Haruhi Suzumiya (character)
|Haruhi Suzumiya character|
Aya Hirano (Japanese) |
Wendee Lee (English)
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 lead 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 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. 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 excuse for quick relationships is 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") (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.
Throughout the series, Haruhi's personality is shown as having many 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.
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 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.
Haruhi has a very competitive personality and accepts any challenge that she comes across without hesitation, regardless of difficulty or time constraint. 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 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 'normal' behavior, as seen when she actively changes clothes in public, even when surrounded by classmates. 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 cosplay, such as bunny girl, nurse, and maid outfits, as if she (and to a lesser extent herself) were a human dress-up doll.
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. She has trouble with accepting words of graditude; following her concert performance at the school's culture festival when Yuki and she 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.
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 undoubtedly hopes that supernatural phenomena exist, some part of her understands that such things may be impossible in their universe. For example, although Haruhi attempts to contact aliens during the Tanabata holiday three years before the events of the series, she 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. At another point, Haruhi's encounter with several gargantuan alien-like beings within closed-space prompted no notable degree of shock from her; later she chalks up the experience to being a dream. 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. She will go to any length, even through the exploitation of its 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, 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 writing a script, showcasing her renowned spontaneity.
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 (Espers at the agency Koizumi is a part of) have begun witnessing signs." This has led to fandom members being referred to as followers of "Haruhiism," which has been referred to as a religion with a small following that holds her up to this God-like status. Haruhiism is not recognized as an official religion anywhere though.
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.
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.
Notes and references
- Iishi, Chiko (2006-08-16). "Interview of Nagaru Tanigawa" (in Japanese). Yahoo Books Japan. 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.
- 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.
- Season 1 episode: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Part 6 July 2, 2006.
- Season 1 episode: The Day of Sagittarius June 11, 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.
- 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
- 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. 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. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Chris Mackenzie (October 20, 2009). "Top 25 Anime Characters of All Time". IGN. Retrieved April 9, 2011.