The Door the Twins Opened! is the 20th episode of the anime series. The backstory of how Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin become hosts is told, in which their insular upbringing is brought to light along with the tale of a household maid whose words and actions transform the toddler twins forever. Their social/emotional isolation from the world at large, their head games with other people and their conviction that everyone outside of themselves is an idiot changes the day a certain blond with a crazy idea approaches them with an invitation to join his newly-formed Host Club. They think Tamaki Suoh is foolish and funny but, over time, his innate wisdom regarding their situation becomes apparent and, in the end, the twins agree that joining his club might be interesting, after all.
The episode is a prequel that begins on a snowy day at Ouran Elementary School where two identical little boys ask a little girl if she can tell which one is Hikaru and which one is Kaoru. The girl makes a guess as heavy snow falls from a fully-leafed tree, a clear contradiction, like the twins themselves. Cut to the twins in their second year of middle school. In voiceover, Kaoru is heard describing their inseparable ways, their only means of distinguishing themselves from one another being the fact that the one that is not the other is himself.
Scene skip to a girl waiting for Kaoru in the courtyard as the twins see her from their classroom window. Hikaru presents himself as Kaoru and asks if the girl would be okay going out with him instead of his twin, to which she says yes, validating that the only thing she cares about is their appearance. Hikaru calls to Kaoru, who shows himself, and they chastise the girl for her superficiality, but then also for her bad hair and lousy love letter. The twins, feeling vindicated, laugh and leave the girl behind in tears. Tamaki Suoh has been watching discreetly and comforts the girl after they're gone.Kaoru's voiceover relates a flashback about the maid they adored and how she robbed their family by stealing the combination for the family safe after promising to "earn it" by playing the "Which one is Hikaru? Game" with the twins until she got it right. During the night, the alarm sounds and the twins discover their playmate heading down a ladder with the family's riches. She'd smashed open their piggy bank where the twins had hidden the slip of paper bearing the safe's combination and, in so doing, broke her promise to them, as well. Disillusioned, they ask why and she replies that she can't tell them apart and perhaps, no one ever will. This becomes a self-fulfilling mantra for them, keeping them isolated and stunted in social skills.
Skip scene back to middle school with the twins sitting outside by temselves, but being approached by Tamaki Suoh who invites them to join the club he's starting when he gets to high school two months hence, along with Kyoya Ootori, Mitsukuni "Honey" Haninozuka and Takashi "Mori" Morinozuka. Though uninterested, they ask him to play their "game" to amuse themselves; Tamaki accepts on the condition that if he wins, they have to join his club. Over the next thirty days Tamaki tries time and again to tell them apart, unstoppable in his quest even when the twins come out with the fact that they know he's illegitimate and are, frankly, quite mean to him.Their fondest hope is that someone can finally accept their contradictory desires of both wanting and not wanting to be told apart. Still at middle school, the twins are playing their "game" once again, being mean once again and being disappointed once again when Tamaki Suoh reappears to guess their identities correctly, much to their astonishment. His reasoning is intuition which they refute, but his persistence and his willingness to accept them as they are, their faults as admissible as their assets, impress them as nothing had since the day their maid declared their symmetry something to be feared. We see the snowy schoolyard once more, the little girl seen guessing which one is Hikaru and getting it wrong. She says she's sorry with tears in her eyes, a reflection of what the twins feel whenever this occurs. Cut back to Tamaki telling the twins that unless they begin to open themselves up to other people, they'll never find that special someone who will actually know them for who they are as individuals. A glimpse of Tamaki's "enchanted family carriage" is seen as Tamaki reminds them when and where the Host Club will debut and the twins admit that they are a little, just a little, impressed with him.
Scene skip to the rest of the hosts as they are just prior to that auspicious day: Kyoya and Haruhi coming out of the figurative shadows and into the sunlight, Honey accepting his loli-nature and Mori supporting that choice as they both decide to join the Host Club. The episode concludes a month later, on Opening Day, with the twins standing in front of Music Room #3, Kaoru leading the way into sociability with his hand on the door while Hikaru says, "Let's open the doors together." They do so and the opening title credit rolls - one last contradiction.
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