Episode 8 AND 9…in which there is a Beach, Babes, a bit of Hentai, and…Nekozawa?!
We join our first year trio-Hikaru, Kaoru and Haruhi-on the last day of exams, just in time to see Haruhi’s off-hand approval to a beach trip come back to bite her in her skinny ass. Of course, when the Hosts think “beach trip,” they think a trip to the Caribbean or to Fiji, which is so not what Haruhi had in mind when she kind-of, maybe, perhaps voiced her opinion that it “might be nice” to go. Like anyone NOT from the 1% of the 1%, she had something much more local in mind…oh, say…a beach IN Japan, since they DO exist.
Since Mssrs Warbucks all own mansions over-seas, the idea that Haruhi wouldn’t be able to afford the ticket doesn’t even cross their minds, in typical Super-Rich Derp-Derp Host style. Kyoya, in an offer of “kindness,” offers to finance her loan at a reasonable rate. Since Kyoya’s idea of “reasonable” is all but nonexistent, it is best for all that Haruhi is smart enough to kill that idea before it can grow into a giant, carnivorous alien plant that destroys the world with a jaunty tune.
Of course, instead of focusing on the vacation aspect, the perv-tastic twins use the possible upcoming beach trip as an excuse to do now what they failed to do last time: get Haruhi into a two-piece swimming suit. Surprisingly, it is Hani who adds in his two cents about which suit he thinks would look cute on Haruhi, reminding us all that under all that Sugar and Chibi is an eighteen year old hormonal young man. The twins, mini-fashionistas that they are, curb-stomp his opinion, shamelessly extolling the virtues of ruffles on the swim-suit of a flat-chested girl. All the while, Haruhi is standing there, hearing them bad-mouthing her lacking bust line. Seriously, these two should have a warning label tattooed onto their foreheads. “Caution: Extreme Lack of Tact May Lead to Foot in Mouth Syndrome.”
As is habit when it comes to his precious Haruhi’s “dignity,” Tamaki flails and wails SEXUAL HARASSMENT, dragging innocent (…pfft, sorry…wouldn’t type that with a straight face…) Kyoya into his Epic Kermit Flailing and Twin PWNing. Kyoya WINS the moment by brushing off all the Crazy with his dead-pan snark over having three kids at only seventeen. This is a beautiful brush off of the whole calling Kyoya “Mommy” thing that Tamaki does, but His Blondeness does not get the snark. At all. In fact, the snark goes right over his shiny, glittering blonde locks.
The Twins do their Twin Manipulation Thing on Tamaki, getting him to agree to the beach trip despite his flailing over Haruhi in a swim-suit. Since the club’s REAL King (Kyoya) agrees to the insanity, The Game is ON, Mrs. Hudson~! Thus, Haruhi is dragged into the main plot-line for this TWO PART episode…
Crashing waves, sun glinting on the water’s ripples as it hits the shoreline rocks…bright, clear skies, heavy with the smell of salt and ocean…fan girls…?!?! That’s right, FAN GIRLS. Looks like someone (namely everyone NOT Kyoya) should have been a bit more clear when asking about a “beach trip.” Perhaps they should have clarified Kyoya’s terms of agreement, or perhaps it is his revenge for being forced to play “Mommy” to a band of idiot Hosts. The world may never know. Whatever the case, Haruhi’s moment of EPIC LET DOWN is the Let Down of ages.
Since fan girls have once more entered the picture, that means that things in the Host Club are back to “usual.” Tamaki man-whores with all his might for the line (yes, a literal LINE) of girls awaiting his personal attention, while Kyoya does what he does best…micro-manage the HELL out of what would normally be a “romantic” scenario. The Twins playfully Twincest as they try-and FAIL-to play volley-ball with their squealing, mostly useless guests. Hani and Mori do…something vague…in the background that could be conversation, or could be them just standing around looking pretty. Haruhi, however, borrows a Tamaki Technique and Gloom Corners over a pitiful sandcastle, in memory of the relaxing beach vacation that wasn’t.
A few bikini-clad fan girls of Haruhi try to pull her into a bit of Beach Fun, but this chick is SO not having that, giving her hangers-on the brush off with a smile that makes the rejection seem a little less like the “go away and bother someone else” that it is. Still. The “Fuck Off, pretty please~” is so there.
Taking advantage of a moment of NOT being man-handled, the Bad Touch Trio does a bit of Host Chit-chat, the Naughty Twins despairing over being unable to
ogle see Haruhi in a bikini. However, Tamaki is pleased as punch, for some reason that goes against all the instincts he should have as a questionably heterosexual, hormonal seventeen year old male. Seriously. Freud would have had a field day figuring out this guy’s issues.
Despite his Daddy/Daughter Delusions, Tamaki’s Sunset on the Beach fantasy, featuring a dress-clad Haruhi, plays as more romantic than familial. Even still, this guy insists that Haruhi is his precious daughter and that she should consider him as/call him “Daddy.” I say again…ISSUES. Thankfully, He of the Goldilocks snaps out of it in face of the disturbing, craggy, oddly cat-shaped cliff-side. Hmm. Now, who do the Hosts know that is both creepy and REALLY fucking loves cats?
Yes, that’s right. Turns out, since Haruhi has no passport and no money to pay for an over-seas trip, the Hosts (again, namely Kyoya) had to find someone whose family owned local beach-front property complete with a private beach. That someone just happened to be Umehito Nekozawa, President of the Black Magic Club and someone with an odd fondness for teasing Tamaki. Voila! Nekozawa to the questionable rescue~! The Bad Touch Trio’s despair is felt by all who fear the Terror Who Cackles in the Night, with his Trusty-Dusty hand puppet, Bereznoff.
Suddenly, the creepy cat-cliff makes a lot more sense.
This Nekozawa creepiness wouldn’t be complete without a cat-centric name (“Nekogaiwa”) and a deadly curse. Apparently, if you jump off this sucker, you die. The End. I don’t know if that’s a curse so much as logic, as this cliff is a big fucker with a mess of thrashing tides and rocks to kill yourself on below. Still…A CURSE, which is totally NOT going to bite the hosts in the ass later. Of course not.
While the Trio of No-No Touching is flailing, Haruhi manages to teleport from her spot on the beach to the edge of the creepy-as-fuck mouth of the cat-cliff. Of course. Who else would fall prey to a curse than oblivious Haruhi. Before that can happen, the three quivering Divas “rescue her” from the big, mean rock and drag her off to safety, which happens to be the bone-strewn cavern of the cat-cliff’s mouth. Seriously. If this is what Nekozawa considers haute décor, he could make a FORTUNE decorating for the Addams Family. Apparently, this is all a favor to Tamaki, who Nekozawa wants to deepen his relationship with. No, really. Either he has a huge man-crush and SO does not get that Tamaki is a wine-and-dine-and-bedeck-in-diamonds kind of Gal, or he is just fucking with King Clueless, HARD CORE.
Cut to…Hani digging for seashells which actually means HOLY FUCK, EDIBLE CRUSTACIANS EVERYWHERE. I am surprised Haruhi has room for the shelled creatures in the bucket she’s using with how much her Glutton is drooling. Tamaki, of course, has to show off skill at catching crabs ( LOL ~and~ *facepalm*), which leads to the pitiful fan girls having a minor break down over a millipede. Really. I can’t make half of this Crazy up. Haruhi to the rescue, and she chucks the sucker away.
The Trio of Bad Touch also seem to be the Trio of Annoying, as they have to turn the fact that Haruhi is seemingly fearless into a game to see who can find out what frightens her first. Sheesh. I hate to coin a cliché, but with friends like these…
Kyoya ups the stakes by offering up picture of Haruhi in middle-school as the prize to the winner, and we all silently wonder if he’s a stalker, because WHUT~? and Where the FUCK~? So, thanks to that bit of creepy bribery, the entire Host Club gangs up on the clueless heroine. This…might not end well.
The Twins’ attempt: Haruhi is braver than the average bear and logics the fuck all over their attempt at being scary via ghost stories in a dark cave, so…FAIL!!!
Hani’s (and Mori’s) attempt: This chick really isn’t bothered by much, as she proves by practically hanging over the edge of the Curse Cliff. Even Mori LIFTING HER UP and dangling her (thankfully not over the edge) doesn’t faze this Jedi Knight. The Force is Too Strong with her, so…FAIL!!!
The Twins’ attempt, mark 2: no nictophobia (fear of the dark) for this Lady Knight, though the twins DO succeed in scaring the Hell out of Hani, who IS nictophobic. Still…FAIL, I SAY!!!
Tamaki’s attempt isn’t even worth mentioning, not only because he does not get the chance to try it, but because it would squick the fuck out of MOST people. Seriously…a bucket full of bugs. I’ll say it again…A BUCKET. FULL. OF BUGS.
Luckily, the twins distract
me us from the EWWWW mental images by calling Tamaki on his Father/Daughter bull-shit. This proves to be a potential moment of clarity for Tamaki, that is…until the moment is interrupted by his Chronic “OH, SHINY!” Syndrome, when he spots a snake to add to his Bug Soup (…whimperEWwhimper).
Drama is in the air as we cut to a group of strange boys harassing the delicate flowers that are the fan girls of the Host Club. Some unwanted flirtation, and some smiley grabbing that looks a bit more rape-y than flirtatious (…er…I’m not touching this as a joke, as it is genuinely creepy), and BAM! Haruhi to the rescue when she tosses a bucket full of live, pointy-edged sea critters on to the back of the worst offender. Not the best defense, but bonus points for effort. Haruhi tells off the creeps, and…
…we cut to a fan girl pointing out Haruhi to the Bad Touch Trio, standing on the edge of Cat Cliff. The same cliff that is supposedly cursed to kill any who jumps off it. Fuuuuuc~k.
…back to Haruhi, who is getting knocked around by the douche-nozzles in flip-flops. Haruhi takes a punch to the head (what the hell, actual DRAMA?) and falls from the cliff, where it is TAMAKI to the rescue, diving off the cliff to save her.
He pulls her out of the water and she comes to before they call the doctor. The twins are doing a GOOD THING by keeping the fussing girls back, but Tamaki has his SERIOUS BUSINESS face on. Tamaki is angry that Haruhi, a girl and untrained in martial arts, went against all those guys. Haruhi is indignant with feminist rage that he’d think gender should stop her from helping those girls. Tamaki wants her to think about how stupid she was and apologize, but she’s having none of it. Tamaki storms off in a rage, promising to not talk to her until she realizes that she’s fucked up. Seriously…this is getting a bit intense. Where have you gone, Oh Fluff?
Tamaki reassures us that he is, indeed, still a giant ball of cotton-candy glitter. He doesn’t even make it five feet before his indignant rage fails in face of his Puppy Eyed peer over the shoulder. Haruhi is made of stronger stuff and does not look ready to apologize. Episode 8 closes in on their entrance to their accommodations for the night…Nekozawa Mansion~!
(Takes a deep breath, flexes fingers…)
Episode 9 opens up in a gothic castle with creeping shadows and darkly beautiful décor that would not look out of place in 0001 Cemetery Drive. If Ouran Academy is a pastel pink Hogwarts, then Umehito Mansion is the family Estate for the Russo-Asian branch of the Addams Family.
The Hosts, stuck inside because of the stormy weather, are gathered round a board game that seems to reward you with death, illness, or failure. Seriously…Umehito Addams, I dub thee. Tamaki, of course, is in his gloom corner moping that Haruhi isn’t talking to him, even though he was the one to issue the ultimatum. The twins, the ass-hats that they are, have to poke the injured Puppy by taunting Tamaki about his beach fantasy and egging him on to apologize to Haruhi so he can get her in the white dress. With the gift of entering at the wrong moment, Nekozawa rears his head in time to question Tamaki’s like of dresses and compliment his taste, which is forever hilarious. I wonder if he’ll buy one for Tamaki. They could share hair-care tips. MOVING ON, quickly now~!
The Hosts are despairing the epic gloom of the mansion, while Kyoya is despairing everything being all free (meaning he cannot in return charge the hosts…mostly Haruhi…an arm and a leg in interest, to pay back the fees). Ah, yes. Nothing says “thanks for the hospitality” like undisguised greed in the face of charity.
Tamaki, flails and complains about not being able to play cards with Haruhi in the dark, while Kyoya bitch-slaps him with the fact that it probably doesn’t matter, since they aren’t talking anyway.
An~d…back to the Gloom Corner for Tamaki. Seriously, I am sensing a pattern in this chapter.
We have a few moments to glory in the Creepy of Nekozawa giving the wiggins to
everyone Tamaki, before L~I~G~H~T~! Nekozawa scatters like a cockroach when the light switch is flipped and thus enters Haruhi…in a dress. No, this isn’t another Tamaki-fantasy. Haruhi is really in a dress…a frilly, cutesy dress. This lady, apparently the most manly and handy of the group, trekked down into the gloom of a Nekozawa basement and flipped the breakers (thus the light), all the while dolled up. ILU, Haruhi.
We have a lovely moment of Hosts Ogling Haruhi in a dress, as they all probably realize that this is a sight that none will ever see again. There is a nice bit of compliment round-robin, but Tamaki
wins ruins the moment with a nose bleed, which in manga/anime means…“How you doing, baby? You so sexy, baby.”
The twins act scandalized, which is just hilarious coming from them, and Hani tries to be helpful by Judo-Chopping the back of Tamaki’s neck. Either he’s trying to take Tamaki out, or does not know that a blow to the neck will not actually stop a nosebleed.
Moving on, we get an up-close, almost glittering freeze frame of the food, which just proves that our lovely heroine has her priorities in order. Tamaki, spiteful brat, eats all of Haruhi’s coveted Fatty Tuna, thus she denies him the crabs. Er…that didn’t sound as bad in my head. Anyway, the tension is high, as is the sarcasm factor, and Tamaki storms off…but not without Kyoya. The long, dark hallways are scary. Really…he’s not a coward. Really…
Finally, we have a moment of (partial) insight when Haruhi questions whether she should learn to defend herself. She seems to finally be getting the point when she realizes that Tamaki and the others were genuinely worried, so she should apologize for scaring them. She apologizes to those left, and her humble cuteness prompts simultaneous glomps from Hani, Hikaru and Kaoru, and even a hug-by-proxy from Mori, who seems to hover close by a lot. All the hugging is cute, but Haruhi is very full and pretty close to vomiting over everyone. The rush to find a loo is interrupted by an Unfamiliar Blonde Bishie, glitter and roses and all, who looks a lot like a long-haired Tamaki. Turns out, that is what Nekozawa looks like without his wig and robe.
…even having read this before, I still Blue Screened at Bishie-Umehito. There is just no avoiding it.
Haruhi finally gets her vomit on, and walks out into the attached bedroom in time to find a shirtless, half dressed pretty-boy just out of the shower. Said pretty boy is Kyoya. A~wkward. Haruhi apologizes to Kyoya for worrying him, but he brushes it off. He does, however, let her know just how much money he had to put in to making sure that the fan girls were taken care of so that they would not worry. Blah, money-grubbing, blah exploitation, blah…par for the course. That is, until Kyoya offers up a deal to Haruhi: he’ll erase the latest accumulated debt, in exchange for her body. No, really.
What seems like the opening for Hentai turns out to be something else,
unfortunately entirely. Though the looming, half-naked Kyoya pinning Haruhi is an interesting picture to stare at, it’s not really the important part. What matters is that Haruhi understand that it is one thing to charge in to save the day, unaware of what those guys could do to her, and quite another to charge in, knowing full well that they could do some serious damage on more than one front. Haruhi gets the point, at last.
Their encounter ends in a laugh for Kyoya when Haruhi’s deadpan works in her favor. They have a Moment, and then in comes fussing Tamaki, looking for sun screen lotion. He gets the wrong idea (well, in a literal sense) and fusses, but gets sunscreen in the face (the bottle, not actual lotion) for his troubles. Tamaki fusses, Haruhi scoffs, and the two bicker (again). Things look like they’re going to end on a bad note until…BAM! THUNDAH and LIGHTNING.
Haruhi runs for cover in a wardrobe while Tamaki fusses some more.
…maybe he wants to go to Narnia, too. Ever think of that, Haruhi?
Er…ahem…anyway, Tamaki can’t understand how it helps, but she brushes it off as something she does to deal with stuff. Now it is Tamaki’s turn for a moment of clarity. Independent Haruhi, so used to taking care of herself, didn’t ask for help because she never had anyone around to help her out (her mother dead, her dad always working). The reconcile with a hug and have their own Moment.
In the end, the other Hosts pop by to see how things are going, only to find a blind-folded Haruhi wearing ear plugs while Tamaki kneels in front of her, grinning. Their simultaneous expressions of Do Not Approve of This are beautiful, and thus Haruhi is left with the impression that Tamaki is into S&M.
First off, let me say that I kind of feel silly for making a big secret about which episodes were going to be two parters when the VERY NEXT one was included in this list. Ah, well. Everyone is entitled to their Derp moments. I just happen to have them a lot.
This is actually one of my favorite two part episodes, not only because of all the whacky shit that is going on, but also because the whacky shit includes Umehito Nekozawa. Though I love Kyoya, and the Bad Touch Trio is a gift from the Manga-ka to my Snark, I truly, truly adore Nekozawa. I had a lot of fun re-reading these two chapters and writing up this entry.
Nekozawa, Nekozawa, Nekozawa. In case the bit above or the previous sentence didn’t tell you, a lot of what worked for me had to do with the random, whacky element that Nekozawa brought to these episodes. Without him, this really would have been two linked chapters of the Hosts being Hosts at the beach. Without Nekozawa, we wouldn’t have had the creepy as hell cat-cliff with its curse and it’s gothic-horror decorations. Without Nekozawa, we wouldn’t have had Hani’s ridiculous sea shell (i.e. sea food) search on the beach: they changed it in the anime; originally, it was Nekozawa’s doing. Without Nekozawa, we wouldn’t have met Tamaki’s questionably evil and equally as pretty “twin.” The list goes on, really. Yes, they changed the cliff scene in the anime so that it could be included without the Nekozawa back story, but who really cares about a random cliff without the side knowledge that it is a creepy CAT cliff with a curse that supposedly kill anyone who jumps/falls off it? Also, without Nekozawa, there wouldn’t have been the board game of Doom that seriously needs to be real, just so morbid people like me could play it, finding more and more hilarious ways to meet our doom. No, I’m not disturbed, I just have an odd sense of humor. Really.
Hentai Fake Out, for the win. Seriously. I know I do not need to say more than that on the subject, I will. It is interesting and very telling of Kyoya’s character that he was the one to go that far to prove Tamaki’s point. At any time, the other well-meaning Hosts could have sat Haruhi down and told her, in plain and brutal words, the facts. Hani, as cute and Loli as he is, would have been perfect for this, as he was the one to spell out that she needed to apologize and why. He could have told her exactly why it was so dangerous for her to confront a group of sexually violent men with no understanding of how badly they could hurt her. None of them did, however, not even Tamaki, who was the most upset. Instead, it was seemingly unconcerned and uncaring Kyoya who took it into his hands (literally) to teach Haruhi her folly. While he did not outright discourage the behavior as Tamaki and the others would have done, he did prove his point that her naivety would hurt her if she blindly charged in, without a thought of how someone would or could retaliate. He showed her her weakness without kindness and pity, which in the end proved to be the kindest thing for her, as she finally understood. Though not a sensitive man, he understood the need to teach her and not tell her for her to understand what all of her friends were trying to say. As I said, considering how he is usually portrayed and how he is viewed by Haruhi, this was a very interesting direction to take the character. The fact that he did it not for his sake or for hers, but for Tamaki’s sake…to prove Tamaki’s point…is all the more interesting.
I have to say, I loved the fact that the Hosts made a competition out of trying to frighten Haruhi. Really. Let’s not ask her outright, or even bring it up in conversation. No, let’s pull individual, elaborate pranks on her or set her up in fear-inducing situations to see what actually frightens her. It is a good thing that she is both fearless and oblivious, because there is no telling what she’d do to them if she knew they were pulling all that crap on purpose. You know what? Never mind. Considering what she knowingly puts up with daily, I don’t think her knowing what they were doing would have changed a damn thing. There would have probably been a bit more eye-rolling, and a bit more sighed mumbling about “rich bastards.” Also, they probably wouldn’t have let her tell them outright, not wanting to spoil their “game.” So yes, forget that question. She would have reacted just like she did, but perhaps with less patience for drawing it out, just wanting to get it over with. Am I crazy if I think that this makes it so much better? Because I really, really do.
I know I covered it in my review, but Tamaki and his Daddy/Daughter issues. Can I just say… “Ye, Gods.” On one hand, he wants Haruhi to call him Daddy, and even think of him as her Daddy, but on the other hand he has persistent romantic fantasies involving the two of them. On the same vein, but even more disturbing, is that he actually refers to her as his Daughter and seems to have convinced himself that all his fussing over and concern about her is familial in tone, but then again…those elaborate married-life/romantic scenario fantasies. I hesitate to call him truly disturbed, but this has to be messing with his head a little, unless he has actually managed to separate and compartmentalize these two, contradictory sets of emotions about Haruhi. Even knowing what is coming, it is still difficult to get into his head and figure out what the hell is going on upstairs that he is not getting that romance and “incest,” even imaginary (as in this case), do not a healthy relationship make. For now, I will say Tamaki is Tamaki and leave it at that. Like I said, I know what is coming, so there isn’t much more to say without Spoiling Things. Still…what the hell, man.
Kyoya is creepy. There, I said it. I still find him hilarious and slightly evil, but he is creepy. Even knowing the hows and whys of his possession of Haruhi’s middle-school photos, WHY in the HELL was he carrying them around in his pocket? If her gender is supposed to be a big secret, isn’t it a bad idea to carry around the evidence of her being female, when it could fall out or be lost and expose the truth? Is he suddenly precognitive? Did he know ahead of time that the twins would pull Tamaki into a game to find out what she fears? Did he know he’d need extra incentive for the Blonde King and the others (Hani and Mori) to really get into said game? So, with all these questions in mind, I repeat…Kyoya is creepy. I know I made a joke last episode about Kyoya being a God of his own Eden, but this is taking a running leap over believable ability to predict the Hosts’ stupidity and into omniscience. I won’t hold it against the story as this is a PARODY so there are going to be many, many WTF plot-points and plot-holes big enough to manifest in-story and eat our protagonists. That said…creep~y.
Even if I cannot possibly turn one wordless panel into a tangent, I have to express my love over the total Do Not Approve facial expressions on the other Hosts’ face when they saw what Tamaki did to Haruhi. I bring this up because this comes after the fact that the Twins were fussing that Kyoya left her alone with the King, and Kyoya totally brushed off Tamaki being even the vaguest threat. Then…suggestive positions and oddly gleeful Tamaki. So, so much laughter to be had, there. SO MUCH. I just have to mention the live-action show, in this regard, as they amp up their teasing of Tamaki’s S&M habits to 1,000. Imagine, if you will, the fluffy, pretty hosts playing with leather paddles, ball gags, and other more penetrative sex toys commonly used in bondage play. Yea~h. Which is why it definitely receives its honorable mention here. The Hosts + sex toys = win EVERY TIME.
Huh. What do you know. I did manage a tangent. Sweet.
I am so NOT going to make a joke about the sexually violent/rape-y undertones of the creepy, smiling boys pulling on and harshly man-handling a half naked, teary-eyed girl. I’m just not. What I am going to say is kudos to Haruhi for playing the Hero, even if she was being naïve about how badly she could have been hurt. Also, I seriously hope that the Hosts left behind on the cliff top after Tamaki jumped after Haruhi did some fucking damage to those douche-bags, or at least did SOMETHING bad enough that they’d learn to keep their paws and dicks off unwilling women. Honestly, I have to imagine something like that, for my own sake, otherwise it seems like that part is handled much too lightly. “Oh, some of the Hosts’ clients were nearly sexually assaulted, but the perpetrators got off because Tamaki had to play hero for Haruhi and the other Hosts couldn’t be bothered.” Yea~h. That is definitely one aspect of this Parody that I want to consider one of the more dramatic elements, like Haruhi’s beat-down, and not like something to brush off, or to laugh about.
On a lighter note, Haruhi’s deadpan is amazing. Telling Kyoya that he wouldn’t try to have sex with her because he’d get no merit from it…i.e that he won’t really “put out” because she’s not rich enough for his tastes…and getting away with it (making him LAUGH, even)…
Haruhi, you beauty. Even your most insulting deadpan is glorious.
We~ll. That about wraps that up. I’m sure I could probably squee some more, but since I can’t squee coherently after nine pages, I’m going to call this Turkey done. Seriously, though. If this is the level that Bisco Hatori is bringing it to for these double-headers, I can’t wait for the next one.
Thank for reading, my lovelies. Till next time~!