Otaku USA Magazine
Why We’re Still in Love with Ouran High School Host Club 15 Years Later

Ouran High School Host Club still reigns in our hearts 15 years later

Back in 2006, the Ouran High School Host Club anime made us all (kiss kiss) fall in love! More than just a reverse harem show, it was an adorable story of romance, friendship, and family ties. And, best of all, it’s coming back as a stage show!

We have lots of fond memories about the series — things it taught us, ways it stood out, and just the warm fuzzies it made us feel. Here’s a short selection from the many, many reasons we still adore this romance 15 years later.


It taught us what host clubs are.

The host club boys

Host clubs have existed in Japan since 1966, letting women share the company of a cute guy (for a fee). But prior to Ouran High School Host Club, the anime community at large wasn’t as aware of the concept as they are now. We were well versed in the concept of maid cafés, of course. But this was big news. Bigger still was finding out that the manga wasn’t lying: these are a thing.

With the success of the series, anime conventions across the U.S. started testing our their own home-grown host clubs, much as they had maid cafés. The fees were much lower, with many benefiting the con’s chosen charity. It was a revelation for fans, and one that’s remained in the overseas otaku consciousness ever since.


It played with ikemen tropes.

The Hitachiin twins

The upscale host club at Ouran High School can fulfill all your (completely innocent) fantasies. Like smart guys? Princely guys? Twins? Not only are they available, they act exactly like the manga say they do. But behind closed doors, there’s a lot more to these boys than their exterior belies.

Initially, there’s the humor of them being completely unlike their characters. The Hitachiins are troublemakers, Honey is the oldest member of the club, and Tamaki is… Well, Tamaki is Tamaki. But as the show goes on, we see that that’s not even the whole story. Their personas and their behavior with friends are two layers on top of who they are deep down. And when you learn more about what’s in their hearts, everything makes a weird amount of sense.


It’s so romantic.


Haruhi Fujioka ends up in the host club for… not a great reason. She’s paying off a debt (that vase, remember?). Becoming the one girl in a club full of weird but lovable guys means one thing: reverse harem. Except not quite. While the show definitely fits the theme on the surface, we all know where this is going.

The awkward romance between Haruhi and Tamaki — starting from him being the slowest to catch on that she’s a girl — is one of anime’s cutest love stories. Sure, he’s a mess. Sure, he has a lot to work out before they’d even make a good couple. But watching him put aside his faux-princely personality to really be there for her… yeah, it gets us right there.

What do you love most about Ouran High School Host Club?

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.