This is Chapter 59 from the Ouran High School Host Club manga.
In Music Room 3, the hosts are heard struggling to beat the clock and put on their strange costumes. The guests open the doors to find the Host Club in the middle of preparing their Japanese folktale cosplay.
In the middle of activities, a few girls discuss that the Hosts' costumes are unstylish today. However, they approve of Takashi's role as the hero Momotaro, or Peach Boy. The twins and Haruhi are dressed in head-to-toe plush costumes as Momotaro's companions - the pheasant, the monkey, and the dog. Mitsukuni is the old man from the folktale "Hanasaka Jiisan." Kyouya is dressed as Urashima Tarou, and Tamaki is the turtle he saved.
Tamaki sulks in the corner about his distasteful outfit. When he hears the girls giggling at him, he complains to Kyouya about the surprise theme change. He protests that at least he could've been Momotaro instead, but Kyouya insists that only someone with Tamaki's amazing talent could pull off the challenging role of the turtle. Hikaru, the monkey, tells Tamaki to stop complaining because at least he doesn't have to wear a dumb mask like he and his twin. He demands that Kyouya answer why he has to be the monkey while Kaoru gets to be a gorgeous pheasant. Kaoru explains to his brother that it's just the difference in their charm.
Kyouya explains that someone suggested the cosplay a few days ago and he decided to use it to reward the person's enthusiasm. Tamaki argues that there's no point in the cosplay because they can't use their good looks and Hikaru agrees, demanding to know who suggested such an unsophisticated theme. An embarrassed Haruhi removes her dog mask and raises her paw in answer. Haruhi admits that she wanted to participate in the activity planning for once and apologizes to Tamaki and Hikaru for choosing roles too unsophsticated for them, but they quickly change their minds and tell her they are not bothered at all. Since the twins' and Haruhi's costumes make up Momotaro's animal team, Kaoru suggests that the three of them should host as a group today. Honey swoops in and steals Haruhi away, claiming that she is actually his character's pet dog, leaving the twins fuming. Kaoru points out that she has been more enthusiastic since she recovered from her cold, but Hikaru laments that she still has bad sense. Kyouya notes that the folktale cosplay was her least-awful idea. Her other ideas were suspiciously food-themed: takoyaki cosplay and sushi cosplay.
Honey and Momoka talk about the sweets they like, and Haruhi energetically asks her what else she and Kimiko like. She says she wants to know more about everyone, causing the girls to blush, while the twins wonder if her new attitude is better or worse than before. Back in his corner, Tamaki blushes about how cute Haruhi's new attitude is, and his heart jumps as he remembers her compliment to him while she was sick. The twins bully him for being in the way. Kyouya tells them to stop, and Tamaki thanks him but Kyouya, still in character as Taro, asks them to reward his good deed with treasure. As the twins pester Haruhi about finding the treasures from the folktales, Kasanoda bursts in with a treasure map the Gardening Club found while digging a flower bed. The twins stare at Haruhi expectantly, who catches on and offers to help decipher the codes, while the other hosts cheer for her motivation.
The next day after school in the library, Kyouya splits up the Hosts and Kasanoda to decipher the map and the text. Tamaki is missing because he has to attend a meeting at the Suous' Roi Grande Hotel again, adding that his absences will become more typical now that he's decided to enter the family business.
Working in their group with Honey, Kaoru admits that even treasure-hunting doesn't seem exciting without Tamaki there. Hikaru agrees, to Kaoru's surprise, who asks him if he's switched off his "angry mode." Kaoru and Honey agree that Hikaru has been calmer around Haruhi and other people in general, and wonder if something is worrying him. Hikaru is annoyed by their remarks, but admits that he's been thinking about their upcoming class ski trip with Haruhi. Also, he's beginning to doubt if Haruhi has a crush on Tamaki at all since she thinks he's like the turtle from the folktale. The three of them burst into laughter about how she's definitely harassing him, until the librarian shushes them. Hikaru thinks aloud that if Haruhi is motivated and Tamaki is working, then he should also take time to improve himself. The other two glomp him, and the librarian shushes them again.
The groups discuss what they've found. Takashi explains, to Kasanoda's awe, that the map is from the Meiji period and that the X is marked somewhere near the hill where Honey and Yasuchika dueled. Hikaru points out a flaw in Haruhi's translation of the kanji, discovering that it's walking directions to the X, starting at the cedar trees behind the school. Tamaki bursts into the library, demanding to know their progress. He says that the meeting today was short, so he headed back to the school immediately afterwards. He leans into Haruhi to see the documents, but she blushes and nervously shoves them into his face. Tamaki declares that it's time to start digging.
Word spreads about the treasure hunt, and several guests and sports team members show up to aid in the search. Kaoru is amazed by how willing people are to help when Tamaki is with them. Haruhi takes her hand shovel and starts digging. When the twins question her new enthusiasm, Haruhi answers that Tamaki is always encouraging them to try new experiences and, in order to reach her goal, that's exactly what she needs to do. Hikaru realizes what a big impact Tamaki has had on her. The sports club hits something with their shovels and call over Tamaki and Takashi. Kaoru and Haruhi join, but Hikaru says he will keep digging where he's at.
The others dig up a wooden box. Everyone crowds around to open it, only to find that it's empty. The boys get a good laugh and harass Tamaki. Haruhi gazes on and says that Tamaki is exactly like the turtle in the folktale because the turtle is made fun of by everyone but eventually leads them to the Dragon King's palace. Where Hikaru is digging, the ground begins to leak, and a giant burst of water comes forth, exposing a secret hot spring.
To restore their energy, everyone takes a soak in the hot water while Hikaru and Tamaki take the shovels to the greenhouse. Tamaki praises Hikaru for discovering the real treasure. He talks about how he and Honey are dying to see the hot spring at the ski resort Class 1-A will be visiting, but Hikaru snaps that Tamaki can't go. Tamaki is startled, and Hikaru confesses that he's in love with Haruhi, leaving Tamaki speechless.
During the night, the hot spring mysteriously returns into the ground, and a new folktale is born at Ouran.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- This chapter's cosplay is based on the most widely known folktales in Japan. Versions of the stories can be found at the bottom of this page.
- In the tale of Urashima Taro (assigned to Kyoya and Tamaki), a fisherman named Taro saves a turtle from a group of abusive children. The turtle is actually the beautiful Princess of the Sea and rewards him by bringing him to the Dragon Palace at the bottom of the ocean. After three days of luxury, Taro wishes to return to his mother. The princess gives him a magic box to keep him safe and tells him not to open it. When he returns, he is a stranger to his village, and he discovers 300 years have passed. He opens the box and transforms into an old man, because inside the box was his old age.
- The joke is that Kyoya requests a reward after saving the turtle (Tamaki) from abusive children (the Hitachiin twins).
- The box the hosts find on the treasure hunt also alludes to the magic box from the folktale.
- The box may also be foreshadowing Tamaki's metaphorical "black box" and Hikaru's "box garden" mentioned in Chapter 61.
- Ironically for Kyoya, the name Taro means "eldest son."
- In the tale of Momotaro, or Peach Boy (assigned to Mori and the freshman trio), an old, childless woman finds a giant peach along the river one day. She brings it home, and when she and her husband try to eat it, the peach bursts open and reveals a baby boy. They name the boy Momotaro, and he grows up to be strong and kind. When he hears of the ogres terrorizing the villagers, he travels to Ogre Island. One-by-one, he meets a dog, a pheasant, and a monkey who agree to help him in exchange for dumplings. They defeat the ogres and return all of the stolen treasures to the village.
- Mori is chosen for the role because he is noble and has a way with animals.
- The story was popular during the Meiji period, which is probably why Mori is the one to discover that the map is from this era.
- In the tale of Hanasaka Jiisan, or Grandfather Cherry Blossom (assigned to Honey), a white dog named Shiro runs away from his abusive owner and is taken in by a kind farmer. One day, Shiro urges the farmer to start digging, and when he does, gold pours out of the ground. The dog’s ex-owner tries, but gets snakes instead gold, so he kills the dog. The farmer buries Shiro, and a tree grows from his grave. He makes the tree into a mortar, and everything put inside turns to gold. The mortar won’t work for the mean old man, so he burns it up. The farmer spreads the ashes over the dead trees of the village, and it magically revives them into beautiful cherry blossom trees, so the king rewards him with treasure.
- The hot spring is an allusion to the gold dug up in the folktale.
- The cedar trees near the hot spring are probably an allusion to the magical trees from this tale.