A shōjo manga set in an extremely wealthy high school. On the top floor of the South wing, at the end of the Northern Hallway is Music Room #3, which is used by the school's Host Club; a group of talented attractive young men who use their distinctive personalities & skills to entertain the wealthy female students. Scholarship student Haruhi Fujioka was looking for somewhere to study, and accidentally stumbled across the Host Club. Startled by their brash behaviour Haruhi accidentally broke an antique vase worth $80,000 and was therefore forced to join the Host Club to work off the debt. However, what no-one realised at first was that Haruhi was in fact a girl. With Haruhi posing as a boy, she reluctantly joins in their cosplay games. The club acts as a surrogate family for all it's members, but can the adopted family stay together as they begin to grow up?
Ouran High School Host Club is a romantic comedy. It gently mocks Japanese stereotypes and sexual fetishes. The story follows the adventures of the Host Club as they try to hide Haruhi's true gender from their guests, while they struggle with issues of identity, money, family, careers, and as they come to terms with their feelings for each other.
Written & drawn by Hatori Bisco, the original Japanese manga ( 桜蘭高校ホスト部 , Ōran Kōkō Hosutobu ) was included in the the monthly publication, LaLa Magazine. LaLa has been the showcase of many other successful girl's (shōjo ) manga titles, and had previously printed Millennium Snow, also by Hatori Bisco. LaLa Magazine is published by Hakusensha, who would collect the stories and republish them as tankōbon (like a miniature trade paperback).
Drama CD's & Anime
Ouran High School Host Club first appeared in LaLa in 2003, and later the same year saw the release of the first Drama CD. It was an audio retelling of stories that happened in the manga. The first Drama CD was so successful, that there have been two further releases. The popularity of the manga & Drama CD's were successful enough to warrant the production of an anime series.
The studio BONES ( ボンズ ) was already responsible for hit shows including various Gundam series, Cowboy Bebop and Fullmetal Alchemist. Closely collaborating with Hatori Bisco, they created 26 episodes that aired between 05 April to 26 September 2006.
Although LaLa is not directly translated into English, Viz Media have published many of their shōjo manga in the West, including Ouran High School Host Club. The first volume was collected and printed in July 2005, and followed the same format as the original Japanese tankōbon . It included additional little sketches of Hatori Bisco as an over-worked commoner struggling to meet deadlines, comedy sketches of the Host Club members as a family, and a back-up section called Egoist Club featuring the cast in non-canon scenarios.
Different to the Egoist Club, where Hatori Bisco would write to her readers with informal images of the Host Club's members, a few subsequent volumes contained different back-up stories. They were old works of Hatori Bisco, surrounding the love lives of characters in Oukan High School (not Ouran High School). Romantic Egoist was an old work of hers, which she admitted wasn't her best artwork. It featured a gothic-lolita pair of twins who were descended from a witch and would offer love potions & advice to fellow students from the security of the Chemistry Prep classroom.
The name was later changed due to an editorial decision. Love Egoist was preferred, as Romantic Egoist was deemed too long. It continued to feature the gothic-lolita twins, but followed the complicated love lives of other characters.
When the anime was released, it included the majority of stories that had been seen in print. The manga has slowly continued to be published. To date, 16 tankōbon have been released in Japan, while Viz has released up to volume 13.