Alright, so technically it’s seven once you include Haruhi but I’m not really including her since the show ends up having her protecting their smiles instead.
When the show was ongoing, I watched it but I didn’t finish it for some reason or another. This year I decided to pick it back up (because I’d forgotten the majority of it as it is) and I realized something: moe doesn’t really extend to just cute girls doing cute things. It definitely fits for the boys as well, especially in an anime like “Ouran High School Host Club”. Granted, Haruhi is an important character and she does grow a lot during the anime as well but we already know the show is focused on her and her growth.
But don’t pretend for a minute that it’s all about her. The series also shows how a group of rich, privileged, high school boys try to cope with their problems within a host club in their school. Essentially, this does boil down to fujioshi bait (let’s be honest here) and cute boys doing cute things.
They do go around and tackle teenage problems within their gated community. It’s not that deep, though it very can be, but it’s a really fun anime.
So why do I want to protect their smiles? Because that’s the very basis of moe. According to Wikipedia, moe “[came] to be used to mean one particular type of ‘adorable’, one specific kind of, ‘cute’, mainly as applied to fictional characters.” So, in other words, it’s that feeling of cute you get from people, or in this case, anime characters.
For some people, it’s the characters in “K-ON!” or “Free!” but for me, what really and truly woke up my feelings of moe was Tamaki Suoh.
Oh, I’ve always had that feeling for tons of other characters before but whenever I watched “Ouran”, I would always feel so bad for him! His plans would blow up in his face, he’s the butt of almost everyone’s jokes, he’s always trying to fawn over Haruhi (even though it’s clearly unwelcomed), he’s a genuinely nice guy. I always had a sense of protectiveness when it comes to characters like him and his ilk.
I did like the other characters in their own rights but Tamaki is a pure guy who’s just really dense and needs to stop trying to appropriate commoner culture. But it’s nice that he’s trying. It’s nice that he cares so much for Haruhi to fit in with the crowd that he’s trying to incorporate commoner culture into the club’s activities so she could feel more relaxed.
It doesn’t help that I ship those two together as well but, really, Tamaki is so pure and so lovable! Most people would probably wouldn’t think too hard about Tamaki’s antics but because of his kindness he took some of the stuffiest people and made them his friends. That takes a certain charm, kindness, and even, moe, to even gather a group of different people (even if he is the director’s son).
That’s an amazing power that he has. And that’s why his smile is one I want to protect the most.