This was an odd episode of Ouran High School Host Club. Not sure if it was just me, but the episode fell rather flat, without the zany energy to sustain it, plus all the emotional touches felt forced rather than a natural progression of the characters development and storyline up until now.
We’re nearing the end of the drama run, with the movie version already planned, so maybe these final few episodes are just setting the stage for the movie. As a standalone episode, for the first time the twenty-odd minutes of episode 9 felt long rather than much too short.
Episode 9 Recap:
Haruhi walks down the stairs to find Tamaki posing prettily on the banister, inquiring as to her wellbeing today? Haruhi gives him her customary grimace and notes that he looks to be full of energy today as usual.
Tamaki says that he’s super excited because he’s planning next week’s host club anniversary party, which will mark the two year anniversary of the day Kyoya and Tamaki started the host club. Haruhi mutters that every day is a celebration already.
Suddenly an older woman walks by and Tamaki calls her obaasan or grandmother. Kyoya explains to Haruhi that the older woman is Tamaki’s grandmother and the current head of the Suoh family. When Tamaki offers his hand to lead his grandmother down the stairs, she forcefully brushes it aside, calling Tamaki a shameless bastard child and demanding that he not touch her with his dirty hands.
Haruhi looks stunned. Two students standing nearby hear this and look pleased. Tamaki leans against the stairs and Haruhi walks over to ask gingerly if Tamaki is okay? He suddenly turns around and whines that his grandmother just chastised him. Why oh why does she chastise him? Is it because he’s too beautiful? But beauty is not a crime.
Suddenly Nekozawa senpai pops up to give everyone gift certificates for a free fortune telling sessions as thanks for the host club helping him with his sister. After he slinks off, Haruhi looks at Tamaki and wonders if she misheard earlier (what his grandmother said).
When Tamaki tells everyone to start planning for the upcoming anniversary party during the upcoming break, Haruhi says she can’t join. She’s going to Karuizawa, to help out at a pension owned by her dad’s friend during the break.
At the pension, Haruhi walks some guests out only to turn around and see the entire host club waiting for her. Tamaki has planned out all the things to do here. Haruhi wishes she didn’t tell them where she was headed.
Kyoya explains to the boys that this “pension” place is a hotel for people who can’t afford hotels, with shared amenities like dining and bathrooms. The twins want to book the entire place so they don’t need to share. Tamaki chides them for being so uppity, telling them to adopt the local customs of this place. Haruhi wonders why they are even here? Tamaki says he’ll go wherever she goes.
Suddenly Haruhi sees her friend Arai-kun and happily runs over to say hello. They greet each other warmly. When the boys walk over and ask to be introduced, Haruhi says the twins are her classmates.
When introducing Tamaki, who wonders how Haruhi will describe him (perhaps like a father figure or someone special), she simply says that he is her senpai at the school club. Tamaki falls over in despair and goes to tear paper off to the side.
Everyone moves into the dining room to have some tea, except the twins sit off to the side sulking, especially Hikaru. When Arai-kun tells Haruhi that he was worried she would have trouble fitting in at such an elite school like Ouran, but is happy to see she’s made friends there, Hikaru uses this opportunity to point out that it’s clear Arai-kun likes Haruhi.
Haruhi gets upset at him for being so impolite, and when Hikaru doesn’t stop, she walks over and slaps him. She says if he doesn’t behave with consideration for her friend, then she won’t consider Hikaru a friend anymore. Hikaru is stunned and storms off.
Kaoru finds Hikaru sulking in the room and gets a confession out of Hikaru that the poor boy is annoyed by Arai-kun, who so obviously likes Haruhi. Hikaru can’t admit he likes Haruhi, so continues to sulk while Kaoru looks concerned. Later Kaoru walks out and asks Haruhi for a favor.
Haruhi, dressed like a girl again, meets up with Hikaru on the streets of Karuizawa. She apologizes for being late and asks where Kaoru went? Hikaru says Kaoru is sick in bed, but thinks to himself that Kaoru clearly set this up for him. Hikaru wonders to himself what Kaoru is thinking? Hikaru is still grumbly but heads off with Haruhi to sight see.
The camera pans over and we see the rest of the host club hiding inside a nearby building and spying on this “date”. Tamaki is distraught that his Haruhi is out on a date with Hikaru. All I know is that Kyoya is dressed like a dalmation and stroking a cross-dressing Honey and I can’t focus on anything else during this scene.
When Tamaki tries to run after the pair, Kyoya whacks him and the other guys drags Tamaki off to talk some sense into him. Kaoru begs Tamaki to allow this to happen. Kaoru just wants Hikaru to learn to be like Tamaki. The twins have never had any friends outside of themselves for so long, always considering other people to be idiots.
Because Hikaru is the more emotional one of the two, he’s having a hard time treating friends with sincerity and consideration. Kaoru hopes that Hikaru will learn during this outing with Haruhi to be honest with his feelings and stop lashing out at people when he’s uncomfortable. Kaoru tells Tamaki to stop interfering today.
Everyone heads off to trail the duo, but Honey asks Kaoru what will happen if Hikaru falls for Haruhi for realz? Kaoru says that isn’t likely to happen, right…….? Kyoya says that would be like opening Pandora’s Box. Tamaki stands to the back and looks skyward at the ominous clouds in the sky.
Hikaru and Haruhi are deciding what to do today when they run into the members of the Black Magic Club. They walk up to say hello to Nekozawa senpai, who notices that the Hikaru’s girlfriend looks like Fujioka from school. Hikaru says that she’s not his girlfriend and storms off.
Haruhi follows him but stops to look at the clouds rolling in, noting that it looks like it will rain soon. Hikaru tells her to stop talking about the weather and quickly decide what to do. Haruhi wonders why he’s got such an attitude today? Hikaru is about explain what Kaoru did, but stops himself and just walks off. Tamaki is pissed that Hikaru has such an attitude when he had a chance to go out on a date with Haruhi.
Hikaru and Haruhi walk by a pickled vegetable stand on the street and she stops to sample the goods. She feeds Hikaru a bite and asks if it tastes good. She calmly tells him that she knows he’s irritable today because he’s worried about Kaoru. She plans to buy some food for Kaoru and tells Hikaru they can just shop around here for a bit and then go back. Hikaru smiles and agrees.
The host club continue to tail the duo in the most obvious of ways, including riding in rickshaws behind them. They notice that Haruhi and Hikaru appear to be getting along very well now. Kaoru says they should head back now. Kyoya agrees, since the longer they stay, the more it’ll hurt Tamaki to watch.
Haruhi notices the thunder rolling in and asks Hikaru to head back. He agrees when Haruhi suddenly sees Akai-kun nearby. He offers to use the store truck to drive them home, which Haruhi agrees because she wants to get back soon as possible.
Hikaru tells her to go ahead and takes off, saying he doesn’t want to intrude on their time to catch up with each other. Haruhi declines Akai-kun’s offer and follows Hikaru.
It’s started to rain. Hikaru tells the host club over the phone that he left Haruhi with Akai-kun, who offered to drive her home. Tamaki yells at Hikaru to go back and find Haruhi, who is deathly afraid of thunder. How could be just leave a girl by herself in this pouring rain? How can he just care about his own feelings. Tamaki puts the phone down and runs out into the rain to look for Haruhi.
Hikaru realizes Haruhi dropped clues about her worry that it was going to rain soon. He starts running around looking for Haruhi, as does Tamaki. Hikaru finally locates Haruhi inside a church. She’s crouched under a pew shivering from the cold and the thunder. Hikaru puts the ear phones around his neck on her ears.
He offers to go find some help but she grabs his arm and says it’s okay, Tamaki will come and find her. Hikaru sits down next to her and tells her to rest for now. She nods off and he puts his arm around her, apologizing for ditching her back there. He knows she’s a good friend and he’s sorry for what he did.
The door to the church opens and a drenched Tamaki walks in. Hikaru stands up and changes places with Tamaki, who does not chide him but instead pats him on the shoulder. Tamaki picks Haruhi up, who wakes up to find herself in his arms.
She sees Tamaki and confirms that he’s here. Tamaki reminds her of what he said before, no matter where she is, he will come find her. He tells her that it’s okay now and she can go to sleep. Haruhi closes her eyes and nestles into Tamaki’s embrace.
The rest of the host club arrive and watch this scene, especially noting Hikaru standing there watching Tamaki and Haruhi. Kaoru asks Kyoya whether he did open Pandora’s Box? Kyoya replies that if the box has been opened, it’s no one’s fault.
Everyone is back at school. Haruhi apologizes to everyone, saying that she got a little cold and is all better now, and sorry for making them worry. She especially thanks Hikaru. The boys part and Haruhi sees Tamaki laying on the sofa suffering from a severe cold.
She walks over and asks Tamaki if he’s doing better. Tamaki sees Haruhi and is immediately cured, jumping up from the sofa to welcome her back. Honey says Haruhi is clearly the world’s most potent medicine for Tamaki, who immediately blames this entire illness all on Hikaru and goes to chest bump him a few times.
Then Tamaki gets back to business and tells everyone to buckle down and seriously plan the upcoming anniversary party. The scene switches to Tamaki’s fearsome grandmother, who is appalled Tamaki organized such a shameless club at school. Her son asks his mother if she’s perhaps gotten the wrong impression of the host club? She doesn’t care, she just won’t let this event go on. We see the two students from earlier who overheard the grandmother call Tamaki a “bastard” planning to go public with this gossip.
Tamaki stands before the white board and has everyone chanting “host club is family” over and over again. Kyoya stands to the back looking out the window while Haruhi watches and smiles.
Thoughts of Mine:
So is it just me or did this episode feel really superficial? I find the twins story the least interesting in all the Ouran character threads, and this episode never made me care about Hikaru at all. It only succeeded in making me feel really really bad for Kaoru, having to put up with such an immature and self-absorbed twin. Now I definitely have a favorite twin, and won’t ever be confusing the two of them again.
The only thing that worked for me was the Tamaki element – the additional tidbits about his family life involving being a bastard with a grandma that obviously despises him, his continued denial about it, and how much he longs for family because his real one was so lacking. I loved the moment at the church when Tamaki, all sexy and rain drenched, walked in the door and went straight for his Haruhi. When he held her in his arms, it totally made me swoon at the tenderness in his eyes, and the way she nestled and relaxed in his embrace made the OTP ship set sail.
This was the opposite of episode 5, when the Kyoya-Haruhi bed scene totally stole the thunder from the subsequent Tamaki-Haruhi hug scene. This time the Hikaru-Haruhi scene was so ineffective that the scene only came alive when Tamaki showed up and injected some emotional and sizzle into it. Because the story doesn’t posit Kyoya as a viable second male lead for Haruhi’s affections, remaining instead a sardonic and wry narrator of sorts (which is such a waste of a hottie if you ask me), among all the guys it’s clearly Tamaki who has this special connection with Haruhi. But in general, it’s really the family forever emotional thread that best sells this story.