Twins in Media: Hikaru and Kaoru vs Fred and George

Screenshot of Kaoru and Hikaru in ‘Ouran Highschool Host Club’. Copyright goes to Funimation and Nippon Television.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Now that we’ve covered a massive variety of twins in media, we thought we would pit them all against each other to see what’s really the best portrayal of twins in media out there right now. Of course, we have to start with the obvious pairing of Hikaru and Kaoru vs Fred and George considering it is very likely that one portrayal was based off of the other. Here we have two pairs of identical twins with red hair and a ‘partners in crime’ style mischief streak. But which one was a better representation of twins? I’m going to be judging these two based off of four categories; tropes, differences and similarities, relationship, and plot. Hopefully we’ll figure out which pair avoids the most harmful portrayal. Ready? Let’s go!

Tropes:

  • Hikaru and Kaoru. These two suffer from several tropes, one of them being the mischievous trope I already mentioned. For some reason, a lot of people seem to automatically assume that twins are mischievous and play pranks; which obviously isn’t always the case. Hikaru and Kaoru often try to confuse other people so that they won’t be able to tell which is which. In my experience with my sister and also with all of the other twins I have ever met in my life, that’s not something we really do. We would much rather you be able to tell us apart so that you’ll treat us as individuals. They also fall under the synchronized twins trope in that they talk at the same time a lot and say the exact same things. That would require a lot of practice on command and my sister and I barely do it on accident. When we say something at the same time it’s generally one word and not often. To top all of this off, we have one of the absolute worst tropes of all on this list. Twincest. I can’t even begin to describe how much this one grosses me out and I really hope I don’t have to say that this is wrong. I do hope you already know that. Incest is not made better or more acceptable by making the characters twins despite what media writers seem to think. Just…give me a minute to throw up.
  • Fred and George. These brothers suffer from the mischievous trope even more than Hikaru and Kaoru do. To the point where they actually open a joke shop together. It’s fun to see and here I feel it’s used a bit more tastefully than with Hikaru and Kaoru. With Fred and George at least it’s something they commit to rather than it being a random part of their characters. But it’s still difficult to not notice that this is still a trope. No matter how you look at it. The synchronization here is also bad, but at least they don’t say the same things at the same time so much. They have more of a habit of finishing each other’s sentences….which is also really unrealistic and barely ever happens. I honestly don’t know if finishing each other’s sentences or saying something at the same time is worse. Their particularly bad trope is different from the Hitachiin brothers, however. Here we have the much beloved by writers trope of one twin must die. This is another one of my most hated tropes. For some reason, writers believe that it’s less likely that a pair of twins will survive an ordeal than a pair of regular siblings. I’m very confused by this logic. Also, they seem to think that a twin will only be interesting if their sibling dies. That’s really nice to hear. Thanks.

Winner: The winner of this round has to go to Fred and George. Each of these twins’ synchronicity is different but equally as bad as the others and they each are the proud owners of some of the most annoying twin tropes out there. The only saving grace for Fred and George here is that the mischievous trope was actually ingrained into their storyline and didn’t feel as much like a random trope thrown in to assure the audience that they’re twins.

Differences and Similarities:

  • Hikaru and Kaoru. Hikaru and Kaoru are presented to the audience as being very much the same, but as the series goes on, you realize that this isn’t true. Hikaru is much more rash than his brother and also a lot more introverted. Hikaru still has this immaturity to him because he’s afraid to open his world view and get hurt. Which is entirely fair given his backstory. He doesn’t trust people and can often treat them badly one-on-one because of his lack of trust. Kaoru is much more mature and wise. While Kaoru is also an introvert, he’s a lot more open to other people. He is also afraid of what might happen if he lets people in, but he’s open to opening that door and trying it out. He knows he can’t stay in the dark forever. Because of this, Kaoru has a much sweeter disposition both in general and towards other people. They are never depicted as the opposites of each other and they do handle trauma and life in very different ways. In the end, they both realize that they will always be best friends but they won’t live the same same life nor have the same relationships with others.
  • Fred and George. Fred and George are never focused on individually. They are almost always seen together. You never get individual character growth like you do with Hikaru and Kaoru. They speak to everyone the exact same way and have the exact same relationships with their friends. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the time siblings have the same friends. Hikaru and Kaoru certainly do. But because each twin has a different personality, their relationships with people around them are different. This doesn’t happen here. The most we see of them being different from each other is a scene in the fourth book, not the movie, where the two are fighting. Here we see a glimpse of George being a bit more responsible than Fred as he does take the more sensible part of the argument, but that’s about it. Not only that, but the scene after he lets Fred do whatever he wants and doesn’t even stop him. They have the same lives, the same relationships, they want the same exact job for the same exact reasons. I wish there were more differences here.

Winner: Hikaru and Kaoru. They are the only real answer here. Though Hikaru and Kaoru do have their bad points, the show goes out of it’s way to make sure the audience knows that these are two different people. Fred and George receive no such treatment. One of these pairs of twins are often treated as though they are interchangeable in the writing, and it isn’t Hikaru and Kaoru.

Relationship:

  • Hikaru and Kaoru. Admittedly, their relationship can sometimes be a little creepy because of the Twincest thing. Though I am glad that the show is very eager to point out that that’s something they do for show and definitely isn’t real, I don’t think they do a good enough job at that considering Hikaru and Kaoru still share a bed for some unknown reason. Also, I don’t think many siblings would be ok with what they do in the Host Club, so I can’t call that realistic. Thank god for that. However, it’s nice that there’s no evil twin act. They are best friends through and through. But they also don’t always agree and sometimes fight. Yay! What is incredibly realistic about them though, is how much they look out for each other. It’s never something super prominent, but Kaoru even sets up a date for Hikaru because he knows he has feelings for Haruhi. It’s nice to see that they’re so close without being exactly the same.
  • Fred and George. It’s also nice to see that Fred and George are best friends and I’m really glad that these two don’t weirdly share a bed. However, the scene I mentioned earlier is really the only time the audience ever sees that Fred and George aren’t agreeing on something. Being on the same wavelength all the time is impossible. They always want to do the same thing at the same time. We also don’t see a whole lot of occasions where one is actively looking out for the other, because their storylines are constantly smushed together.

Winner: Again, Hikaru and Kaoru have their issues, but they are the clear winners here. Fred and George aren’t explored by the author nearly enough to have a completely decent relationship. Hikaru and Kaoru at least feel like real siblings sometimes.

Plot:

  • Hikaru and Kaoru. Hikaru and Kaoru have different storylines branching out, which is incredibly important. Hikaru deals with his unwillingness to let people in and eventually has to help Haruhi when he wrongfully abandons her. Kaoru must learn to deal with change that he doesn’t think he’s ready for yet. On top of this, their backstories are incredible. Hikaru and Kaoru have an entire backstory based off of the disappointment of people not being able to tell them apart. This was relatable for me and my sister. This all culminates the best in a flashback where it is revealed that, when one of them would be asked out, he would go to the girl pretending to be his brother to make sure that the girl actually wanted to date him as an individual person. The girl would always eventually admit that she wouldn’t mind dating either or, which continuously broke both of their hearts. I’ve said it before, but my sister and I actually have gone through similar things. It really sucks, because I’m not my sister and she’s not me. We are very different people who actually don’t look all that alike once you get to know us. But people assume that, because we’re twins, it’s more ok to do something like this. I was really happy that they explored this storyline and put a massive emphasis on why you should never assume that twins are the same. Because they never are.
  • Fred and George. Fred and George are definitely more side-characters and less explored than the pair above. But that doesn’t really give them a pass. Fred and George are never a whole lot more than pranks, Quidditch, and being a massive twin stereotype. Them barely being seen isn’t necessarily an excuse for that. Beyond their joke shop, Fred and George only find major relevance again when they can be collateral damage for the war. George loses and ear and Fred loses his life because of tropes. The story is very unkind to them. Though they are fun to watch and you do grow attached to them, they have very little in the way of plot. Which makes the massive trope thrown in at the end feel even more like a punch to the gut. We didn’t even get to explore Fred as an individual person because he was written with twin tropes before he dies. Also, is no one talking about how she-who-must-not-be-named said that George married Angelina a.k.a Fred’s old girlfriend? Do you know how incredibly toxic that is? Firstly, my sister and I have never been interested in the same guys. Secondly, you just decided that George will never be able to have a separate life outside of Fred’s even after his death. Thirdly, this decision also treats Angelina horribly. Angelina is not Fred’s old blanket, she is an actual person. I just can’t begin to fathom why this decision was made.

Winner: Hikaru and Kaoru. They are the only ones with a real plot and they are also the only ones here treated with respect. Fred and George not being explored enough isn’t an excuse for how many tropes and stereotypes were just poured on there.

Final Result:

I’m sorry James and Oliver Phelps, I like you guys a lot. Hikaru and Kaoru are the obvious winners. Though they are just slightly worse when you look at initial tropes, when you actually look farther in depth they are WAY better. They have actual stories that are separate from each other and a lot of the tropes are dropped outside of the Host Club. At first glance they look iffy, but when you examine how the writers treated each character individually, there’s more substance to this pair. Hikaru and Kaoru actually feel like different human beings were written where as it barely feels like she-who-must-not-be-named put any thought into her characters at all. I mean, she didn’t even care when casting James and Oliver Phelps as the two. She just pointed at them in quick succession and gave them roles. The difference here is that Hikaru and Kaoru are actually meant to be human beings and Fred and George are not. Also, it’s really nice to see anything where both twins survive at the end of it with equal character development.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: