This is Chapter 01 of the Ouran High School Host Club Manga series.
Haruhi Fujioka, the smartest kid in Ouran Academy, stumbles across a mysterious group of handsome, wealthy males who claim to be a Host Club led by the ditsy, uber-rich Tamaki Suoh. After breaking a valuable vase of theirs, worth much more than Haruhi can ever hope to pay back, she is forced to work off her debt; first, as an errand boy and then, as a host. But what happens when they realize that Haruhi, with her baggy clothing and deeper-than-average female voice, is actually a girl? Why, keep it a secret, of course! All except Tamaki become aware of this fact who only learns of her true gender by accident at the end of the chapter and is left with mixed emotions. Hence begins the tale of Haruhi and her newfound Host Club friends.
SummaryA frustrated Haruhi Fujioka walks the corridors of Ouran Academy looking for a quiet study place. She arrives at Music Room 3 and assumes it will be quiet; but when she opens the door, the Host Club welcomes her. She's praised as a crusader for the poor, a thick-skinned commoner and a possible man-lover by Tamaki Suoh, who inquires about her "type," causing Haruhi to stumble back and tip over an expensive vase by the artist Rune, slated to be auctioned with an opening bid of $80K. Unable to afford even a uniform, as noted by the twins, Tamaki hires her as the club's Dogsbody (errand boy) until her debt is repaid.
It's learned that Haruhi's mother passed away ten years ago, her father can't handle money and she's irked at having worked diligently to gain entrance into Ouran only to find herself "a menial servant to some dippety-do Host Club." Kyouya Ohtori makes veiled threats to ensure that she stays and Tamaki bemoans her appearance and lack of host technique, so unlike himself whom he self-praises as a paragon of beauty. Haruhi claims that she doesn't think looks are important and that Tamaki is annoying. The Host King (as he calls himself though no one else seriously does) crouches in a corner while the twins find Haruhi's blunt words amusing.
Hosts Hunny and Mori enter and meet Haruhi, who questions Hunny's status as a Third Year (due to his size and manners) and Mori's silence. Haruhi sighs that all she wants is a quiet study space. Tamaki asks "How 'bout at home?" and she reveals that her father brings girls home during the day and works at night. She then defends him as a single parent. Tamaki finds it pathetic, his overactive imagination placing her into the soap opera "Oshin" as he blubbers, further irking Haruhi. Tamaki forgives her debt if she'll act as the Star Host for girls who love Oshin and though Haruhi is reluctant, "hosting" lessons begin. The first motto of the Host Club is: Be strong, distinguished and elegant. Meanwhile, Hunny offers to share cake with her, but Haruhi doesn't care for sweets. He then offers his bun-bun (a stuffed rabbit) which she blushingly cuddles as Tamaki looks on from afar.
Another day, their guest Miss Ayanokoji comments on the new host's lack of pedigree and Tamaki agrees that he's a mongrel, but how could he not help? Haruhi returns from shopping with instant coffee instead of ground coffee. The hosts are both curious about and disparaging of its cheapness; but having only heard of the stuff, they'll try it. Ayanokoji begins to feel the loss of Tamaki's attention as Tamaki proclaims the second motto of the Host Club: A good man must be dedicated to extensive research. This is followed by comparison tastings of commoner ramen as prepared by the newest host. Her demo is lauded by Tamaki as Mori speaks a few words, much to Haruhi's surprise.
The Hitachin Brothers explain to Haruhi that they're popular because two handsome guys torn between friendship and love is the ultimate romance for a female; then carp, "that's impossible for you so we're back to the problem of appearance." A make-over ensues ridding Haruhi of her grandfather's eyeglasses courtesy of Tamaki, having the twins provide sartorial skills, Kyouya ringing up the school tailor, Mori fetching contact lenses and Hunny being commanded to "eat your cake!"
After the make-over is complete, Haruhi emerges from the changing room and amazes everyone with her cute, girlish face. She debuts with actual customers and much to the hosts' astonishment, turns out to be a natural host - polite and charming with the ladies, who instantly like her. Tamaki later introduces Haruhi to Ayanokoji who continues to note his attentiveness to Haruhi. When Haruhi grimaces hello, Tamaki finds it "keeyoot" and spins her about. Growing dizzy, Haruhi calls to Mori for help and he hefts her like a bag of flour over his shoulder, away from Tamaki who wants her back in Daddy's embrace while Haruhi grouses, "Yer no Daddy of mine!"
The twins, now sporting spiky coifs and labeled Kewpie #1 and #2, play the "Which one is Hikaru Game?" Haruhi calls it stupid and immediately identifies the twins correctly saying, "Yes, you're alike, but the same? No way." The ladies swoon because she sees them "with her soul." When they comment on her bandaged finger, she says she's been the target of anonymous bullying, the final blow being her book bag tossed into an outdoor pond. She suspects Ayanokoji but can't prove it and wonders why she's doing it.
Needing her items, especially her wallet, she heads outdoors and, rolling up her trousers and blazer sleeves, wades into the water. Tamaki appears to chastise her, but upon seeing her dilemma, joins her in a splashing search as he tells Haruhi, "a little water isn't going to hurt my looks." As Haruhi ponders the puzzle that is Suoh, Tamaki wonders aloud if she's falling for him (she says "No chance") and demands a thirty percent finder's fee, earning him a harsh glare.
The next day, Ayanokoji requests Haruhi's company only to gloat that Tamaki's attentions are temporary. Haruhi, in blunt fashion, asks if she's jealous. Ayanokoji turns over the table and attempts to smear Haruhi's reputation. She's "cooled off" with pitchers of water by the once again straight-haired twins and shown photos of her skulking about by Kyouya. Tamaki requests that she "disappear, okay?" and defends Haruhi. After Ayanokoji flees in tears, Tamaki raises Haruhi's customer quota from 100 to 1,000 because not only did they lose a regular customer, but his "exquisite body was reduced to menial labor."Tamaki picks up Haruhi's Student ID from the floor and upon seeing her middle school photo, asks if she's a girl. Haruhi answers, "Never claimed otherwise." He is dumbfounded, while the rest of the Host Club says they weren't fooled for long. Haruhi states that while she doesn't really appreciate the perceptive differences between the sexes and doesn't care about looks, she enjoys having the girls hassle over her, guessing that she's a "little bent" that way, then refers to herself as a male. Tamaki is beside himself.
Is this awakening love?