Kyon

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Kyon
Haruhi Suzumiya character
Kyon.jpg
Created by Nagaru Tanigawa
Voiced by Tomokazu Sugita (Japanese)
Crispin Freeman (English)
Profile
Aliases John Smith
Gender Male
Title None (SOS Brigade Rank)
Ordinary Human (Agency)

Kyon (キョン?) is a fictional character, and the protagonist and narrator of the Haruhi Suzumiya light novel series and its adaptations. He is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita in the original Japanese version of the anime and Crispin Freeman in the English dubbed edition.

Kyon's role in the series is as one of Haruhi's companions, and the second founding member of the SOS Brigade. Upon his entry into high school, he resigns himself to a lifestyle where his adolescent fantasies, such as aliens, time travelers, and espers, have no place. After one innocent conversation with her, Haruhi unexpectedly opens up to him and forces him into helping her form her new club, the SOS Brigade. His reputation and fate have since become entangled with Haruhi's.

Personality[edit]

Kyon is very sarcastic, cynical, quite intelligent and can be very observant, despite his mediocre grades (which is at least in part because of his unwillingness to study). It was Kyon who solved the murder mystery during the events of the Lonely Island in the light novel, not Haruhi (even though, characteristically enough, she takes the credit for it). He says that he had known (though implying that this was only about someone not dying) the truth since the beginning, as he does not believe that Haruhi would wish for someone to die, and comes to the truth after he notices several falsities.

Overview[edit]

The name Kyon is actually a nickname given to him; his real name has yet to be revealed in the series. His sister is responsible for spreading its use amongst his schoolmates, much to his embarrassment and annoyance, and he misses being called Onii-chan (お兄ちゃん?, Lit. "older brother") by his sister. In the ninth volume of the light novel (The Dissociation of Haruhi Suzumiya), his real name is hinted at in a conversation between himself and Sasaki, a girl who had known Kyon since middle school, who said that it was a very majestic name that didn't fit him.

Although Haruhi Suzumiya is the title character of the series, the main protagonist of the story is Kyon, and it's told from his point of view. He narrates with sarcastic commentary on the various absurdities that arise around Haruhi and the SOS Brigade's activities. Kyon's narration follows the format of a Greek Chorus, speaking directly to the audience through internal dialogue. Kyon may also direct his thoughts at Haruhi, to which she occasionally responds to, making it unclear whether he is speaking aloud or merely thinking to himself. This could also be interpreted as Haruhi having a nearly telepathic empathy with Kyon.

Though a self-described barely-above-average student, Kyon, particularly in the light novels, very often peppers his narration and dialogue with references to ancient Greek mythology, advanced scientific concepts (such as the laws of thermodynamics, the theory of relativity, etc.), both well-known and obscure pop culture (he identifies a Marilyn Manson song Haruhi hums in the second light novel), and various esoteric subjects, often comparing the Brigade's situation to a typical role playing game.

He is also the only "normal" human in a club otherwise assembled to include membership from an alien, an esper, and a time traveler. This is a cause of curiosity and concern amongst several third parties, since Haruhi is "not interested in ordinary humans". Yuki Nagato refers to Kyon as an "irregular factor near Haruhi", responsible for an abrupt change in the data around her. Itsuki Koizumi goes so far as to investigate Kyon's identity, only to affirm that Kyon is indeed an ordinary human. Ryoko Asakura herself is quite puzzled by Haruhi's interest in Kyon and asks how it was that he has gotten Haruhi to open up.

In an interview with Nagaru Tanigawa, the author admitted that Kyon was supposed to be portrayed as an esper in his original conception but was changed to an ordinary student during the writing of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.[1]

SOS Brigade role[edit]

A cynical and level headed high school student, Kyon is often the sole voice of reason in the SOS Brigade (and, as he points out, its conscience). He often intervenes when Haruhi behaves too erratically, sometimes without the backing of any of the other brigade members. Much to his irritation, this responsibility seems to be his alone to bear since the other members tend passively follow Haruhi's schemes, for better or for worse. He also tends to be the one who bears the brunt of the brigade's efforts, paying for their meals during brigade outings and being saddled with the brigade's "grunt work", such as being the cameraman and editor for the SOS Brigade's movie for the school arts festival, and the creation and maintenance of the club's website. However, as the one responsible for inspiring Haruhi with the creation of the brigade, Kyon remains an important member on par with Haruhi herself, perhaps even more so than her in the long run.

Kyon is the only person who can stop (or even actively dissuade) Haruhi from acting out her more asinine plans or ideas. Haruhi herself makes a reference to this in "Someday in the Rain", implying that Kyon had been the sole obstacle that prevented her from dressing Mikuru up for a series of photos to be included in the bonus content of the DVD release of "The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina. He is also the one saddled with the responsibility of placating Haruhi whenever she's discontent or angry, and he plays sounding board for the rest of the brigade members who depend on him to aid in their monitoring of Haruhi, occasionally asking him for input regarding their activities. At times they defer to him rather than their brigade chief, especially when they are busy cleaning up the messes caused by Haruhi's subconscious. In fact, despite her being the leader and concerning her phenomenal powers, he is, in a sense, the most powerful member of the brigade (and possibly even in existence) given that he is the only being capable of consciously influencing Haruhi, ironic given that he is the only bonafide normal human in the Brigade. This is made evident when the Data Overmind considers erasing Yuki from existence as punishment for her altering the world during the events of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, at which point Kyon blackmails the Entity, threatening to reveal himself to Haruhi as John Smith and convince her to alter reality to bring Yuki back (see below).

Despite his apparent discontent and his constant griping, Kyon loyally remains by Haruhi and the SOS Brigade, even though he is not required to do so. He consciously attributes this to the sense of responsibility he feels about having to keep the world as it is, as well as protecting Mikuru and Yuki from Haruhi's more brazen schemes. In the novels, however, it can be inferred that he has actually grown used to the SOS Brigade, and would miss it if it were gone, a scenario for which is presented in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

Relation to other Brigade members[edit]

  • Haruhi Suzumiya

Ever since Kyon interacted with Haruhi when nobody else in her class would, Kyon becomes Haruhi's main partner for discussion and advice. This includes the discussion that lead to the creation of the SOS Brigade, revealing personal thoughts, and asking for advice on how to run the brigade once it was established. According to Itsuki Koizumi, Haruhi "chose" Kyon. Though the meaning of this has not been clarified to the reader, the general idea is that Kyon is the only person from this world that Haruhi regards as truly worthwhile to keep by her side, even if the rest of the world that they knew were to fade away. During SOS Brigade meetings, he feels certain that Haruhi needs to learn that not everything can go her way all of the time. With that skepticism, Kyon develops a bond of trust with Haruhi, as evidently noted by Itsuki. When thinking of what Haruhi meant to him in comparison to the other three members of the SOS Brigade, Kyon described her as being "more than just a classmate". Throughout the series he develops a sort of love/hate relationship with Haruhi wherein he cannot stand many of the impulsive and selfish things that she does, but will remain by her side, even though he is uncertain of whether he wants to or not. This is also evident of Haruhi's faith in Kyon, as whenever Mikuru is even just merely physically close to Kyon, it can prompt rather violent reactions from Haruhi (one of which almost resulted in Haruhi creating a new world for just herself and Kyon). When Kyon was placed in a coma for three days, during which the events of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya take place, despite the supernatural Brigade members each taking turns looking after him, it was Haruhi who remained by his side during the whole ordeal. A few students have even assumed that Kyon and Haruhi are boyfriend and girlfriend, though Kyon has done his best to deny this. Also, in spite of how much he denies wanting to kiss Haruhi to solve many of the problems that the SOS Brigade faces, it is (rather bluntly) implied that he had enjoyed the kiss that he and Haruhi had shared that resulted in them returning to their own world.

The three Brigade members of "supernatural" origin all revealed their secrets to Kyon at one point or another. The reasons for each of them revealing themselves to Kyon in particular are still a mystery. All three of them happen to rely on Kyon to mediate in their interactions with Haruhi, in a matter such that her boredom would not wreak havoc on the universe. They also seem to rely on him as a sounding board for their ongoing missions to monitor Haruhi.

  • Yuki Nagato

Yuki was the first member to tell Kyon of her true identity, and thereafter Kyon views her as the most consistently reliable member of the brigade. Yuki tends to readily accept commands from Kyon before even Haruhi, and seems to look to him for his approval when confronted with decisions she must make. Several times she has saved him from impending doom, something that Kyon feels he has a responsibility to pay her back for. While the other brigade members tend to ignore Yuki or take her for granted, Kyon becomes invested in Yuki's wellbeing, such as when he filled out the paperwork necessary for her to acquire a library card, and wondering if (in spite of her being a humanoid interface for the Data Overmind) she has feelings. Though Yuki is almost completely expressionless, Kyon eventually learns to sense the slight changes in her moods, such as when he realized that she was having fun when they were playing "The Day of Sagittarius III" against the Computer Club.

  • Mikuru Asahina

Kyon and Mikuru tend to have a relatively flirtatious relationship. Kyon was infatuated with her when he first sees her being a "moe" character. Kyon also frequently comments on Mikuru's attractive and quiet presence, although these are generally in thought-form and directed toward the reader/viewer. Once, when Haruhi took some provocative pictures of Mikuru, Kyon secretly saved them in a hidden folder on the bigade's computer while making Haruhi believe that he had deleted them. Some sentiment on Mikuru's part can be observed from when her future self visits Kyon in the present. The first time that her future self meets him, she tries to offer proof of her identity by showing him a star-shaped mole on her breast that she claims that she had only learned about after Kyon had pointed it out, even urging him to touch it so that he'd know for sure that it wasn't fake. Amusingly, this creates a minor temporal paradox where Kyon learns about the mole from future Mikuru before he noticed on his own, effectively learning of it for the first time from a secondhand account of his own perception. Later, before she returns to her real time, in the anime she embraces him, while in the light novel he tries to kiss her but she stops him. Mikuru's action in the light novel could be due to the dangers of time travelers having relationships with members of the past, or, more likely, because of the dangerous effect that she believes having a relationship with Kyon would have on Haruhi.

Kyon is very protective of Mikuru, going so far as to argue and butt heads with Haruhi in order to protect her from Haruhi's abusive and controlling personality. In turn, Mikuru looks to Kyon as a protector of sorts, becoming overjoyed when he pledges to guard her from Haruhi, and grabbing onto his arm on reflex when frightened.

  • Itsuki Koizumi

Itsuki has been Kyon's other major source of information regarding Haruhi, aside from Yuki. With the help of the Agency that he works for, Itsuki has come to possess a staggering amount of insight into Haruhi's way of thinking, and the various supernatural phenomena that pervade her presence. He reveals some of this information to Kyon, and has even given him a quick peek at the activities that the Agency go through in secret, fighting gargantuan beings made out of pure energy (referred to as Shinjin) within the closed space that Haruhi Suzumiya periodically creates whenever her mood goes sour. As the only two male members of the SOS Brigade, they tend to converse among themselves about Haruhi and her inclinations while the three girls are occupied with various activities.

Despite how often they converse in private, of the three brigade members, it is Itsuki who annoys Kyon the most. This is in part due to his relentlessly cheerful personality (which Kyon considers to be a facade, despite Itsuki's insistence to the contrary) and wordy lecturing, and partly because of Itsuki's tendency to inadvertently violate Kyon's personal space and pay him borderline-outrageous comments. In addition, of all the Brigade members, Itsuki is most likely to agree with whatever idea Haruhi's warped mind cooks up due to his personal views of her and his tendency to play the part of a yes man.

John Smith[edit]

John Smith (ジョン・スミス Jon Sumisu?) is a pseudonym used by Kyon during one of his travels through time into the past. Whilst assisting the Haruhi of three years ago, Kyon gave himself the alias "John Smith" in order to hide his identity. Although just a passing thought to name himself that in the chapter "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody", it becomes a critical factor in volume four, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Seemingly presented with a normal high school life in a world without Haruhi Suzumiya, the extent of his "normalness" and of his attachment to the SOS Brigade and Haruhi are made evident. After finding the alternate Haruhi from this world, he uses this identity in order to get her to help him. "John Smith" is referenced in the first novel and in the anime shortly after Haruhi and Kyon 'first' meet. Haruhi asks him if they had met before, to which he replies that they haven't (which is true, from his perspective). Kyon has said on occasion, at the end of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and at other intervals, that revealing he is John Smith will be his last ace in the hole should something arise regarding Haruhi. However, Kyon feels it is a last resort measure in case something happens in which he has no support from anyone. To that end he was willing to defy even the Data Overmind, once he realized that while Haruhi was the one with reality-altering powers from which (supposedly) no one was safe, he was the lone exception and the only thing keeping Haruhi from throwing everything out of whack. He realized then that he had become linked with Haruhi (in the intended sense and more), that even something like the Entity wouldn't exist without his keeping Haruhi's powers stable. His revealing himself to Haruhi as John Smith would radically alter everything.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nagaru Tanigawa interview at Yahoo books" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2007-07-29.