Haruhi learns that Ouran High School Host Club is holding an Orienteering Tournament, with the entrants to be divided into teams of two to run the gamut of six checkpoints to be run by the members of the school. The prize is having the host club members do whatever you ask for one full day! Everyone has their ideas of what they will do with the prize, should they win, including having Kyoya as a servant, a date with Haruhi or a private date with the entire host club!
The checkpoints can be visited in any order, the point being to accumulate items from each. Those members that are not participating in the checkpoints are free to pair up with customers. Haruhi suggests that Tamaki team up with Miss Kanoya. With the ingredients that are gathered, each team is to make a curry, and the winning curry shall be judged both on the basis of flavor as well as the speed with which its makers have gone through the checkpoints.
Checkpoint #1 features Hikaru and Kaoru in their classic rendition of which twin is which. For this occasion, they've reverted to their identical looks. Tamaki passes the test with ease, but the ingredients he chooses earn him a puzzled look from Miss Kanoya. Checkpoint #2 is manned by Black Magic Club - the "Identify and Explain the use of a Dark Relic" Challenge.
Everything is proceeding smoothly when Haruhi learns that the location of the finish line has been changed, so she's running from checkpoint to checkpoint, alerting everyone so they can in turn alert the contestants.
The third checkpoint is Hunny's "Whack the Bunny When it Pops Up" Challenge--but it isn't as straightforward as it seems, as Hunny gets upset every time a bunny is bopped on the head.
As the test progresses, those in the contest and those who run it learn a few things about themselves, coming closer and closer to the hidden truths in their lives.
Tamaki's enlightenment regarding his feelings for Haruhi leaves him feeling uncertain around her, and acting even more idiotic than ever. Meanwhile, Kyoya is keeping tabs on a certain lawyer who seems to be engaging in secret meetings--with Tamaki's grandmother!
Haruhi's birthday brings on the hilarity of finding the perfect present, without being extravagant, a trait little valued by Haruhi. And then comes the news that Hunny and Mori are about to graduate, so the Host Club hosts its final event before the Third Year graduation. When asked about their future plans, Hunny and Mori give surprising answers, to everyone's dismay.
Things are really beginning to come together now, and plots are coalescing and developing apace. There is a great deal of character development going on, in self-awareness and growth, as is to be expected of young people of this age. Is not high school a time for learning, both academic and personal growth? These students are no exception to that, although maybe at one time it appeared that not all of them would end up with a clue.
Even so, there are still some elements of mystery remaining. It seems inevitable that Haruhi and Tamaki will end up together, but there are no guarantees in life, right? Even in a manga? So that remains to be seen. Life doesn't always end up the way we think it should, and that's just how it is.
Only three volumes remaining. While I look forward to getting the answers to my questions, I will feel sad when the journey is over. I've enjoyed it immensely. Oh well, no sense in growing maudlin. On the plus side, there are three volumes remaining! I look forward to them greatly. This was another wonderful volume in the series, a can't miss one. Onward and upward!