(Spoilers ahead, you have been warned)
Ouran is one of the more recent entries to my Top 15 list. It’s a show I had heard a lot about in the past and had maybe seen an episode or two of before last year, but I had never taken a further look into it. As I would learn through my watching it with a close friend from Discord, I was very wrong to not check out Ouran sooner. What I found in Ouran HSHC was a spectacular romance that grew and blossomed as the show went on, surrounded by complex topics such as self-identity, gender identity, and even getting into family issues. Ouran High School Host Club is one of the most “feel-good” anime I’ve ever watched. Each episode of the show gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside and each episode managed to do something that other shows find difficult: build a well-functioning enclosed story within an episode that ends with a sweet and heartwarming resolution.
The biggest thing for me about Ouran that was executed really well was its cast and the development of their characters and relationships with one another. Obviously, you have Haruhi, who gets thrown into her role in a male host club to repay a debt. Her development goes deep into her personal life and explores her family life in a satisfying way. Tamaki’s smooth front cracks as you get to see the insecure ball of fluff that lies as his inner personality. Hikaru and Kaoru bring an interesting dynamic in their goal to be independent from one another and their own person. But, my favorite thing about this aspect of the show has to be the growth of Haruhi and Tamaki’s relationship. I’ve rarely found myself rooting for a couple and ship to get together as hard as I did for Haruhi and Tamaki. The two are absolutely adorable and have some of the sweetest and most touching scenes within the entire series.
Favorite Episode: Episode 20, The Door the Twins Opened!
While I do adore the relationship between Tamaki and Haruhi and how it grows, my favorite episode of the series has to be Episode 20, focusing on the twins and their seperate identities. The idea of the “Which One is Hikaru?” game is executed very well and really drives home the main point behind Hikaru and Kaoru’s growth in this episode. The two twins want to be viewed individually, not just always as one set, and the game really accentuates this idea. With Tamaki being the first to be able to identify one from the other, it establishes the beginning of the connection between the twins and Tamaki, while also showing how the two were brought into the Host Club. It’s an absolutely amazing episode that captures some of the best the show has to offer in terms of the heartwarming developments and resolutions Ouran High School Host Club does so well.
Ouran High School Host Club was an absolute treat of a show to watch. I wasn’t sure what I would think of the show initially, given its heavy bishonen and seemingly yaoi overtones on the surface. However, I was quickly proven wrong from my initial beliefs, as what Ouran held underneath the surface was a beautiful gem of a show that deserves the popularity it has garnered among the fandom. It earns the #13 position on my top anime list due to its masterful storytelling, expertise at developing side characters and making the viewer care about them, while also paying special attention to make its main characters more than just eye candy.