Ouran High School Host Club 8 by Bisco Hatori: A-

From the back cover:
The first-years in Class 1-A are taking part in a test of courage, where the loser will receive the dubious honor of being dubbed “Best of Cowards.” Kazukiyo Souga, the class president and a fraidy-cat at heart, is happy to be on a team with the levelheaded Haruhi, but will he be able to stomach the antics of his other teammates—the twins Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin?

The first story in this volume involves a test of courage, which is really not very interesting in and of itself, though it does bring up again the feelings of the twins for Haruhi. The next episode is about how Kyoya and Tamaki first met in junior high and eventually decided to start the Host Club. It’s cute and fun, and I liked it a lot.

The rest of the volume (three episodes) is devoted to a story about a tough-looking yakuza heir called Kasanoda. Kasanoda (nicknamed Bossa Nova) unintentionally scares off people he wants to befriend and comes to Mori for tutelage. This story did not interest me much at first, but got much better as it progressed.

As the Host Club seeks to interrupt perceived flirting between Kasanoda and Haruhi, Kaoru is led to present an insightful hypothesis (much to Hikaru’s surprise): Tamaki pretends the Host Club is a family in an effort to keep the relationships they all have now from changing.

I normally don’t care much for episodic manga, and if there weren’t enough suggestions of impending developments on the relationship front, I think all the comedy and cuteness in Ouran would wear thin. This volume did a good job combining all the elements into a consistently entertaining whole.

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