Ouran Highschool Host Club: Liveaction drama

There's someone for everyone, even those with a 'creepy guy in a robe with a cat puppet' fetish

There’s someone for everyone, even those with a ‘creepy guy in a robe with a cat puppet’ fetish

Ouran has a very special place in my heart, so when I discovered it was being adapted into a drama I was both excited and concerned. However, having all the manga lined up proudly on my shelf and watching all of the anime I knew a drama wouldn’t be too far off. And here it is.

The story is Haruhi, a ‘commoner’ attends the prestigious school ‘Ouran Academy’ through a scholarship. Looking for a quiet space to study in order to follow her late mothers footsteps of being an attorney, she finds herself in the schools hostclub where 6 beautiful males students treat the girls of the school as clients.
Immediately the clubs members make the assumption she is there as a client, and upon trying to make a hasty retreat she ends up destroying a vase worth up to ¥8,000,000.
The leader of the hostclub, Tamaki, who initially makes the assumption Haruhi is a male due to her scruffy, boyish appearance makes her work off the debt as the clubs servant.
After discovering her appearance is not what it seems, Tamaki promotes her from servant to host in order to pay back her debt, in which she continues her enrolment at the school with everyone except the other hosts not knowing her true gender.
This ‘gender bender’ style is something that is very popular in shoujo, for Japanese and foreign fans alike. Apparently there is just something appealing about a girl pretending to be a boy and making straight guys doubt their own sexuality when they are attracted to her.

From left, Honey, Hikaru&Kaoru, Tamaki, Mori, Haruhi and Kyoya

Granted I am only a couple of episodes into the drama, but so far I am pleased. Of course there have been a few alterations to the storyline in order to make the hosts appear less cruel, such as the Princess in the beginning who bullies Haruhi for being a commoner is welcomed back to the club whereas the manga and anime versions have the twins pour water over her and she is banned indefinitely.
Yūsuke Yamamoto does a wonderful job of portraying Tamaki with his princely demeaner that he shows to his clients, aswell as the flamboyant and dramatic side of his personality. I already assumed I would love his performance purely because he is a such a charismatic actor, and I’m sure many drama fans will recognise him from his comedic role as Kayashima Taiki in Hanazakari no Kimitachi.

Because enlarging someone’s passport photo isn’t creepy at all…

The role I was concerned wouldn’t be up to standard was Haruhi. There are multiple aspects of her personality, from selfless, self-reliant, humble and independent. A running joke in all the mediums of Ouran have her insulting the host members out of honesty, with zero ill intentions.  Haruma Kawaguchi succeeds where I thought an actress would fail. Haruhi is an unintentionally cute character, who doesnt like to acknowledge the obvious differences in gender, which led me to worry the liveaction would see her become more cutesy and harmless rather than the strong character she is. So far I’m pleased and relieved to say this isn’t the case and Haruma plays the part perfectly.

I think I captured her good-side

It’s difficult to have an idea into the other characters as I am only a couple of episodes into the drama, which mostly focuses on the beginning interactions between Haruhi and Tamaki. So far based on the small appearance in these two episodes I have been impressed with Kyoya who Daito Shunsuke does a great job of representing the cunning and cold host. Being the most intelligent of the group, Kyoya rarely puts an effort into anything unless it is profitable, and this drama representation is no exception. As he happily threatens Haruhi with a chipper tone whilst performing multiple tasks on his iPad, I know I’l enjoy seeing his darker scenes in the following episodes.
After Kyoya another performance that stands out is the hostclub favourites for many fans of Ouran, the twins Hikaru and Kaoru. Being early into the drama, the mischievous and troublesome aspect of their personalities have not been explored, aswell as the differences between the two which only Haruhi is able to decifer. As the drama progresses I look forward to seeing the flirty interactions between the three, but in the meantime fans of the twins will be grateful to hear that the ‘twincest’ is turned up to the max from the very beginning. Don’t deny it, I know you’re all out there, drooling over the idea of being the filling to a twin sandwich.
Played by Takagi Shinpei and Takagi Manpei who some make recognise as the cool butlers from Mei-chan no Shitsuji.

Sweet, sweet twincest….the bond of symmetry

Now the two I have difficulty coming to terms with is Honey and Mori. In terms of Mori I can’t help but feel something is missing, in the manga/anime he is represented as huge with strong features but with a soft side that is brought out by either Honey or animals. I’m sure it’s no fault of Nakamura Masaya  who plays Mori, but there was just something I found unconvincing about the character.
Similar with Honey, although I appreciate he is probably difficult to recreate in live action solely because he has a childlike appearance despite being the oldest. In the limited scenes I’ve seen Chiba Yudai in he seems to have the basics down, however, I know it sounds petty but I sort of wish he sounded more high pitched.

Awww…he’s so cute I just want to push him over

The series looks like it will have the same running joke when it comes to Honey, as every time he goes to jump on Haruhi or do a martial arts move he shrinks to his manga/anime size, which is only noticeable by Haruhi.
I think the saddest part of this drama will be the length, as dramas are known to not run very long and the manga is so extensive it goes without saying that a majority of our favourite scenes will hit the editting floor.
Despite this, so far this drama is making me laugh and I can’t wait to watch more of it. The chemistry between Haruhi and Tamaki is probably my favourite part to watch, which is funny because when I first read the manga Tamaki started off as my least favourite character.
Also, in case I didn’t make myself clear:

I wont lie. This is what it looks like.