Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori: series review

Ouran High School Host Club Box SetOuran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori
Series: Ouran High School Host Club #1-18
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Shojo, Romance, Humor
Publisher: VIZ Media
Synopsis: Haruhi sticks out like a sore thumb as a poor, smart girl who got into the hoity-toity Ouran High School on talent alone. When she mistakenly wanders into the meeting room of the host club and breaks a valuable vase, she’s recruited to join the club. Realistic and sarcastic, Haruhi isn’t used to being around crazy people like the princely Tamaki, scheming Kyouya, silent Mori, immature Hunny, and devilish Hikaru and Kaoru, but she’s got no choice if she ever wants to pay earn what she owes. Too bad the club is made for girls to come and be entertained by gorgeous guys — and Haruhi’s been mistaken for a boy!

My Thoughts:

When I finished the last chapter of Ouran High School Host Club (a manga that will now be referred to as ‘Ouran‘), I started giggling like an idiot and crying like a baby. Giggling because the series is just too darn funny and crying BECAUSE IT WAS OVER! Ouran is unlike any shojo I have ever read, and after reading the manga through the wee hours of the night, spending time with the wonderful characters, it’s really hard to watch the story end. But really, I fell in love with this series and can’t thank Bisco Hatori enough for bringing it into the world.

The series opens up with Haruhi, a sharp and cynical “commoner” scholarship student, stumbling upon the Ouran Host Club, coming face to face with a bunch of rich, handsome guys, and breaking an expensive vase. And since the guys of the club had mistook her for a boy, they make her join the club in order for her to pay off her debt. Thus begins a story about a girl joining a club where filthy rich pretty boys with too much time on their hands entertain filthy rich pretty girls with too much time on their hands.

Middle of the bottom row: Haruhi
Top row, second from the left: totally a 17 year-old.

Ouran does sound a bit shallow, I admit, but at its core, it is a hilarious and adorable manga that takes a heck of a lot of joy in poking fun at things. Stereotypes, archetypes, cliches, random and sometimes absurd events, occasional serious moments, are all lovingly placed into one manga series. You really wouldn’t think that a person would make such a combination of things work, but Hatori did, quite beautifully. She adds a refreshing twist to everything, and makes fun of them, of course.

Most of the members of the host club begin as stereotypes, or at the very least, archetypes– you have the silly and stupid Tamaki, the mischievous twins named Hikarou and Karou, Kyouya who is a glasses-wearing guy that is always scheming, the stoic and silent Mori, and the childish, immature  Hunny (whose size fits his personality very well). You can pretty much describe their personalities with two words maximum. Which could have been extremely grating on the nerves, but the characters are all just so fun and cuddly that you absolutely love them anyways.

And then there is the fact that they are all given a massive amount of development throughout the course of the series. You get to see their backstories, learn their motivations, find out how they became who they are at the present, and even see that they are growing as people. They all eventually become a group of characters that are not merely made up of stereotypes and archetypes, all while retaining their original flare and ability to be made fun of.

Haruhi, the female lead, is not a stereotype or an archetype– but she could be called the exact opposite of the typical shojo girl. She’s blunt, cynical, sharp-tongued, and usually has a “what the Hell?” attitude toward whatever the club wants to do next. She’s awesome because of that and couldn’t help but adore her.

Ouran‘s supporting characters are also very fun and only add more life to the story, though the main characters give more than enough of it already. From the otaku Renge to the girls who are customers at the host club to Haruhi’s transvestite dad (who I give the title of Best Manga Dad Ever), the supporting characters are nearly as funny as the leads and can quickly get you caught up in the moment.

These characters and the chemistry between them all are wonderful. And their crazy antics are so very fun and entertaining to read. Whether they are charming girls in the music room, dressing up as girls to win back a girl, playing matchmaker, flying on a helicopter to Karuizawa so they could ‘save’ Haruhi, who was on vacation, creating a movie directed by Renge that only exaggerates their personalities even further or just turns their personalities all the way around, or trying to learn more about the lives of “commoners” so they can understand Haruhi better, they are hilarious to read about and I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times. And then there are the incredibly sweet moments that make you realize that the host club is like a family and that they really care about each other. Their antics and interactions relates reason alone to read Ouran.

The story of the manga is simple, as it is about the host club’s random antics and the character’s lives. The romance doesn’t even kick in until much later into the series and there isn’t much seriousness until the last volumes. But still, I was always craving to read more Ouran. This series is surprisingly addictive and my attempts at putting a volume in the series down rarely amounted to anything. The lively, colorful characters are just to hard to part from 😛 Oh, and I thought that the ending was well thought-out, even though it’s sad that the appearance of an ending means the manga is over. I liked that it ended on a happy and funny note.

Hatori’s art is nothing to write home about in the beginning. To be honest, since I watched the anime first, I was a little underwhelmed by it. But her art soon becomes quite astounding as it evolves. There is more clarity, the characters looks gorgeous (well, not when they are going all chibi on you, but yeah), and it is all-around fun to look at.

So, thank you, Ouran, for being so playful, funny, sweet, and adorable. Thank you for the wild ride that you are. Yes, you can be pretty weird and random, but hey, you’re Ouran and I love you because of that! Now… Please leave me be. I need to cry some more since I am having a really hard time accepting that you ended.

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13 thoughts on “Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori: series review

  1. Ugh, love this series and your review. I need to rewatch or read this. You’re so right about how the characters are pretty much archetypes to start out but they develop so much and the bonds they form with one another are just magnificent. The twins will forever be my favorites but every character in Ouran has a place in my heart. Again, great review!

    • Thank you 😀 Ouran is definitely a manga whose characters will stay with you! Their development and their bonds with each other are my favorite aspect of the manga, and are in fact magnificent. My favorites are the twins, too! Oh, and I also like Kyouya. And thank you, again 😛

  2. Love your review Lottie! I pretty much agree with you. I like how Haruhi isn’t your typical shoujo heroine.They are too often archetyped as innocent and silly love-struck girls, but Haruhi is an exception (although that changes a bit towards the end ). I think the massive amount of character development and chemistry between the chrarcters is a HUGE factor as to why I adore Ouran. Also, I feel your pain. It’s never easy getting over the end of a great series.

    • Thank you! Yeah, Haruhi does change into a little bit of a love-struck girl, but I never really found her silly. Just nervous and unsure. But before she goes into that stage, and after she gets out of it, she is the opposite of the shojo girl archetype. Hah, Ouran’s character development and chemistry is one of the best, if not *the* best, things about the manga.

      I want a spin-off manga, lol!

  3. Haha I was just going through memory lane while reading your review. I couldn’t agree more! *still in memory lane* Haruhi’s dad, so happy you mentioned him because what you said is just hands down the best way to explain everything.

    Hunny is just the darlingest 17 existed and Tamaki is the most kiddish/mopiest/easy deflatest guy and the twins are the craziest/hilariously amazing twins ever and Kyouya is the wickedest nerd and Mori is the best bodyguard and Haruhi is the bluntest girl because Ouran has the most amazing set of beautiful people there are.

    • Yay for memory lane! Haruhi’s dad is a bit silly (I think you will agree), but he is the best manga dad I have read about. Mostly because he is funny, supports Haruhi, and actually looks pretty awesome as a woman XD

      Wow. The way you describe the characters is amazing! Wickedest nerd? Why didn’t I think of that when describing Kyouya?! And yes, Hunny is so darling ❤ Well, pretty much everyone in this manga is darling and beautiful. (Tears.)

  4. Pingback: The Sunday Post(13) | book adoration

  5. Kyouya, Hikaru&Kaoru,Tamaki, Honey senpai and Mori senpai – I LOVE them all (yes, in that order)
    And of course Haruhi is great too 🙂 They really are like a big, sweet family. And I loved that the focus was more on friendship than on romance,

    Fantastic review! You made me want to reread/rewatch it!

    • Oh, so you are a Kyouta fan? (Huzzah!) I think it is sort of impossible to dislike ANY of these characters. But it is completely possible to crazily love them all 😛 The bigger focus on friendship is why Ouran is so awesome. Really, I don’t think I have read any manga that had as much friendship going on as this one did.

      Thank you! Yes, yes, go reread/rewatch it!

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