After reading and watching shojo series for so many years, I’ve become familiar with which character types I gravitate towards, especially concerning male characters. I tend to love reformed bad boys, from Tsukasa in Boys Over Flowers to Akito in Kodocha and Kurosaki in Dengeki Daisy. Occassionally, I fall for princely-type characters like Tamaki. But liking Kyoya came out of nowhere to me. I tend not to care much for stoic cold guys – I generally find them to be uninteresting or mean, like Soshi in Absolute Boyfriend, so Kyoya becoming one of my favorite characters in Ouran was surprising. I think a lot of my appreciation for his character comes from the fact that he puts on a façade of only caring about himself yet is actually much nicer than he lets on. A great example is shown in episode 17 of the anime, when Kyoya is left behind by the rest of the host club at a ‘commoners’ expo and runs into Haruhi. Kyoya witnesses a woman who is about to purchase a counterfeit antique, and decides to prove to the woman that the product is fake, then has the shady store owner’s business shut down. When Haruhi compliments him for helping the woman out, Kyoya says that the only reason he helped her out is because she is the wife of a prominent businessman, which he could tell because of the ring she was wearing. However, when Haruhi realizes that there’s no way Kyoya could have seen what ring she was wearing from where he was standing, she asks him why he pretends to be self-motivated when he is actually kind, and Kyoya’s only response is a smile. It was after this episode that I started to warm up to Kyoya, and began to see him as more than just a stereotypical stoic character. The series does an excellent job in making Kyoya sympathetic, as we see him struggle toward achieving his goal of taking over his father’s company with all the odds stacked against him because he is the third in line for the position.
I think the other main reason I love Kyoya is because he provides such a great foil to Tamaki, who is my other favorite character in the series. While Kyoya is logical and self-motivated, Tamaki is impulsive and always concerned with making others happy. But in actuality, much of Tamaki’s capriciousness is influenced by Kyoya ‘the shadow king,’ such as in one episode where the host club wears Balinese clothes because Kyoya slipped a picture of a Bali setting (all in order to increase the club’s profits, of course). I love the relationship between the two of them, especially the fact that Tamaki calls Kyoya ‘mommy’ (since he sees himself as Haruhi’s ‘daddy’). Despite the fact that the two are opposites, Kyoya goes along with Tamaki’s whims and cares for him deeply because he realizes that Tamaki is the only person who truly understands him. My favorite episode of Ouran High School Host Club is episode 24, which shows how Kyoya and Tamaki met and eventually establish the host club. Initially, Kyoya tries to befriend Tamaki in a polite yet aloof manner because of his father is the school’s chairman, but he soon gets annoyed with Tamaki’s capriciousness and sees him as a moron. But Kyoya begins to see Tamaki as his first genuine friend and reveals his true (cold) self when Tamaki realizes that Kyoya wants much more than simply being the third son in his father’s business. Thus, Kyoya joins the host club as its manager in order to help him develop skills to surpass his elder brothers. But what Kyoya gains from joining the host club is so much better: true friends who matter more to him than taking over his family business, and help him finally escape the shadow of trying to be ‘the perfect son.’