[The Ohtori Archives] Home Invasion-Host Club Style

Episode 12…in which your reviewer is a Horrible C**t and leaves you with a CLIFF-HANGER, but makes up for it with the lovely ~*Bonus Episode*~ and thus wraps up the storyline for Volume 3.

We open upon the Hosts, staring in OMGWTF at the shambles of the Fujioka residence. Haruhi, looking more waif-like than usual, ushers the uninvited pests guests in and woe is felt by all at the Shambling Shambles of the place. Basically, it’s all sorts of fucked up…and in shambles, but I think you got that. Anyway, depressing tea service is depressing with the chipped mugs and bowls, and Haruhi has unintentionally found something that can kill the Twinkle in the Bad Touch Trio.

Something seems Rotten in the State of Fujioka land and the B.T.T. suspect that it must be an Edo-era set, or a cosmic practical joke, but their Investigation into the Mystery of the WTF is interrupted by Smiling Haruhi. Smiling, Emaciated Haruhi who is not stabbing them all with a fork (as I would have done) if my dad had made me fast for three days to feed the rich bastards as hers apparently did. Roast Hosts, anyone? Err…cannibalism snark aside…

Haruhi whips out the Sushi Platter of Ghetto-Mart and the Hosts do despair. On the one hand, cheap sushi and the Evil it does to delicate, rich tummies. On the other hand, starving Haruhi who fasted to get them that shit. Dilemma, thy name is Tamaki, Hikaru, Kaoru…you get the point.

The Trio of the Bad Touch puts their Big Girl Panties on and sucks it up to NOM on the cheap (probably dry) sushi while Hani cries and apologizes to Haruhi for visiting her. I’m not sure if this is a moment of “Awww, concern for Haruhi’s welfare” or “Awww, rich ungrateful bastard,” but it’s Hani so I am giving him a free pass. Anyway, Haruhi takes a big bite out of what she DARES refer to as her beloved Fatty Tuna cut and Tamaki loses his shit…

…only to reveal it is only a dream when we flash to a scene of his unmanly screech echoing around the glittering Pink Palace that is his family mansion. I’m not sure if I want to hug him for breaking us out of the Emo-fest, or kick him for, well…to be honest, for funsies because he’s so cute when he Kermit-Flails.

Tamaki does what he does best…Bishie Poses, in pajamas no less, until ATTACK OF THE FLUFFY DOG Antoinette, who is just as crazy and uncomfortably affectionate as her master. Anyway, indulgent servants laugh indulgently at their bat-shit crazy endearing Master, and we meet (another) new character, Shima Maezono, the Head Housekeeper and Tama-baka’s Tutor. She’s a stern old broad, but she keeps the Crazy to manageable levels, so she has my OK.

Tamaki tries to rush off to find out if his dream is true (since, apparently, Prophetic Dreams are a Thing, now), but is brought in line by Shima who is not about to let him walk out the door half in his uniform, and half in his pajamas, and OH, BTW it’s NOT a school day, Idiot. Seriously…this is Haruhi in sixty-eight years. After much Flailing and Squealing and Pouting from Tamaki, he gets to a phone and calls Kyoya for an Emergency Meeting of the Minds, so to speak. This…might not end well.

Time passes, we assume, since we now have a pleasant shot of a quiet little residential road and Haruhi looking ridiculously cute in her huge coat carrying her groceries. A nice chat with an unusually helpful land-lady later, we get a confused Haruhi closing in on her apartment building to Quietus Interruptus in the form of expensive cars and loud pedestrians. The Bishie Close-ups on the Benz and the Rolls Royce and the Host Boys Vogue-ing like bitchy supermodels explains everything. A Diva needs her Stage, after all.

Haruhi is Doing It Wrong when she uses the lamp-post to face-palm, but then again…maybe she has the right idea. The Host boys prove their “Commoner” Derp by mistaking her entire apartment building for her house and only Kyoya knows enough to pull his usual, diplomatic SHUT UP, Stupid(s). As usual, Tamaki Kermit-Flails…this time over Kyoya dragging along all the Hosts, but the Shadow King of Awesome-sauce calls His Twinkliness on being too chicken to face Haruhi on his own. This, somehow, segues into a Dramatic Speech about being polite about Poor-Haruhi’s Poorness or Shutting the Fuck Up.

Since Haruhi has been witness to the whole mess, all Tamaki’s discreet (pfft…yea~h) lecturing is pointless. The Hosts want to stay and hang out, but Haruhi just wants them to go away and…well, just GO AWAY, in general. Tamaki and Hani work in concert as Evil Genii to get to stay. Tamaki, as he seduces the old land-lady and Hani by bribing the Glutton Queen with expensive cake. Their cons pay off and our Grumpy Glutton grudgingly lets the boys into her no-longer-safe haven.

Turns out, Tamaki’s dream was bull-crap (which was not even in question, really) and Haruhi’s place is tidy and clean, if no bigger than the average Japanese apartment for two people. Kyoya goes into a break down of sliding doors and schematics and BLAH, BLAH BRAINY-BOY BLAH. The B.T.T. end up acting worse than usual by trying to compliment the place, which turn out more like back-handed insults. Seriously Haruhi…if you want to kill them, I won’t blame you.

Rude boys are rude, clomping about the place and poking their noses in where they don’t belong. The nosy twins discover Haruhi’s dad’s tastes for fancy clothes (for his daughter, in this case) and make general menaces of themselves. A bit of Hosts-Being-Pesky later, the group sits down to tea and Haruhi makes the mistake of leaving the twins and Tamaki to their own devices. They come up with a really long-titled game (basically, don’t insult Haruhi or you lose the game…game) involving an unknowing Haruhi. Too little, too late but whatever. Tea is had and cake, and Haruhi’s cute is infectious enough to get a whole sentence out of Mori as he offers up his strawberries to his underclassman. More Kermit-Flailing is had by the Idiot Brigade and…seriously, there is a LOT of Kermit-Flailing in this episode. I am surprised that Mr. Green-body doesn’t pop in and start busting asses for the Host Idiots stealing his shtick.

Hani, King of Packing it Away, is hungry now that he’s scarfed ALL THE CAKE and cutely demands food. Offers of sushi take-out is made by a strangely congenial Haruhi, but Tamaki curb-stomps her good mood by losing his shit, Diva-style, in memory of his bad dream. Hani saves the day by cutely demanding a home-made meal, and our heroine gives in because the power of Hani’s Cute isn’t something you can say “no” to. The boys decide to follow Haruhi on her return trip to the grocery store because, obviously, grocery stores are like Disney Land Tokyo to rich boys who’ve never shopped for food in their lives.

Tamaki and Haruhi have a moment when Tamaki stops to pay respects to Haruhi’s mom’s portrait at the family’s shrine. Haruhi back-story rears its bitter-sweet head with a snippet about her mom, who was a lawyer before she died. Tamaki is over-whelmed with…something (Haruhi’s cute? The feeling of Touching Moment? Who knows) and fumble-trips, knocking Haruhi to the ground.

We close this chapter on a Cliff-hanger, with Tamaki pinning Haruhi to the floor just as her father, an attractive Okama, walks in the door. Tamaki is very much the Deer in the Headlights (or in the scope of the rifle, as it were) and Mr. (Ms?) Fujioka looks like (s)he’s a second from kicking in someone’s teeth.

~*BONUS EPISODE*~

We open up this lovely little Bonus Episode with the young father, Fujioka Ryoji (another new character), in his pre-crossdressing days. Our over-enthusiastic hero is thwarted in his cutesy approach to questioning Chibi-Haruhi by her already well-developed dead-pan. Seriously. The Force of the Snark is strong in Haruhi if she can dead-pan her father at seven.

In a bit of back-story, we learn that Haruhi’s mom passed away three years ago and her daughter, who learned to cook from her mom, started taking care of the house-hold business in her place. Her dad, we assume, works to support them, so who knows what he actually does around the house. Anyway, Haruhi distracts her dad from questioning her by worrying over why he isn’t eating his dinner. Her plan succeeds until she tries to sneak off to do the dishes and then the man springs on her. Turns out, she didn’t tell her dad about Parents’ Day and after a bit of childish blustering with her father, admits that she doesn’t want her dad at Parents’ Day.

Tiny sad violins are heard everywhere as Ryoji assumes that she just doesn’t want him around. This is not helped by his boss who (lovingly?) snarks that maybe she’s embarrassed about having a gay dad. Ryoji bitch-flips and reminds his boss that he’s BISEXUAL and he’s so pretty that he’s been given offers from some Okama (Gay/Cross-dressing) Bars, THANKS and FUCK OFF. This, oddly, segues into a fluttering monologue that maybe Haruhi is worried for him because the other parents (read: moms) are jealous because of how pretty he is, and…I am beginning to understand why Haruhi is so capable of handling Tamaki’s Diva-Twinkle-Craziness.

The boss, trying to be helpful, suggests that Ryoji-hime try communicating with his kid since they don’t really get time to talk much. Enter Haruhi, home from school, and Ryoji looking kind of sexy in a business suit. Apparently, the clothes are not the issue as Haruhi curb stomps his attempt to get her approval.

We have a Touching Moment of Pondering Ryoji trying to understand his daughter and wondering why she seems to not want him around at school. This is followed by a cute, but kind of sad Chibi-Haruhi reading, sober-faced, as her smiling classmates gush about their parents coming to the Parents’ Day.

Night-time. The stars are out, the moon is bright, and Ryoji is slobbering drunk.  Haruhi is awoken by Ryoji’s boss who dragged his employee’s drunk, teary ass home to his daughter who can only sit there as her father clings and cries. Chibi-Haruhi has her mini-AHA moment when her Mr. Boss-man explains that her dad is pretty upset about being pushed aside. Our moment of revelation comes when Chibi-Haruhi reveals that she didn’t want him to come because she was worried about him. With him always working and always tired, she would give up time with her father so that he could rest and so that they could have an entire day together. AWWWW. YOU GUYS.

This Bonus Episode of Cuteness closes out with Ryoji surprising his daughter at school to tell her that he left work early and took off the next day so that they could have some time together. Ryoji smiles. Haruhi smiles. I have a huge warm fuzzy, and thus ends this Volume.

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First off: Sorry for the wait. I wanted to get this out before my surgery but wasn’t up to writing for a while, especially with the semester ending. So, I doubled-up the episodes to (hopefully) make up for the wait. Anyway, ONWARD…

What Worked

This chapter is one of my favorites, not because of Tamaki’s utter…Tamakiness, or even because it is a moment of (semi-) normality in this otherwise crazy manga. This chapter is a favorite because it introduces one of my FAVORITE characters, Fujioka Ryoji, devoted father and sassy Okama extraordinaire. Though the main chapter only introduces him at the very end, the fact that the Bonus Episode just dives into his character is a blessing. Here is a man, only twenty-seven, a widower and with an emotionally detached seven year old to support. Not only does he work his fantastically-pert ASS off to do so, but he does this as a man that both his and his daughter’s peers mock because he is effeminate and bisexual. Even so, he has sass and doesn’t put up with people giving him shit about it. In fact, as we see in his moment of channeling the (then future) Host King, he has the ability to brush the shit off with flair. Honestly, I won’t be Spoiler Lady and go into how and when and where this character develops, but I will say that this is a character I was WAITING for. I was biting my tongue, wondering when he would pop up, knowing the Awesome-sauce that is Ryoji. There are no words for how much I am looking forward to watching (for the second time) this character develop through the main storyline and Bonus Episodes. This man is made of Sparkle, Awesome, and Parental Love and makes this series so much better.

I love how the main episode opened up with the audience mind-delving Tamaki as he dreamed. Honestly, I am not sure if his view of the typical, “commoner” family is THAT skewed, or if he just watches WAY too many period-melodramas on television. Either way, his little dream says a lot about how much he cares about and worries over Haruhi, even if that worry and care comes across as completely whacked. Though he isn’t so good with plan follow-through or not putting his foot in his mouth, Tamaki is sincere and does not mean to hurt or insult Haruhi. The fact that he does it without trying and doesn’t even notice is why I can love this guy while face-palming at the same time. He’s silly and sweet, and a huge goof, but he has kindness to him and now I am getting a little too maudlin. My point is, this episode is great in that it shows off his care and concern for Haruhi (his weird dream) as well as the lengths he’d go (dragging out all the Hosts to her house) to makes sure that she is being taken care of. So, snark on this Princess I might, but it is a Snark of Affection.

The Bad Touch Trio. I know that I over-use this phrase to the point of killing it, but sometimes the shoe just fits. Anyway, something about this trio coming together to Plan Things is both magical and hilarious. I’m not sure if it is the combination of Tamaki’s naivety and minor idiocy and the twins mischievousness, or the fact that Twinkle-Brain seems to be a communicable disease that makes this work, but it does. Just as Hikaru wouldn’t be the same without Kaoru to balance him out, Tamaki would not be the same loveable Diva without the twins to poke/prod/tease him into flailing tizzy fits. Though their interactions can go from fellow schemers to Rivals for Haruhi’s Attentions at the drop of a hat, their relationship works. It is a balance, though crazy balance, and it fits. The fact that you see this as an Ongoing Thing (at Kyoya’s water park, at the Beach, their game in this episode) throughout the story is beautiful and magical, and I LU Hatori Bisco.

Though you don’t really get a chance to see the interaction between teenaged Haruhi and her dad, you do get to see a clusterfuck of it in the Bonus Episode. Haruhi, as we’ve seen her so far, is brilliant and friendly, but not an overtly affectionate person. In fact, she is often oblivious to the more “tender” emotions unless she’s slapped with them, and even then she doesn’t always get it. Despite this, you get to see her tender, affectionate side in the mini-episode, even though it manifests in a way her father doesn’t understand. Yes, she could just come out and say “Stay home, rest. We can do something later,” she doesn’t. That is not her style. Instead, she keeps things close to the chest until the point that she has to either say something or hurt her dad’s feelings. When we get the big revelation, it is not via her usual deadpan, but with genuine emotion and care. She loves her father deeply, though she is not emotive about it, and it is nice to see that part of her, since we don’t often get the chance to during Happy-Fun Host Time.

Honestly, though I hate to end on a Cliff-hanger episode, it was important to me NOT to skip the back-story for Haruhi and her Dad, as it informed both Haruhi’s character and gave plenty of hints of the level of Awesome that Ryoji manages as a character and as a father.  Also, my brain wasn’t quite up to the challenge of TWO full episodes plus a Bonus Episode…I’m not going to lie.

Anyway, This little chapter-Bonus Chapter duo is made of Funny and Warm Fuzzies, and closes out Volume 3 and a good note.  I encourage you to pick up these volumes, if you haven’t yet.

Thanks again for reading…

Till next time~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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