Title: Ouran High School Host Club
Japanese Title: Ōran Kōkō Hosuto Kurabu
Author: Bisco Hatori
Licensed: Yes (Shojo Beat/Viz Media)
Release Date: July 5th, 2005 (U.S.)
Volumes: 10+ (ongoing)
Haruhi Fujioka is a scholarship student at Ouran High School and because of the outrageous cost of the school uniform Haruhi wears baggy men’s clothing as a substitue. That combined with her short hair and huge glasses is enough to cause people to think that she is a he, and she does nothing to correct the misunderstanding. One day Haruhi was searching for a quiet place on campus to study and she stumbles upon the Ouran High School Host Club. In her confusion she accidentally breaks an enormously expensive vase and must work as a host with them until her debt for the vase is paid, although she must disguise herself as a boy to do this. Her gender is not fully discovered by the Host Club until after she becomes a host.
This story focuses on the ridiculous fun activities of the Host Club, and mixed in you slowly begin to learn the backgrounds of each of the main characters. Some of the backgrounds are more serious then what you would expect of these goofy characters.
Haruhi is probably the most level headed and unadventurous heroine I have yet to encounter and I love her for it! Her blunt remarks are great! Haruhi is a poor first year scholarship student at the VERY expensive Ouran Academy. Haruhi lives alone with her father (who often has to be out working late), as a result she is very independent. Her mother passed away when she was small, since then her father determined that he would never love another woman and began cross dressing. Perhaps influenced by this Haruhi doesn’t really care about the differences perceived by society between boys and girls.
Tamaki is a self obsessed but loving second-year who is the founder of the host club and has dedicated himself as its “King”. Tamaki is the main comic relief character of the series, his pouty faces are very cute/funny. I ADORE it when he goes through his cardboard box that’s labeled “The King’s Possessions” in the middle of their lavish Host Room and pulls out something completely ridiculous. He also genuinely misinterprets his budding feelings of love for Haruhi as the love of a father for a child and decides to dedicate family roles to the rest of the Host Club as well. In the host club Tamaki uses a princely character approach to attract customers.
Kyoya is very calculating and brilliant. He is the vice president of the host club and runs it from behind the scenes. Kyoya is close friends with Tamaki even though they’re completely opposite, the way Kyoya humors Tamaki is probably my favorite aspect of this manga. Kyoya does not seem to directly attend to the customers the way the rest of the members do.
Hikaru Hitachiin and Kaoru Hitachiin
Hikaru and Kaoru are devilish identical twins who view Haruhi as their toy. In the host club, the twins use a “brotherly love” technique to attract customers. These two used to be abnormally close in their own world separate from the rest of the world of “idiots” before joining the Host Club. Haruhi is the only character in this series that can consistently tell the two apart. Of the two Kaouru is the more mature one.
A short, cute, but exceptionally strong senior, Mitsukuni, or often referred to as “Hunny”, is a very childish and sweet-loving boy who is much older than his grade-school boy appearance. Honey is often around his cousin Mori, he likes to ride on Mori’s shoulders and in one chapter was referred to as Mori’s “Lovely Item” (a cute accessory). Honey comes from a family of renowned fighters, his family owns a doujo. Hunny is obsessively fond of eating sweets and his room is full of stuffed animals. His signature stuffed animal he totes everywhere is a pink rabbit made by his grandmother. In the host club Hunny uses his lolita appearance and character to attract customers.
Takashi (nickname Mori) is quite intimidating in appearance and speaks rarely. He has a deep bond with Hunny and the two go everywhere as a pair. Mori’s hobbies include kendo, which he is a master of. Mori and Hunny attend customers as a pair.
Why is Ouran so much better than a lot of other Shojo stories out there? It’s a satire of the clichés and stereotypes that are commonly found in manga aimed at girls (Shojo). Each of the characters embodies a typical pretty boy role that fits closest to their own personality and appearance in order to entertain their female customers. It even has a character that is a Shojo Anime/Video Game Otaku that criticizes the boys on their two-dimensional personalities.
It’s one of the few manga that have made me laugh out loud. I never get tired of Tamaki’s reactions to everything. or the Host Club’s fascination with understanding and exploring the world of the commoners. They were shocked that the rumors of such a thing as instant coffee were true, and their first trips to the Supermarket or Mall to investigate the lives of the commoners (Haruhi’s life) were amusing. One part of me anxiously wishes for a romantic relationship to occur between Haruhi and one of the other members, but a much larger part also wants to put it off so the story can continue in this light hearted way. As a side note I’ll add that I have also seen the anime and I believe the two complement each other well.