It has been greater than a decade because the launch of Ouran Excessive College Host Membership — and at current, it stays a basic favourite for a lot of followers. Apart from being an iconic sequence within the shojo and reverse harem style, Ouran Excessive College Host Membership’s takes on LGBTQ+ illustration had been method forward of its time. The sequence’ protagonist, Haruhi Fujioka, is genderfluid whereas her father is a queer drag queen. Nonetheless, LGBTQ+ illustration all through the sequence wasn’t all the time good. A few of these situations had been handed off as jokes, dangerous stereotypes or just put within the story for comedic worth.
Whereas Ouran Excessive College Host Membership might have elicited a “kiss, kiss, fall in love” temper from followers relating to the sequence as an entire, one side of the LGBTQ+ illustration within the sequence was undoubtedly a miss — the boys love illustration. Let’s check out the problematic “forbidden brotherly love” trope of the Hitachiin twins, Hikaru and Kaoru.
Every member of the Ouran Academy Host Membership has their very own picture or act to observe to be able to promote themselves. As Kyoya places it, the membership members make the most of their particular particular person traits. Within the case of Hikaru and Kaoru, it’s their “forbidden brotherly love” — which is principally twincest. They act affectionately and sensitive towards each other — from extreme hugging to caressing one another’s face — which might get a bit too shut for consolation. To attraction to the Host Membership’s clients, Hikaru and Kaoru act like lovers — and the truth that they’re twins provides extra “spice” to their picture.
The twins capitalize on this trope to attraction to their shipping-obsessed patrons, who soak all of it up. As such, it could be argued that what the twins are doing is just in step with their mischievous personalities and for the sake of fan service. Whereas their trope does add some comedic worth to the sequence, it’s additionally equal components simply as uncomfortable. Supposedly, the homosexual acts are only for present for the sake of the Host Membership. Nonetheless, there are situations within the sequence the place the “incestuous brothers” act goes past the partitions of the membership. At first of Episode 15, within the Hitachiin residence, Hikaru and Kaoru are seen sleeping subsequent to one another, shirtless. They proceed to be affectionate with each other, simply as they often are when taking part in Host Membership actions.
Regardless of the twins primarily doing this for performative worth, the message and implications of the portrayal of their relationship are probably dangerous. In a method, it fetishizes incest — particularly because the regulars of Hikaru and Kaoru are seen fangirling with (literal) hearts of their eyes at any time when the twins are appearing like a pair. All through the sequence, the individuals who see Hikaru and Kaoru doing the “forbidden brotherly love” act merely settle for it — and are even charmed by it.
Apart from this, it could even be argued that Hikaru and Kaoru are yet one more case of queer-baiting in manga and anime. Whereas they do constantly act as if they’re sexually and romantically attracted to one another, it is unclear whether or not Hikaru or Kaoru is definitely interested in or eager about the identical intercourse. As well as, each of them finally develop emotions for Haruhi.
Whereas it is understood that Ouran Excessive College Host Membership is a parody of shojo and otaku tradition, a few of these matters and tropes should still be doubtlessly dangerous, even when it’s simply being added for leisure or comedic worth. Highlighting Hikaru and Kaoru’s twincest act all through the sequence was a giant miss for boys love illustration in Ouran Excessive College Host Membership. Contemplating how effectively the illustration was portrayed with Haruhi and Ryoji “Ranka” Fujioka when it comes to gender expression and id, the identical may have occurred for BL. As an alternative, the Hitachiin twins ended up changing into a part of manga and anime’s lengthy record of dangerous BL stereotypes or BL illustration gone mistaken.