Note: The following review was written a long time ago, before our migration to WordPress and when our reviewing skills were still noob-level. Apologies.
Author: Hatori Bisco
Genres: Shoujo, Romance, Reverse Harem, Slice of Life, Comedy
Ouran Highschool is an elite upper school catering to the ultra-rich; so much so that Haruhi Fujioka, a middle-class scholarship student, can’t even afford its school uniform. One day while searching for a quiet place to study, she stumbles upon a room which turns out to be the club room for the school’s Host Club – a club made up of idle rich boys who use their good looks to entertain female clients. She tries to leave, but accidentally knocks over a priceless vase in the process. Not being able to pay the ridiculous sum of money the vase is worth, she is forced to work for the Host Club until her debt is settled.
From left: Mitsukuni “Honey” Haninozuka, Takashi “Mori” Morinozuka, Kaoru Hitachiin, Haruhi Fujioka, Hikaru Hitachiin, Kyoya Ootori, Tamaki Suoh
Overall Rating: 4/5 moons
Story – 9/10
I loved watching the anime last time, but the manga brought me to a whole new level of love for the Host Club. For those that watched the anime like me, the manga is a completely different experience. Reading the manga, I realised that a lot of parts in it were extended longer in anime. It made me realise how much content I was actually missing out on. Especially when the manga begins to delve in problems beyond regular Host Club activities.
For example, when the twins were trying to solve a problem between them. I was really impressed by how thought provoking the manga could get despite it’s initial light-hearted shoujo comedy approach.
However serious it got though, the manga still stuck to its roots. That is, it was always funny; the comedic material is so good that it made me laugh out loud several times. The running gags especially are great, like the rich and commoner stereotype. It was funny how they exaggerated the rich person’s view on normal goods. In fact, that was part of what kept the manga constantly interesting. The idea of setting this in a school for the rich kept the manga different from many other shoujo manga.
For one, the problems that came up were solved using their resources (which was pretty interesting to read). There is also how every student is saddled with the responsibility of taking over their family business. It was interesting to see how different normal schools and rich schools are, and see things unfold from a rich person’s perspective.
Character – 9/10
Still, the thing I liked best about the manga (and anime as well) were the characters. Each of them managed to fit into some category (lolita, cool type, little devil type, prince type etc.) and each have their own background story. It was interesting to observe their little personality traits and then find out why they are like that. That was one the most interesting parts for me. Not only was that great character development, it was also a great way to see how Haruhi fit in with their personalities. Plus, it led to even better romantic scenes in the manga later on. Fangirls will not be disappointed!
Artwork – 8/10
The artwork for this series is a nostalgia trip, a trip that goes right smack into the olden Shoujo art style. It’s not so bad that it’s unbearable to read in modern days, but it definitely cannot compare to most manga these days. Personally though, I like the art style in this series as it reminds me of when I first began reading manga.
OHSHC is a classic. If you’re a fan of Shoujo/Reverse Harem and you haven’t read this, why have you not?! Even til today, it’s probably the best take on a combination of both genres, with the Reverse Harem not being overbearing and the Shoujo slowly coming in towards the end in a very sweet and natural way. The comedy is also top notch and is probably why it has such a great appeal, especially to first-time readers. Recommendable to all.
P.S. To have an insight on what happens to the Ouran gang after the big finale, check out the list of extra chapters/epilogues. The titles for those chapters are here.