Mori-sempai has an Apprentice Candidate! is the 22nd episode of the anime series. When the son of a Yakuza boss, Ritsu Kasanoda, seeks out Takashi "Mori" Morinozuka's advice on how to change his scary image and gain friends, Tamaki Suoh and the Ouran Host Club are ready to assist. Ritsu endures their outrageous attempts to make him "cute" and their endless twisting of his surname. The ginger finds himself drawn to Haruhi Fujioka without understanding why, believing that she is a "he" despite looking like a "chick." Tetsuya Sendo, a servant in the Kasanoda household, goes to Ouran Academy to deliver an umbrella and, instead, finds two former Sendo clanmates threatening Ritsu who, they believe, kidnapped Tetsuya. He rectifies their wayward assumptions and tells them to get lost; he's a part of Ritsu's clan now. This is so because the young lord helped him when he was down and out. All seems well when Ritsu heads back to Music Room 3 to apologize to Haruhi who got red paint splashed onto her during the two thugs' final attack. Their dynamic is dramatically altered once Ritsu learns that Haruhi is, indeed, a girl.
Edo era samurai costumes. Haruhi expresses her surprise that it's so popular, with the twins informing her that it's a cosplay basic and Honey adding that the girls who love it are simply crazy about it. Renge Houshakuji unravels a mini-history lesson about the Ikedaya Inn and the noble shinsegumi, thrilling herself with her narrative. Kyoya Ootori compliments Renge on her suggestion that the guests be allowed to project identities onto the hosts instead of giving them specific roles, their friendly exchange indicative of a normalized relationship.
Casanova and Bossa Nova instead of Kasanoda, causing the young lord to grimace menacingly. When they point out his scary-face, he grows despondent saying it's been this way since he was a child. Flashbacks show Ritsu as a toddler, then as a young boy, each with a fearful face, learning how to be a gangster from his father. Now he wants friends and doesn't know how to breach the social gap between himself and others. He hopes that Mori who, in his words, has a face like a "watchdog from Hell" but who has many friends and admirers will be able to teach him his "secret."
In typical fashion, Tamaki Suoh refuses to involve himself in Mori's issue until the tall Host's eyes plead for it; then Tamaki gleefully leaps into action. The first thing he tells Ritsu is that he must obtain a "lovely item" like Honey, who softens Mori's harsh image simply by being near him. The others agree that without Honey, Mori is just a big "bzzzt!" an idea that shocks the tall Host, who then vehemently denies this to be the case while Honey sadly asks if he's being used as a prop. Tamaki sets the twins to work on Ritsu's "Yankee fashion sense," which they alter to make him appear totally ridiculous, without intention (?) At home, everyone pretends not to notice his red dreadlocks, polka dot scarf and Kuma-chan (lovely item).
Hikaru Hitachiin and Kaoru Hitachiin enjoy tying up the ruffians, Honey and Mori admit that they knew it was Ritsu being targeted, but kept quiet about it until they could capture the culprits. Ritsu inquires why they would help him and Mori pats his head saying, "We can tell who the bad guys are by looking at them," a statement which Ritsu finds touching, especially from someone he admires.
- "I could eat three bowls of rice!" -Renge
- (to Renge) Very impressive Renge, that's a really good example of the guests having a wild fantasies over the hosts. -Kyoya
- Haruhi Fujioka
- Tamaki Suoh
- Kyoya Ootori
- Hikaru Hitachiin
- Kaoru Hitachiin
- Mitsukuni "Honey" Haninozuka
- Takashi "Mori" Morinozuka
- Renge Houshakuji
- Ritsu Kasanoda
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