The Refreshing Battle in Karuizawa! is the 15th episode of the anime series. During summer vacation, Haruhi Fujioka gets a part-time job at a pension in Karuizawa run by Isao "Misuzu" Sonoda, a cross-dressing friend of her father's. She hopes for a little peace and quiet sans the other members of the Ouran Host Club, but her dream is dashed when they arrive, unannounced. A contest erupts between all the Hosts (except Kyoya Ootori) when they realize there is only one remaining room at the pension. Who will be the most "refreshing" in Misuzu's estimation and win the coveted room?
The episode begins with a cellphone ringing incessantly in Hikaru Hitachiin and Kaoru Hitachiin's bedroom. They recognize the ringtone as Tamaki Suoh's and complain about his habit of rising early and his calling them only three days into summer vacation. Tamaki is frantic and on conference call with the rest of the Hosts because Haruhi hasn't answered his daily calls since vacation began; therefore, she must have been kidnapped. Kyoya calms them down by telling them that she's in Karuizawa, a resort town known for its natural beauty.
Haruhi is indeed in Karuizawa working without pay for Misuzu, a family friend and pension owner who's keeping an eye on her during summer break while Ryouji "Ranka" Fujioka works. As Haruhi hangs laundry, the Host Club arrives by helicopter and Haruhi's "nightmare" begins. Misuzu is thrilled with the handsome boys. They, however, are confused by Haruhi's decision to work when she was invited by each of them to go on holiday. Tamaki is livid at their offers without his permission or knowledge. "Togetherness is our guiding principle," he says which is why he further flips out upon learning that the twins have given Haruhi a cellphone and that they're each in one another's top five.
Haruhi thinks she should be able to spend her holiday as she chooses, but Kyoya reminds her that having a job is against Ouran Academy policy. Tamaki agrees with Haruhi about how she spends her vacation, but adds that the Hosts have the same right to do as they choose, indulging his Theater of the Mind with a romantic fantasy of Haruhi serving him breakfast in bed. His dream is stymied by the fact that only one vacant room remains. He, of course, should stay as club President, or so he believes until the twins remind him of his "togetherness" philosophy and Mitsukuni "Honey" Haninozuka complains, "Hey, that isn't fair." The twins suggest a competition to impress Misuzu - the winner getting the room.
Misuzu loves the idea and says "refreshing is the name of the game." Tamaki and Honey work on repairing a picket fence; the twins serve as bellboys; and Takashi "Mori" Morinozuka hoists a table in need of repair with one hand, earning him valuable "refresher points." Haruhi asks what refresher points are and Misuzu explains: Karuizawa's refreshing natural beauty includes refreshingly beautiful young men and with the Hosts working at her pension, it will become the latest "hot spot."
Haruhi approaches Kyoya, who's isn't competing. He'll watch the show, then head for his family's cottage since they all have one in the area. He asks if Haruhi cares to wager on who will win, but she hasn't a clue. Kyoya assesses the situation, eliminating Honey as too babyish and Tamaki as self-sabotaging. The twins, though likely, seem to be losing to Mori's perfect physique on display as he chops wood, bare-chested though he'll bow out if Honey loses, leaving the twins as the likely winners.
Tamaki is determined to win since Haruhi's esteem for him as a father-figure is on the line. Kyoya suggests a different tack and soon Tamaki's magnificent piano skills are earning him lots of refresher points. As the twins stand with Haruhi and are about to concede victory, a flower pot accidentally falls from a second floor window ledge. Kaoru pushes Haruhi out of danger, getting a facial cut as he does so. Hikaru rushes to his aid and in the throes of their "brotherly love" act, Misuzu dubs them the winners.
The following morning, Hikaru and Kaoru head down to breakfast in a tiff over Kaoru getting kicked out of their shared bed. Cut to a boy riding a delivery bicycle uphill. Cut back to the twins who are demanding unavailable items. Tamaki appears with a covered salver and a smack on the head to each twin. He describes the local cuisine like a native, prompting Haruhi to reveal that he's been with Misuzu all morning. Intrigued by the concept of "refreshing," he's also written a manual and developed a workshop for the Hosts to attend. His high hopes are dashed when the twins remind him of Kyoya's and Honey's bad tempers when they wake up.
The bicycle delivery boy enters with provisions from Arai Produce. Misuzu finds him refreshing as he's a cute high school boy working on holiday. She calls to Haruhi to come and take the box to the kitchen. As the boy tips his head to the side to watch her approach, his cap falls off. Haruhi and he recognize one another and the host trio realizes that there's a new kid in town.
- Haruhi Fujioka
- Tamaki Suoh
- Kyoya Ootori
- Hikaru Hitachiin
- Kaoru Hitachiin
- Mitsukuni "Honey" Haninozuka
- Takashi "Mori" Morinozuka
- Isao "Misuzu" Sonoda
- Ryouji "Ranka" Fujioka (mentioned only)
- Renge Houshakuji (mentioned only)
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