The members of the Ouran High School Host Club!
(detail updates March 2009)

Suou Tamaki--President of the Host Club

This gallant charmer is a classic dandy whose every pose and movement radiate a carefully studied elegance. Just enough of a con man to make the school's female students pay for the privilege of attending the Host Club's exquisite parties and entertainments, but just enough of a romantic to truly believe that "The Host Club exists to bring fortune to ladies!", he's the group's founder and unquestioned king. Condescending (though he may not mean to be) and lofty, but with a natural grace that can put anyone at ease, he's a genuine gentleman--though he is prone to outbursts of hyper-dramatic emotion on occasion. (And intellectually...not perhaps the sharpest knife in the drawer.) He plays the piano beautifully, and is a genius at seeing into anyone's true feelings, though he can be surprisingly blind to his own. Don't let his artifice fool you: he has a strong sense of fairness and won't see others abused (when one of his own wealthy clients becomes jealous of his attentions to Haruhi and attacks the newcomer, he banishes her on the spot). And more than anything else--I think--it's his enthusiasm and infectious joie de vivre that make the Host Club what it is. Perceptive Haruhi assesses him perfectly: "He has an overwhelming power: he accepts everything that happens and transforms it with his own energy." --Tamaki has a serious crush on Haruhi as a girl, but realizes that her value to the Club --and the only way she can pay off her considerable debt--is in playing the role of host, so is forced to maintain the charade that she's a boy.

See his character profile from Vol. 1 of the Host Club manga here.(Click on it to get full size.)

Ootori Kyouya--Vice President

This cool and brainy beauty is Tamaki's efficient right-hand-man, never far from his clipboard and laptop. (Tamaki often addresses him as "Mother" and himself as "Father"--this seems to relate more to their relationship than to any sense that they're the Club's "parents"...) The youngest of three brothers, he's under tremendous pressure to distinguish himself. His family apparently made its money in the hospital and medical field, but they like to diversify, and he seems more attuned to the private security and investigation business, running background checks on all prospective members and likely on the Host Club members as fact, there's likely no one in the school he doesn't have a little dossier on. Pulls the strings behind all scenes and will even manipulate Tamaki when called for (Haruhi astutely calls him "the shadow king"). He knew from the start that Haruhi --the school's only "special student"--was a girl, but typically let the rest work it out for themselves; it's a point of slight friction between him and the others (especially Tamaki) that he knows so much more than he'll say.

See his character profile from Vol. 1 of the Host Club manga here.(Click on it to get full size.)

Hitachiin Hitaru and Hitachiin Kaoru

The twin Hitachiin brothers push being identical just about as far as it can go: they not only speak as one, but have mastered the art of doing nearly everything not only simultaneously but in perfect mirror-symmetry with each other. (Hint: When worn naturally, Hikaru's bangs sweep to the left and Kaoru's to the right--so that they even look like each other's reflections--but they sometimes switch, just to keep people off-guard.) They also make frequent and intimate displays of their affection for each other, though it's hard to tell if they're really incestuous lovers or have just found a perfect way of keeping the yaoi fangirls on the hook. (Or maybe it's just a twin thing. =) Tamaki has known them since middle school and Honey even longer, but they agree that even then no one was close to the twins: they've always traveled in their own, tightly sealed, little world. (The exception, surprisingly enough, may be Haruhi, who also seems to have known them since childhood and even then wasn't cowed by their attitude.) --Kaoru is the more thoughtful, sensible and mature of the two, while Hikaru is more impulsive, temperamental and childlike. They have a devoted following among the Host Club's clientele. When not cuddling, they're Tamaki's most attentive and dutiful lieutenants, the first to snap to attention when he issues an order. But they do have something he wants and can't get--namely, more time per day with Haruhi (as freshmen, they're in many of the same classes, which senior Tamaki is shut out from) --and they never miss a chance to hold this over his head.

See their character profile from Vol. 1 of the Host Club manga here.(Click on it to get full size.)

Morinozuka Takashi ("Mori")

Despite his striking height (he's little Honey's favorite vantage point AND piggyback ride) and exotic good looks, Mori stays well in the background of the Host Club. A man of very few words and calm demeanor, it's hard to tell what he thinks or how he feels about anything, though his loyalty to Tamaki and the ideals of the Host Club is unquestionable. Has a strong "old school Japanese" streak: he's studying kendo classes (has in fact been national kendo chanpion for his age group) and prefers traditional costume as his formal wear. (In episode seven we learn that he and Honey are cousins, and that his family has served Honey's clan for generations--something Tamaki and the twins regard with emotion as an ancient loyalty, but Haruhi scorns as servitude.) Could be that "still waters run deep" as they say, and that there's a lot more to this quiet guy. (After all, when introducing the Club to Haruhi, Tamaki does call him "the wild type"...)

See his character profile from Vol. 1 of the Host Club manga here.(Click on it to get full size.)

Haninozuka Mitsukuni ("Honey")

Considering his cherubic looks, you could be forgiven for assuming that adorable Honey is the youngest member of the Host Club. (Tamaki, when introducing him to Haruhi, teasingly asks if perhaps Haruhi is "the loli-shota type?" Loli-shota, a word made from "shounen" (boy) and "Lolita", connnotes a semi-kinky preference for young boys, roughly 7-14.) Actually he's just naturally small; in reality, he's nearly the oldest, with Mori older by just two months. He does, however, hang onto a number of little-kid habits, like impromptu naps and a close attachment to his pink plush bunny. A great favorite of the clientele, who greet everything he does with adoring squeals of "Honey-kun na-kawaiii!" ("Honey's so cuuute!"). --He and Mori have the closest relationship of any pair in the group beside the twins: Mori uncomplainingly carries him just about everywhere, and generally operates as his protector and mentor (see Mori's note above: as it turns out, they're actually related). Having the "baby" role of the group he gets cut a lot of slack, and he uses it without mercy: in particular, speaking with cute, wide-eyed candor about things that make various of the others wince, and getting away with it. (In episode 7 we learn that he's a startlingly formidable fighter and a national multi-champion at unarmed combat, so good that Kyouya's family's private army (!!) is humbled and honored to have been beaten --singlehandedly!--by such a famous foe.)

[footnote: Shojo Beat's English translation of the manga uses "Hunny" rather than "Honey" as the spelling of his nickname. I'm not quite sure why this is, since "Honey" is certainly what's intended, and makes a more likely short form of "Haninozuka" besides. I'll continue to use "Honey", for now at least.]

See his character profile from Vol. 1 of the Host Club manga here.(Click on it to get full size.)

Fujioka Haruhi--Host Club "Dog"

Last but not at all least, our hero-heroine and the main character of our tale. From the moment we meet Haruhi it's plain she's a tough-minded and rather prickly individual--and one with an almost total lack of gender-consciousness. A gifted and diligent student from a lower-middle-class family, she got into Ouran Academy on academic merit, and is openly scornful of "rich kids who are only here to play". She meets the Host Club while in search of a quiet room to study in, and bad luck almost instantly puts her in their debt. She accepts their offer of a host position (and, tacitly, their mistaken assumption that she's a boy) as a way to pay off the funds--girls, as noted, apparently pay for the privilege of attending the Club's entertainments and, I guess, also tip their favorite escorts something extra, though I'm sure nothing unseemly is exchanged--and proves a natural at charming the clientele with her unaffected manner and stories of cooking and housekeeping for her widowed father.

When a later mishap reveals her as a girl, however, she's completely unruffled and indifferent, explaining that it's fine with her if they treat her as a guy, that she doesn't care if she's thought of as male or female, and doesn't mind "listening to girls' chit-chat" if it'll get her out of her debt. The Host Club, whose entire raison d'etre is grounded in the understanding that sheltered girls crave a safe and innocent way to interact with boys their own age (and that there's a lot for boys to gain from this situation), is baffled by Haruhi's decision to concentrate on her studies and simply ignore the flirtation game. (Indeed, throughout the early episodes there's no suggestion that she even likes the other Host Club members much, and why should she? Her position with them is essentially indentured servitude, she's immune to their good looks and charm, and at least once per episode some thoughtlessly condescending remark causes her to mutter under her breath "you rich bastards".)

--As a result, all have to accommodate Haruhi: Tamaki has to rein in his attraction to her as a girl, because the club needs her as a boy; elaborate subterfuges have to be constructed to sneak her through such things as physical exams; it's possible several other members find her more attractive as a boy; and no one knows what cool little Haruhi likes, or whether she has any preference at all, or will have...

See his--I mean, her-- character profile from Vol. 1 of the Host Club manga here.(Click on it to get full size.)

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The episodes, in brief.