Dec 26, 2009

Some Thoughts on the Lastest Developments in Ouran 77

Don't get me wrong, I like "Ouran High School Host Club" very much, but I think the dramatic turn it has taken lately is throwing a lot of people for a loop.  I, myself, feel a little duped because it started out a classic screw-ball comedy that I liked for story's and the character's irreverence.  Now, I feel like I'm being forced to ride an emotional roller coaster.

For me the change in Ouran occured when the twins got serious about Haruhi and then went about establishing separate identities for themselves.  Sure it was heartwarming, but, at the same time, it was very dramatic and not very funny.  For a while I tuned out from Ouran because it was missing too much humor.  Eventually, I came back once the twin drama had been resolved and I could read the whole story arc in one setting.  Then I really got back into it once Tamaki and Haruhi started to get a clue about how they felt about each other, only to have that story arc swatted down by Tamaki's issue with his grandmother and now in chapter 77, an additional issue with his father with some corporate intrigue tacked on.  This was supposed to be a screw ball romance about a happy-go-lucky rich buffoon and smart  =_=  poor girl in the setting of a ridiculous host club!  I feel like I'm reading two stories.  Mind you the two stories are great, but it's two stories, nonetheless.

I think the thing that is most frustrating to me with the latest chapter is the demands the author is making upon the readers.  My understanding is most readers of this manga genre are in their teens, yet the author expects these readers to understand a bunch of medical jargon and have working knowledge of corporate power structures.  Honestly, how many readers out there really understand how it is that Shizue can be ousted by Yuzuru?  Well, here's a short explainer (as far as I understand it from working at a company where one of the CEO/Presidents was famously ousted recently):

1.  The Executive Staff (President, CEO, COO, CFO...etc...) works for the company's Board of Directors
2.  A company's board of Directors works on behalf of the shareholders.  The Board of Directors are, in fact, elected by the shareholders in a democratic process.
3.  The President, CEO, CFO, and on-and-on can be fired if a majority of the Board of Directors agrees the person should  go.
4. A company's Board of Directors can be changed by the will of the shareholders.  The will of the shareholders can be changed forcefully if some entity buys up enough shares in the company to vote in their own board members (I suspect that something like this will happen as it did in the anime).
5. The Chairman of the Board (that is Yuzuru's title), leads the Board of Directors. He or she sets the Board's meeting agenda and acts as the Board's host.

Anyhow ... I would not expect that to be common knowledge amongst teen readers and some international readers who are not exposed to corporations.  The same thing goes with the how the drug research ties into the corporate stuff.  Besides keeping it from Shizue, there are other reasons drug companies are mum about what they are up to and it mainly has to do with "intellectual property."  But why should I even have to get into any of that to explain what's going on in Ouran?  And why should Yuzuru's resentment towards his mother, Shizue, be explained in a corporate coup?

Anyhow, I feel with the latest technical complications and a loss of focus on the romance between Haruhi and Tamaki, Ouran will lose most of it's target audience.  It all feels like pretentious flowery dressing to me that neglects the heart of matters -- how Tamaki's screwed up family is keeping him away from Haruhi.  Now, if this were aimed at adults, I would feel differently about matters, but seeing as how the main characters are kids, there really is nothing they can do about the corporate stuff except watch a bunch of adults thwop each other over the head via various corporate power plays.

What are your thoughts?