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General Plot (shortened from my review of Vol 1) The basic plot revolves around a scholarship student named Haruhi Fujioka, whom stumbles in upon the "Host Club" - a club devoted to helping the rich young ladies (and gentlemen if they are that way inclined) spend their leisure time happily - while looking for a quiet place to study. Here Haruhi meets the rest of the characters whom will remain with us throughout the story: Tamaki (the King), Kyoya (the Shadow King), Mitsukuni (Hunny), Takashi (Mori) and the twins, Hikaru and Kaoru, each of course has their special skill for entertaining the clients of the 'Host Club'. The series continues by describes interesting/humorous events that happen in and around the 'Host Club'. Volume Specific Plot The first story of this Volume is set underneath the cheery blossoms in spring, and revolves around the fear of Haruhi's secret being revealed during a medical at the school. The second story involves the twins and a fight they have with each other, which affects the running of the Host Club. The third story is all about a young boy named Shiro, whom seeks out the Host Club to learn to 'be popular with girls'. The fourth and final Host Club story takes them out of the school setting, to Kyoya's family resort 'dome', where the climate is kept as it would be in the tropics. In the story the Host Club end up having to go on a hunt for Hunny, whom inadvertently gets swept away down one of the fake rivers. There is also an extra story at the end of this volume, called "Romantic Egoist", which is a completely separate story about a girl named Yurine whom tries to use a love potion to be with the boy she feels she is in love with, but I won't ruin the ending for you. Drawing - Style/Substance The drawings for this volume of OuHos are excellent, with very little of the variation that Bisco Hatori suffered from in the first volume. This book even contains several double page spreads of the Host Club, which are beautifully drawn, the only shame being that we see them in black and white rather than colour as they were originally. The style for Romantic Egoist is quite different, with longer broader character faces, and less attention to backgrounds, but then again, it is a bonus manga, not the main feature. Other Positive The stories in this volume begin to set a precedent for Bisco, of creating simple plots told in a beautiful manner which draws you right in on the action. Often, as with this volume, the stories are quite touching when you find out new information about the characters personalities. And, as usual, the book is very funny and a great read. Other Negative There are several small boxes at the bottom of certain pages with only a small graphic inside, which feels a bit like Bisco is trying to use up space, although the drawings are very cute. Overall this volume is another good jovial read, with some touching moments, and more character revelations. Definitely a great series.
It's spring and the season for cherry blossoms. As the Ouran High School Host Club takes in this romantic setting for the parties, trouble looms on the horizon. Things have been going swimmingly well for Haruhi as she poses as a boy at school in order to pay back the $80,000 debt she unwittingly occurred. Why pose as a boy? Why because the host club is all male of course, and as she owes them the debt, she must become a host, serving tea and providing an innocent romantic fantasy for the wealthy female students who come to the club. But with the annual school physical on the upcoming calendar, she faces a dilemma. She can't simply duck out as the physical is a requirement. She also can't send in a ringer, as the staff and other students all know her name and face. Just what madcap ideas will her fellow hosts come up with to perpetuate the myth of Haruhi, the clumsy host with charm who keeps things interesting? One thing is for certain, these wealthy boys will come up with something outrageous, but can they carry it off? And is someone developing feelings for their fellow host(ess)? Hmmm? Bisco Hatori brings us more laughs as we suspend belief in delight and watch the antics of the often narcissistic but sweet rich boys of Ouran High School as they charm and scheme their days away. Haruhi as always provides us with the every man character, as the poor but intelligent young woman who attends this exclusive school on a scholarship. Her disbelief and efforts of bringing everyday reality to the hosts are amusing to behold while her necessary attempts at gender disguise pulls her into the madcap world they inhabit. Ethical and interpersonal dilemmas appear aplenty, but nothing to too taxing or overly angsty. One thing that sets apart from the rest of the series in this genre is that it uses a device known as breaking the fourth wall. That is, the characters will effectively give little knowing asides directly to the reader. This enhances the satirical moments within, greatly adding to the levity of the piece. Gently romantic without any overtones of impropriety, this is aimed readers aged 13 and up. Well written with well executed art in the beautiful boy (bishounen) style, this has a broad appeal beyond the target age group however, making this a quick, light fun read to while away a bit of time for the reader of shojo manga and is certain to delight. It is available as a paperback from Viz Media at most book stores that carry manga, as well as online outlets such as Amazon. Please note that the volumes are not stand alone, but follow a consecutive event time line, so you will need to read volume 1 before this one, for which a preview may be read online at VIZ.com (look in their online manga section). Fans will be a happy to know it has also been made into an animé series, which is available on DVD.