Haruhi Suzumiya (character)
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|Haruhi Suzumiya character|
|Created by||Nagaru Tanigawa|
|Voiced by||Aya Hirano (Japanese) |
Wendee Lee (English)
|Portrayed by||Patricia Ja Lee, Cristina Vee (ASOS Brigade)|
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 protagonist 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.
A beautiful, eccentric and headstrong schoolgirl, 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. Many of the activities of the club and its members, however, become increasingly involved with incidents caused by her abilities.
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. After having a conversation with Kyon concerning her hair she decided to cut it just above 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 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.
While little is revealed about Haruhi's origins or her family, she cites a revelatory incident in her childhood when she attended a baseball game with her family. 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 that 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 entrance into high school is marked by her meeting her fellow student and series protagonist, Kyon, the first person to seriously engage her in conversation related to her interests. He is 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") (世界を大いに盛り上げるための涼宮ハルヒの団 Sekai o Ōi ni Moriageru Tame no Suzumiya Haruhi no Dan) or the SOS Brigade.
Haruhi's personality is often connected to her supernatural abilities and their use. She is very intelligent, athletic, and naturally talented at nearly everything that she sets out to do. Coupled with her 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.
Earlier in the series, Haruhi is startlingly self-centered. She often bullies her members into agreeing with her ideas, especially Mikuru Asahina, whom she habitually forces to change into cosplay outfits, as if she were a human dress-up doll. 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 Mikuru. Later in the series she becomes more sympathetic to others and displays a strong sense of responsibility towards the well-being of the SOS Brigade members, going so far as to get up early on school days to take care of Yuki when she is sick in "The Surprise of Haruhi Suzumiya". Kyon increasingly turns to her as a confidant, even discussing the supernatural problems faced by the SOS Brigade in "Snowy Mountain Syndrome" and "The Surprise" under the veil of "family problems" and "study problems" respectively.
Haruhi has a very competitive personality and accepts any challenge that she comes across without hesitation, regardless of difficulty or time constraint. Her 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 has fairly unrealistic expectations of her Brigade members, especially Kyon, to accomplish the tasks that she sets out for them.
She enjoys being the center of attention, and her 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 fun. She has very little regard for what constitutes 'normal' behavior, as seen when she actively changes clothes in public, even when surrounded by classmates. When she produced and directed the Brigade's amateur-movie The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina for the school arts festival, she did so without writing a script, showcasing her spontaneity.
Haruhi 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. Following her concert performance at the school's culture festival when Yuki and she filled in for two members of the band ENOZ, Haruhi confesses to Kyon that she feels troubled and anxious. Kyon notes that Haruhi is not used to receiving thanks because she rarely acts in anyone's interest but her own.
Although a number of Haruhi's conscious efforts are devoted to the discovery of supernatural beings and events, she is a rational human being. While she hopes that supernatural phenomena exist, some part of her understands that belief in them is irrational. For example, although Haruhi attempts to contact aliens during the Tanabata holiday three years before the events of the series, she dismisses 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.
Though rude and disdainful towards Kyon, she often accepts and follows his reasoning even when it conflicts with her desires, such as forfeiting the baseball tournament in "The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya" and refraining from using embarrassing photos of Mikuru to promote the SOS Brigade in "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya".
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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". Her outlook has been compared to Fox Mulder's from the X-Files, as both characters "want to believe." One of the anonymous Tiger Mask donations was signed 'Haruhi Suzumiya'. At Anime Expo 2008, Haruhi was awarded the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) award for Best Female Character. In 2009, IGN ranked her as the nineteenth greatest anime character of all time.
Fandom members have light-heartedly referred to themselves as followers of "Haruhiism", referencing the God-like status Koizumi mentions in the original The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novel. Haruhiism is not recognized as an official religion anywhere.
Notes and references
- Iishi, Chiko (2006-08-16). "Interview of Nagaru Tanigawa" (in Japanese). Yahoo Books Japan. Archived from the original on 2007-03-09. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
- Tanigawa, Nagaru (June 6, 2003). The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (in Japanese). Japan: Kadokawa Shoten. Chapter 6. ISBN 4-04-429201-9.
- Episode 1: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Part I
- Episode 2: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Part II
- Season 1 episode: The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya April 23, 2006.
- Season 1 episode: The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina Episode 00 April 2, 2006.
- Season 2 episode: The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya Part 1 Aug. 14, 2009.
- Episode 12 (season 1): Live Alive
- Season 2 episode: Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody May 22, 2009.
- Season 2 episode: The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya Part 5 Sept. 11, 2009.
- Hughes, Felicity (September 30, 2009). "Where maids get slap happy...for a price". Japan Pulse. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
- "The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya and the Haruhi Manga". Popculture Shock. June 15, 2009. Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
- "Eva, Haruhi Heroes Donate to Tiger Mask Movement". Anime News Network. January 12, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.
- "Anime Expo® 2008 Announces the 2008 SPJA Award Winners" (Press release). Anime Expo. July 9, 2008. Archived from the original on January 13, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Chris Mackenzie (October 20, 2009). "Top 25 Anime Characters of All Time". IGN. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
- 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.
- Wolf, Ian (August 30, 2012), "The World of Haruhi Suzumiya", MyM, pp. 17–24, retrieved July 29, 2013