Hey–anyone else feeling crazy over quarantine yet? Here are some recommendations for (long) reads to help pass the time:
Ouran High School Host Club, available on Amazon
If you thought I was going to put Fruits Basket at the top or anywhere on the list, I am sorry to inform you that you are wrong. I LOVE Fruits Basket, but right now everyone is recommending it. (Okay, not everyone, but you get the point, right? The new anime is out and people are flocking to the shelves for that already so I’m recommending something else.) At 18 volumes, the series is long and classic. For sure, you will run into some, uh, out-dated concepts, but you will also run into the nostalgia. For many, OHSHC was one of the series that brought them in and the anime is still on Netflix if you just want to watch the colorful comedy that is Tamaki Suoh trying to be “papa” (long may the king reign).
Publisher’s summary: “One day, Haruhi, a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to the “Host Club,” a mysterious campus group consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. To pay back the damages, she is forced to work for the club, and it’s there that she discovers just how wealthy the boys are and how different they are from everybody else.”
Noblesse, available on WEBTOON
I’m assuming that if you haven’t read it before, or watched the OVAs, you’ve at least heard of it. Frankly, the 544 chapters, not including its side story, can be daunting, to say the least (wow that was a lot of commas). However, the series is well worth the task of reading. The earlier pages have been, at least when I last looked, updated to match the later art style so the transition over the course of reading does not feel as huge and the story pulls you in if you enjoy action, mystery, and great OP moments like I do. Moreover, the series has been promised an anime release from Crunchyroll!
Publisher’s summary: “Rai wakes up from 820-years long sleep and starts his new life as a student in a high school founded by his loyal servant, Frankenstein. But his peaceful days with other human students are soon interrupted by mysterious attackers known as the ‘Unions’.”
Totally Captivated, available on Lezhin. (BL)
I read this for the first time years ago and have re-read it twice since. I love it. It’s messy, weird, filled with complications, and ends up in odd directions that all seem to make send in the end. There are a 126 chapters, not including side stories, and all 126 are available NOW on Lezhin. I recommend taking the weekend to read the whole thing!
Publisher’s summary: “The mafia threatens Ewon into working for a loan shark, where he’s forced to run dangerous errands for no pay. The culprit who doomed Ewon to this life is none other than Jiho, Ewon’s jealous ex who still burns at Ewon’s infidelity. Their gang leader Mookyul, with movie-star good looks and the bizarre, drunken habit of biting people on the neck, takes a keen interest in his attractive new errand boy. Will Ewon be able to survive the violent underworld (not to mention the constant sexual harassment) he must endure as an underling of Mookyul? This funny, hip title by Hajin Yoo will thrill and amuse fans with plenty of intense boys love action.”
Light & Shadow, available on TappyToon.
Another favorite of mine and one that I talked about in-depth before is Light & Shadow. The series follows Edna, once known as Eden, in her life following an escape from the coup d’état that killed her parents. From riches, to rags, to riches again, the story is a thrilling and beautiful example of how art can subtly and not-so-subtly play an amazing role in story telling. There are 103 chapters, all on TappyToon.
Publisher’s summary: “It’s a rude insult when lowly and headstrong servant Edna comes to marry Duke Eli, instead of the noble daughter he expected. But the ambitious maid hides an even bigger secret behind her obvious ruse – one that could change the kingdom’s very history. Can the two find freedom, redemption – and love – without drawing their swords on each other? Based on the hit novel.“