Some Thoughts on the Lastest Developments in Ouran 77
Don’t get me wrong, I like “Ouran High School Host Club” very much, but I think the dramatic turn it has taken lately is throwing a lot of people for a loop. I, myself, feel a little duped because it started out a classic screw-ball comedy that I liked for story’s and the character’s irreverence. Now, I feel like I’m being forced to ride an emotional roller coaster.
For me the change in Ouran occured when the twins got serious about Haruhi and then went about establishing separate identities for themselves. Sure it was heartwarming, but, at the same time, it was very dramatic and not very funny. For a while I tuned out from Ouran because it was missing too much humor. Eventually, I came back once the twin drama had been resolved and I could read the whole story arc in one setting. Then I really got back into it once Tamaki and Haruhi started to get a clue about how they felt about each other, only to have that story arc swatted down by Tamaki’s issue with his grandmother and now in chapter 77, an additional issue with his father with some corporate intrigue tacked on. This was supposed to be a screw ball romance about a happy-go-lucky rich buffoon and smart =_= poor girl in the setting of a ridiculous host club! I feel like I’m reading two stories. Mind you the two stories are great, but it’s two stories, nonetheless.
I think the thing that is most frustrating to me with the latest chapter is the demands the author is making upon the readers. My understanding is most readers of this manga genre are in their teens, yet the author expects these readers to understand a bunch of medical jargon and have working knowledge of corporate power structures. Honestly, how many readers out there really understand how it is that Shizue can be ousted by Yuzuru? Well, here’s a short explainer (as far as I understand it from working at a company where one of the CEO/Presidents was famously ousted recently):
1. The Executive Staff (President, CEO, COO, CFO…etc…) works for the company’s Board of Directors
2. A company’s board of Directors works on behalf of the shareholders. The Board of Directors are, in fact, elected by the shareholders in a democratic process.
3. The President, CEO, CFO, and on-and-on can be fired if a majority of the Board of Directors agrees the person should go.
4. A company’s Board of Directors can be changed by the will of the shareholders. The will of the shareholders can be changed forcefully if some entity buys up enough shares in the company to vote in their own board members (I suspect that something like this will happen as it did in the anime).
5. The Chairman of the Board (that is Yuzuru’s title), leads the Board of Directors. He or she sets the Board’s meeting agenda and acts as the Board’s host.
Anyhow … I would not expect that to be common knowledge amongst teen readers and some international readers who are not exposed to corporations. The same thing goes with the how the drug research ties into the corporate stuff. Besides keeping it from Shizue, there are other reasons drug companies are mum about what they are up to and it mainly has to do with “intellectual property.” But why should I even have to get into any of that to explain what’s going on in Ouran? And why should Yuzuru’s resentment towards his mother, Shizue, be explained in a corporate coup?
Anyhow, I feel with the latest technical complications and a loss of focus on the romance between Haruhi and Tamaki, Ouran will lose most of it’s target audience. It all feels like pretentious flowery dressing to me that neglects the heart of matters — how Tamaki’s screwed up family is keeping him away from Haruhi. Now, if this were aimed at adults, I would feel differently about matters, but seeing as how the main characters are kids, there really is nothing they can do about the corporate stuff except watch a bunch of adults thwop each other over the head via various corporate power plays.
What are your thoughts?
Well being an adult myself I dont mind the dramatic developments. The same thing kind of happened in fruit baskets. STarted out as a comedy and then spiriled into some deep drama. I think the drama was invitable as while there is comedy some of the characters are shaped by their dark pasts that cant be handled in a comedic manor. But on the plus side I think in a couple of chapters all will be resolved and Ouran will have a hilarious ending.
Hahaha! I never thought of “Fruit's Basket” as a comedy :). For me it went from drama to overwrought drama.
But then again, I only read it because I liked the cat. The rest of it was “meh” and Tohru was irritatingly sweet and self-sacrificing.
I, too, hope like you that this bit of ugliness will be resolved quickly so we can get back to the comedy and the romance. Personally, I don't think it's wrong for the President to retire. She's old and she needs a rest! I think it's a great idea for her to retire and finish “polishing” Tamaki, while at the same time learning a little humility from Tamaki. I should think being the old battle axe that she, she'd be proud to have raise a “baby viper” that eats her in the end. If Yuzuru can out-maneuver her, then he's ready to lead the company :). It seems only natural to me.
Other manga and anime out there that go from comedy to drama:
“Gakuen Alice” — it's still good, but the stuff those children are bearing hurts my heart when I read it now.
“Trigun” — it went horribly. horribly wrong at the end, but I loved every minute of it.
Well, simply said, I guess the author thinks it's a necessary point in the series. If matching to the rants and my first impression of the chapter, I was shocked. Lupus and ousting Shizue… It was quite hard to swallow in one go ^^
I hope that it passes and gives Haruhi and Tamaki a comedic, bittersweet ending they deserve. Though about deep medical stuff regarding the illness, I don't really mind 😀 Interesting info xD
I agree about GA going from comedic to dramatic too! Poor Mikan…
I actually like this new change ouran is going through its like the final few episodes in an anime season where everyone gets serious.
I mean everything has to reach its conclusion, its sad to see ouran reaching it but should be more developement of charactors now and i wouldnt want ouran to go on forever. And its great to see the author put in some effort into the ending rather then the sudden “they lived happily ever after”.
That said 77 was a bit dramatic, tamaki and his fathers view clashes – oh noes what will do now. In real life tamakis fathers actions is good enough, i mean hes finding a way for him to live together with his mother as a family. Who needs realtives you've hardly ever talked to anyways.
@some_guy: Thanks for posting a comment and sharing your perspective. I think 77 was quite a polarizing chapter, and it's interesting reading different fans' perspectives on the chapter and the recent developments on this blog and the various fan forums on the Internet.
Though I have to point out that readers of LaLa are 24 years old and up. (http://www.j-magazine.or.jp/data_002/pdf/d_hakus_lala.pdf) I hope everything ends well and to ask for a fairytale ending is very unrealistic for me.
@samantha-lim88: Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing.
Readers of the magazine are 97% female while the other 3% are male readers. Its age demographic consists of 4% percent for under-13 readers, 23.4% for readers aged 13-17, 20% for readers aged 18-20, 13% for readers aged 21-23 while the remaining 29.7% of the readers are aged 24 years old and up. Readers aged 24 and up are the demographic of the highest percentage.
Let's flip those stats on their ear, though.
Considering that 70.3% of readers are under the age of 24, I would hardly call folks over the age of 24 a “majority” of readers. Regardless, it's nice to see, at least in Japan, the under 13 crowd isn't reading Lala yet.
A majority of my blog readers (a little over 50%) are from the US. What are the demographics of the readers of series from Lala in the US? What about worldwide? I hardly get readers from Japan, so I don't know how valid those stats are for English translations. I do know, though, that in the US, Ouran is rate “T” for teen and targeted for older teens (16 – 18) under the Shojo Beat label. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shojo_Beat) Also, I have seen some age data from Alexa for some of the manga aggregator sites.
Regardless, I see your point and after reading the comments here and at the various forums, I do think Ouran reaches an older teen and up readers, many of whom are NOT having trouble parsing the latest events :). I am happy to see this and knowing this, I think the latest developments are not out of line (as I said in my blog entry). However, looking at the hit counts on the manga aggregators, monthly readership has been off since chp 75. But I don't know if that due to the story, lost interest because we're caught up and releases are at the most once a month, or something else. Some readers may have lost interest during the 2-month gap between Chp 75 and 76.
Regardless, I do miss the slapstick and still maintain that I didn't get anything out of the detailed explanation of Lupus and the corporate juggling. I would have been happier with a general outline and more concentration the character's relationships. In general, I don't like it when a story comes to a dead halt to have an “explainer” section. But it's a personal preference because I believe there are better ways to “weave” explanations into a story. In the case of Ouran 77, I felt that it was TOO convenient that the news about Anneau Pharma broke at the same time “Team Kyouya” was figuring out the situation. Other people, though, have written about liking the details and the way things unfolded. To each his own :). I'm glad we don't suffer from “group thought” because this has been a thoroughly engaging discussion. In this sense, I'm eager to see what's next in chp 78 so we can discuss Ouran some more!
I see your point about how it started as slapstick, but I personally don't think it's going to lose much audience over turning dramatic. I mean, even in movies like “Kung Fu Panda”, which my toddler-age cousins love and which is comedy throughout the movie, you have serious and dramatic moments. I think it serves to make the story more realistic. Nobody is going to believe it if they never have anything bad happen to them. Anyone who started reading Ouran and liked it enough to make it to where it started turning serious is probably not going to be able to turn their backs on the characters over something like this. So I personally like the change, although I desire something happy soon, too.
BTW, I'm 16, and I didn't have too much trouble following the technical stuff in this chapter.
@greysprincess — I'm glad you and the others were able the follow the technical stuff. I worked hard to get that stuff into “plain English.”