OHSHC’s enduring popularity has spawned drama, film, and even plays. But does the live-action counterpart have the same charm?
No matter how much time has passed since an anime series ended, sometimes its enduring popularity and supporting fan base is enough to spark a continuation. This could take the form of a sequel series, a remake, or in this case, a live-action adaptation. Even though the charming animated reverse harem comedy Ouran High School Host Club Completed in 2006, the series did so well that it received a live-action TV adaptation in 2011. This version even led to a movie the following year, picking up where the TV series left off.
Fans of the original series might want to try out the live-action series to see how the Host Club hijinks unfold beyond the confines of the anime and manga, though it’s not quite does the same. Like any adaptation, there are similarities and differences that create a different viewing experience. If someone checks Ouran for the very first time or is already a longtime fan of the series, here’s what they can expect to stand out between the anime and its live-action counterpart.
Ouran High School Host ClubThe live-action anime adaptation ran for 11 episodes compared to the anime’s 26-episode run, truncating the story that anime fans are familiar with. The TV drama adapts what are essentially the anime’s first 11 episodes. The live-action episodes aren’t exact frame-by-frame recreations of the anime, especially considering that some secondary characters are more represented, but the plot as a whole is kept with little deviation. The story is still about Haruhi joining the Host Club to pay off her debt for the vase she accidentally broke, and each episode recreates the goofy antics of the club, its customers, and the relationship between Haruhi and the boys.
Aside from the shorter story length, the most obvious differences in live action Ouran are visual. The defining hair colors for the twins, Tamaki and Honey are much less overdone than in the anime. Ouran High’s signature powder blue uniforms are also a much more realistic navy in the TV drama. With anime being as comedic and campy as it is, TV drama attempts to carry over visual gags, but like anything created by animation, they can look a bit awkward in a realistic setting.
Another pretty big difference in live-action Ouran this is how present Nekozawa’s character is compared to the anime. While the vampire-like president of the Black Magic Club only appears in five episodes of the anime, he appears in every episode of the television drama.
Nekozawa’s somewhat menacing dark attire throughout the series is attributed to his photophobia. In the anime and manga, this includes a black wig covering her blonde hair, while the live-action series opts for a simple black hairstyle and no wig at all. In the TV drama, it’s almost like he’s an honorary member of the Host Club considering his involvement in everything that happens.
What the live-action series chooses to add does little to deter from the essence of what Ouran High School Host Club is, which existing fans can surely appreciate. However, what it lacks may be where it falls short for anyone who has seen the anime or even read the manga. With the live-action adaptation telling so little of the overall story, there’s less chance to really delve into each character and how their relationships with each other develop.
Even though a shorter series might seem like the easiest starting point for some fans in terms of time commitment, anime would still be the best place to start for newcomers. It’s only slightly more than double the length of the episodes, but as such the anime develops a lot more character depth which will provide a much clearer understanding of all of the relationships and personalities of everyone. The anime or TV adaptation is suitable for anyone looking to watch a reverse harem series, especially one that manages to effectively satirize the genre’s tropes across both visual mediums.
The franchise’s dedicated fan base continues to this day, with a new musical play debuting in Japan in January 2022. However, one fan chooses to enjoy Ouran High School Host Clubthey have a variety of options to choose from that are just as cute and comical as each other.
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