Welcome to part two of WCW: Anime Edition! All of June, we will post articles about sapphic icons in anime. Last week we covered Haruka Tenou from Sailor Moon. This week, we’re talking about another gender non-conforming icon: Haruhi Fujioka.
Warning: Spoilers for Ouran High School Host Club ahead!
Haruhi is the main character of the anime Ouran High School Host Club, which was a staple of young Americans that ventured into anime in the early 2000s. It was one of my first, and it holds a special place in my heart like many others.
For those of us who didn’t watch every episode in three parts on YouTube, the anime is about a girl who has to pretend to be a boy. In episode one of the series, Haruhi knocks over a vase and indebts herself to the charming Ouran Host Club. To pay for her mistake, Haruhi dresses up as a boy and charms her fellow students into making contributions to the host club. Because she has short hair, a deeper voice, and an androgynous look, Haruhi finds it easy to pose as a boy and no one is the wiser until she finally reveals herself.
She’s a true bisexual icon.
As the season progresses, Haruhi starts to fall in love with Tamaki Suoh, president of the host club. While she’s originally hesitant because of Tamaki’s selfish nature, Haruhi starts to see through his arrogant nature. By loving him, Haruhi breaks through his egotistical front to find his insecurities and hidden love. At the end of the series, Haruhi and Tamaki confess their love for one another and end up together. In the anime, the two marry and even have kids in a fairy-tale-worthy happy ending.
What Makes her a #WCW?
Haruhi is such an interesting character because she plays with the idea of gender and sexuality. She’s such a genuine and cool person that half the school ends up crushing on her, regardless of their perceived sexualities. Most of the girls that frequent the club also develop a crush on her, including Renge Houshakuji, a self-proclaimed ‘love expert.’
Throughout the series, Haruhi is seen as quite the charmer. She’s successful in the host club at earning donations. The girls that frequent her sitting area love her expressive eyes and demure nature. Haruhi knows just what to say to keep girls coming back.
She’s also very bold and daring. To save Tamaki from a marriage he doesn’t want, she drives a horse-drawn carriage at break-neck speed to catch his car. This move winds up with her and Tamaki plummeting off that same bridge, but she is unfazed by this. Haruhi plays along with most of the shenanigans the host club pull without much trepidation. The only thing that really phases her is lightning and her feelings for the bratty Tamaki.
The fact that Haruhi isn’t afraid to dress up as a boy is another huge draw for me. Like Haruka from last week, Haruhi is quite the tomboy and dresses in boy’s clothes more often than not. She doesn’t have any hang-ups about her gender and seems to enjoy sliding between feminine and masculine presentation. She’s described as both androgynous and pretty throughout the series, and her ability to charm anyone regardless of gender is a huge part of my original crush on her.
What attracted me to Haruhi when I first watched this show is what attracted the patrons of the famous host club. Haruhi is an unflappable and suave charmer that isn’t afraid to express herself. She’s confident in who and what she is and she’s not afraid to tell people how she feels. With Haruhi, ironically, what you see is what you get. She doesn’t have some made up persona for the host club beyond her boyish looks. Haruhi is the same person whether she’s in the iconic blue blazer or a flowing white dress.
Haruhi is the emotional center of Ouran High School Host Club. She’s a suave girl that knows how to treat a lady right, but also knows how to have fun. Haruhi knows who she is and isn’t afraid to call out Tamaki for his bratty behavior. Beyond that, she’s a gender non-conforming icon that doesn’t mind pretending to be a boy if it settles her debt. She’s definitely my favorite host.
There are still two more weeks to tell us your anime #WCW! Tweet us your crush and tag @geekgalsco to see your submission on the last article of the series.
Featured image credit: Bones