When I first came across Otome Ouji ~ Joshikou Manken Host Club (乙女王子~女子高漫研ホストクラブ~), I laughed. After all, when you buy a series called “Maiden Prince – Girls’ High School Manga Research Society Host Club” you pretty much have to know what you’re getting in to. Unfortunately, the heroine, Hinoya, doesn’t. ^_^
Hinoya enters Momohana Girls’ High School looking forward to joining the manga club, because she was very active in her middle school club and enjoyed it quite a lot. To her disappointment, she finds that the Momohana Manga Research Society meets in a dilapidated (and possibly toxic) shed on the roof. The club is run by a sempai named Kondou; Utagawa-sempai and Akira-sempai are the sole members. They have no materials, no ambition and, as the story opens, they learn that they have no budget. The VP of the student council arrives to let them know, and soundly denounces them for sucking.
Kondou reacts with cleverness – if they find out her weak point, maybe they can convince the VP to come around. They learn that she loves boy idols and decide to open the manga club up as a host club.
Their first attempt fails so horribly that the VP decides to disband them utterly but, after some research, they transform themselves and their shed. Utagawa-sempai is transformed into Marcello, Hinoya is the cute boyish Michel and Akira, whose silence seemed off-putting as a girl becomes the enchantingly silent Rodriguez. The shed is likewise transformed into an intimate and luxurious setting. Their efforts pay off as the Council VP announces that she’s secured them funding – as long as she has exclusive rights to time with Rodriguez.
As the Host Club becomes more and more popular, the VP is having major issues. She’s starting to get jealous of the girls paying attention to Akira. Eventually she confesses that she wants to go out with her. With the others as shadow chaperones, Akira and the VP have a date together that ends with the VP confessing her feelings for Akira. Akira accepts the feelings but says that she doesn’t want to be lovers – she’d really like to be friends, though. The VP and she embrace and head off – as friends – to finish their date.
The Manken Host Club celebrates a successful school festival, but find themselves called to the Student Council’s office immediately after. Nervous, they get ready to be told they are being disbanded after all. The Council President shows her true colors when she tells them that they can continue…but they have to let her join, she says, wearing a decidely Rose of Versailles-esque uniform. Insert silly noise of your choice here.
This one-shot volume was fun. It was funny, a teeny little bit touching and overall extremely goofy – exactly what one would expect from a manga with such a silly title. The whole thing felt like exactly what it was – a tapenade made from popular memes du jour, tossed in the blender with a few handwaves, mixed on “wtf” setting, taken with a grain of salt.
Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 6
Service – 2
Overall – 8
You get exactly what you pay for with this manga – so if what you want is a revisit of everything that’s popular all together at once, executed with some smarts and nerve, then this is a great choice for some light comic reading.