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Tag Archives: Ouran High School Host Club


Happy American Holiday everyone! Launch fireworks, eat hotdogs and hamburgers, get  CRAZY! America exists! CELEBRATE!

No, I’m not using the 4th as an excuse to delay posting for a week! I actually have something I want to rant about. Honest!

So I was watching Astarotte no Omocha the other day… you know, the one that is supposed to be about a 10-year old succubus that has to suck life energy from a man, despite her hatred of men… but is ACTUALLY about how the random human male selected is secretly her mother’s ex-lover and how she is also falling for him in an odd and, frankly, awkward way? Anyways. That. That thing. So I was watching the last couple of episodes and… nothing made sense. The series had been kinda drifting along on premise anyways, but suddenly they decided (as many anime do) that the last two episodes are the best place to try to toss a DRAMATIC PLOT TWIST!

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of good anime have done the DRAMATIC PLOT TWIST without it feeling bad. In fact, some even made it feel good. Take Ouran for example. It was the event that pushed the main character into action, rewarded a starving fanbase and gave us a high note to go out on. All-in-all, we left the last episode of Ouran feeling good.

That is NOT the case with this crap.

Okay, so… I’m not sure how much my average reader will know about this show, but let me set up what little cosmology we are given. There is the human world and then there are a bunch of other worlds. All the other worlds are connected through the magical world tree, but humanity was chopped off because humans ruin everything. Anyways, they briefly opened the gate to let in two plot-relevant humans, but apparently their presence is throwing the tree out of whack… and it is releasing red leaves to erase the hell out of them… or at least their colored-pencil picture diaries…Oh and the princess has a red mark on her back. Maybe it is trying to erase the part of her that was touched by humanity.

Still with me? Okay. Now, they introduce a thing where the main human character and his daughter can no longer hear or be heard by residents of this world, as they are fading out of existence in this plane or something… but that doesn’t even last until the end of the episode! The massive second-to-last-episode cliffhanger was that the princess finally asked him out on a DATE! GASP! HOW WILL THIS SERIES END?!

They’ve been pushing the entire 23 year-old human and 10 year-old succubus romance hard in this one… I thought it might turn into more of a father-figure thing, seeing as he is the only good male role-model she’s had below 60. (The fact that he’d slept with her mother couldn’t hurt either.) But no, we are going to riiiiiiiide this premise to the very end, despite the fact that they don’t seem to want to commit to the entire “sucking him off for life-energy” bit. So, our dramatic last episode consists of the following: A boring date at an amusement park, complete with the one drink with a 2-headed straw bit… then a tearful goodbye… then magical skype…. then some sort of ceremony or something… and then the main character rides back in on a dragon. Bam. That’s it. There was no drama in the DRAMATIC PLOT TWIST. There was no tension… there was no POINT, either… oh… and remember that mark on the princess? It turns out it was a bug bite. Why put it there to begin with?! It isn’t as though it was thoroughly explained what it was supposed to do to begin with!

I hate it. I hate it soooo much. It was a sub-par “meh” anime to begin with, but I watched it to see what they would do with it. They decided not to do anything. The magical rabbit sage girl? Oh she is just here for a gag. Don’t expect her to ACT like the most learned person in the realm and be able to tell the difference between a matter-erasing energy and a mosquito bite. “But what about the queen?!” What about the queen! We set up some sort of romantic sub-plot, but we never went back to it.

It is a massive problem with this sort of deal… The author didn’t plan anything in advance. Things are being made up on the spot… and, as such, we don’t have any sort of satisfying conclusion… just another pile of crap. We are told something mysterious is going on and we should care. Then we are told it is resolved. Great. If you haven’t seen this crap, you are missing NOTHING. If you are watching this, stop cold turkey. Just walk away. You will be better for it.

Oh lord, I hate it. So often, in harem anime, the main character seems to ooze these pheromones that attract attractive young ladies. I was watching a new one the other day, Yosuga no Sora. As the episode went on, I began raging at my monitor.

“That random maid saw him and thought he was attractive… lucky wretch.”

“He has a shrine maiden childhood friend? … bastard…”

“THE RANDOM GIRL ON A BIKE IS INTERESTED TOO?!”

“NO! YOU CAN NOT HAVE TWO CHILDHOOD FRIENDS WHO ARE BOTH ATTRACTIVE YOUNG LADIES! I FORBID IT! ESPECIALLY A GLASSES-GIRL!”

“WHAT!!! EVEN THE MAID’S ATTRACTIVE YOUNG MISTRESS?!”

“THE GIRL ON THE BIKE WAS THE CLASS PRESIDENT!? ARE YOU SHITTING ME?!”

Eventually, I had to take a break from the episode. I was just so tired of watching the gray-haired wimp pull in women like some sort of sexual black hole. They even showed us a girl-o-vision shot! Look at this!

This is how they see him!

I understand that there are certain guys that just get the ladies. I get it. He is a nice, friendly, pretty young boy… but, honestly! I’m beginning to hate him as a man! It is yet another time where I sympathize with all the other boys in the classroom. I know I’m not alone. In a lot of harem anime, the other boys unite and attempt to level some sort of punishment upon the main character. They form together into some sort of angry-eyed mob. I UNDERSTAND THE FEELING! Look at this, here is a shot from the scene where he gets introduced to the class.

It is pretty standard stuff… but lets look a little closer. I see at least three unnamed girls who are expressing interest by their body language. The only ray of sunlight was that I noticed one girl who isn’t interested in the least! For that, she has become my favorite character thus-far! Then again, knowing my luck, shes only too shy to look directly at his radiance.

Oh, main character pheromones! Why must you do these things to me?! There are PLENTY of harem anime that have this problem! There is a single nobody who, for some reason, women just can’t stay away from! In Shuffle!, the main character had a childhood friend, a tomboy sempai, the daughter of god, the daughter of the devil and a humanoid construct thingy after him! Why, you might ask? BECAUSE HE WAS THE MAIN CHARACTER!

“But Tom,” you might object, “Shuffle! was based on an erotic game. Of course there are a lot of attractive women who are after the main character for no reason.”

That is no excuse, I say! Nagasarate Airantou was a harem anime based on an erotic game and it had a perfectly legitimate reason! He was a man who washed up on an island of nothing but women! And you know what? Not everyone liked him. There were those who didn’t care. There was one girl who only wanted to turn him into a slave. One girl wanted to do science to him, painful-like! There were even lesbians who just wanted him gone! He wasn’t some sort of pheromone-pot! He was just a guy surrounded by women!

Too often, the harem is constructed as a harem for harem’s sake. The authors don’t consider how each piece fits together. It is just a guy… and then there are girls. We might add more girls with passing episodes… but why do they care about this guy? Often times, he isn’t even that likable of a character… he is some sort of semi-likable pushover non-character. “He is a nice guy, therefore 5 women want him.” Yeah… where was THAT in High School…

There are a couple of harem anime that did it right though… and they are a JOY to watch. Believable human emotion, threads of conflict… great stuff in general. I have three of them that you should check out, if you haven’t seen them already.

Mahou Sensei Negima!

This is some iconic stuff right here. Forget building 3, 5 or 7 likable, fleshed out and human females… Negi has 31. Heck, Negima is almost a lesson in archetypes! We have all walks of life, most of the major moe subgroupings, everything is here. The beautiful part is the overlap, though. They have similar interests! They aren’t all so different that they have nothing in common! They form cliques! They make friendships! In your average harem, you get a red girl, a blue girl and yellow girl, as different as can be! With Negi, not only do you get the full rainbow, the colors blend!

I will warn you though, Negima is a deep hole to jump into. You can’t become a Negima fan with a half-assed attitude… that crap will consume you. When you pause to think that there are 31 girls, each with a first name, last name and seat number… that is a lot of information to begin with. Start adding on backstory, subplots, hobbies… it can break men. Do they all like Negi for his pheromones? In one episode, yes. (Love potion, don’t ask.) Every other episode, no. The little man has to EARN that affection… (Except the class president, shes a pedophile. That was lust at first sight.)

Tenchi Universe

Tenchi Muyo! was a ground-breaker. I remember being ENTHRALLED by it when I first watched it. The characters were lovable, the world was beautiful… but it was a flawed creation. Tenchi Muyo! could only go so far the way it was originally created. Why, you might ask? Romantic tension. In the original, there were two key harem figures, Ryoko and Ayeka. That isn’t to say that they were the only ones interested. They were just the only one we cared about. However, when you tagged on Washu’s desire to have Tenchi’s baby, Sasami’s Tsunami form, Mihoshi’s speech about how being with Tenchi must be her destiny… even the cute mascot character turned furry out of love of Tenchi! Curse you pheromones!

Tenchi Universe fixed all that. When the series restarted, everything came into focus. Now it was a harem, sure, but only Ryoko and Ayeka were actively after him romantically. This gave the other characters the freedom necessary to really develop who they were outside of Tenchi and, at the same time, made Ryoko and Ayeka’s rivalry feel more central to who they were. When you consider that Tenchi Muyo!’s plot lasted for only the first six episodes and the rest was peaceful timekilling… the well-paced plot of Tenchi Universe makes it even better. Tenchi Universe is STILL my favorite anime of all time, but that is beside the point.

Ouran High School Host Club

Ah, the rare reverse harem. I still say Bisco Hattori is a master of crafting characters. Not only was the elusive reverse harem pulled off masterfully, each of the characters felt human. By the end, three of them are actively romantically pursuing Haruhi, but they grew into it. They didn’t start that way episode one, though they were certainly all introduced at that point. (I suppose it could really be four, if you added on Cassanoda-kun…)

The big thing here is that the characters weren’t immediately and intensely attracted to the main character. Relationships take time. Sure, you can find someone immediately attractive, but truly compelling stuff takes time to develop. That is where Ouran really excels. The characters are built with layers of development and their cores help us understand why their outer shells look the way they do. When you can tell the twins apart by their voices, you’ve started to understand. When you can tell the twins apart before they start talking, then you will know.

So, what do these three have in common that really makes them special? Time for growth. We don’t need all our romantic interests to be romantic interests right off the bat, authors. Let the characters interact. The audience will have fun trying to find the points at which subtle developments can be seen. For years I’ve watched Ryoko’s advances on Tenchi. Sure, she says from the very beginning that they were destined for one another… but if you look closely enough, you can find the episode where she starts to believe it.