At Ouran High School, an academy where only the children of the rich and powerful attend, there exists a club consisting of the most elite of the student body: the legendary Host Club. Within the club's room, six beautiful, bored boys spend their time entertaining equally beautiful and bored girls.
Haruhi Fujioka, a poor scholarship student, has no interest in the Host Club—until she breaks a valuable vase in their clubroom. After being mistaken for a boy, Haruhi is forced by Kyouya Ootori to work for the Host Club to repay her debt. Tamaki Suou, the princely leader of the club, eagerly takes her under his wing to teach her the ways of the host.
Things, however, are never quite so simple with the Host Club around. Even the most mundane events can turn into huge spectacles with the likes of prankster twins Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, stoic Takashi Morinozuka, and sweet Mitsukuni "Hunny" Haninozuka. The crazy adventures of the Host Club are just beginning, and Haruhi must learn how to survive in the glitzy world of the hosts.
[Written by MAL Rewrite]
Note: The final volume contains a special bonus chapter where the group travels to Spain.
Ouran Koukou Host Club was published in English as Ouran High School Host Club by VIZ Media under the Shojo Beat imprint from July 5, 2005 to June 5, 2012. An 18-volume boxed-set including an exclusive notepad featuring character's art was released on November 6, 2012.
Our heroine, Haruhi (henceforth referred to as “commoner”), was accepted in Ouran -a high school for the richest kid in Japan- on a scholarship. The poor commoner enters Ouran wearing her dad's old uniform and a short boyish haircut and quickly gets lost in the ridiculously huge Ouran campus. A chance encounter with 6 of the most rich and handsome boys of Ouran, leads her to join the Host club and work in entertaining the rich, bored girls of the school. Of course this was made possible because everyone passed commoner for a boy.
Commoner's adventures in the host club and the antics of the 6
boys are hilarious and entertaining... for a good while. After the first quarter of chapters more than a few problems appear.
The manga-ka creates a beautiful setting with interesting characters but fails to develop any aspect of that setting at all. Half of the boys get little to no development and everything that happens with the other 3 and the commoner feels rushed and pointless. The aforementioned beautiful setting comes full with interesting side-characters as well, but again they do not develop at all.
This lack of development results in a lot of fat in the story. The manga-ka takes far fetched ideas about character traits and stretches them so much that they lose their initial charm. After literally the 20th time Tamaki says that he is the commoner's father and wonders what are those non-fatherly feelings are, I cannot take seriously the subsequent story arc where he “deals” with it. Unfortunately there are more examples like that. This trend keeps up until a disappointing build-up to a predictable and weak ending.
The best backer of my aforementioned opinions is how good the anime adaptation is. The recipe was simple: They removed the fat and they let the side-main-characters stand a little bit more on the spotlight.
So, if you liked the anime there is nothing more for you here. If you like shoujo romcoms, watch the anime -it's my favorite of the genre. If you are a die-hard shoujo manga reader, well, I guess you could do worse than this. 6/10 because the first quarter of chapters is excellent.
"To make a friend's wish come true, we would do nothing less...
And from the bottom of our hearts, we prayed for nothing more."
- from the most tear-jerking pages of Ouran
Anyways, onto the actual review.
Ouran High School Host Club is about a normal girl, Fujioka Haruhi, who is admitted to a school (primarily for children of the upper class) on a special scholarship for being an excellent student. While looking for a place to study, she accidentally stumbles upon the Host Club (which is composed of six hot guys of the highest pedigree who cater to girls that have too much time on their hands)
and is mistaken for a guy herself because of her shabby dress. When she accidentally breaks an expensive vase belonging to the Host Club, she is forced to work for the Host Club for the rest of her time in high school to pay off her debt.
In most shoujo romantic comedies, slowly but surely, all the guys fall in love with her and she picks the most unlikely one and they live happily ever after. The end.
Well, this isn't exactly the case with Ouran, mostly because our main character isn't looking for the guy of her dreams; she enrolled in Ouran because she wanted to become a lawyer. So, even though she's surrounded by a variety of guys and given the luxury to pick and choose, she doesn't give a damn about them. Frankly, she just wishes they'd all go away so she could study in quiet. And so, Haruhi's life at Ouran begins.
The Host Club's philosophy is to use everyone's unique talents to attract girls who all have their own preferences. There's Tamaki, the princely type, Kyouya, the cool type, Hikaru and Kaoru, the devilish type, Honey, the cute type, Mori, the silent type, and now Haruhi (actually a girl), the natural.
Now I'll have to admit, the manga has a lot of filler content (especially at the beginning where you're still being introduced to the characters), but once you get to know the characters well, you start to realize that the main characters are all very abnormal - as in, all their personalities are ridiculously warped and unrealistic in some way. Why? Well, the brilliance of this manga lies in the journey that the author takes you on to find out.
I've got nothing special to say about the art. Bisco Hatori's style isn't very unique, nor is it totally amazing. I will say that the art significantly improves throughout the manga, and by the end, you could almost say that it is noteworthy, but overall, I wouldn't say the art is a main selling point for this manga.
If I could, I would rate this section a 13/10. The characters are very likeable, but most importantly, they are portrayed brilliantly. There is a diverse range of personalities and any reader will easily find one to his/her liking. However, the best things about the characters are, without a doubt, their backstories. In this manga, there's always more than meets the eye. Like I said earlier, as you start reading, you'll find that all of members of the Host Club (well maybe except Mori) have ridiculously warped and unrealistic personalities, but if you think about it, what could six hot guys from rich families possibly worry about?
You have Tamaki Suoh, a charming guy with a flamboyant personality who simply strikes you as shallow and annoying, and then you have his unlikely best friend, Kyouya Ootori, a cold and calculating genius who puts on a mask of perfection to hide his insecurities. You are also introduced to the twins, Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, the sons of a famous fashion designer who love to play pranks on everyone. And of course, there's got to be that really cute 12th grader, Mitsukuni Haninozuka (a.k.a. Honey), who is addicted to sweets of all kinds and also a karate master despite his small stature, and his strong and silent sidekick, Takashi Morinozuka (a.k.a. Mori), who is ironically three times taller than him.
As you find out more about them and how they became the person they are today, I will guarantee you: you will gasp, you will sympathize; you may even cry. Don't even give me the excuse of "I have seen the anime so I know about all this already" because the anime doesn't even begin to touch upon their heart-wrenching stories. Just read it and you will know what I mean.
If you're worrying about not being able to get through the fillers to enjoy the main story, don't. That narcisstic, obnoxious, self-indulgent idiot Tamaki will come to the rescue. His actions are always hilarious to look at and his comments are always ridiculously stupid. He's the comic relief of the manga, but by the same token, he's also the source of much of the story's angst.
If you're not a fan of his, then there's always the rest of the Host Club: when their diverse personalities interact, something's bound to go wrong. Or, there's Haruhi, who's always being made fun of because she doesn't know the customs of rich kids. All in all, the manga was very enjoyable.
Overall, this is a wonderful piece. The ending was ridiculous though, but I suppose it is quite fitting of the Host Club, whose members have always been...well...ridiculous.
If you loved the anime, you are probably going to fall in love with the manga. It has all the crazy antics of the host club with never a dull moment but then it adds onto it with a much deeper story line. Though it loses its comedic value to an extent, the serious nature gives the characters so much more depth. This is one manga that I can say; you need to read it all even if you watched the manga because there is so much more to the stories that were shown on TV.
There are a couple people who change very drastically in
the manga by just how serious the manga becomes. Haruhi is pretty much the down to earth girl of the anime and manga but even in the manga, she has times when she makes large leaps in her personality and I fell in love with her more in the manga then in the anime. She just seems to have a lot more character with her emotions then the rather bland character they tried to portray her as in the anime. During times, you do find out that she really is a girl, with real girly feelings and every once in a while, she does tend to think about romance or looking cute. She at times feels a little similar to Tamaki in how stupid she can be (maybe the right words would be dunce to feelings actually) but her heart is in the right place.
The twins are the next ones I want to talk about but I really can’t without spoiling so much! The characters change so drastically that you would not be able to even imagine how different they are from start to finish but you have to read it or I will spoil it. That or you would not understand any of it at all.
Tamaki changes a lot too, and again, sadly the only thing I can say is that he ‘grows up’ and I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I love him even more for the changes that happen. I could just not let go the idea that Tamaki grew up at all, and it pains me not being able to talk about it do to spoilers. Seriously, read the manga!
In fact, I think the only ones that don’t leap that far are Honey, Mori, and Kyouya. Honey and Mori seem to act much more like someone the characters can turn to in their time of need where as sadly, Kyouya seems to be left out at times. I know there are a few times he grows in the story but its not enough and makes me feel that he will never grow from what he is now. He feels like a static character where as Tamaki and the twins seem to jump from one thing to another very quickly. I wanted to see a little more of Kyouya but I didn’t get that.
The story was so deep at times that I had a hard time not crying and I actually did in the middle. Almost all of the drama that is in normal family life was there, from problems between siblings, to problems in the family, social status, and relationships. Some of these things were made a bit extreme for the fact it was about rich people but when you break the main point down, its stuff that we all have to go through at some point. I felt they did a rather wonderful job building up on these things and not giving us too much detail where the idea would be lost. Near the end of the books, they also had special chapters to show what happened after the story finished, and talked about what would happen in the future for the group. This helped close some of the questions that were left and also gave us just a bit more fun as the kids grew up. I love when stories tell us what happen after because we get to see the characters we have grown to love grow even more. I look forward to if Hatori-san makes a sequel or even just a side story book about their life growing up in collage even though I don’t think she will.
The artwork is pretty much what you would think of a Shojo style manga with beautiful men and even more beautiful hearts, flowers, and clothing designs. Sometimes we get something that is a little off for comedic affect but other then that, it’s a very well put together manga with the art style getting better and better as the volumes progress. As the story gets deeper, you actually get that feeling in the artwork and, just over all, it works.
I wish I could give this series a higher score in this area. The basis for the story is quite original (even if it does include the typical male harem), but the execution could have been better. There were too many parts that I just wanted the plot to move faster, and it felt like many of the chapters were fillers. However, the comedy presented during the entire series was consistently hilarious and was one of the best parts of the series.
Hatori's art is beautiful and wonderfully detailed. I was constantly enraptured by the quality of
the artwork presented in this manga. It also complemented the work well, with the comedic scenes having hilarious artwork to complement the dialogue.
Most of the characters in this manga are stereotypical of the "male harem" genre, but nevertheless they all have their own personalities. Haruhi was by far the most interesting character, being the one of the least stereotypical heroines of a shoujo manga I have ever seen. So yeah, the crossdressing thing isn't that new, but she didn't even care about genders at all. And she was good at getting the ladies...:)
I immensely enjoyed this manga during the parts where I couldn't wait to see what was coming next, but there wasn't enough of that. I read this manga because I wanted a continuation of the anime (which is freakin hilarious), and it did a pretty good job, it just could have been a lot shorter and had the same effect. Nevertheless, I still recommend it to any readers who love romantic comedy :)
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