from someone claiming to be Haruhi’s father. We then cut to a raucous game of kick the can, as Haruhi and Tamaki go hide, the former protesting against sharing with the other hosts. And up in the trees, Honey and Mori realize that Haruhi is gaining quite a harem…

***

Well, that’s it. That was the final regular episode of this series. And...it’s good. Admittedly, the “no homo” overtones keep this from being great, but I for one enjoyed the silliness. I doubt it’ll make my top ten, but it was a perfectly pleasant and nice episode. There’s only three left, and I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be doozy from here on out. Trust me, there's a lot more to talk about in the next week and a half.
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1055
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:00 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Ouran Episode Twenty-Four: In Which Kyoya's Backstory is Revealed

Last time on The Young, the Rich, and the Air-Headed:

Until now, Haruhi's secret of being a woman was known by very few aside from her family. Everyone at school merely thought she was a man, albeit a very feminine-looking one. Then along came Ritsu, who accidentally caught her changing out of a shirt. His already romantic feelings towards her only blossomed further. This leads to everyone believing he has a big gay crush, which depresses Tamaki for reasons he doesn't know. Of course, that doesn't matter, because before Ritsu can confess, Haruhi believes that he just wants to be friends. Though the yaoi sect is disappointed all ends well. Or...does it?

"And so Kyoya Met Him!". What an episode. This is the last of the backstory episodes, and arguably, it's the best. Yes, even better than the Hitachiin's. Here's why.

***

The episode begins with kotatsus- lots and lots of them. Tamaki has brought them all out for the clients to enjoy, even though it's a bit too early in the season to use them properly. As Haruhi looks on (realizing that this was Tamaki's idea), she begins to wonder; how did Kyoya get roped into all this? And so, as Kyoya looks on and smiles at the club king's antics, the actual plot begins...



Two years ago, we see Kyoya during his final year of junior high. A male classmate runs up to him, thanking him on his father's behalf, said father being a guest at an Ootori family event. What's his name? Who cares? Because to Kyoya, that boy- and every other student who comes his way- is not [insert name here]. He's just the child of [insert name of parent's business/occupation here]. That is, when they're not just background characters.

In spite of how popular he is amongst his classmates, Kyoya, while polite, seems more interested in making potential business partners than friends. This is easily demonstrated when he accepts an invitation to a mountain villa just so he can meet with one boy's fund manager father. His older sister (named Fuyumi) is quick to call him out on his manipulative behavior, asking why he can't just trust people dammit. As she tries and fails to organize her little brother's drawers, Fuyumi tells him not to be too hard on himself. After all, he doesn't have as much expectations as his two older brothers do.

And that's the problem. While Kyoya has nothing against his brothers, all he wants is to escape their shadow. As he puts it, "I must paint the perfect picture on a canvas that has already been placed inside a magnificent frame." Fuyumi assures him he's already smart and talented, but his happiness is the real question. Kyoya's response? He couldnt' care less.

We cut to breakfast with the Ootori family. Apparently, there's a transfer student that's starting at Ouran that day, and his father- a certain Suoh- is good friends with the Ootoris. Which is why Kyoya's father assigns him to be the new kid's designated friend. He reminds him to "keep his friends close and his enemies closer" (his words, not mine) and that he's counting on him. Kyoya, believing this task will be easy as pie, briefly looks up some basic information about the boy, which includes the wedlock baby part. "Well," he says in response to this. "Isn't he a lucky fellow?"

At school, Kyoya and his vice deputy are introduced to Tamaki Suoh, who immediately charms the latter with sweet words. Kyoya is weirded out by this apparent foreign quirk, but nevertheless, politely takes the new kid on a tour. As they walk, Tamaki asks Kyoya if he has a kotatsu at his house, as he has always wanted to sit under one. After all, at his old house in France, they never had any Japanese furniture.



At this, Kyoya begrudgingly realizes he's dealing with a dreaded W-word. He explains that they don't have kotatsu, but they do have other Japanese decor, much to Tamaki's dismay. The new boy takes pity on Kyoya, believing that the reason he doesn't have a kotatsu is because his family isn't as close as it should be. (Well...he's not wrong.) How did he get that idea? Why, television of course!

Kyoya then offers to install a kotatsu at his house if that's what Tamaki really wants. This makes the transfer student so happy that he goes into instant BFF-hugs-and-flowers mode. He's literally jumping for joy! It's so adorable I have to share a picture.



[THIS is why Tamaki Suoh is my hasubando. I can't believe I ever forgot why.]

That night, Fuyumi is surprised at how quickly the Operation Best Friends Forever has progressed. Kyoya himself thinks little of Tamaki, with his comments mostly berating his intelligence. His grief continues, as the very next day, Tamaki has decided he wants to go to Kyoto. The only problem is that the attractions he wants to see aren't there, as Kyoya helpfully explains. However, an offer to see the tourist traps one at a time is enough to cheer up Tamaki and propel him into yet another mon-ami attack.

So we cut to Kyoya on vacation, watching Tamaki being an enthusiastic tourist. He can't comprehend this strange new student, who's managed to win the entire class over. At home, Fuyumi sees her brother planning a trip to Hokkaido. And he's at the end of his rope. "When we went to Kyoto," he rants. "[Tamaki] wanted to see the Daimonji bonfire, even though it's still springtime. And as we were eating Okinawa soba noodles, he tells me he wants to compare them to Shinshu soba noodles! Then he went on about whether a shinsa or a namahage would win in a fight! And then, after all that-!"

And what happened after that? Why, Tamaki apologized for draining the life out of his new BFF during the trip. Which is why Kyoya has decided he's going to just do whatever the new kid wants, f*ck sanity. But alas, the next day, Tamaki tells him he'd rather be studying for finals instead of traipsing in Hokkaido, and hey, shouldn't Kyoya be prepping too?

At home, Kyoya explodes at Fuyumi, enraged by the idiocy of his new "best friend". As he declares his hatred for Tamaki, he remembers what the entire point of associating with him is. As Fuyumi looks on at his temper tantrum with bewildered amusement, we cut to the very next Sunday. Kyoya remarks that it's been a while since he had a break from tolerating Tamaki. And speak of the angel, he's in his house, playing piano. Which has brought Kyoya AND his brothers to tears.



[Meanwhile, I'm crying for much different reasons.]

We then cut to Tamaki and Kyoya on the couch, making chitchat about Tamaki's new living quarters. As the latter seethes inwardly, the new boy asks about the former's position in his family. Tamaki continues, stating that he has a feeling Kyoya is dissatisfied with his situation and wants more. Kyoya accuses Tamaki of being a fool, as he's going to inherit his family's estate without doing anything to earn it.

To his surprise, Tamaki corrects him, explaining his grandmother doesn't like him that much. That doesn't mean that he WON'T get anything, just that his status as heir is still uncertain. In spite of all this, Tamaki admits he's not too interested in the Suoh business, and as he babbles on about ideas for a future career, Kyoya loses it.

Okay, before I continue further, let me stop to praise J. Michael Tatum's acting in this episode. Every line is delivered perfectly, from the narration to Kyoya's comedic rants. Keep in mind that this isn't even Tatum's best performance, as the Steins Gate anime didn't exist at the time of recording. So, here's the full excerpt.

Kyoya: SHUT UP, TAMAKI! Do you expect me to believe that crap!? How can you possibly give up on being your family's successor so easily!? You have no idea what it's like for me. You actually have a chance at it! All you have to do is try! Take advantage of your fortunate circumstances! Don't you realize the position that you've been blessed with!? I can't believe you. Dammit! Who the hell are you!?

In the background, it is written "You're such an idiot! How can you see through me?"

Kyoya (internally): Of course, I know that my brothers are no more suited to the position than I am. But...I will always feel the frustration of not being able to step outside of my frame. Because I am the third son.

Tamaki: Hold on. It sounds to me like you're the one who isn't trying. If you really want to surpass your brothers, then you can do it. But I think the one who's given up here is you, Kyoya.

There's more dialogue, but I'm going to cut it right there and talk a little about Kyoya. See, he's been taught from day one to manipulate people in his favor. That's why all his classmates are defined by them being the children of some businessperson. To Kyoya, life is one big chess game, where you're either a player like him or a pawn like Tamaki. Now, his entire worldview has been destroyed.

The more astute of you may have noticed that throughout the episode, Fuyumi has been trying to organize Kyoya's drawers, only for it to grow ever messier. That represents Kyoya's own baggage of being both the third son and Tamaki's babysitter, and there's quite a lot of it. All of his frustrations have been building up until he snaps and unloads all his anger at this idiot who's been thrown at him. That's when he has an epiphany.

Maybe the chess metaphor was bullsh*t. Maybe people aren't so easily divided into morons and manipulators. Maybe others don't think the way he does. Maybe...just maybe...some people really are as they appear to be.

Most importantly, maybe being friends with this new boy isn't such a bad thing.

And so, as Tamaki asks just where that kotatsu is, Kyoya laughs. He explains that kotatsus are only a winter thing, then tells Tamaki to stop being an idiot. In response, the new boy notices that Kyoya is finally showing his true colors. Indeed, as represented by that painting in the frame, he's surpassed his brothers in his own unique way.

Four months later, while he and Kyoya are at the kotatsu, Tamaki gets an idea. He wants to start a club- a host club! He even knows who he wants to join him! Kyoya listens, believing that while his friend's plans are ridiculous, following him may lead to something interesting. Then he notices a tea stem standing in his cup- a sure sign of good luck coming his way.

***

This is my official favorite episode. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's funny; up until now, when ranking the hosts from favorite to least favorite, Kyoya placed squarely at the bottom. It wasn't his fault, but the others were just more interesting or likable. This episode gave him some badly needed depth and futher probing into his backstory. It's perfect, is what I'm saying. He's still not my favorite host; that would be Tamaki, followed by Hikaru and Kaoru. However, this episode made me like him more than the last viewing. It's just pure gold.
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1055
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:37 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Ouran Episode Twenty-Five: In Which The End Begins

Last time on The Young, The Rich, and The Air-Headed:

There once was a young man, the youngest of three sons. He lived in his brothers’ shadow, always having to prove himself in order to stand out. In his world, there were two kinds of people; those who manipulated and those who were manipulated. All was well, until he was tasked to befriend a transfer student. This new boy was cheerful and bright, in spite of his sheltered background. The young man put up with his classmate’s whims, growing ever more irritated by the day. Finally, during a surprise visit from his new “friend”, the young man let out all his frustrations. How could this boy- who had no obstacles to becoming heir to his family fortune- be so uncaring about it!? And that was when he realized he was wrong about him. This boy, in spite of his eccentricities, was able to get through to the young man. That was how Kyoya Ootori and Tamaki Suoh became friends.

“The Host Club Declares Dissolution!”. It doesn’t happen until the very end. How? Let’s find out.

***

The episode begins the day before the forty-third annual Ouran Academy School Festival (cultural note: Japanese schools hold festivals every year in early November to coincide with a national holiday called Culture Day). The hosts are here to help, but Haruhi watches in confusion. After all, school festivals are supposed to showcase their students talents, not be an elaborate party. However, since Ouran is a rich kid’s school, the festival instead emphasizes planning and leadership skills, good assets for future businessmen and CEOs.



[...oh.]

The hosts themselves have brought in a horsedrawn carriage (pay attention to it; it’ll be important later) for the festival parade. As they ride, their clients looking on in awe, Tamaki talks excitedly about their costumes for the next day. Suddenly, the clock chimes ten, meaning the opening ceremonies have begun. “Let’s make this fair the best one yet.” says Tamaki.

We then cut to the opening ceremonies, where we see characters from the past episodes having fun. (There’s Kanako and Toru dancing! Over there’s Soga and Kurakano! And over here is Ritsu being fawned over!) What’s the Host Club up to, you may ask? They’re hard at work, the club being open for parents and visitors. They (and by they, I mean mostly Tamaki) charm both the mothers and their daughters, much to Haruhi’s embarassment.

Additionally, our heroine notes how much cash is being spent on just this one event. Kyoya takes her side when Tamaki protests, pointing out how he went overbudget by importing the horsedrawn carriage from France. As the host club king argues, a mysterious foreign girl watches them. There’s a certain judgmental look to her eyes, even as Haruhi comes up to her.



Meet our last antagonist of the series, Eclair Tonnerre, created for the anime and voiced by Colleen Clinkenbeard. Take note that in French, her name means “thunder and lightning”. Which is what Haruhi is afraid of. Hint hint.

Before much can happen, Tamaki’s father (Yuzuru Suoh, voiced by John Swasey) arrives, requesting to be addressed as “Chairman” rather than “Father”. Based on his demeanor when he summons Haruhi, it’s obvious where Tamaki got his charisma from. And just like his son, Mr. Suoh wants our heroine to address him with a familiar term. In this case, that being uncle.

Suddenly, a slap is heard from across the room, coming from Kyoya’s father hitting him in the face. Mr. Ootori does not approve of his youngest son’s antics at the host club (and knowing about Kyoya’s daddy issues, that’s f*cking harsh), when he is pulled aside by Mr. Suoh. As the two talk about work, the hosts fret over Kyoya, who merely brushes it off. All the while, Tamaki starts to wonder if he really is trouble to everyone at the host club, made worse when his father lectures him over his impulsiveness.

Soon, Tamaki’s grandmother, Shizue Suoh, arrives at the ballroom. Remember last episode, when Tamaki stated that she didn’t like him very much? Well, apparently, not much has changed over the years. The hosts don’t seem to like Grandmother very much, with the exception of Tamaki, the poor thing. And there’s a good reason why the boys hate her. How do I put this?



[Oh, yeah. She’s the worst.]

It turns out that Eclair and Grandmother know each other, as the latter orders Tamaki to escort her for the remainder of the festival. He graciously accepts, as Eclair seems to be rather enamored with the resident cutie. The hosts aren’t pleased with these events, especially because Tamaki won’t be with them. Who does that random girl think she is anyway?

Suddenly, Renge! According to her and Kyoya, Eclair is from an insanely wealthy family descended from royalty. The Tonneres have been buying up businesses in Japan as of late, though that doesn’t explain how they got involved with Tamaki. Speaking of, he and Eclair are on a gondola ride, which the latter is unimpressed with. What would impress her, though, is that sweet piano music he makes.



[Fact- piano players are cute.]

As Haruhi ponders over what Kyoya said, she hears music coming from the back. Indeed, Tamaki is playing a sweet song for Eclair, who is surprisingly non-judgmental about it. The melody even brings memories of her and a mysterious woman back. To say her identity would be to spoil one of the upcoming surprises.

Eclair hears someone (Haruhi) bump against the door and slips back into judging-you mode, as she and Tamaki discuss the host club. She scoffs at his mention of the other hosts being family, then brings up how the others go out of their way to please him at the expense of their own happiness. The club king’s guilt is reignited, causing him to stop playing the piano. He even mentions mentally that Haruhi would be much closer to being a lawyer if it weren’t for him…

That’s when Haruhi walks back in to change. She chastises Tamaki for abandoning the hosts, to which Eclair retorts that he’s her man for now. Both of them detect some sort of jealousy in our heroine, which she denies before leaving. But just as Tamaki is about to follow her, Eclair stops him and tries to seduce him.



Meanwhile, Haruhi steps back outside in her dashing new white uniform. She’s still irritated, though she claims it to be annoyance rather than jealousy over Tamaki spending time with Eclair. Kyoya informs her that this time, he’s just going along with what his a**hat grandmother told him to do instead of being his usual impulsive self. That’s when the hosts finally tell Haruhi about Tamaki being a wedlock baby.

See, once upon a time, Mr. Suoh’s father passed away young, leading to him being married off by his mother. However, he fell in love with a beautiful French woman, who became Tamaki’s mother. Though the two were very happy together, they couldn’t stay that way because 1) Grandmother didn’t like it and B) living in Japan was too much for Tamaki’s ill maman. So the boy and his mother lived together in France until they went broke. That was when Grandmother stepped in, on condition that Tamaki have zero contact with his mother ever again.

As of now, nobody knows were Maman is. Haruhi is reminded of the death of her own mother all those years ago, though Kyoya assures her that Tamaki will be fine. But just as things appear to be okay, Tamaki comes back with Eclair. Who is now his fiancee. And the host club is being disbanded.

***

Well...that was quite the episode. I mean, I’ve seen this before, but there’s a lot to process rewatching it. I for one forgot how horrible Tamaki’s cutie-breaking is, especially at the hands of the Worst Grandmother Ever. To be continued next time!
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1055
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:01 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Ouran Episode Twenty-Six: In Which We Must Say Goodbye

Last time on The Young, The Rich, and the Air-Headed:

The school festival at Ouran Academy is underway! All the students are working hard to hone their leadership and business skills, and the host club is no different. Complications suddenly arise, however, when Tamaki’s father and grandmother come to visit Ouran, along with a mysterious young lady named Eclair Tonnerre. Tensions grow as Eclair herself is determined to win the heart of the club king. As Tamaki begins to have worries over his impact on the host, it is revealed that he was born out of wedlock. Due to a deal struck with his grandmother, he can no longer see his mother or even contact her. All that can change, however, if he decides to marry Eclair. Which he does. What will happen to the host club now that Tamaki is leaving?



I’m afraid not, my dear readers. This is the end of the story, and so we must say farewell to this cast we’ve grown to love since we first began this journey. And so…“This is Our Ouran Fair!”.

***

The final episode starts with a shot of Mrs. Fujioka’s altar. (Dammit, this show is trying to break me.) Haruhi heads off to the second day of the school festival, where Eclair has some business with her. More specifically, after an attempt at getting to Kyoya by invoking “third son”, she asks how much our heroine’s debt is. As Haruhi arrives, Eclair notes that Tamaki had a soft spot, and that he won’t be at the host club that day at her request.

The other hosts are noticably worried about their club president’s absence and his announcement. Still, the show must go on, as Kyoya insists they still have a job to do. As soon as Eclair leaves, he tells Haruhi her debt has been paid and she is free to do whatever she please. This leaves some interesting theories about why Eclair would do something like that, but I’ll get into it.

As Haruhi processes the news, Kyoya’s father comes up to the two of them. Mr. Ootori tells Kyoya not to waste time on the host club, but just as he’s about to walk away, Haruhi can no longer hold it in. “You don’t know anything about the host club. Kyoya-sempai works around the clock to make sure that everyone here is enjoying themselves. And did you ever stop to think that entertaining others might give each of us some fulfillment? How can you possibly say that what we do here is just a waste of our time? I don’t care what you say. I think Kyoya-sempai is amazing.”



And so Mr. Ootori walks away, musing to himself on how that random guy who stood up to him was the honor student his son told him about. Elsewhere, Mr. Suoh and Grandmother discuss the Tonnerres’ business dealings in Japan. Grandmother assures the headmaster that all will be well, and that Tamaki would never turn against his own family. Mr. Suoh insists that his only child has no interest in preserving the family name (and amidst this, we see pictures of Tamaki on his desk- daw). Then we learn that the reason Tamaki proposed to Eclair in the first place is so he can see his mother again.

We cut to Tamaki playing piano while Eclair showers, her binoculars always in hand. She steps out, and when her fiancee’s cellphone begins to ring, she takes it (b*tch). Eclair frowns as she sees it’s Haruhi, but more specifically, because the picture on it is of how happy Tamaki is when he’s around her. She remarks on how while Haruhi denies being Tamaki’s lover, she still means something to him. And in a fit of jealousy, she drops the phone into a fish tank.

Okay, let me pause to say that for a one-shot antagonist, Eclair is surprisingly very layered. I won’t go into it until the very end, but there’s something utterly fascinating about this seemingly one-note rival. Let me just say that while Eclair is an objectively horrible human being, she’s not entirely a bad person. She’s just someone who’s very flawed and is definitely not ready for a relationship. I’ll get into it soon enough.

As Eclair tells Tamaki that it’s for the best he not have contact with his friends, a visitor arrives. It’s Mr. Ootori, who has business with the Tonnerres over his medical equipment company being bought out by them. He remarks on how that company was going to be Kyoya’s, which visibly saddens Tamaki. But Eclair herself has a favor to ask of Mr. Ootori…

Meanwhile, Haruhi has been put in a fancy pink ballgown for the school festival parade. The hosts (or rather, Kyoya) have been trying to contact their president, and when calling his cell phone doesn’t work, they instead call the Suoh manor. His housekeeper explains that Tamaki is about to depart for Paris, and that not only did he want to see his mother, but he didn’t want to be a burden on his friends any longer.



[I’m sorry. I got a little something in my eyes…]

Just as the hosts begin to despair, the Suoh housekeeper explains that Maman wouldn’t be happy to hear about the circumstances her own son got in just to see her. He was going to leave sooner, but he wanted to stay until the festival was over. But even then, he can’t wait, as Kyoya sees Tamaki on his way to the airport right at that moment. Now it’s up to the hosts to stop him and convince him to stay in Japan.

The first stop is to the school parking lot, where the hosts ride is waiting. Unfortunately for the hosts, Eclair managed to turn the Ootori police force against Kyoya and his friends. Luckily, Honey and Mori arrive in the horsedrawn carriage (told you it would be important later), transferring it over to Haruhi and the twins while they stay behind. And yes, they are able to succeed in beating up tens of police officers.

Hikaru, Kaoru and Haruhi ride as the sun begins to set. Hikaru rushes the horses, ranting on how he won’t let Tamaki leave, as it was him who got the Hitachiins out of their shells. The elder twin’s recklessless leads to him being thrown out of the carriage and landing in a pumpkin patch. And now...I get to talk about the fairytale motifs.



So...why this particular story? Why Cinderella? Well, that story is about a servant girl getting a chance to be among the rich elite, but only for a short amount of time. In this case, Kaoru was comparing the host club’s time together to Cinderella at the ball. It was fun while it lasted, but sooner or later, it’ll all be merely fond memories.

Haruhi looks on from the carriage, thinking about what happened that morning. It turns out she’d skipped breakfast, which according to her father, she hasn’t done since her mother’s funeral. He told her to stay brave, even when the world seems to be falling apart (and now I’m in tears, f*ck you Show). That’s when Haruhi realizes what she needs to do next.

Our heroine takes off her wig and petticoat, leaps into the driver’s seat, takes the reins, and heads off on her own. Haruhi soon catches up to Tamaki and Eclair, the former having doubts on whether his fiancee truly loves him. Suddenly, he spots Haruhi riding behind them, and he tells her to stop because it’s dangerous. But she won’t listen, and what she tells him is beautiful.

“Sempai! Please come back to Ouran! All of us would be completely lost without you, Sempai! You really are an idiot! What’s wrong with you!? After all this time we’ve been together, you still can’t tell when we’re joking and when we’re serious!? Everyone loves being in the host club! We really do! Even me, Sempai! I love being part of the host club too!”

Before Tamaki can take Haruhi’s hand, Eclair stops him. Her eyes aren’t filled with jealousy, but instead hurt and pain. Haruhi loses control of the carriage and falls into the water below, and when Tamaki calls out her name, Eclair realizes that she’s lost. With tears in her eyes, she lets her fiancee go. And so Tamaki leaps off, embracing Haruhi and falling into the river with her in his arms.

The two walk out of the river, or rather, Tamaki walks out with Haruhi in arms. They are greeted by the overjoyed hosts, while Eclair drives off to the airport by herself. Her chauffeur brings up the Tonnerre’s housekeeper, who tells stories about her son who plays piano. Indeed, she is Tamaki’s maman, and she’s the reason that Eclair fell in love with him in the first place.

Now let’s stop to talk about Eclair and why she’s so interesting. I think at the end of the day, she truly did love Tamaki. She’s jealous and judgmental, but a part of her does care about this foolish young pianist she heard so much about. It’s possible that it was Tamaki who came up with the idea of paying off Haruhi’s debt and disbanding the host club, as both Grandmother and Eclair would have nothing to gain from either action. Yet Eclair pays off the debt and let’s the club disband because it would make Tamaki happy. Every action she does throughout the final two episodes are made because she wants what’s best for the man she loves. Since she truly loves him, she let’s him go. And as signified by her discarded binoculars, there’s room for her to change from the distant watcher to someone who’s more open and engaging.

We cut to that night, as Haruhi dances with her fellow hosts at the ball. It’s revealed by a watching Mr. Ootori that a certain student investor bought his company before the Tonnerres could, and even made him manager. Mr. Suoh remarks on how clever Kyoya is to do that, to which Mr. Ootori adds that he thinks Tamaki is amazing. As the two discuss their children and which one Haruhi will marry, the series ends with the hosts themselves thanking the viewers for coming.

***

I think Ouran’s ending is not only one of the best endings in anime, it’s also perfect. Every emotional storybeat is hit exactly when it needs to, and though there’s not much levity, some of the background gags in the ending scene are quite funny. That’s not even getting into the surprising complexity of Eclair and the climax. Overall, I enjoyed my time with the hosts, even as it comes to a close. Join me next time for an overall view.
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louis6578



Joined: 31 Jul 2013
Posts: 1321
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:17 pm Reply with quote
Yep. Admittedly, the last handful of episodes were the only ones that got me invested in anything aside from Tamaki being amusing and Kyouya having a sort of sophisticated, classy charm despite still being archetypal. Still, I didn't dislike the show. It's probably the best anime ever that panders to little girls while also being a competently told story that entertains all people and genders. Well, besides the obvious one about the duck becoming a ballet magical girl or whatever.
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1055
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:26 pm Reply with quote
Important Update

Dear Readers,

I regret to inform you that Akane's Anime Corner updates will be quite inconsistent for a while. My mental illness has gotten bad enough to a point where it actively interferes with my daily activities, and that does include writing. I won't worry you with the details, but needless to say, I will be seeing professionals about it. I will try to put up posts as often as I can, but I cannot guarantee I'll meet my twice-a-week quota these days. I apologize if I haven't been keeping any promises, and I thank all of you for visiting this part of ANN for the last two years. I love each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.

Yours Truly,

Akane the Catgirl

P. S. Feel free to ask me anything anime-related. I appreciate your thoughts and kindness, too.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6762
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:42 am Reply with quote
I think my favorite bit in the whole series was when Kyoya got his revenge served cold on his father. Don't mess with the K. Twisted Evil

I really enjoyed reading the recaps. I can't believe you started it a year ago last August (not a criticism, just it doesn't seem that long - time flies and all).

Take care of yourself, kiddo. Looking forward to the next!
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1055
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:11 pm Reply with quote
Good News, Bad News

Let's start by getting the bad news out of the way. I am typing this on my IPhone because my computer is on the fritz. We're going to get it sent to a computer guy, but I don't know how long I'll be without a laptop or even if it can be fixed. Sorry guys.

Now for the good news. I am currently in the process of getting my sh*t together! Part of that process involves getting an editor, and I am proud to announce that Gina Szanboti is that editor. Thank you for your patience, everybody, and I'll try to get back to you soon.
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1055
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:35 pm Reply with quote
I'm Back!

Hello, everyone!

Hi, Akane! How's life treating you?

Better than it was in the last few months. I just wanted to tell you all that I have made my glorious return after being on hiatus this past month. As of now, I am sending in my second draft of my Ouran Final Thoughts to my editor. With luck, it should be up on Sunday.

Great! So, when are you getting back to Code Geass? And what about Haibane Renmei, hmm?

Well...that's a bit more complicated. You'll see my plans for them at the end of my next post.

You're delaying them again, aren't you?

It's not that bad, I swear! Anyway, I'll see you very soon! Boy am I glad to be back!
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