Foreign Friday: Ouran High School Host Club

This week’s Foreign Friday is Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori.

The Story

In this screwball romantic comedy, Haruhi, a poor girl at a rich kid’s school, is forced to repay an $80,000 debt by working for the school’s swankiest, all-male club – as a boy! There she discovers just how wealthy the six members are and how different the rich are from everybody else.

The Characters

Haruhi is a woman, but her approach to life is so practical that she often seems to forget the fact herself. Tamaki, the president of the school host club, is rich, exuberant, extravagant, impractical, naive, and kind. Along with his equally rich and impractical club mates, it makes for a ridiculous, humorous cast. There are some stereotype characters, but Hatori pokes fun at the fact, making their presence part of the humor.

What I Thought

Ouran High School Host Club is full of slapstick humor at the world of the rich. Hatori not only pokes fun at the odd naivete of the rich, but also occasionally pokes at the stereotypes of shojo manga itself, of which this is one. The first half of the series is full of individual and often disjointed incidents (she keeps repeating the seasons, although technically its the same school year). The second half of the series is more cohesive, and the plot begins to both overarch and become a little more serious. There are 17 volumes currently available in English in the U.S. The next volume will be the last.

One thing that appears in this series that I may caution for younger or more conservative readers is the presence of cross dressers, gay people and mock gay people. In fact, the presence of these sorts of characters are so prevalent in shojo serieses that I’m starting to wonder about their ratio in Japanese society. Is this an accurate representation of the population, or is it skewed for fiction sake?

Ouran High School Host Club also has an anime adaptation. I found the anime  a more cohesive and chronologically correct interpretation of the first half of the series, with the ending diverting from the manga.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. patrick
    Feb 04, 2012 @ 02:19:56

    Another great post!


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