By KAITLYN HENSON
“Ouran High School Host Club” is the standard anime series in which one unfortunate student attends an elite academy of extremely rich students, and is forced to join the Host Club to repay a debt. But the catch is, that male student is actually a female. So the whole struggle and drama in this anime lie with the Host Club trying to hide their new member’s secret and having to overcome future romances. Pretty standard, and something that not many anime watchers find interesting at all. But in reality, this romance anime shows us how in-depth and mysterious each character is, with a struggle and a past, and the Host Club is the place of happiness for each and every one of them.
To go further in detail on the plot, honor student Haruhi Fujioka is accepted into the elite private school of Ouran Academy. When he accidentally stumbles upon the Host Club’s room, he bumps into and breaks an 8,000,000 yen vase that he can’t afford. So to repay what he’s done, Host Club president Tamaki Suoh has Haruhi become a host, but later finds out that he’s actually a girl, but she seems to be a natural at entertaining ladies. The other host members Kyoya Ootori (club vice president), Hitachiin twins Hikaru and Karou, Mitsukuni “Honey” Haninozuka, Takashi “Mori” Morinozuka, and including Tamakin Suoh (the club president) all have to keep Haruhi’s gender a secret in order for her to finish her dept.
What makes this particular anime different is mainly how a romanticized clubroom could be the source of happiness for not just the guests, but for the club members expressing their true colors and finally being happy in this one place. For example, the Hitachiin twins Hikaru and Karou before were distant and cold to anyone who came across them, for they were identical and looked exactly the same, leading to no one being able to talk to one of them individually. Since they were younger they’ve only relied on each other and didn’t care about anyone else’s well-being. But when Tamaki decided to make a club, he invited them to join in hopes that they would open up from their shells and actually talk to people. And it did work! From their cold, harsh ways, Hikaru and Karou transformed into fun and mischievous brothers that open up to each other and everyone else, making them more likable and more comedic characters. Similar situations regard Mitsukuni (called “Honey” for short) and Takashi (“Mori” for short). Honey was the teacher at his father’s dojo and is a very strong fighter, yet he must pull himself away from liking cute things and eating cake. But when Tamaki comes along, he grants him a chance to finally do what he loves, and Tamaki also grants Mori (Honey’s cousin) to join the club also. Kyoya was convinced at the beginning to work on the club’s finances and to reassure every guest’s happiness to get away from his father’s heavy management and disappointment of him. And Tamaki, the one who started the club, made the host club to ensure a place where people can be happy and make a change in people’s lives, yet his dark past with his parents and family is still behind him, which adapts to his character as a whole greatly. The addition to Haruhi to the club was from being forced to join, but she later learns to depend on others and make friends rather than rely on herself. Her past experiences as a young child with her mother, passing away, still affects her even after years of mourning, yet the host club surprisingly takes that all away.
But how does the host club pursue so much happiness? How does it maintain a place of so much joy when it just entertains young ladies? It’s the hosts. They are learning to grow and change as time passes on, and they protect each other from problems each member has to face. They are a family, and even though this might not be something to watch for everyone, it has a deeper meaning to it than people might think. Behind the comedic laughter and interesting romance, I can guarantee that “Ouran High School Host Club” is worth a watch if you are interested, because there is so much more to the characters and the plot than you would think.