Ouran High School Host Club is one of those must watch Anime that truly stands above so many others. It is possibly one of the, if not the, best harem anime ever made. I however, have found something so much better, the Ouran High School Host Club Manga.
The first thing I noticed about the manga was that there were subtle story differences between it and the anime. Most of this had to do with the individual story order and when events occurred. At one point I was pretty sure I had reached the end of where the anime had received its inspiration, but I was wrong, I still had to read the introduction of Kasanoda which incidentally I enjoyed more in the Manga.
There were also differences within the stories, the most prominent being the Alice in wonderland chapter. I’m pointing this out because I really appreciate the fact that the anime and manga are different and yet still true to each other. This was Something I had yet to see Between an adaption and it’s source material where neither suffered. So far I’ve found that there is only new material in the anime, but that everything the manga has to offer had been used up by the anime or clearly wasn’t worth adapting, or the only difference comes from the story divergence that is usually due to an incomplete manga. That isn’t the case here. (Kind of, the manga wasn’t complete when the anime was made) I’m glad because otherwise it feels like going back and reading the manga is pointless. So while it’s a shame not all the early chapters were adapted, I prefer it this way.
The second thing I noticed was the art. It was anything but a static black and white version of what eventually was adapted into a vibrant action filled anime.
There is an action filled fluidness to Bisco Hitori’s art that gives such a vibrant life to the characters. They always seemed to be moving and when they weren’t it felt entirely intentional.
The best part is that as the manga continued the art only got better. The characters became better drawn and more distinct, (when not in the ever cute chibi form), the action more pronounced, the emotions became more strongly conveyed and the comedic elements better placed.
This page in particular, near the end, is one of my favorites (I’m using a scantalation for picture ease, I read the series in paperback.)
Thirdly, I noticed some amazing character development. Ouran high school host club is easily best known for the stereotypes that make up each character. “The princely type, the cool type, the mischievous type, the boy Lolita type, and the strong silent type.” Then of course there is Haruhi who is indifferent to everything and is literally dragged along through every activity.
While you get some character development and growth through the anime and in fact it is one of the anime’s strong points, taking stereotypes and turning them into characters, the anime really only brushes the surface.
Everyone in the manga has grown by the end, even most of the side characters have changed in some way or another. While most of the growth seems to be focused on Haruhi, Tamaki and the twins, even Kyoya, Honey and Mori have changed by the end. It really is amazing how subtly this is done to Honey and Mori. They honestly felt like the most static characters in the series, but by the end I had to concede that my view of them and how they were had changed a little. This is true amazing character development, the kind you don’t notice till the end.
These three things make the Ouran Manga a must read for any fan of the anime. And if you haven’t seen the anime you really must!
Beyond these though is the over arching story. Ouran first and foremost is a comedy, but as the series goes on more serious, romantic and dramatic moments come about. I have garnered that some feel apprehensive about reading the manga due to its more serious plot, but have no fear, Bisco Hitori doesn’t have a single mean bone in her body and she will see the characters through.
The comedy rarely wavers and in fact is only enhanced and bettered by the serious and dramatic moments. I laughed more in the 2nd half then I did in the first half (I cried more too, but only a couple times)(sob, sob, oh when March finally came!). In fact I think comedy wise the manga itself stands far above the anime.
Seeing the stories of these characters come to a dramatic head and then concluded was one of the most satisfying reading experiences I have had. It wraps everything up perfectly and unlike the anime I didn’t feel the same withdrawal upon completion. I was happy!
While Ouran High School Host Club may not be my favorite anime (though it is near the top), I truly believe it will remain my favorite manga for a long time to come.