It’s been about two years since I read this manga series in its entirety. But I still remember a lot of it, and I revisit my favorite volumes sometimes since it’s one of the very few manga series I have physical copies of. I’ve made it pretty clear how much I love this anime, but I loved the manga so much more, and I’ll give some reasons why in this post!
Mainly I want this to target people who have already watched the anime, and fall victim to those rumors of a season two. I’m sorry to say there’s almost no chance there will ever be a season two. The anime is twelve years old now. But what you can do is read the manga!
Conveniently, the anime left off about halfway through the manga. It’s easy to skip the parts you’ve already experienced. There are 18 volumes, and the story diverges from the anime in volume 9. It’s almost too perfect.
Onto the other reasons besides the convenient leave off point.
There isn’t a ton of development with the characters in the anime. There’s a little, like how Haruhi ends up enjoying being part of the host club, and how the twins managed to accept the idea of having friends other than themselves. But the manga explores so much of these characters, and it made me fall in love with them more than I already was. Especially with the twins. Their development arc is probably my favorite part of the whole manga. They get to really evaluate how they’ll be spending the rest of their lives, whether it be just with each other, or if they’ll go separate ways.
Along with that, we get to learn a whole lot more about Tamaki’s family, both his father and his mother, something that’s only mentioned briefly in the anime. Tamaki’s father becomes a larger part of the story, especially in the last three volumes of the manga. And because his father is more present, he also begins thinking about what he’ll do in the future as a job. He’s clearly going to take over the company his father runs, since he’s the only child, but what he does specifically is up to him, and is another piece I love a lot about the manga.
In the anime, we only get to see what Haruhi wants to do, and Kyoya’s struggle to maintain lead for taking over his family’s company. It was interesting to see what the others wanted as well. Oh, and Honey and Mori graduate the high school to go onto college, but, well, they still stick around somehow. The graduation party scene is interesting though.
There are a few characters that are only in the manga that really add a lot to the story. The main one I want to bring up is Mei, who becomes Haruhi’s friend and is the daughter of Mizuzu, Haruhi’s father’s friend. I love her a lot. She starts off being a bit of a brat, only wanting to be around Haruhi because she is friends with attractive rich guys, but after hanging around the host club a bit, she comes back to Haruhi to complain about them, and they bond over that. It’s also just nice that Haruhi can have a friend to trust with things she wouldn’t discuss with the host club members.
There’s another character, Kanoya, who basically is the “dream Haruhi” of Tamaki’s mind, and she ends up trying to steal all of Tamaki’s attention away from the club. Because of her, we get to see Haruhi act in anger a bit, and it gets kind of sad when she realizes that this new girl is everything she isn’t.
The beginning of the manga has a bit of a strange style to me, but it doesn’t stray far from a typical shoujo style. Haruhi has eyes that take up half her face, the clothing and hair is detailed meticulously, and the lips are drawn in. By the end of the manga, though, the mangaka, Bisco Hatori, chose to change the hair to a more solid style, Haruhi’s sweeps over her forehead now instead of having choppy bangs, and now her eyes are a much more reasonable size. I personally like the end of manga art better than the anime’s art.
Tidbits from the Mangaka
Strangely enough, one of the things I remember the most about reading OHSHC is the little asides and extra short comics Hatori added in her manga. From describing her and her coworkers laughing about radio shows to her adventures in buying a sleeping bag to sleep on her office floor rather than at the desk, she adds these little pieces of life to add even more comedy to her already comedic work. Along with that, in one of the short comics in the back, she explains the story of how OHSHC came to be!
Along with these real life stories, she also includes extra drawings in the back of the volumes, generally Haruhi with one of the boys, or new characters after they’re introduced. And sometimes there are silly comics on the bottom of the pages that connect together.
Of course, you can only experience these when you purchase the manga. I’m unsure if the Kindle version would have these, but I know any fanmade scanlations would not. I understand the purpose of scanlations, but I generally don’t use them, and they don’t provide the full experience of purchasing manga.
In the end, the manga is a more complete version of the OHSHC story. In the last 3 volumes, a large arc to finish off the story takes place. The anime is really known for not having much of a plot, and that’s just something the anime will always have. The manga continues with that for a little while, but the mangaka chose to start making each volume focus on one main thing, until the last ones, which all connect together.
Personally, I liked it. But, I know not all fans will. And this is mainly due to the pairing that was made canon. I’ve always loved this pairing, so the ending made me incredibly happy. I also feel that if I spoil which one it is, it won’t ruin the reading experience for anyone. I was aware of it before I read the manga, and it was fun to theorize how everything would play out before I got the manga for Christmas one year. (My theory was horribly wrong, by the way, but the actual thing was even better anyway.)
I should probably say which pairing, huh? It’s Tamaki and Haruhi.
So, unfortunately, if you don’t like this pairing, I’d say it might be a bit hard to read the last couple volumes of the manga, since much of the plot is focused around them and the stance of their relationship.
Even without that fact, I think anyone who enjoyed watching the anime would have a fun time reading more about these characters!
I’ve been wanting to write about this manga since before I had this blog. I wrote a little ramble in a notebook when I had the thought of sharing my opinions on anime with others, before I was able to find this website to post on. I want to say this manga is the reason I even made my blog on impulse. And I didn’t talk about it until a year and half after I created my blog.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and I’ll be posting again tomorrow on Friday! (This was late because of an English paper)
**All images besides the thumbnail were taken from my personal manga collection**