Haruhi Suzumiya (character)

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Haruhi Suzumiya
Haruhi Suzumiya character
Suzumiya Haruhi.jpg
Created by Nagaru Tanigawa
Voiced by Aya Hirano (Japanese)
Wendee Lee (English)
Profile
Gender Female
Title
  • Brigade Leader (SOS Brigade Rank)
  • Ultra Director (TV series credits)
  • Temporal Distortion (Future Humans)
  • Auto-evolution Possibility (Data Overmind)
  • God (Organization)

Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮 ハルヒ Suzumiya Haruhi?) is the title character and female protagonist of the Haruhi Suzumiya series created by Nagaru Tanigawa. Despite the series being named after her, the main protagonist in the story is Kyon. She possesses unconscious god-like abilities to change, destroy, and reshape reality to her desires. In an interview, Tanigawa stated that the idea for the character came during a sleepless night at the beginning of the 21st century.[1]

A beautiful, but eccentric and headstrong high school student, Haruhi is depicted as having a great disdain for anything that she views as normal or mundane, and is only interested in supernatural beings or mysterious occurrences. Her displeasure with the school's "normal" after-school clubs leads her to gather up several students (Kyon, Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina, and Itsuki Koizumi) and found her own: the SOS Brigade. Much of the activities of the club and its members, however, become increasingly involved with incidents caused by her abilities.

Appearance[edit]

Haruhi has a pale skin tone, big brown eyes, and brown hair. In the beginning of the series she had long hair reaching to her waist and would change her hairstyle every day but after having a conversation with Kyon concerning her hair style she decided to cut it just about her shoulders. Haruhi is always seen wearing an orange-yellow ribbon in her hair. In The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya she is seen with longer, uncut hair. She is also often seen in her school uniform along with an arm band that reads as brigade leader, although in occasion is seen in more casual clothes.

Character history[edit]

While little is revealed about Haruhi's origins or her family, she cites a revelatory incident in her childhood when she had attended a baseball game with her family.[2] Before the event, Haruhi tended to think of herself and her life as being special and interesting, but the sheer number of people packed into the stadium (and her later calculations that this only represented a small fraction of the population of Japan) caused her to come to the conclusion that the events of her life likely fit into the normal, everyday occurrences and habits of Japanese citizens and humans in general. Her belief that there had to be at least one person in the world who lived a truly interesting and unique life; and her desire to be said person, led her to begin a search for the extraordinary. Throughout middle school she gained a reputation as an eccentric, for incidents including painting hieroglyphs on the school grounds, moving all of the school's desks out into the hallways, and going out with and then dumping every boy who asked her out (her excuse for quick relationships being that they were boring, the longest lasted a week or so, with the shortest being about five minutes).

Her entrance into high school is marked by her meeting her fellow student and series protagonist; Kyon, who proves to be the first person to seriously engage her in conversation related to her unique interests. He proves to be Haruhi's inspiration to, in despair over the lack of interesting school clubs, create her own: the Save the World by Overloading It with Fun Haruhi Suzumiya Brigade (in the English anime, "Spreading Excitement All Over the World with Haruhi Suzumiya Brigade") (界をいに盛り上げるための宮ハルヒの団 Sekai o Ōi ni Moriageru Tame no Suzumiya Haruhi no Dan?) or the SOS Brigade.

Personality[edit]

Throughout the series, Haruhi's personality is shown as having many different facets, something that is often connected to her supernatural abilities and their use. She is noted as being very intelligent, athletic, and naturally talented at nearly everything that she sets out to do. Coupled with her short attention span and tendency to grow bored easily, this leads to her joining and quitting every after school activity club. This is set against a front of coldness and indifference to anything that she considers normal and uninteresting, until her encounter with Kyon causes her to become more open.[3]

As the leader of the SOS Brigade, Haruhi shows a startling degree of self-centeredness, she is often seen bullying her members into agreeing with her many ridiculous ideas, especially Mikuru Asahina, whom she habitually forces to change into various cosplay outfits whenever she grows bored. For example, she blackmails the president of the Computer Club into giving the SOS Brigade a brand new state of the art computer by setting him up, taking a photograph of him supposedly sexually harassing the unaware Mikuru.[4]

Haruhi has a very competitive personality, and accepts any challenge that she comes across without hesitation, regardless of difficulty or time constraint.[5] Her constant optimism and over-confidence causes others to view her as arrogant. While she is competitive and quite intelligent, her brashness leads to her being unable to make tactical decisions, and she often rushes head first into anything that she considers a worthy challenge. She has impossibly high standards, and won't accept anything less than perfection from herself and her Brigade. She is quite complacent and has fairly unrealistic expectations of her Brigade members, especially Kyon, to get accomplish the tasks that she sets out for them, regardless of what they may be. This often leads to her appearing to be selfish and unfair.

She seems to enjoy being the center of attention, as her various schemes often stem from her desire to increase the SOS Brigade's notoriety and her view that things that are out of the ordinary are automatically fun. She has very little regard for what constitutes as normal behavior, as seen when she actively changes clothes in public, even when surrounded by classmates.[3] When it comes to her relationship with Mikuru, she is both physically playful and domineering. She often comments on Mikuru's attractiveness and seems to find enjoyment in exploiting it to her own ends, often forcing Mikuru into and out of various cosplay, such as bunny girl, nurse, and maid outfits, as if she (and to a lesser extent herself) were a human dress-up doll.[4]

Haruhi also does her best to show no signs of weakness, the few times that she shows signs of vulnerability are when she's alone with Kyon. She also has trouble with accepting words of graditude; following her concert performance at the school's culture festival when Yuki and herself filled in for two members of the band ENOZ, Haruhi reacted awkwardly when the band members thanked her the following day. As Kyon pointed out, Haruhi was not used to receiving praise because of her tendency to act mischievously towards others in the pursuit of her abnormal interests.[6]

Although a number of Haruhi's conscious efforts are devoted to the discovery of supernatural beings and events, she is still a rational human being. While she undoubtedly hopes that supernatural phenomena exist, some part of her still understands that such things may be impossible in their universe. For example; although Haruhi attempts to contact aliens during the Japanese holiday of Tanabata three years prior to the events of the series,[7] she still dismissed Kyon when he posits that the other members of the SOS Brigade (Yuki, Mikuru, and Itsuki) are supernatural creatures, stating that it's 'too convenient' to be true.[8] At another point; Haruhi's encounter with several gargantuan alien-like beings within closed-space prompted no notable degree of shock from her, but later she chalks up the whole experience to being a dream.[9] During the early events of the series Itsuki states that Haruhi does not force Yuki, Mikuru, or himself, to reveal their true selves to her because; subcounsciously, her common sense will not allow her to believe that they exist. Itsuki; however, has been known to bring up several competing theories, so this alone is not definitive proof of her subconscious denial.

Haruhi has grown very attached to the SOS Brigade and its members, and has told Kyon that she has no intention of yielding her position as Chief to anyone else.[10] She will go to any lengths; even through the exploitation of the brigade's members, to bring attention and support to her brigade. She often forces her whims onto others for the brigade's sake, such as procuring the room from the literary club, obtaining computers from the computer club, forcing Kyon to create and maintain the SOS Brigade's website, participating in sports tournaments,[5] and organizing city-wide searches for strange phenomenon, among other things. When she produced and directed the Brigade's amateur-movie The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina for the school arts festival, she did so without ever writing a script, showcasing her renowned spontaneity.[11][12]

Haruhiism[edit]

Haruhi has the ability to subconsciously change, destroy, or recreate reality based on her inner hopes and desires. Her abilities manifested around the time of a massive and spontaneous universal event that occurred three years prior to Haruhi meeting Kyon in the main story, and Haruhi is believed to be the cause of the event. The event attracted the attention of three prominent recurring groups: the Data Overmind, time travelers from a distant future, and a group of espers known as the "Agency" (or the "Organization", according to the English anime adaptation). Each group interprets her abilities and the meaning of her abilities differently. Yuki states that the Data Overmind refers to her as "the potential for auto-evolution" because she is a being with the ability to alter the data around her. This is an ability that the Data Overmind seeks because it has already absorbed all existing data and Haruhi possesses the ability to create new data. Mikuru says that the people of the future believe that Haruhi is the originator of a large time-quake that has altered the space-time continuum. This time-quake prevents the people of the future from traveling more than three years back in time from the present time of the main stories (i.e., time travelers can't travel to a time prior to the events of Tanabata when Kyon first encountered Haruhi three years in the past). This time-quake apparently coincides with the emergence of Haruhi's ability to manipulate reality. Itsuki's Agency has mixed opinions on the true identity of Haruhi. It was on Tanabata three years prior to the main story that the esper members of the Agency began to show signs of their powers. They realized that their powers came from Haruhi somehow and this lead some people in the Agency to believe that Haruhi is a God. In the original The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novel, Koizumi tells Kyon: "You could consider her an incomplete god. She is still unable to control the world at will. But while her abilities are still undeveloped, we [The Agency] have begun witnessing signs."[13] This has led to the members of the fandom being referred to as followers of "Haruhiism", which is now a religion with a small following that also holds her up to this God-like status. Haruhiism is not recognized as an official religion, but the few true followers are very devout and very serious.

Her powers are triggered by her emotions and inner desires. Whenever she becomes upset or frustrated, she subconsciously creates patches of dimensional space ("closed space") where gigantic energy beings destroy the city to vent out her frustrations. Some espers have theorized that the current universe may just be one in a string that Haruhi has subconsciously created, as she is all powerful and her manipulation of data to create new planes of existence, limited only by her own logic and reason, seems to be all inclusive. Only Nagato, granted power by the Data Overmind which exists outside of normal space-time, is somewhat immune to this data manipulation. Her memory is unaltered during the Endless Eight arc in which the rest of the SOS Brigade unknowingly live through the same two weeks 15,532 times. Haruhi makes the Brigade live through this without knowing either, and the loop is only broken when Kyon makes a suggestion of what they should do together for the last day of summer. This section of the anime adaptation was highly hated for the fact that it was eight episodes of generally the same thing in different outfits, but though it was hated by some it reinforces the main idea of Haruhiism as a religion, that there is a girl that despite having these powers, is completely oblivious to them or the existence of aliens, time travelers, and espers whose presence is attributed to her in the first place, and this all powerful God girl wants one thing of her followers to have happy and interesting life.

All of the members of the SOS Brigade (except Kyon) have, at one point or another, stated that Haruhi "chose" Kyon. She often trusts Kyon, believing him to be capable of dealing with anything. Kyon is the only person whom she has been truly open with, and when she briefly created a new world he was the only person from the original world that she had believed was worth taking there completely unchanged. This is made even more evident in the fourth novel and in the animated film; The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, where she remained at Kyon's bedside for the three days that he was in a coma due to an accident.

In the British magazine MyM, manga reviewer Ian Wolf, who as part of an article covering the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise which also covered Haruhiism, ended the piece with a Haruhiist prayer reading:

Our Lady, who art in North High School.
We pray that you are happy with your creation.
We pray that you are happy with yourself.
We pray that like you we will strive to save the world by overloading it with fun in your name.
May you be guided in your infinite eccentricity by your friends.
We pray to the aliens. May the Data Overmind protect you with its infinite knowledge.
We pray to the time travellers. May they let us know of what is to come and how to make it even better.
We pray to the espers. May they protect us from the destruction of the Celestials and from Closed Spaces.
We pray to the rest of humanity. Let us share in our fun, for making you happy makes us happy.
Please remembers us in our prays.
Domo arigato.[14]

Reception[edit]

Although Felicity Hughes of The Japan Times describes Haruhi as having tsundere character traits in her treatment of Kyon, she notes that the opinion is controversial as fans consider her "too energetic to be truly tsundere".[15] Her outlook has been compared to Fox Mulder's from the X-Files, as both characters "want to believe".[16] One of the anonymous Tiger Mask donations was signed 'Haruhi Suzumiya'.[17]
IGN ranked her as #19 on their list of top 25 anime characters.[18]

At Anime Expo 2008, Haruhi was awarded the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) award for Best Female Character.[19]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Iishi, Chiko (2006-08-16). "Interview of Nagaru Tanigawa" (in Japanese). Yahoo Books Japan. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  2. ^ Tanigawa, Nagaru (June 6, 2003). The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (in Japanese). Japan: Kadokawa Shoten. Chapter 6. ISBN 4-04-429201-9. 
  3. ^ a b Episode 1: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Part I
  4. ^ a b Episode 2: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Part II
  5. ^ a b Season 1 episode: The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya April 23, 2006.
  6. ^ Episode 12 (season 1): Live Alive
  7. ^ Season 2 episode: Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody May 22, 2009.
  8. ^ Season 2 episode: The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya Part 5 Sept. 11, 2009.
  9. ^ Season 1 episode: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Part 6 July 2, 2006.
  10. ^ Season 1 episode: The Day of Sagittarius June 11, 2006.
  11. ^ Season 1 episode: The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina Episode 00 April 2, 2006.
  12. ^ Season 2 episode: The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya Part 1 Aug. 14, 2009.
  13. ^ Tanigawa, Nagaru (May 7, 2009). The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Japan: Kadokawa Shoten (Japanese) Little, Brown and Company (English). p. 111. ISBN 978-0-316-03902-4. 
  14. ^ Wolf, Ian (August 30, 2012), "The World of Haruhi Suzumiya", MyM: 17–24, retrieved July 29, 2013 
  15. ^ Hughes, Felicity (September 30, 2009). "Where maids get slap happy...for a price". Japan Pulse. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  16. ^ "The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya and the Haruhi Manga". Popculture Shock. June 15, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Eva, Haruhi Heroes Donate to Tiger Mask Movement". Anime News Network. January 12, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011. 
  18. ^ Chris Mackenzie (October 20, 2009). "Top 25 Anime Characters of All Time". IGN. Retrieved April 9, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Anime Expo® 2008 Announces the 2008 SPJA Award Winners" (Press release). Anime Expo. July 9, 2008. Retrieved September 28, 2014.