Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 9 Review

Volume 9 of Bisco Hatori’s Ouran High School Host Club begins with an examination of the dichotomy that  is Hikaru and Kaoru. The twins are a perplexing pair—torn between wanting to be seen as individuals and being seen as a whole. They manage to confuse most of the people around them with their attitude and they go out of their way to make fools of everyone by childishly switching places whenever it pleases them. They are easily bored and prone to tossing aside their latest toy or pursuit when it no longer holds their joint attention, people included.  They believe that people only want to get close to them because of their family name. They haven’t reckoned on Tamaki Suoh.  When he asks them to join a club he wishes to start, they force him to play the “Which One is Hikaru” game for a month, sure he cannot succeed. They don’t count on Tamaki’s tenacity. Of course, the outcome is a foregone conclusion.

As the second story begins, the Host Club are playing pirates—buckling swashes and shivering timbers and slashing their way into their ladies’ hearts!  An unexpected visitor to the club, who is a newcomer to the school—a visiting princess from the kingdom of Monar—sets Tamaki into a tailspin that none can understand, although many try to psychoanalyze his reactions to the pampered, spoiled, selfish young woman. Does he know her? Does she remind him of someone? And why does he agree to her petulant demands?  Including wanting to have one of the little people taste her food in case of poison! The others are determined to get to the bottom of his bizarre behavior—the sooner the better!

After the princess’ departure, Tamaki takes to his bed with a cold, not appearing at school. Gadzooks! Tamaki sick? Unheard of! What’s going on? The Host Club goes to see!  They find him being spoiled by the staff at the manor, but there’s evidence that Tamaki has been acting strangely lately, including questioning Mori as to whether he ever wishes to kiss Hunny. Truth be told, Tamaki has had ideas of kissing Haruhi. But he’s her father! Wherein lies the conflict. This calls for some parental guidance, in the worst possible way. But will he receive it?

In the extra episode, Haruhi’s hosting a yami-nabe party at her house. Literally it means dark pot. Guests bring different foods that aren’t normally used in nabe and add them to the pot. Whatever you pick up with your chopsticks, you eat.  When the members of the Host Club run out of their expensive additions, they persuade Haruhi to run to the store for more—at their expense, of course. She grumbles, but she acquiesces. Once she’s out of the house, they are free to put their diabolically clever—and inherently ridiculous—scheme into effect, whereby they secretly replace every bit of the Fujioka’s poor, cheap home with expensive duplicates of high quality. Will they succeed? And if they do, will anybody notice?

A bonus story after the Host Club episodes is called The Love Egoist in which a college student is warned not to take a certain path, but he ends up taking it anyway. Has he found the love of his life? Or will he lose her by going down his already chosen road?

On the cover of this volume we see Haruhi and Hunny is grass skirts—completely adorable! I loved all the stories, but especially those with Tamaki. Although the spoiled princess trope is a familiar one, this one serves a different purpose, and I have hopes of seeing a furtherance in the relationship between Tamaki and Haruhi. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the members of the Host Club and look forward to a lot more of their adventures. The fun never stops, and the writing maintains a high quality in each story. I hope it continues for a long time to come!

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