Ritsu Kasanoda is a student at Ouran Academy who is in Class 1-D. He comes to the Ouran Host Club in search of Takashi "Mori" Morinozuka because he's observed how the tall Host with the tough exterior has so many friends, as well as being respected and admired. His long red hair makes him easy to spot in a crowd and, true to the myth about red-heads, he is quick to anger, but is actually quite kind-hearted deep inside and somewhat lonely. He develops a crush on Haruhi Fujioka, though as a male or a female is questionable. In the manga, he is shown to be fond of animals but since they are afraid of him, he takes up gardening and becomes an active member of the Gardening Club. In an omake of the manga, Kasanoda is seen to be Mei Yasumura's boyfriend when they are in college.
StoryRitsu Kasanoda is the successor to the third generation master of the Kasanoda-gumi, the most powerful yakuza group in the Kantō region. From toddlerhood, he has been taught and prepared to take on the mantle of this intimidating family organization. As a result of his frightening visage, loud voice and quick temper, people keep their distance and he has few friends. At a very young age, Kasanoda's father declared that he had the right face to become the most frightening yakuza boss in history and is both thrilled with and terrified of his progeny. Kasanoda is not as reticent as Mori, but is still a relatively quiet individual unless someone annoys him and he becomes loud and threatening. On the other hand, he can become shaken and flustered when panicked, such as when it's learned by the Hosts that he's seen Haruhi in her camisole and he fears for his life.
Kasanoda initially seeks to apprentice under Mori hoping to become as respected and admired as he is, despite Mori posessing "a face like the guard dogs of Hell." He suffers some humiliations at the hands of the Host Club members, who steadfastly refer to him as "Casanova-kun" or "Bossa Nova-kun," on the theory that he will eventually relax and learn to have fun with people. They even go as far as to dress him in a maid outfit with kitty ears. Later on, his accidental and unlikely friendship with the son of another syndicate boss, Tetsuya Sendo, teaches him that there are already people in his circle who know his good side - they just don't mention it because they know that not only is he kind-hearted, but also shy and easily embarrassed.
Kasanoda's family background and behaviors have spawned numerous rumors that Kyoya reveals to the Hosts when they discuss his becoming Mori's apprentice. First, if your eyes meet his, you'll suffer three months of nightmares; second, if his shoulders bumps into yours, you'll end up in the hospital; and finally, if you talk back to him, you're going straight to the graveyard. He is so feared by his classmates that he is known as "The Walking Blizzard." An amusing sidenote about Kasanoda is the fact that the Hosts frequently call him by similar-sounding names, such as BossaNova, Casanova and Carcinoma. Although he keeps correcting them, they continue to "forget" his true name on a regular basis.
Due to Kasanoda walking into a room without knocking, he becomes the first person at Ouran Academy outside of the Host Club to discover that Haruhi is a girl. Prior to that turning point, he has mixed feelings about him/her and is relieved once he knows she's female. He comes to the Host Club and asks for her services while she's dressed as a male causing the guests to think he's homosexual, sending them into a moe frenzy. When he tries to admit his romantic feelings towards Haruhi, she inadvertently rejects him, being oblivious to Kasanoda's romantic interest in her, even though she is often keenly aware of others' motives as they concern anyone else but herself. Still, she greatly enjoys Kasanoda's company and considers him a new and understanding friend with whom she can chat and relax, knowing that he will keep her secret (even though she says it doesn't matter to her). Kasanoda has been told by Kyoya Ootori that Haruhi must appear to be male for "special reasons," so he resolves never to cause her any trouble and publicly states that they'll be friends forever. Kasanoda, of course, is unaware that Haruhi's cross-dressing is done to repay her debt to the club.
Ever since that incident, however, his desire to have friends is fulfilled with everyone in the Host Club (hosts and guests alike) declaring their friendship to him. In volume 9 of the manga, Kasanoda gives Haruhi a tomato plant as a gift. He joins the Gardening Club and develops a romantic relationship with Mei Yasumura. In the final episode of the anime,Ep 26 - This is Our Ouran Fair!, Tetsuya Sendo and some of Kasanoda's "fellas" are seen spying on him from behind the bushes while his Ouran friends gather around and admire him, just as once saw them do with his mentor, Mori-senpai. Kasanoda blushes at the attention.
Because Kasanoda lacks friends and is lonely, he goes to the Host Club and begs to be made Mori's apprentice. Mori is flattered by Kasanoda's request and, although he never actively teaches him much of anything, he is friendly towards him and becomes vigilant once made aware that someone is trying to harm Kasanoda. At one point, he saves Kasanoda from being struck by several potted plants that mysteriously fall from an open upper story window at academy. Mori is also instrumental at capturing the malcontent thugs who believe Kasanoda has kidnapped their syndicate boss's son, Tetsuya. Kasanoda is stunned that Mori, along with Honey, would protect him and when he asks why, Mori says, "We can tell who the bad guys are by looking at 'em," a novel and reassuring affirmation to the transforming Kasanoda. In the manga, he grows flowers for Mori as a graduation gift and continues to call him "Big Brother" well into their college years.
Because Kasanoda has a habit of bursting into rooms without advance warning, he walks in on Haruhi as she is changing and learns of her true gender. He had a confused crush on her prior to learning this, but after her "reveal," falls in love with her. Being unaware of the actual reason behind Haruhi's cross-dressing, but determined to protect her at any cost, he swears to protect Haruhi's secret.
Haruhi views him as a supportive friend because she says she can talk to him about anything. Because she loves to cook and eat, he is frequently seen throughout the manga giving her vegetables he has grown in the Gardening Club, causing her to react with rarely-seen excitement. She even attends a meeting of the Gardening Club when the Host Club is on hiatus for a week during Class 2-A's field trip. It is mentioned that when she studies abroad in America, she emails him once every day (which is actually less than Tamaki emails him). Haruhi is seen telling her friends, Momoka and Soga, that she believes Mei and Kasanoda would make a good couple and once they're in college, they become one.
As part of Tamaki's scheme to mend the relationship between Mei and her father, Tamaki persuades Kasanoda to harrass her at the summer festival so that Misuzu can save her. However, Mei doesn't need any saving and actually scares the yakuza group away. In the 2011 July Special, while in their first year of college, the twins send Kasanoda to replace them as models in Mei's fashion show. It turns out that Haruhi also had a hand in the scheme because she thinks that Mei and Kasanoda are lonely and would take good care of each other. Kasanoda is initially intimidated by Mei's brashness and argumentative nature (he himself comments that she seems more like a yakuza than him), what he sees as her excessive amounts of makeup, and her style of dressing. It's the fact that she needs his help that eventually appeals to him the most and builds up his self-confidence, although no romantic relationship is formed at the time. In the Volume 18 extras, Kasanoda is seen shopping with Mei, now his girlfriend, who is informing him (to his astonishment) that Haruhi is pregnant and commanding him to knit something for the baby; his friend Tetsuya can be seen in the background, cheering him on and voicing his approval of Mei.
- Main article: Ritsu Kasanoda/Image Gallery
- (To a flower) Likes me, loves me, likes me, loves me...SHE LOVES ME!
- (To Tamaki) You're Haruhi's father?
- (To Kyoya) I'd like to request Haruhi Fujioka.