Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Ouran High School Host Club
With Tamaki's family issues resolved and mutual love realized, it is time for Tamaki to overcome his next great hurdle – planning the absolute perfect first date with Haruhi. But this is Tamaki Suoh we're talking about – can he really pull it off in a way that won't embarrass either Haruhi or himself? You can bet that the rest of the host club will make sure of it! Meanwhile Haruhi has been presented with an amazing opportunity. Will she take it? And what will it mean for her newfound relationship?
All good things must eventually come to an end, and that time has arrived for Bisco Hatori's Ouran High School Host Club. This final volume finds a nice mix between the first half of the series' comedy and the latter half's romance, bringing us a conclusion that balances the two in a way that brings both closure and humor as we say goodbye to her parody of the reverse harem genre. We began to see this melange in the previous book, as the saga of Tamaki's grandmother wrapped up and the host club burst in on the scene to get him to the airport. This volume picks up right after his mother's plane takes off and brings us a healthy dose of romance. Refreshingly, neither he nor Haruhi really deviate from their established characters despite the new nature of their conversation, and even their first official kiss has a touch of the awkwardness that is, in some ways, the trademark of their interactions. This blend of humor and romance does not feel like a romcom cliché, but rather maintains sensibility of the series overall – goodhearted parody with a touch of real feeling that suggests that while Hatori is lampooning the conventions of the genre, she still in some ways respects it.
Despite the slightly longer page count, this volume has only three chapters of the main story. It also includes a side story about a trip to Barcelona that takes place after the series conclusion, as well as what Hatori refers to as an “indulgent” tale about Haruhi and Tamaki that takes place a few months after the previous chapter. This linear progression allows Hatori to play with Haruhi's hair, and her evolving locks are one of the better artistic achievements of the volume, as their growth looks very natural. The Barcelona story is a bit weak, although it does have a nice moment where the twins make a mature decision, but overall the entire book has an organic flow to it and the side stories do not feel as if they were included simply to pad out the volume. As usual Mori has the fewest lines, although an eye should be kept on him for some good poses and faces. Kyouya gets the spotlight for most of the Spanish story, and Hunny shows a surprising amount of maturity throughout. Tamaki and Haruhi have also both clearly done some growing as the story has gone on, and some of Haruhi's internal monologues do a good job of showing us why she acts the way she does, particularly around Tamaki. The twins perhaps show the least change, remaining true to character type to the end.
Easily the funniest chapter here is the middle of the three main ones, where Tamaki and Haruhi go on their date. From Tamaki's frazzled clothing decisions to his over the top plans, not to mention the totally expected (by the readers) tag-alongs, this chapter is Hatori in fine comedic form. That she is able to throw in a few very sweet moments as well is a nice touch, and overall the chapter exemplifies what is so enjoyable about this series. That said, it is good that this takes up only a single chapter and that the rest of Haruhi and Tamaki's relationship is kept from such a day-to-day cataloging. We see enough to know that things are going to work out but not enough to get bogged down in it. While we may miss the boys (and girl) of the host club, we are not given a chance to get tired of them. Despite only taking us roughly eight months past the ending of the main story, Hatori does her best to assure us of the happy endings of the cast. While she claims that she hasn't set any of these futures in stone, they are enough to give readers a sense of satisfaction and a hint at what will become of most everyone, down to Renge and Bossa Nova. As conclusions go, this is a good one.
And so we bid a fond farewell to the crazy world of Ouran High School. If our heroes don't go riding gallantly off into the sunset, they at least run towards it shrieking and laughing, which is perhaps better. With their futures assured and Haruhi and Tamaki's romantic knots untangled, we can leave them with a slight sadness that there won't be more stories to read, but contentment in a conclusion that is well done.
Overall : B+
Story : B+
Art : B-
+ Satisfactory conclusion that blends the humor with the more serious aspects. Hotori is sure to tell us what happens to just about everyone.
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