Renge Houshakuji (宝積寺 れんげ, Hōshakuji Renge) is a student in Class 1-A with Hikaru Hitachiin, Kaoru Hitachiin and Haruhi Fujioka who transfers into Ouran Academy as a means of meeting Kyoya Ootori who, due to his close resemblance to a dating sim game character with whom Renge is infatuated, she decides he is her real life fiancé. While her crush fades, Renge establishes herself as the Host Club's self-proclaimed manager and appears in the series on a regular basis.
Renge has mid-back length dark-blonde hair and dark-brown eyes.
When she isn't cosplaying, she is usually seen in the Ouran girls' uniform and wearing a hair bow. A trait that Renge displays in both the anime and the manga is assuming the aspect of Medusa when angry, with her hair transforming into snakes. At such times, she can drive most of the other characters before her in a blind panic.
Renge is a intelligent and driven girl; she is also loud and outspoken. Her home is in Paris, France and her father, Reynard Houshakuji, does business with Yoshio Ootori. Upon seeing a photograph of the youngest Ootori son, Kyoya Ootori, she is smitten and insists that she must immediately leave for Japan to meet her future husband. Renge is a hardcore otaku, which results in her cosplaying frequently, examples of which may be seen in Ep 22 - Mori-senpai Has an Apprentice Candidate!, where she cosplays along with the Host Club as a samurai maiden and also in Ep 07 - Jungle Pool SOS!, when she cosplays as Quon Kisaragi from the anime Rahxephon.
Renge has a rather strange and unique ability to appear from out of nowhere on a motorized platform that crackles with electricity as it rises while she laughs maniacally.
Renge first meets the Host Club by maintaining the wild fantasy that she is Kyoya Ootori's fiancé despite never having met him in person. Her infatuation is based upon his striking resemblance to an anime dating game character named Miyabi Ichijo from Uki Doki Memorial, in which she seems to indulge 24/7. Still, her experience with such games and her obsession with anime and manga cause her to be more aware of character development and plot development techniques.
Although Kyoya expresses little interest in the girl, Renge wheedles her way into becoming the club's Lady Manager. As such, she attempts to make-over what she considers to be the Hosts' "bland" characters into something more enticing for their customers She does this to assist her "crush," Kyoya, who tells the other Hosts to tolerate her for business reasons. Tamaki Suoh allows this in hopes that Renge will become a female friend to Haruhi Fujioka and inspire her to act and dress in a more feminine manner. Much to his frantic dismay, Renge develops a crush on Haruhi, believing she's a boy.
Renge is a flagrant otaku and a huge fan of both moe and cosplay She self-promotes dojinshi in order to stimulate attendance at her "Kyoya's" Host Club. Despite her outrageous actions, she genuinely cares about the club's members and her misguided efforts are intended to help them. An example of this is seen is Ep 06 - The Grade School Host is the Naughty Type! wherein she helps elementary schoolboy brat, Shiro Takaoji, find his place among the Hosts.
Amusingly enough, Renge proves to be an effective manager due to her ability to accurately predict what will win the greatest approval of customers due to her wide range of knowledge on various subjects, most of them connected to the concept of "moe." Kyoya has complimented her abilities in this regard several times. Renge also participates in activities which allow her talents to flourish outside of Host Club. In the anime, she is shown hosting a show for school children and she apparently is involved in producing the Moe Moe Ouran Journal (萌え萌え桜蘭日記, Moe Moe Ōran Nikki), a school magazine containing all things related to moe at Ouran Academy.
In the manga, Renge largely disappears from view after her initial appearance in Chapter 3, although she makes cameo appearances in subsequent chapters. Bisco Hatori has said that Renge was supposed to be more of a recurring character, but it never happened; most of her roles in the anime performed by Tamaki in the manga (e.g. the coaching of Shiro and Umehito Nekozawa). In the 2011 July Special, Renge is seen as a business student at Ouran University and is still quite the hopeless romantic.
Haruhi and Renge may be considered friends as Haruhi often mentions Renge throughout the anime series. For example, in Ep 15 - The Refreshing Battle in Karuizawa!, Haruhi says that Isao "Misuzu" Sonoda resembles Renge by being loud and outspoken; and again in Ep 11 - Big Brother is a Prince! when Haruhi remarks that Kirimi Nekozawa resembles Renge in her knowledge of reverse harem mangas. Renge begins to crush on Haruhi during the film shoot when Haruhi "saves her life" by pushing her out of the way of a falling ladder. Thereafter, Renge visits Music Room 3 often, following the club anywhere they go and utilizing her trademark "powerful motor" to appear out of nowhere to comment upon or participate in Host Club activities. Renge also notices the twins' and Tamaki Suoh's attraction to Haruhi, thrilled by the idea of a four-way love drama. When Haruhi dresses up as a girl for the last party of the Host Club, she and the rest of Haruhi's regular guests state that they've always known Haruhi is a crossdresser, only learning her true gender when the Host Club leaves her a note informing her after they leave Japan to study abroad in America.
Kyoya closely and strikingly resembles Miyabi Ichijo, a dating sim character from the dating-sim video game, Uki Doki Memorial!. Renge transfers her love for Miyabi onto Kyoya and declares herself Kyoya's fiancé, having an extreme crush on him. Kyoya tolerates Renge, allowing her to do whatever she likes in the Host Club because Renge's father is an important business partner with The Ootori Group. Once Renge's crush transfers onto Haruhi Fujioka, she and Kyoya seem to be friendly towards one another, having come to appreciate one another's abilities and talents. This is seen in Ep 22 - Mori-senpai Has an Apprentice Candidate! where Renge's knowledge about the shinsengumi and her suggestion to allow the club's guests to project their fantasies randomly onto the hosts impresses Kyoya.
Renge's first impression of Tamaki is as a "phony prince" and "narcicist prince" of the Host Club. At first, she can't that Tamaki is the President of the Host Club and Kyoya Ootori is only the Vice-president. She sees through Tamaki's playful behavior and doesn't fall for his act when they first meet. But as the series progressed, Tamaki and Renge develop a friendly relationship to one another. In the anime series, Tamaki even asks for Renge's help to help out and train Umehito Nekozawa to become a "princely big brother" knowing her abilities as an otaku. Tamaki and Renge are on the same team when Ouran Academy holds its annual sports carnival in the manga. Renge also accepts Tamaki's relationship to Haruhi Fujioka when they announce it.
- Main article: Renge Houshakuji/Image Gallery
- (to Haruhi Fujioka) I can't believe I didn't realize this sooner. It was so chivalrous of you to risk your life to protect me. I could feel the love when you lectured me in judging people. When you said it was fun to get to know people little by little, you were talking about me! Come on, Haruhi! Let's go to my house and play some games together. I think it's time you get to know me better.
- (to Tamaki Suoh) Get away from me, you phony!
- (to Kyoya Ootori) Kyoya is fine. No changes needed. None at all.
- I could eat three bowls of rice!
- (To Hikaru Hitachiin and Kaoru Hitachiin) You guys are meanies. You shouldn’t say that to your manager!
- The name Renge is written in hiragana (れんげ), which has no special meaning. However, when written in kanji (蓮華 or 蓮花), it could possibly mean:
- 蓮華 - "lotus, water lily" (蓮) (ren) and "flower" (華) (ke/ge).
- 蓮花 - "lotus, water lily" (蓮) (ren) and "flower, blossom" (花) (ke/ge).
- Renge's surname Houshakuji means "treasure" (宝積) (houshaku) and "temple" (寺) (ji).
- Despite the school's uniform dress code, Renge cosplays every chance she can. She's not very good at it, but no one seems to care because she intimidates nearly everyone who encounters her.
- Renge's maniacal laugh is known as the "ojou-sama laugh" and is closer to the English version than the Japanese.
- Renge's voice actor is the same as:
- Amy Yeager from Case Closed
- Stocking Anarchy from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
- Shizuka Marikawa from Highschool of the Dead
- Mey Rin from Black Butler
- Yukari Sendo from Rosario + Vampire
- Mina Tepeş from Dance in the Vampire Bund
- Shiro from Deadman Wonderland
- Michiko Malandro from Michiko & Hatchin
- Ema Guzmán from Garo: The Animation, Seimei from Garo: Crimson Moon, & Queen from Garo: Vanishing Line
- Sakura Kinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
- Eruna Inchinomiya from Mikagura School Suite
- Princess Yona from Yona of the Dawn