|Written by||Makoto Kobayashi|
|Magazine||Super Manga Blast|
|Original run||April 1992 – February 1994|
Club 9 (Heba! Heroo-Chan!, Miss Hello) is a Japanese comedy manga series written and illustrated by Makoto Kobayashi. The 5-volume series was published by Kodansha between April 1992 and February 1994. It was licensed in the USA by Dark Horse Comics. It has 42 chapters. The series is currently out of print, and the company has no plans to renew the license or reprint the series. The entire series was completely translated in the Dark Horse manga anthology magazine Super Manga Blast, from numbers 13 to 55, however only 3 collected volumes (out of 5) were released.
Club 9 centers around a young country girl named Haruo Hattori who is attending university in Tokyo, Japan. She initially lives in her college dorm, but due to circumstances has to move out to an apartment and find a job. When a friend gives her a job as a club hostess at a posh Ginza hostess bar (Club 9), she finds herself getting more attention than she initially wanted.
- Haruo Hattori
- Simple, kind, and honest, Haruo is the type of character that easily finds herself in situations before she even realizes that she's in them. Haruo left her small country town in the Akita prefecture to attend college in the big city of Tokyo. While she was in high school she had a loyal boyfriend and managed the school's baseball team. Haruo is incredibly clumsy at times, which often is a result of her trying to help people while not watching the road ahead of her. Haruo initially lived in the dorm rooms of her college, but had to move out after a male ghost kept trying to get her to sleep with him. She found a job with the help of a college friend, Aki, at a local hostess club. Haruo is given the "stage name" of Miss Hello, and her sweet kindness often attracts more attention than she intends to get. She is a big fan of Makoto Kobayashi, a manga writer who is also a member of the club. Her big goal is to go home to her boyfriend a virgin. In the end Haruo quits Club 9 and becomes just a regular college student. She spends two weeks as a student teacher before graduating. At the series end she has accepted a job as a school teacher in her home town and is reunited with Kingoro. She tells him that she was able to stay a virgin for him, and as the two of them drive off it is heavily implied that they are going to have their "first time" together.
- Aki Shinohara
- Street-wise, sexy, but with a heart of gold, Aki is one of the first to befriend Haruo. She initially allowed Haruo to room with her after her unfortunate run-in with the campus ghost, but pushed her to get an apartment of her own. Aki is often at wit's end whenever Haruo says or does something to show how unaware she is of the surrounding city. One of Aki's dreams is to one day set up a hostess club of her own. Aki thinks nothing of using a man in order to get what she wants (new clothes, jewelry, or a free vacation). This way of thinking would later cause one of her male patrons to aggressively stalk her. After graduation she fulfills her dream of opening a hostess club of her own.
- Fuyumi is a sweet but somewhat naive girl. She is somewhat more street-smart than Haruo, but is less so than Aki. She works at Club 9 along with Aki and Haruo. Fuyumi has a crush on an actor that frequents the bar, and has hinted that her working relationship has progressed beyond the professional level. After graduation she fulfills her dream of marrying her actor sweetheart, with plans to have children immediately.
- Mama (Club 9 Owner)
- She is an older woman who greatly resembles Haruo's own mother. Mama is incredibly sensitive about her age, and often acts in complete denial of it. She shares many characteristics with Haruo's real mother, in that they both act carefree, a bit flighty, but have the best interests for their charges at heart. Mama has an ongoing rivalry with a fellow giza hostess bar called Club Freeman. At the series end she can be seen headhunting while in drag at Club Freeman.
- Kingoro is Haruo's country boyfriend, and was also the pitcher for their successful high school baseball team. When he fails to be picked at the pro draft, he then sets his sights to becoming a great apple farmer. He truly loves Haruo, but is unable to go to Tokyo with her. He often tries to contact her, but never gets a chance to meet her. At the series end he has succeeded in his goal of becoming a great apple farmer, and has made his own special breed of apples, which he named after Haruo.
- Kyosuke Hanazono
- An insanely wealthy businessman, he first meets Haruo when she is fetching snacks for the Club 9 patrons. Mistaking him for unemployed and penniless, she purchases food for him unaware that he was unable to purchase anything since he only had large bills and credit cards on him. Hanazono is attracted to Haruo and showers her with expensive gifts, including a custom made sports car. In the manga he says that he was previously in a serious relationship with another woman, but his mother drove her off. After Haruo rejects his proposal, Hanazono uses Haruo (with her cooperation) to trick his mother into accepting the woman he originally wanted to marry.
- Manga artist of the popular manga 'Lonely Boy', he falls for Haruo's kindness. When he fails to win a coveted award, Haruo gives him the drive to continue his series. He also asks for Haruo's hand in marriage, but is kindly turned down by her. The next year he wins the award.
- Haruo's favorite manga artist and author of the manga 'What's Bear', his character is a parody of the actual manga artist of the series. (His fictional manga is also a parody of one of Kobayashi's other series, the successful 'What's Michael?'. Bear is the canine companion of the manga's lead feline, Michael.) He is often seen drawing his animals on the skin of the Club 9 hostesses.
- Koji Uryu
- Lead pitcher for the Lions, Haruo and Kingoro's favorite pro baseball team. He was in a slump, and spent much of his time drinking and carousing as a result. He came into Club 9 to drink, but was denied alcohol from Haruo on the premise that it ruined his pitching skills. After listening to a speech by Haruo he agreed to only drink the sports drinks she provided. He is another of Haruo's numerous admirers. He is knocked down to the middle leagues after his pitching slump, but is cheered on by Haruo. After an elbow surgery he succeeds in regaining his former glory.
- Mama & Pa Hattori
- The parents of Haruo. They live in a small rural town in Akita, and are presumably farmers. Pa is a silent and patient man, while Mama is excitable and flighty. She often woke Haruo up by diving on top of her. Mama is identical in appearance to the owner of Club 9.
- At the beginning of the Manga, she is Club 9's number one hostess. She is beautiful, refined, and attends a high-class woman's university in Tokyo. Chinatsu's weakness is that, after having the slightest amount of alcohol, she becomes arrogant, abusive, mocking, and truthful about her feelings for her male clients. Sayadoshi Iwata, a toilet company president, is the usual target of her venting as he believes that making Chinatsu drink alcohol will make her more open to seduction. Unfortunately, it leaves Mr. Iwata with graffiti on his forehead, messed up clothing, chocolate sticks up his nose, and a humiliating tirade. Chinatsu is also flat chested and, when drunk, she feels inadequate about her bust and wishes she had larger breasts, backing up her feelings by grabbing either the larger bosoms of Aki or Haruo.
- Rumi, Yuki, Kiyoko, & Kyoko
- Four other ginza girls and hostesses working at Club 9 at the beginning of the Manga. They are frequently seen in the background of scenes set at the club throughout.
- Vol 1
- Haruo comes to the big city to study after successfully completing both high school and the management of her local baseball team. When her pitcher boyfriend fails to be picked up by a pro baseball team and has to stay in their small town, Haruo makes a promise to stay a virgin until she arrives back home. However, college life is not all roses, as Haruo's dorm room is haunted by the ghost of a dead teenager who died a virgin. Wanting Haruo to deflower him, he often spends the nights masturbating in front of her. Unable to stay in the dorm room, Haruo temporarily moves in with her classmate Aki until she can find a place of her own. Aki persuades her boss to give Haruo a job at her local hostess club, Club 9. After some initial problems, Haruo easily adapts to the life of a club hostess.
- Vol 2
- Haruo's cheerful personality has made her one of the hits of Club 9. She easily attracts the attention of the club patrons, both the good and the bad. After gaining the attention of a local newsman, she finds that some men would like to have more from her than just a good drink. Haruo manages to escape his clutches, only to have him try to break into her apartment. Luckily for her, he is captured by the police. Also in the same volume, Haruo meets her favorite pitcher, Koji Uryu, who is currently in a pitching slump. When she isn't enchanting the patrons of the club, Haruo is catching the eye of rich businessmen
- Vol 3
- Having recently found out that the poor and unemployed man she fed earlier was none other than the most powerful businessman in Tokyo, Haruo finds herself with more attention than she wants. The businessman, Kyosuke Hanazono, buys her an expensive car for her birthday in hopes of winning her love. While she is being troubled by the idea of attracting men other than her boyfriend, she attends the Kodansha Manga Publisher's Prize award ceremony. When one of her clients doesn't win his coveted award, she must cheer him up in the way only Haruo knows how.