Ouran High School Host Club 1 by Bisco Hatori: A+

From the back cover:
One day, Haruhi, a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to the “Host Club,” a mysterious campus group consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. To pay back the damages, she is forced to work for the club, and it’s there that she discovers just how wealthy the members are and how different the rich are from everybody else…

I’d had the first few volumes of this series for a while, but after seeing how fabulous the anime is, I’ve finally been prompted to read them. I think I’m liking the characters even more since I can imagine mannerisms and voices and all that. Even though he’s such a dork, I totally love Tamaki. He is everything adorable about Ayame and Shigure rolled into a Yuki Eiri-ish package.

Haruhi is an interesting heroine, as well. A little reluctant initially to undertake host duties, she eventually takes to it naturally, with paying off her debt as the prime motivation. She is not as traumatized by her charade as other shoujo leads have been, and has some interesting quotes that illustrate her perspective. For example: “Can’t say that I fully appreciate the perceived differences between the sexes anyway” and “I kinda enjoy having the girls hassle over me. Guess I’m a little bent that way.”

I haven’t done any in-depth comparison to the anime, but things are pretty much the same in the manga. There’s the jealous customer of Tamaki’s, the girl who likes teacups, and the crazy Renge, who I don’t like very much. One interesting tidbit about Haruhi’s family is mentioned that hasn’t cropped up in the anime yet, but I shan’t say more in case they decide to mention it in the future. The best part, of course, is the characters, how they take Haruhi under their wing in their misguided detached-from-reality-rich-boys kind of way, and how they earnestly try to make their customers happy. Could not possibly be more highly recommended.

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