For the Anime (lovers) Among Us…

This is the intro to a Japanese anime show called “Ouran High School Host Club”.  It’s a manga series by Bisco Hatori and was my introduction to the anime genre about two weeks ago.  I had heard about anime but it wasn’t until my english conversation partner from China, Xin Guo, wanted to watch it that I was exposed to it.  The preface for the show, a host club in a private high school, was completely foreign to me until I did a little more reading about host clubs.

Host clubs are groups of well-groomed men who will flatter women for a fee.  According to the article above, many of the clients are prostitutes themselves who are now paying for non-physical attention from men.  I would liken these men to emotional prostitutes.  This begs the question, why have host clubs developed in Japan and not the US?  Imagine if single women spent their Valentine’s day in host clubs, paying for male attention.

This idea of men being paid to spend time and attention to women is strange in itself, but the show also depicts these high school boys flirting with each other.  I was confused by this development until my anime-savvy friend explained to me that the girls in the show were attracted by the very “taboo-ness” of homosexual flirtations.  Overall, watching the show was an enlightening experience as I finally got into the rhythm of a humor and plot line completely foreign to me.

Perhaps you already understand and like the anime genre, or are accustomed to asian cultures.  Have you had any other cross-cultural experiences recently?  It’s a refreshing, while sometimes humbling, experience =)

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About Mary Casteen

Linguistics and people fascinate me. I also get really excited about God's love for the whole world! Can't wait to get to know all you lovely folks in ANTR 320 =)
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4 Responses to For the Anime (lovers) Among Us…

  1. Holy cow! And the first season of this is streaming on Netflix too, I know what I’m doing over Spring Break.

    From what I can tell this is representative of shojo manga, which are illustrated paperbacks targeted at Japanese girls. I’ve only read a little from the shojo genre (normally my guilty pleasure is shonen, or books for boys) but its my understanding that it’s a lot of soap opera type stuff. It’s very interesting then to see a storyline where the main characters are male. Can you imagine an American analog where boys are gathering around the TV to watch a show where the characters are female?

    Whelp, the only way to find out is watch the show I guess. But I’ll do it. For science.

    • Ah, see I’m reading the Wikipedia entry now and its about a girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to join the host club and pay back a debt. You gotta love Japanese genderbending.

      • Mary Casteen says:

        Yes! Indeed it is, although she was already disguised as a boy when she broke a vase that caused her to owe the debt; if I remember correctly you don’t find out she’s a girl until the end of the first episode…what a twist!

  2. callyia says:

    I remember watching this show a couple of summers ago and really enjoying it. I thought was interesting that the characters each had a different ‘type’ of guy that they were representing. Also, the girl disguised as a boy idea had me thinking about another show (and manga) called Hana Kimi and in this a girl goes to an all boys school to meet her sports hero and convince him to continue with his sport (because he had quit due to an injury). The show is live action and has been made into a Korean tv show and a Japanese tv show. Also a more familiar example is the movie She’s the Man based on The Twelfth Night.

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