Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 13 by Bisco Hatori

With Tamaki's return, the Ouran High School Host Club reopens to a vision of Turkey. But something isn't right. Haruhi isn't feeling well, and Tamaki is concerned for her. But the other members of the Host Club are able to see what she is not- that she has real feelings for Tamaki, but she is steadfastly denying them, and thinking of what she feels as a "cold" so she won't even have to admit it to herself.

Nor can Tamaki admit to himself that he loves Haruhi in any but a "fatherly" way. But even as he's around the Host Club less because of his own duties to his father's company, Haruhi is trying to figure out why she feels this way when she is around Tamaki, especially. Her friend, Mei, over at Haruhi's house, is about to tell Haruhi exactly what this emotion that she is feeling is, but she gets a call from Kyoya telling her to cease and desist in telling Haruhi- he wants Haruhi to find out on her own what her feelings are.

Mei reluctantly agrees, but drops a girl's magazine on the floor before she leaves Haruhi's house, telling her she is deliberately forgetting to take it with her. Inside, Haruhi sees a quiz "How do you really feel about him?" among other articles on love and how to snare the boy of your dreams and fantasies. But will the test allow Haruhi to see how she really feels about Tamaki, and more to the point, will she be able to accept that information, especially when she seems to have all the signs that the article/test lists for actually being in love?

Soon, Harushi comes to the very uncomfortable realization that she *is* in love with Tamaki, and worse for her, is that that love sneaked up on her completely unexpectedly. Why? Because he takes care of her, and he has a big heart to go along with his apparently super-sized head. When Harushi falls ill and leaves her bed to go look at Shoujo manga instead of stay home and rest, Tamaki leaves where he has been learning his father's company to go look for her, rescuing her again. And she surrenders to the emotion, even if Tamaki still says he feels more "fatherly" affection towards her. But the way she tells him she has feelings for him makes him question his own feelings as well- but not enough to be aware of the truth. Not yet.

After she has her emotional revelation, she feels much better and throws herself into the club activities, whereas before she was merely indifferent to them. This culminates in finding a treasure map that leads to a hot spring that suddenly dries up overnight.

Finally, the school travels to the mountains for a winter skiing vacation, and Haruhi begs the twins to make it affordable so that she can afford to go. But one of the twins, Haruki, has told Tamaki that he is interested in Haruhi romantically, and tells Tamaki that he doesn't want Tamaki to go on the trip. Will Tamaki stay away, or will he discover his own feelings for Haruhi aren't that fatherly and fight back for his own happiness? And how will Haruhi feel about all of this, and what will she say and do?

Ah, at last there are some signs of movement in the whole romance aspect. The entire Host Club has known that Tamaki's feelings for Haruhi are anything other than fatherly almost right from the beginning, but he concealed it under his usual feckless mask and devil-may-care arrogance. Even Haruhi was fooled, but none of the other boys/men were.

And now it's shaping up into a love triangle. Tamaki is becoming aware of his true feelings, and Haruki wants Harushi as well. But given that Tamaki feels that he is the father "head" of the family, I can forsee him stepping aside for Haruki, who is his friend, no matter how much he loves Haruhi. But how long before his true feelings really emerge, and what sort of fallout will that create in the club. For that matter, how will the female clients of the club react to learning that Haruhi is a woman who merely likes to wear male uniforms?

This is a pretty fluffy series, but I find myself still enjoying it, while I can't stand to pick up another volume of Kakuri Odette, another fluffy series. This one continues to hold my interest. Recommended.

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