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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's Just Another Manga Monday: Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori

Well,I began the post at 11:59 so technically it was Monday when I began. Been busy moving furniture. That being said, today's delectable little treat is a little on the strange side. Now when I was in high school, I was in some of the clubs. I was in the drama club, the library club, gymnastics, band, chorus and choir. There were language clubs, chess, community service clubs, literary clubs and a host of other clubs, but I can't say I recall there ever being a Host club at school, but maybe I didn't know the right people. Or perhaps my school was not elite enough. Of course,, no one in my school looked like these guys, so maybe it's just as well. I give you Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori.

Series Description:
Reads R to L (Japanese Style).
In this screwball romantic comedy, Haruhi, a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to the 'Host Club', a mysterious campus group consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. To pay back the damages, she is forced to work for the club, and it's there that she discovers just how wealthy the boys are and how different they are from everybody else.

Publication Date: December 6, 2011 | Series: Ouran High School Host Club (Book 17)

My Review:
Haruhi Fujioka is a scholarship student at the elite Ouran High School. All the students are wealthy, well connected and seem to have scads of free time on their hands. While this series takes place predominantly in the high school, there is actually very little time devoted to class room sequences.

Haruhi walks into a room when she begins school and she accidentally knocks over a vase and breaks it. She is wearing a boys uniform and has her hair cropped short, so she is mistaken for a male student and forced to work for the host club to pay back the debt she has incurred by breaking the vase.

There is a rich cast of characters that are just out there.

The leader of the Host Club is Tamaki Suoh. He has a very delicate emotional state and when ever his feelings get hurt or he gets upset (which pretty much happens every volume), he curls up in the corner crying. He's very sensitive, overly so, but he is also generous and kind. He likes to call himself the father of the group and the other members of the club refer to him as milord.

Kyoya Otori is the brains of the operation. He is the power behind the throne. He manages the books, the finances, pretty much all administrative tasks for the group. He is also the informative member of the group. He knows what's going on with every one and everything. His family has a network of spies, er, retainers that he can call on any time of day or night for assistance if need be. As powerful as he is within the club, he is a second son and has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He can also be very twisted.

Mitsukuni "Honey" Haninozuka is the cute factor for the group. He is a senior, but is small and looks like he should be in middle school. He carries around a teddy bear and has an obsession with cake. Don't let that soft, cuddly demeanor fool you. He also has a black belt and is a fearsome fighter. Whatever you do, don't take his bunny rabbit or his cake. You might live to regret it.

Takashi "Mori" Morinozuka is also a senior and is rarely seen without Honey. They are cousins, but it seems that Honey comes from the main branch of the family. Mori looks out for Honey and he seems to be the only one that is able to Tell Honey when he has had enough cake. He also seems to walk in Honey's shadow and is perfectly content to let Honey lead him. He is a tall, quiet, somber type person, but he does have his moments.

Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin are perhaps the strangest pair in the club. They are the same age as Haruhi and are in her class. Their host club persona is brother on brother love. They are identical twins and the only one who has been able to figure out which is which is Haruhi. They are the tricksters of the group, always playing practical jokes and have a very carefree attitude. They are immediately likable, but often leave me scratching my head.

Eventually, the club members realize Haruhi is a girl which leads to all kinds of father / daughter fantasies in Tamaki's head. Even after they discover she is a girl, she continues to work for the host club as a boy and is quite popular with the ladies.

It seems as if the female population spends most of the time visiting the host club that it's a wonder they haven't all flunked out of school. Who can blame them, though, when the Host Club comes up with theme days like a Harem party. They love to dress up, get in character and lavish compliments on the female clientele that are so sickeningly sweet, but he ladies just eat it up.

There actually is a plot. Tamaki is only half Japanese and is not welcome by his Grandmother into the family. He does not live in the main house with his father who is the chairman of the school. Tamaki's mother is ill and living in France. Tamaki's grandmother wants Tamaki to quit the host club, end all relations with the host club members, especially Haruhi, and learn the family business so that he might one day be a proper son of the Suoh family and take over for his father. The gang is trying to get him to come back.

The final volume just came out June 5th and I am anxiously awaiting my copy. I love this series and will be sorry to see it end. It's silly to the extreme in all the right places, but can also be serious when necessary. There is also an extensive collection of secondary characters too numerous to mention, but it makes for a very wacky comedy.

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