Ouran High School Host Club
Author: Bisco Hatori
Publisher: Viz Media
Haruhi Fujioka is super apathetic. She takes no pride in her appearance as a girl, so, on her first day at Ouran (the rich people's high school to which she is a scholarship student), she wears one of her dad's old sweaters, big glasses and doesn't brush her hair. Wandering around, she stumbles across Ouran's host club, enterprising young boys who flirt with the girls at their school for profit. While there, Haruhi, in her effort to escape, accidentally breaks a super expensive vase. To earn the money to pay them back, they require her (they think she's a boy) to work as a host.
As that summary probably tells you, Ouran High School Host Club is completely over the top ridiculous. It's a reverse harem with an uninterested heroin, which is definitely the best kind. Haruhi finds being surrounded by the most attractive guys at school boring, often frustrating.
This absurdness and crazy comedy is what Ouran does best. Hatori embraces that this story has nothing to do with the real world. After a while, she writes in, for example, that for narrative purposes, years will pass without the characters moving up a grade. While I do think that's ridiculous, I accept it, since Hatori drew attention to it, rather than just pretending time wasn't passing. I respect that she was willing to acknowledge the crazy. In case you're curious, they do eventually age.
The series maintains consistency pretty well throughout the volumes. I can't remember any terrible story lines off the top of my head, which is definitely doable with most shoujo manga. I'll tell you all about that in an upcoming review (I'm about to reread Boys Over Flowers just so I can review it).
My main criticism of the story was always that I shipped Haruhi with a character that did not get to win her heart. This still makes me sad, but, by the end, Hatori had me at least partially convinced that the winning guy was the right one. Whatever. Kyouya's still my favorite; I have a weakness for the tall glasses-wearing ones.