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Friday, February 9, 2018

Selah's Manga Mania Reviews: Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1 by Bisco Hatori

Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1
by Bisco Hatori
July 14, 2011
184 pages
Volumes 18 
Publisher: VIZ Media: Shojo Beat
Genre: Romantic comedy
Shojo
One day, 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.

Sometimes, you just want something fun. You want silly, you want goofy, you want fluffy. What you want, my friends is Ouran High School Host Club.

This is one of those series that seem to have broken through, so even if you’re not totally familiar with manga, you might know of this series. And you should, because it’s so much fun.

We’re back on the school theme, and back on the working-class girl earns a way into the rich school (hello, Tropesville, I missed you). Haruhi has earned a scholarship to Ouran, and one day while looking for a place to study, she comes upon the empty music room that the Ouran Host Club uses to entertain female guests.

Okay, pause, because I know what you’re thinking. This isn’t that kind of entertainment. Think more hanging out, serving tea, flirting, fawning, and conversation.

During her first meeting with the six boys who make up the club, she accidentally breaks a vase that’s worth more than her life. Naturally, it’s declared that she’ll work off the cost as an errand boy to the club…because for reasons she’s been dressing as a male student (she also has short hair, is wearing glasses at first I think, and has a pretty ambiguous demeanor compared to the ultra-feminine girls at the school) and they just kind of assume that’s what she is. When they discover Haruhi has a gift for talking to their guests, they decide to make the errand boy a host…and discover that the boy isn’t a boy at all.

Also for reasons, the club decides to keep this to themselves so the rest of the school still assumes Haruhi is a dude through the series. Hijinks ensue. 

The main thrust of the series is the club’s president, Tamai, falling for Haruhi and trying to get her to return his affections in the most over-the-top ways possible while she attempts to repay her debt (yes, for those who have read it, I realize at least one other member of the club develops feelings for her). Honestly, though, this is a fairly episodic series so it’s mostly all about whatever adventure the club is on at the moment and what hilarity develops.

This is also a really fun take on the reverse harem trope, as each dude in the club represents a different type and possible match: Tamaki - the rich, expressive leader, Kyoya - the academic shadow king of the club, Hikaru and Kaoru – identical, mischevious twins, Mori – quiet and fierce with a heart of gold, and Honey – martial artist who looks way younger than he is and plays up his extreme love of cute things. All of the characters are likable for different reasons, and I love that Haruhi is smart, not traditionally girly but cute in her own way, has her own strengths and weaknesses, but is also so oblivious it borders on the unreal. Which makes the romance angle even better.

The manga is a little different than the anime but both are a lot of fun and do a great job of developing the story in slightly different ways. I don’t know that you could read it totally out of order, but I have skipped and gone back to volumes based on availability and not had a huge problem, though you likely couldn’t do it with the beginning or end of the series. It never takes itself too seriously, and where some series fall way into the drama of the romance, this one plays up the laughs and doesn’t fully commit totally to anything, which is a refreshing change-up.
It’s a lot of silliness, a lot of cute, and a lot of hilarity, especially when the club goes on field trips or finally meets Haruhi’s dad. There are also some great subplots with the characters exploring their own feelings on certain things, so there are some nice, introspective moments scattered throughout, too. Though come on, you’re absolutely reading it for the fun factor.

5 host sheep who are all enchanting for different reasons







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About Selah Janel:
Selah Janel is a writer who is trying to start doing that again instead of reading manga all the time.





2 comments:

  1. I have never understood manga. Maybe it's generational. Thanks for explaining this one .

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    1. Not a problem! That's what I'm here for. Honestly, I think a lot of it is poking around until you find the right theme/titles that suit you. It does take a little bit of digging, but the really good titles tend to portray stories in a way that are slightly different takes than what we're used to, so for me they always feel like there's something new and different.

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