As Cruel Gods Go, Haruhi Shows Her Age

haruhi s2 13 dramatic lighting

That is to say, she behaves like a teenager. Without mentioning names or sources, indulge me in accepting that many viewers have been declaring their ‘sudden’ discovery that Haruhi is a bitch, and that they hate her now. The ‘Sighs’ arc, which occurs prior to her fanboy-making-turn as a substitute lead vocalist for ENOZ during the school festival, is suddenly supposed to have turned Haruhi into a bitch all sudden.

So who were people worshipping in the first place? And yes, people worshipped her because Haruhiism exists. So people are shown what serves to be a near-past backstory and are suddenly backsliders from the religion? It is more than amusing!

So let’s talk cruelty. Cruelty is a distinct behavior marked by an indifference to suffering, and perhaps taking pleasure in inflicting/causing it. Is Haruhi indifferent to the suffering of the members of the SOS Dan? Yes, this is rather obvious. Kyon as a character device serves directly as to highlight and provide commentary on her cruel behavior. Does Haruhi take pleasure in causing suffering?

haruhi s2 13 haruhi directs

To a degree, yes. If we are to consider how she treats the computer club — she is rather cruel to them. However, I’m not entirely certain that she enjoys seeing them weep and beg, she just takes that as the wages of victory. I don’t think that there’s a level of malice present in that she thinks, “I am blackmailing the president of the computer club because I want to see him squirm.” Rather, the squirming, begging, and gnashing of teeth are merely bonuses after she got what she wanted (the computer).

Where are the viewers that despised this behavior? Where are the complaints of her being a bitch? I really think that fans thought this was charming. You thought it was funny didn’t you. If anything, you were impressed, weren’t you? You even enjoyed Asahina being groped didn’t you? Who was cruel then? Who was being indifferent to the suffering of the entire computer club? Non-fans and haters need not respond. This is not about you.

haruhi s2 13 kyon is onto her

Here’s a view on the matter by my favorite commentator on this series:

She’s always been this bad.  This show is at heart a portrayal of the whimsicality of omnipotent divinities.  When a schoolchild is whimsical, that’s cute.  When the deity is whimsical, well, we’re bound to gnash our teeth or while o[u]r time drumming up justifications.  The fact is, though, Haruhi is what Haruhi is, and that’s all there is to it.

animekritik (2009/08/31)

I agree on the philosophical level: Every thing just is and that’s all there is to it. But regarding the whimsicality of omnipotent divinites, I don’t know. I know of one divinity who isn’t whimsical though omnipotent.  This leads me to this analogy of fans of the show despising her after seeing the “Sighs” arc:

It’d be like a Christian’s view of god as sweet Jesus, having only read the Gospels/New Testament; then being shown the utter EPIC that is the Old Testament (not to say that “Sighs” is epic, it’s not — it’s merely very good and interesting similar to how I like Bakemonogatari‘s “Mayoi Snail” or “Suruga Monkey” arcs) and being disgusted at the rather often pissed off, jealous, vindictive, and very violent God of Judaism.

haruhi s2 13 ownage of toy

Here’s the Judeo-Christian God doing a Haruhi:

From his sanctuary God hath said,

“In triumph I shall divide Shechem
and distribute Sukkoth Valley to my people.
Gilead is mine, and Mannaseh too;
Ephraim is my helmet and Judah is my royal scepter.
But I shall use Moab as my washbowl,
and I will throw my sandals on Edom,
as a sign that I own it.”

(Psalm 60: 6-8)

Divine righteous ownage. For a really awesome display of that God inflicting his arbitrary will, read The Book of Job in the Old Testament. It’s awesome, disgusting, fear-inducing, cruel, and inspiring all at once. It really is a very impressive read. The physicist Einstein may or may not have said that God “doesn’t play dice with the universe.” but in the Book of Job he plays dice with a human (or rather, the die is the human himself).

Arguably, the Judeo-Christian God (JCG) is no less petulant, nor whimsical than the yellow-ribboned teenager who isn’t even aware of her own powers. But if you read the accounts, JDC is more awe-inspiring, kingly, and reverence-inducing. This I attribute to two things:

  1. JCG is self-aware.
  2. JCG has patriarchs, prophets, kings and worshippers as his copywrtiters and historians. Haruhi has Kyon, who is either an unbeliever, or the Antiharuhi himself, or both.

Despite the partisan/antipartisan dynamics involved in providing the accounts, we have the advantage of seeing Haruhi with a third-person perspective; that is, we see more than just what Kyon narrates. We see her whimsically and carelessly bully Mikuru, carelessly take advantage of Kyon’s indulgence (or powerlessness to disagree), and take everyone’s obedience or cooperation for granted. JCG offers salvation and forgiveness. Haruhi offers glory for those who go along with her whims (the SOS Dan), but really these are just acts of self-gratification on her part.

haruhi s2 13 haruhi hits mikuru with cone

There is an offer of goodwill on the part of JCG, or at least his partisans believe so and would have everyone believe. Haruhi has no plausible value-proposition, even to her followers. Remember that the SOS-Dan is not an organization of followers; it is completely inauthentic. They are a gathering of agents of unrelated organizations cooperating to manipulate Kyon so as to observe and control Haruhi.

So relative to an eternal deity, Haruhi does act like a teenager. Even with awareness, the SOS-Dan doesn’t imagine her behaving with any maturity. They expect that the moment of Haruhi’s awareness to be the trigger of the end of all current existence. After all, the fundamental condition of Haruhi is something that afflicts all of the shows viewers: boredom. While boredom affects people of all ages, I am partial to the idea that most ‘sighs,’ and other overt expressions of boredom manifest in adolescence.

haruhi s2 13 taniguchi boredom

Regarding boredom, I will bore you with some Heidegger. To the philosopher Martin Heidegger, boredom is important to become ‘attuned’ to the very ‘nature of being’ (Dasein) itself. I think he’s still right, when he said “Boredom is the basic mood of our age.”

Boredom penetrates Dasein through two separate paths. Dasein can either become bored with something (such as a technological device, friend, or situation) or can be bored with (a case in which there is no object to call “boring” but only the emptiness of Dasein’s choices). In the first form of boredom, we find that this attunement is tied closely (as with anxiety) to Dasein’s experience of temporality. Boredom, simply put, is one way in which time temporalizes. When Dasein finds itself in a bored state-of-mind, this simply suggests that “time becomse long for us” (Heidegger 1995: 80). When we are in the state of becoming bored with something, we are becoming bored because the object, or situation no longer passes the time. In this case, Dasein simply looks for something else that will pass the time–or in other words, reverse the speed of temporality in a particcular case. When Dasein is bored with an object, its relation to the object is one of “holding-in-limbo” of time with the object itself “leaving us empty” (1995: 87). Heidegger gives the example of Dasein waiting for a train in a train station for three hours. In this case, Dasein is held in limbo by time and the space (the train station) leaves Dasein empty. This combination of being held in limbo and leaving-empty simply awakens the dormant feeling of boredom always already present in Dasein’s essence.

Jonathan McKenzie (2009/05/24)

In light of McKenzie’s reading, Heidegger would probably say that Haruhi is bored with normal (as opposed to paranormal) life — it no longer passes the time well for her. In particular, she is bored with school and its set-piece tropes: clubs, P. E., and the school festival itself. Haruhi’s behavior is to take matters of boredom into her own hands, to create stimulation herself. It is interesting in that Kyon is the trigger, without him necessarily meaning to. As Itsuki says, she always believed that Kyon would support and accept her (even if he complained out loud).

The combination of arbitrariness, acute boredom, and actual physical age to me are indicators of Haruhi’s age in the context of Godly behavior. I also posit that the very manifestation of her cruelty is such an indicator, given the setting in which she operates and the choices readily available to her. It is a juvenile cruelty, even childish. I don’t imagine Haruhi willfully destroying life — see her treatment of the cicadas they caught during the summer (after thousands and thousands of iterations, she consistently released them — even if only to engender favors among them).

haruhi s2 06 free cicadas

Her cruelty is limited to the thoughtlessness regarding the discomfort of others. This makes her more annoying, and less menacing — despite how menacing she did come across in ‘The Sighs of Suzumiya Haruhi IV’. That I credit to the direction and storytelling of the episode. Perhaps it isn’t even indifference, perhaps it’s just plain ignorance.

A personal note

I hesitate to use other deities and religions becasue

  1. I am unfamiliar with them relative to my extensive familiarity with Christianity; and
  2. I am a Roman Catholifag (it is the ‘Gundam’ of religious franchises).

Readers better-versed in religions are more than welcome to provide examples and counter-examples.

Further Reading

If you haven’t followed the first link I provided, I recommend it again. The discussion is um, EPIC (The Animanachronism 2008/03/03; no I’m not involved in it at all as I was too late to the party T_T)
Kyon as the Antiharuhi, or at least Lucifer to Haruhi’s JDC (animekritik 2009/09/07; a MUST-READ)
McKenzie, J. , 2007-04-12 “Objects of Emancipation: Boredom, Anxiety, and Ontological Separateness in Heidegger” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, IL Online <PDF>. 2009-05-24 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p198207_index.html
Making gods of anime characters (kaioshin_sama 2009/05/27)
An alternative to Haruhi as deity (warning: Macross faggotry) [->]
McKenzie, J. , 2007-04-12 “Objects of Emancipation: Boredom, Anxiety, and Ontological Separateness in Heidegger” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, IL Online <PDF>. 2009-05-24 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p198207_index.html

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in analysis and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

146 Responses to As Cruel Gods Go, Haruhi Shows Her Age

  1. lolikitsune says:

    I wasn’t even aware that people were calling Haruhi a bitch now. About damn time…

    • I wasn’t part of any anime community back at the height of Haruhi’s popularity. I don’t think that Kyon, Nagato, Itsuki, and Mikuru were carrying the show. It was Haruhi, so if people did call her a bitch, there was no real haet. Or if there was hate, I can imagine it coming from the haters.

  2. digitalboy says:

    There was never a time I could remember when people WEREN’T calling haruhi a bitch. That was the whole reason my good buddy Roast-beefy-weefs hated the show, and I’ve heard cries of such from both sides of the Haruhi love-hate line. Hang out on /a/ for a while, they’ve always thought Haruhi was a bitch.

    Haruhi being a bitch is a large part of why I connect to her so well. I haven’t seen how she acts in this new episode, but from what I have seen, Haruhi acts just like I do. She forces anyone and everyone into doing stuff for her unapologetic ally, and she torments them in the downtime. I love Haruhi knowing full well that she’s a horrible bitch.

  3. maAkusutipen says:

    I really like serious bzns posts.

    I get to remember reading Heidegger after reading your post. I just love his way of giving examples to make his point clear.

    Well yeah, I always have known Haruhi as whimsical and indifferent to the things she inflicts on others. But you pointing the simile of her character to a whimsical god is something I really did not thought of before.

    You said it is a juvenile cruelty. Maybe it comes with her age as a human person. I mean she is a juxtaposition of being a demonstrative hormonal teenager and a omnipotent god character right? That conceit of the author of the light novel is my main draw to the series.

    • Yeah, it’s a very charming conceit. Her whole ‘melancholy’ is almost wholly related to boredom.

      Heidegger I like because of his attention to the concept of being, or dasein. However I don’t intend to create an impression that I am well-versed in Heideggerian philosophy. I really just thought his writing on boredom resonated with what I thought about this show.

  4. schneider says:

    Also, as far as anime gods go, Yurie Hitotsubashi >>> Haruhi

    Watch Kamichu!

    • digitalboy says:

      This is true. Yurie is the best bored god.

    • maAkusutipen says:

      thanks for the recommendation schneider and digitalboy. I unfortunately do not have cable (so no Animax) so I was not informed of Kamichu!. I will probably search for the manga version though so I can read it when i am relatively free at work.

      Haruhi is just being Haruhi. Haruhi is a bitch.

      Like ghostlightning, I did not see why people found her childish whimsical attitude endearing.

      • digitalboy says:

        there is no manga version of Kamichu! actually.

        • maAkusutipen says:

          there is… i mean its in onemanga… and wiki says so… The char designs are the same as what i saw in the screenshots…

          Oh if you guys want something amusing about the gods in manga…. I suggest you look for Saint Oniisan…

          Its not yet scanlated but the manga is about buddha and jesus christ being buddies in modern day japan. They go about japan to see its quirks and make jokes about their own respective divinities.

    • Why so? What makes her better? Note that I may not watch Kamichu! just because Yui is a >>>>> god than Haruhi. The question is, is she more interesting?

      • maAkusutipen says:

        I have already read the first five chapters of the manga by lunch Philippine time.

        It is a charming slice of life type of series. I forgot the name of the anime 2 anime seasons back that had a run of 2 seasons. It features a guy that can see spirits and tries to help them. The series also had a fat cat mascot but that fat cat is also a fierce god. Errr… Kamichu! is like it. In Kamichu! is this girl who suddenly became a god and she tries her best to be a good god for the people in her rural town.

        Haruhi is demonstrative, quick to be annoyed. Yurie is your tonari no musume chan (girl next door) type of character. So I think you really cannot compare the two.

        But it is a fun read still. If you had fun looking at the surreal world in Spirited Away, you can get glimmers of it here intermixed with the rural setting of the town.

      • schneider says:

        If anything, Kamichu’s world is more interesting than Haruhi’s. It’s richly-steeped in Shinto, with gods and supernatural beings in every corner of the street. There’s even a God Association that does various things (sends cute little assistants and god items to Yurie, holds god conventions, etc). The god character designs are pretty Ghiblish, if you ask me.

        The funny thing is how everyone and their mother knows about Yurie being a god, but treats her as if any other middle-schooler except with a dash of celebrity adoration.

        It also has pantsu-wearing Martians, wrestling cats, and other trippy cute stuff.

        • I’ll put it on the list, thanks for the recommendation! The thing about Haruhi — her show isn’t really relevant to my interests. I watched it on a whim early 2008, and really doesn’t have much that leaps at me as something I usually like. So I’m actually quite impressed at how interested I got and still remain.

          • digitalboy says:

            I can’t really say if Kamichu! is your kind of deal, because you can be confusing to recommend to, but I will say it is probably a much better show than Haruhi. In every way (and yes, even animation. Kamichu is one of the best looking TV anime of the past decade).

          • I didn’t think I’d be difficult to recommend to until you pointed it out. I suppose I am come to think of it. I suppose anything other than me loving and blogging a show the way I do can feel like a let down for people who recommend to me.

            That said, I actually wrote an unpublished post (as of yet) about works that I have trouble writing about. Because I can really be impressed and blown away by a show or book and remain unable to write about it.

        • kadian1364 says:

          Ghibli-ish is quite right. All the comparisons I ever heard of Kamichu! is Spirited Away the TV. But then, Kamichu is more laid back. While the town treats Yurie like a small-time child celebrity rather than diety, her close friends and family don’t treat her any differently at all, i.e. Mitsue still thinks she’s a bit helpless, Yurie’s brother is annoyed by her laziness, you wouldn’t think she was special at all. Actually, the people who revered her the most were those who didn’t know, like when she transferred away for a month.

          Though other than the schoolgirl-turned-god angle, Haruhi and Kamichu are incomparable.

  5. Baka-Raptor says:

    If viewers are mad at Haruhi for the first time because of The Sighs arc, it’s just as planned. We were supposed to think that she crossed the line. We were supposed to feel Kyon’s rage when he was about to girly-punch her. But if viewers are directing their anger at Haruhi-the-series instead of Haruhi-the-character, yeah, it’s misplaced. It was obvious that Haruhi was a bitch from day one.

    • Lines were crossed, from a broader perspective when she used blackmail involving (false accusations of) sexual harassment.

      From the perspective of creating an endearing character, to then suddenly challenging the viewer to hold on to their affection for her, then yes. All the investment in blobbifying Mikuru as moe, all the buildup of Kyon’s upset (especially considering Endless Eight) comes to fruition.

      So it’s interesting how viewers who may have thought themselves fans of the show are suddenly challenged. It’s part of the staggered chronology and other conceits the show has used.

    • The whole Haruhiism gimmick kind of screwed with the perception of her character I think. Now that the series clout has been significantly diminshed and the whole Haruhiism thing has been dropped due to realizing how silly it is or just growing out of it people are seeing her for what she’s always been.

    • akuyume says:

      I’ve been a fan of the show since I originally watched it on a whim in late 2008 myself, and I can agree its been obvious the whole time, Haruhi really can be a bitch. Like maAkusutipen said, that’s just Haruhi. I haven’t read too many fan blogs of Haruhi so I haven’t seen this backlash directed at the series instead of the character you mention. The only thing about Sighs 4 I found bothersome was Kyon’s attempted attack on Haruhi.

  6. animekritik says:

    Epic post. That OT quote is, shall i say it, divine?! First off, I corrected the typo in my post so thanks! Secondly, I think that people didn’t care so much when haruhi beat up the computer club because they weren’t moemoe like Mikuru. I actually wasn’t clear on whose JDC (= JCG??), but I think that you make a great point about haruhi’s adolescence, and in the end i can seee the JCG viewed in similar terms… I actually own a copy of Heidegger’s lectures on boredom, and I must say the only exciting thing about that book is the cover (bright red). Boredom is a key element in haruhi, though, and we know what bored kids and bored tyrants end up doing!!

    • Sorry I missed that JDC. I’ll fix it (JCG = Judeo-Christian God).

      Yes, my response to Baka-Raptor above expresses the agreement with your statement re: the computer club.

      For someone who loves talking about philosophy I hate reading it. I like discovering philosophical ideas in fiction, but never really reading long-winded, cruelly articulated passages that split hairs atom by atom, signifier and signified. I learned more philosophy hanging out in the philo dept.’s smoking lounge at uni, baiting professors into informal free-for-alls over coffee and cigarettes.

      Yep, boredom/idle hands + V. Frankl’s freedom of thought + omnipotence = any number of possible worlds.

      • baka~ says:

        im envious. most philosophical profs from where i studied were stern teachers running off with their busy schedule. but yeah, philosophy is fun if you see/read it being applied in a work of fiction. it’s more stimulating that way and you can see how it reflects on to characters

        • I’m lucky that the philo profs in our uni were a laid-back bunch. Putting together worldviews and systems of thinking from fiction is a fun hobby in itself yes.

          • animekritik says:

            good thing about philosophy too is you can study it by yourself. these days with amazon.com it’s not even that hard to get a pretty fearsome arsenal/library for relatively cheap.

  7. Sean says:

    So despite all attempts to sound intellectual and going so far as comparing the Bible, of all things, to Haruhi… you still use the word “fag.”

    Keep it classy, bro.

    • Thanks for the tip! All of us should really learn matters of class and intellect from you ^_^

      BTW, I make no value judgments between texts in this post (e.g. Bible > animu, Religion X > Religion Y, A is trash B is less so, etc); that’s up to reviewers like yourself.

      • Sean says:

        You do realize what I mean, right? You and the circle of anime bloggin’ faux intellectualists enjoy pretending like you’re scholars with works cited sections and a refusal to use hyperlinks, and yet you completely defeat any sort of professionalism, integrity or maturity by using retarded 4chan catchphrases and gigantic, tacky images in every post.

        • But I did use hyperlinks for the Heidegger post. Anyone can look up the Bible online.

          Gigantic, images are a matter of taste. And you can hate on my use of them, say my taste sucks, yours less so, etc., it doesn’t bother me.

          You’ve clearly stated that you like telling people how wrong they are so I won’t give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re actually engaging me in discussion that does anything else but gratify yourself.

          Credibility, professionalism, and maturity are entertaining things to read coming from you. Am I really to believe that you’re interested in making me and my blog better? For whom?

          In any case Sean, I don’t dislike you as much as I sound; and if you do dislike me as much as you do sound, then I don’t know what to say to you. If you really want to discuss this, send me an email/chat me up on gtalk or something. I’ve commented on your FLAG and Macross 2 posts so you should have my contact information.

          • Sean says:

            I appreciate you turning this into a discussion about me, rather than anime blogging, but do you even see my point? And how 4chan terminology utterly defeats any sort of “professional sounding” blogging you may do?

          • I’m not a professional blogger — I’m not paid to do this. I just have fun with it and maybe a few people do as well (trust me I am not at all popular).

            If I did set out to become one, maybe I will do things differently. But all this, is just ‘foppery and whim.’ I have a narrow readership (and a very small one) and while I don’t mind becoming popular, it’s not my primary goal. This is amusing to me, and there’s an open invitation to anyone who may be interested.

            You dislike my blog. That’s fine. If you want to discuss meta and what not, you have my contact details.

          • animekritik says:

            @sean @ghostlightning

            “Verily, a strong wind is Zarathustra for all who are low; and this counsel he gives to all his enemies and all who spit and spew: ‘Beware of spitting against the wind!'”

            From Nietzsche, who wasn’t averse to use less than scholarly language. (And i could quote Plato for phrases that would make the whole lot of us blush..) Language is a tool, the message is the end. All images and phrases may be utilized toward the end of communicating this message.

          • You’re such a philosofag LOL.

        • Hanners says:

          “professionalism, integrity or maturity”

          Three things that it appears you shouldn’t be lecturing anybody about given the tone and content of your comments.

      • wah says:

        Um, I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but in Japanese “anime” is spelled as アニメ. That does not transliterate into “animu”. Animu would be spelled as アニム.

        I just wanted to point that out as people seem to be making that mistake a lot!

        • Thanks, I’ve no problem making that mistake – it’s a non-serious, meaningless affectation. I apologize if it annoys you, pay it no heed. Also, I’ve no ability in the Japanese language, and yet I indulge myself in phrases I pick up from shows. I suppose that’s unbecoming for a writer who takes himself seriously in providing professional-sounding blog content.

          I don’t think much of it for now, maybe later I will come to regret this. But for now, sorry if it bothers you.

        • digitalboy says:

          hey, pretentious asshole, animu is a phrase used by many anime fans as a purposeful spoof of the term ‘anime’. I think you know this.

  8. lolikitsune says:

    I AM A FAN OF HARUHI

  9. otou-san says:

    Not sure why images are tacky, if we didn’t like looking at pictures we wouldn’t be watching anime. Or japtoons, whatever I’m supposed to call them.

    At any rate, the whole “cruelty” thing actually speaks against your point: it implies a desire to inflict pain, and grab some sense of pleasure from that. I think she’s more like a sociopath who just lacks the capacity to feel empathy. Is that because she’s a god? Well, it’d be a good reason for it; having empathy with humans would be akin to us having empathy with ants.

    If the author is trying to make a comment on god, which I suppose is possible although it’s a heavy topic for a light novel, then he’s not making a friendly one. It reminds me another young adult’s author, Pullman, and his senile old fart. It’s just the opposite end of the spectrum.

    • I can’t divine the author’s intentions, but cruelty can mean simply an indifference to the suffering of others. Malice is optional. Commentary on God, is my indulgence here as much as one can suppose the author does so too.

      Sociopathy I can’t really comment on, as I know little about the subject, but the lack of empathy you describe is well within the simplest definition of cruelty. Pullman is I dunno, kinda butthurt about religion.

      Re empathy towards ants is an argument against divinity I’ve come across a few times back in the day. I do think a perfect and complete being has no need for empathy, has no need for anything — and most likely, immune to boredom.

      • otou-san says:

        I used to live with a social worker who explained some of what’s behind sociopathy or, as they say now, “dissociative personality disorder.” Here are a few list of traits from there:

        -Persistent lying or stealing
        -Superficial charm
        -Apparent lack of remorse or empathy; inability to care about hurting others
        -Inability to keep jobs or stay in school
        -Impulsivity and/or recklessness
        -Inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals
        -Inability to make or keep friends
        -Poor behavioral controls — expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse
        -Narcissism, elevated self-appraisal or a sense of extreme entitlement
        -A persistent agitated or depressed feeling (dysphoria)
        -Tendency to violate the boundaries and rights of others
        -Inability to tolerate boredom
        -Disregard for the safety of self or others

        Who does that sound like?

      • drmchsr0 says:

        And now you’ve triggered my trap card.

        I’d have posted earlier, but I was late to the party (as always).

        Forgive me for sounding like one of them Christian apologetics (especially one of them screaming fundie ones), and I usually don’t take that role, but there’s something extremely disturbing about God’s supposed lack of empathy for people. Especially in this chain of arguments.

        The problem is that I don’t believe in the God Pullman believes, or any of you guys believe (if we’re taking Haruhi as a deity), since if one were to look extremely hard at today’s world, you’d realize that there’s something horribly wrong with the world, and that’s us. Yeah, people go on and on about the brutality in nature, dolphins casually killing other animals, GAY ANIMALS, and all, but seriously. Think. All the animals, plants, and natural processes are, for the most part, doing what they are supposed to be doing since time immemorial. Carnivores kill, herbivores eat plants, the water cycle goes on it’s merry way without human intervention, the law of gravity is still in place, in short, all the mechanisms that keep the Earth ticking are going about their jobs.

        What about humans? We don’t exactly know what humans are supposed to do when introduced into such a seemingly perfect system, except to look upon it, and marvel at the Invisible Hand behind it. Unfortunately, we don’t like to listen, or to follow rules, and bad stuff happens.

        This Invisible Hand, better known as God, is the Creator, Initiator of Things (such as Evolution), and the Master Artist behind everything you know of. While it is true that He probably has no need to look at Creation, but the very fact that He actually cared enough to make us (and the Earth, and all the processes) with such tender loving care, shouldn’t it instill a sense of awe?

        And there’s more. He uses the broken, the sad, the dirty, and the unloved, not as a show of force, but to show how much He loves us and wants to be part of our lives. Those people who worship Him all have extremely good reason to do so. Job was wallowing in self-pity and God decided to speak to Him. Moses actually murdered a man and ran away from his adopted homeland for 40 years. Ruth was a freakin’ foreigner and was supposed to be hated by the whole of Israel. At least one OT prophet came from a humble profession. David went and committed adultery, and broke the friggen’ rules. And let’s not forget the Israelites, who were supposed to be His chosen people, but were going about and being drunken freshmen on spring break and went about partying when they’re not supposed to just because they wanted to follow what everyone else was doing.

        And it gets better. HE. SENT. HIS. FREAKING. SON. Jesus, the Beloved of Heaven. He came down, not with angels and thunderclaps and awesome light shows, but as a human being, born in an animal feed trough, just because there wasn’t any room at the inn. And guess what happened after 27-30 years of being the good boy and 1-3 years of ministry, going about helping the sick, teaching, helping, and forgiving everyone He met (yes, everyone He met, the rich, the powerful, the Roman Legions, the unloved, prostitutes, just to name a few.), telling the world about how much God loved them ALL and wanted simply to be reunited with His lost children, and what did we do? We nailed Him to a heavy, cross-shaped piece of wood. And even then, He would not stop forgiving.

        Now then, why would such a perfect and complete being, with no need for anything, do such a thing? Especially since He knew what has, could, would and should happen? Because HE loves us more than anything we could ask for.

        Don’t think Haruhi would do this; she just called Mikuru her “toy”. Nor would Kyon; he’s pretty much the average postmodern person.

        And here’s another nugget: Japan doesn’t care about Christianity, or the notion of God. They think it’s a hilariously exotic idea. Same with how they treat Buddhism and even Shinto.

        • Creation is an unnecessary thing for a complete being. Boredome isn’t a possibility within perfection. Wholeness and completeness… nothing is ever new. Omniscience man, one already knows everything and what will ever be. Even with concepts like free will… as weird as that is, it doesn’t mean randomness and chaos. In any case, omniscience trumps that.

          This is what, to me, makes the JCG compelling — not as a something to believe in (I don’t), but as a narrative (a protagonist, sometimes antagonist): all the contradictions, the logical problems, the anger and jealousy; the very need for punishment — manifested cruelly in the very idea of hell.

          • drmchsr0 says:

            Well, you do acknowledge that you still need some rules to run your life, yes? Be they explicitly written rules or societal norms or even an unwritten code of honour, rules DO have an impact in our lives. And the punishment for breaking these rules, while seemingly harsh, serve as a reminder that breaking the rules has, in fact, harsh consequences.

            No parent takes pleasure in beating their children. At least, if you don’t believe in what the news says about discipline. No judge would ever want to lay down an extremely harsh punishment unless they place hope in the criminal amend his ways. (Well, not in Singapore, anyway, where harsh punishments come down like rain at times simply because we love making statements. Justice for the sake of justice.)

            …It’s the same rationale with the concept of hell. It’s extremely unpleasant, but it’s necessary. If not as punishment, then as a grim reminder of what lies ahead if we continue to break the law.

            …Let’s just say it’s far more crueler to not have the concept of Hell rather than to have it.

          • No, I disagree on the grounds that such a level of punishment is not consistent with omnibenevolence, or even just extreme benevolence, or even just a whole lot of benevolence, or just plain benevolence. I agree with all the points regarding rules.

            The OT vs NT god juxtapositions, then the God of the Apocalyptic texts, all make for a very interesting set of characters. This is my point, and nothing else.

    • thekungfukid says:

      I actually think this blog’s relatively conservative when it comes to using images. I’ve seen some tacky blogs and this ain’t one of them. And I’m now officially referring to anime as “japtoons” from now on.

    • maAkusutipen says:

      I think Otou-san the author has a colored understanding of the concept of god. Though he frames his story with a god character who is reminiscent of what a western type of god (omnipotent etc..), i think his consciousness is still that of a Japanese flavour kind of god (highly segmented, not so powerful in some aspects) so the discontinuity. Also religion is not really that a heavy topic for Japanese. Well, that is what i learned in my Japanese culuture classes back in my college minor.

      As far as I can remember, Japanese/shinto gods are much like humans that they have a societal structure and they have roles. And they are not great workers of magic as one could suppose.

      Good point about empathy. I was actually considering that for my first comment but somehow i was not able to articulate it. It seems she has low empathy for other people.

      But I think she is not really being cruel intentionally. She is just upfront with what she thinks she wants to do and does not consider the consequences once she put into action her intention at the moment.

      • I just chatted with otou-san re your comment. I’ll have to be the one to pass on his thoughts.

        He agrees, as do I re the unprivileged/non-srs bsns nature of religion as a subject in Japanese culture (we’re no experts though!).

        As I’ve mentioned, cruelty does not necessarily require malice or intention. Indifference to suffering is enough. Telling a guy who just got fired and is now broke how much money I spent buying toys is/can be cruel, even if I don’t mean to make him feel bad — I actually want him to come over and play.

    • redmaigo says:

      Haruhi is definitely a sociopath. And a jealous one at that.

      Which means she’s a typical immature teenager through and through. Truth be told I never liked Haruhi as a person but this sudden realization by everyone regarding her true nature is laughable.

      She has always been this way!

      My statement that Haruhi is a female, moeified chaos neutral version of Anthony Freemont still stands.

      Do a Google search on Anthony Freemont and The Twilight Zone and you’ll see what I mean.

      But I guess its all been moe and circuses up to this point. How many bloggers have written long-winded posts on how they enjoyed Haruhi’s cruel mental games and physical attacks in general and Mikuru specifically.

      You know who they are…

      Most people just laughed it off and put it down to Haruhi’s genki attitude and zest for life.

      Now she’s a bitch?

      Over the years, even I have often wished that Haruhi was smacked in the mouth with 15 feet worth of wet, limp tentacle for some of the stunts she pulled.

      But not Kyon’s fist.

      I understand that he has swallowed his spit too many times when Haruhi went overboad. However, his jealousy along with what was going on finally lit the fuse of his frustration and anger and now here we are. I am glad that Itsuki was there for the save.

      • I don’t remember watching that particular episode, but from what I’ve read I’m kind of sympathetic to your comparison of Haruhi and Anthony Fremont.

        It’s easy indeed to make light of Haruhi’s antics then because of the moe and circuses (great term btw), but now when they suddenly took away the K-ON!-like character design treatment for her this episode (good job btw!) she’s suddenly much easier to hate.

        Regarding Kyon, I think Crusader’s comment below speaks to what you said.

      • Again Haruhiism threw up a smoke screen over that.

  10. Crusader says:

    Haruhi has always been Haruhi, I personally found that Kyon’s new found morality to parallel anyone who was suddenly disgusted. Mikuru being abused and treated like Haruhi’s toy forms a pillar for her character, and certainly Kyon and many viewers were delighted as Haruhi forced Mikuru into various cosplays only when Kyon is cut off and we are shown a near continuous barrage of abuse do people start getting a new sense of “morality.” Kyon was not pissed off that Haruhi was abusing Mikuru, he was pissed off that he was not allowed to enjoy any of it and had to watch Itsuki do all the things he wanted to do.

    Pretty much every one including Mikuru arrived at a consensus that they needed to keep Haruhi happy. I don’t think Mikuru is as helpless as she seems certainly when she grows up she will have greater confidence, but there is nothing that prevents Mikuru from extricating herself. She had a mission to do and she stuck with it, even in her drunken stupor she had enough sense to tell Kyon to stop his infantile white knighting. To me the interesting thing is not so much that some people have found a new sense of morality and outrage, what I find interesting is that Kyon White Knighting was lauded as people identified with the urge to punch Haruhi. I think that is the greatest demonstration of hypocrisy having after all the while enjoying the fruits for Mikuru’s humiliation and then all of a sudden get emotional once Kyon flips out over having Itsuki steal her first kiss.

    I did have a good chuckle over Kyon’s failed attempt to demonstrate his pitiful might.

    • Great stuff comrade, I think you nailed it. Nothing to add.

    • otou-san says:

      great observation, right on the money.

    • Robert Kelly says:

      I agree with this comment. I have had no qualms with seeing Haruhi as a pretty amoral person, especially because I read the light novel version of Sighs pretty early in my dabblings with Haruhi fandom, so I know Haruhi does pull off some really skeezy stuff in that episode.

      Kyon’s being push over the edge in this episode was something that passed me by, though. But considering Kyon, I probably should’ve seen it coming. I did feel like wanting to slap some sense into Kyon while reading his narration sometimes…

    • kadian1364 says:

      I love how you highlighted the hypocrisy and immaturity of white knighting when your nametag is Crusader. Awesome.

  11. Pingback: Crusader, on Kyon the White Knight « The Ghosts of Discussions

  12. thekungfukid says:

    Haven’t seen the newest episode yet but I’ve enjoyed this arc so far. Kudos to the writers ( Whoa, did I just say that to the people responsible for Endless Eight?)for getting me to hate Haruhi so suddenly and unexpectedly. Yeah, she’s always been a bitch, but I think the only reason its starting to really get to people now is because its grown too familiar. Haruhi’s the same Haruhi she’s always been but we’re too used to it now. Like a joke that’s been told too many times. I never cared what she did to Mikuru in episode 4 of season 1 because it was still new and funny to me. I always felt that if it REALLY bothered them, they’d just tell her off but given what’s gone down since then (Endless Eight for example), you come to realize that they really don’t have a choice in the matter. I mean, they just spent 500 years repeating the same week because the girl wanted to do homework, so they really can’t afford to say no to her. Haruhi has the potential to become quite the menacing villain and I think this show could go down some very dark places if its done right.

  13. Vendredi says:

    Wait wait, if Catholicism is the Gundam of Christianity, what does that make Protestantism? One of those series that Martin Lu… er, I mean Yoshiyuku Tomino left to make after nailing his (Gundam) F91 Theses to the wall?

    On another, rather meta note, it’s interesting to note that much like Haruhi in this episode, you’ve seemed to attract a lot of readers who are picking up on particular traits they find odd about your posts – while the rest of us who have been following your stuff for a long time wonder why they are having all these “sudden” discoveries about your posting style; the rest of us have certainly found it fun and interesting.

    • animekritik says:

      Hear! Hear!

    • Re alternative universe Gundam, you’re right on the money (as to what I had in mind).

      As to these supposed readers or critics, they’re just acting out of a polemic to discredit most blogs, or troll. I get singled out every now and then.

    • I’d say there’s something Protestant about Patlabor: less glamourous, more recent and capable of being very dour when it wants to (though certainly not all the time). And while we’re at it, 70s super robot franchises sound Orthodox to me: as far as they’re concerned, everyone else schismed from them.

      • The 70s super robot franchises are certainly root beliefs/religions, but I didn’t consider them for Roman Catholicism due to their relative lack of complexity compared to Gundam. That said, Christianity drew from/is influenced by (or is at least preceded by) other belief systems.

        How’s this? They form the Judeo part of Judeo-Christianity that essentially describes the Roman Catholic church and its offshoots?

  14. Shance says:

    Haruhi’s been such a “commandeering” persona from the very start of the series. You may say that I’m not really surprised if she goes overboard, since that’s a given for someone with such a personality. But I think we should remember: Anything about Suzumiya Haruhi is currently told from Kyon’s point of view, not ours. Kyon is the one that speaks, and the shoes that the series are in are his. That being said, anybody who thinks that the suffering and mayhem Haruhi causes is funny, charming or something good should keep the thought to themselves.

    Kyon is normal, just like the rest of us. Anyone normal enough would have to conclude that Mikuru needs to be saved from being “God’s toy”, that Haruhi is wrong, or bullying the Computer Club President is going too far. But Kyon knows the rest of the story: He knows Haruhi may be God. He knows Haruhi may cause the catastrophe the SOS-dan members are talking about. He knows Haruhi may change everything. The two conflicting facts can influence Kyon into doing “the Emiya Shirou thing”, in a futile attempt to straighten Haruhi and state his position in the group, even though he also knows that doing so might destroy the world he knows.

    Then, with that being said, would we still label Kyon as “normal”, then?

  15. Shance says:

    Well, no, I’m not really focusing on the fact of normality. It’s just that explaining Kyon’s behavior is going to take a lot more posts than intended…

  16. Turambar says:

    It’s not that Haruhi’s own behavior changed, but rather, it is the viewer’s perception that has changed. What we see of her is screened by the narrator, Kyon, and thus ultimately, his own personal feelings influences our perception. While Haruhi has always been a bitch through out the entire first season, Kyon’s own internal narration and commentary always laced the scenario with a degree of sarcasm and humor, and rarely declaring any true personal indignation at her acts. Seeing things only through his eyes, we as viewers are blunted to Haruhi’s personality, and all that she did took on a much more comical tone. But the latest episode was different.

    Note the line “Asahina is my toy.” During the second (third?) episode of the first season, Haruhi essentially said something very similar, stating that the only reason for her recruitment was the fact that she had rather large breasts, and immediately begins fondling them. While Kyon does stop her, his entire expression didn’t display any degree of anger, but a mix of what seemed like indifference, sarcasm, and annoyance (if even the latter). But in the latest episode, he is roused to anger to the point where he would strike her physically. How would viewers reacted to Haruhi had the two reactions be switched, and the tones of the scenes wholly changed?

    In a sense, people aren’t discovering that Haruhi is a bitch, but rather Kyon is becoming more of a…er…insert a fitting term here if you’d please.

    • Interesting! What would be more interesting is if you could establish the accurate chronology of Kyon’s attitude/reactions in relation to Haruhi’s harassment of Mikuru.

    • Turambar says:

      Actually, something else comes to mind, which I will check back for greater detail when it is no longer the dead of night. The original pilot episode of the show showing the movie in its completed form contained Kyon’s own commentary on it. While it definitely wasn’t an audio track that accompanied the “movie”, where did it come from? Was the commentary part of Kyon’s thought process when watching the finished product with others, or was it part of his thought process when he originally filmed the scenes? If it is the later, how does that episode fit in with the seemingly different personality he has taken up in the Sigh arc?

  17. IcyStorm says:

    Through this post and its comments, I have realized that the ones that criticize anime blogging circlejerk fags are bigger douchebags. Or maybe I already knew that.

    YET ANOTHER COMMENT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE POST’S CONTENT ~ ENJOY

  18. PP says:

    lol i thought the post was a kinda nice read.. turns out the comments were even more juicy. Guys chill!! why so serious?

  19. animewriter says:

    Thanks for the post I really enjoyed reading it, and I love watching the comments flowing fast and furious. I like watching Haruhi but I never loved the series so I enjoy reading how viewers dissect the series more closely than I do, thanks.

    • I think I have a strange thing going on with this show. I’m not a fan, not in the same way I am with the mecha shows I love. That said, I’m actually just impressed by how interesting I find it and continue to find it: both as a narrative, and as a (sub)cultural flashpoint.

      Among the posts that I made that gathered this much discussion, two of them are related to Haruhi and Kyoto Animation. I can imagine that it must have been this way to a degree when Evangelion was in the thick of viewer opinions back then.

      I appreciate you telling me you enjoyed this little party. It definitely makes this blogging hobby very fulfilling.

  20. kadian1364 says:

    The reaction to Haruhi the character is nonsense, its just fandom lashing out at what’s been a completely different series than what it was in 2006. Think about it, the original season was essentially the minor misadventures of the SOS-dan, something completely different every week, especially in the broadcast order. Now we get these long, strung out story arcs, Sighs repeating info we essentially already know, and Endless Eight just repeating. The surprises are gone, the fresh pace and unpredictability gone too, and in that way its understandable how one-time fans are now overreacting a bit.

    As for the episode itself, I enjoyed it to the extent that something important happened to move the story forward, because random Mikuru eye-beams weren’t cutting it for me. What I’m afraid of is the artificialness of my enthusiasm. After all, my pleasure with the conclusion to Endless Eight was also a reaction to the relative boredom of the episodes that preceded it as much as the episode itself.

    • I get how you feel. I rather think that it’s very interesting how the setup => payoff dynamic plays out. For me it paid off, yeah even Endless Eight, but mind that I don’t think that it’s genius at all. It’s risky and conceited, and I’m partial to that — is all.

      Setup => payoff arcs are done well in this season’s Bakemonogatari as a reference point.

  21. Zex Marquise says:

    Well.

    This is arguably the most thoughtful blog I’ve yet come across. Or am I just lucky to find an unusually intense discussion? I really liked the philosophical insert.

    I was a Haruhi fan up until this story arch (because the sacrilege of Endless Eight does NOT count) and I can tell you that I never once liked Haruhi herself. She has always been a stupid bitch. There is no change between then and now. It’s just that the soundtrack composer is now using unsettling music instead of campy montage tunes to set the mood, and we’re all coming to terms with her psychotic and dysfunctional behavior for the first time, and in a very sudden, IN-YOUR-FACE way at that.

    I always loved watching the show because of the supporting cast: Kyon and his Jaded GARism and closet-perversions, Itsuki, the hilarious ambiguously gay guy who obfuscates and bullsh*ts like a magnificent bastard, and Nagato, the elegant, enigmatic beauty who is the mystery of the world and has superpowers to boot. (Mikuru doesn’t count because she’s a one-dimensional, non-comedic idiot with boobs. No one cares about you, Mikuru.) The show was not about Haruhi. It was about the exceptional and endearing people who had to deal with her and keep this antagonistic force from f***ing sh*t up. They were the reason behind the story’s success.

    Now that they aren’t having fun anymore, and are more or less suffering alongside the audience, the show has lost itself. By extension, you could say that Tanigawa lost the magic halfway through his novels, as they have lost what focus they had and degraded into endless filler. At this point, Haruhi is no. 1 on my list of stories that had infinite promise but squandered their potential with poor execution.

    As for Haruhi and religion:

    Gnosticism for sure. Though there are similarities in concept, I doubt Tanigawa actually based any of Haruhi off of it, in contrast to The Matrix, Xenosaga, His Dark Materials, The Big-O, and arguably, Battlestar Galactica’s metaphysical re-imagining, which were explicitly based on Gnostic mythology.

    I’m not a Gnostic, but from what I understand, Gnosticism is a version of Christianity that believes the “God” of this universe isn’t God at all, but a lower being that believes itself to be God or wished to emulate God and so created our crapsack world. It’s suggested it may be a fallen angel, and perhaps Lucifer/satan itself.

    This being is referred to as a “demiurge”, is a tyrant, and is imperfect, which is why this universe sucks so bad, with people killing each other and things like that. Jesus is supposed to have been sent by real-God from a higher plane of existence in order to raise human consciousness to ascend out of crapworld, making our entire damn universe a platonic cave which we must escape.

    Also central to Gnosticism is the belief that, because this demiurge can’t seem to get the universe to run correctly like a paradise, it constantly destroys and recreates the universe so that time resets and plays again exactly the same as before in an eternal recurrence, but with slight variations in the metaphysical mechanics of the ‘verse. It’s kind of like releasing new Windows operating systems; They all suck, but each consecutive version sucks a little less than the one before.

    This part is why I find Haruhi so reminiscent of Gnosticism, because she keeps destroying and recreating the world to make it “better”. Then Endless Eight showed up with its eternal recurrence (“an endless recursion of time”) and the circle was complete. Of course, Haruhi has no allegory for Jesus, unless you consider Kyon to be the Anti-Haruhi, in which case he is the closest we have to a comedic version of Jesus in Purgatory.

    I have finally contributed to a discussion on Ghostlightning’s blog. My training is advancing quickly! Someday I shall become a Jedi Master and join the ranks of Jason, Dark Mirage, and the others. Muahahahaha!!!

    • Thanks Zex!

      I think your take on the novels (and the show) is interesting, if not outright convincing.

      As for gnosticism, as you present it — it makes a lot of sense (aside from being very interesting in itself).

      Re: Haruhi in the context of Judaism/Christianity, I think animekritik posits this very entertainingly: http://animekritik.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/kyon-falls-from-heaven

      As for ‘thoughtful’ blogs, I recommend Superfanicom, The Animanachronism, Pontifus, Cuchlann, Cruel Angel Theses, Anime wa Bakuhatsu da, Ha Neul Som, and the aforementioned Kritik der Animationskraft (perhaps not as indulgent, but very thoughtful anyway are Bateszi Anime Blog, Shameful Otaku Secret, Mono no Aware, and 2-D Teleidoscope). You can find these on our blogroll.

      • Zex Marquise says:

        Haha, I read the linked post. Most awesome. However, I think it makes more sense for Kyon to be Jesus and Haruhi to be satan, in line with the gnostic theory. Mikuru stays as humanity to be fought over. Itsuki can be arch angel Michael and Nagato can be Uriel. Together they can counter the evils of Haruhi and fight crime in their off hours.

        “Jesus in Purgatory” was actually a hyperlink in my previous post. I didn’t realize link-text is the same color as regular, heh.

        I will definitely check out those blogs you recommended! Thank you! I’m taking it upon myself to be an understudy of all the different blogging styles in the ‘sphere, in the hopes that I can somehow absorb their power and ascend to awesomeness.

        • Maybe it’s just because I’m raised Catholic that I find all this Christian pageantry and narratives so compelling, who knows? But yes I never grow tired of religious references, especially in a secular manner.

          I started out lurking too, I must’ve lurked for many months. Commenting is better, as you actually put thoughts together and have a feel of discussing things with post authors and others. Good luck with your blog project!

        • animekritik says:

          Ok, Haruhi is Satan/the Demiurge. But Kyon = Jesus? That’s harder for me to swallow. Whether it be the orthodox jesus, the gnostic jesus or Jesus my classmate in high school!! I think it’s definitely settled that Itsuki is Archangel Michael. Who happens to be blond…but that’s neither here nor there.

          • Zex Marquise says:

            Well, I understand in the novels some new guy shows up that the anti-SOS factions believe should have Haruhi’s power. Maybe HE’s Jesus. Of course, they keep trying to kill Kyon, so maybe he’s Lucifer (the Demiurge/satan isn’t necessarily one and the same with Lucifer). Who knows? Still, I believe Kyon would make an admirable Jesus, since he stands against Haruhi when he knows he really has to, and otherwise lets her wreak havoc on the world and torment Humanity (Mikuru), which is pretty much what actual Jesus does. See, The big-J lets satan mess with humanity in order to test them in the refiner’s fire and make them better. See Isaiah 54:16: “Behold, I have created the Smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.” (Yes, Agent Smith IS named explicitly after this verse. And now you know that.)

            I also believe Kyon would make a great Jesus because at the end of the day, despite how much suffering and absurdity Haruhi causes, he still looks upon her with sympathy and compassion (if not necessarily love). And he’s Jaded GAR to the max, just like Revelations Jesus. There’s a verse somewhere where he basically says “After everything you guys are still idiots. Why should I exhaust myself to save you? I can’t believe I have to put UP WITH THIS BULLSH*T.” Can’t remember the verse, but it’s awesome. Kickass Jaded Jesus>Feminine hand-moisturizing Jesus

          • animekritik says:

            hmm hmmm hmmmmm, i guess if kyon grew a beard and let his hair down it’d be easier for me to visualize it.

  22. biankita says:

    Haruhi has always been cruel. It has just been always hidden underneath the guise of enthusiasm because everything she does is done for the “fun” of it. She’s one of those people who do as she pleases and never got into trouble because of it. Especially because she’s surrounded by people who are there to ensure that she is constantly satisfied with the world so she won’t “destroy” it. I cannot believe people never thought Haruhi to be cruel just now just because Kyon finally got to the end of his rope and stood up to her treatment of everyone.

    As the old adage goes: It’s only fun until someone gets hurt.

  23. animewriter says:

    Hey, doesn’t this type of situation always end up with man rejecting/destroying “their” gods. What I mean by this is that since Haruhi is such a danger and all her whims must constantly be catered to won’t it be a only be a matter of time before either Haruhi changes for the better, or they develop a method of trapping/imprisoning her for good.

    • That kind of scenario could happen, though it’s just as likely that she gives up her powers at the moment of epiphany.

      • animewriter says:

        I don’t think that it really matters whether or not Haruhi becomes better or gives up her powers. If she doesn’t change she might be banished to some empty dimension or alternative reality from which she can’t escape, and Kyon might just have to be the one leading her into that trap; His reward would be being stuck with Haruhi for all eternity.

  24. Zeroblade says:

    Ever since the first season, I’ve found Haruhi to be an insensitive, megalomaniac of a bitch. Why it took this long for a lot of others to “realize” this is strange.
    Second thing – as mentioned, it seems that the viewpoints of the audience are actually quite influenced by Kyon’s own commentary. That is to say, a scene will be considered funny if he makes a sardonic comment, while it will be more emotionally charged if his side-comments are too. What probably contributed to this being the latter is how Haruhi crosses the line with Mikuru, constantly abusing day by day, even getting her health at risk, as well as factoring Kyon’s personal feelings about her (let’s face it – he wants her). Not only that, but I think what held Kyon back was how, despite the constant abuse from Haruhi, is how he also was able to benefit somehow from the previous situations. That is to say, when Haruhi costume-raped Mikuru, he’d be able to catch a glimpse of her bra, or whatever. None of that here, which brought Kyon to his breaking point while Haruhi still abused Mikuru even though she was already feeling slightly sick and drunk.
    There’s also some great dedication from Mikuru, which the scene serves to highlight even further. Despite being toyed around by an insensitive bitch of a goddess, made to do embarrassing things in public, and all sorts of abuse that could make anyone want to punch her in anger (as Kyon almost did), she held it all in, perhaps accepting that it’s part of the mission. The way that she unflinchingly stays with Haruhi is something to look up to.
    Final thing – it would’ve been a lot more interesting, I think, if Kyon were more assertive regarding Haruhi’s behavior and kept her in check with a stricter eye, rather than letting her run amuck while making (oft-hilarious) commentary about the whole situation.

    • See Crusader’s commentary on Kyon above.

      Regarding your final statement, it’s useful to consider that “Sighs” occurred prior to the school festival, and the anime-original episode. It may be useful for you to observe the Kyon-Haruhi dynamic in those episodes.

  25. 2DT says:

    Oh my. How do I compete with one hundred and thirteen comments? Well, I liked your invocation of Heidegger (although I’m not much of a philosophy student, sadly). Boredom as the temporality of time is genius, especially in light of what happened in Endless Eight.

    As for the religious stuff… I think I’d prefer to compare Haruhi to the Son than to the Father. I’m sure you remember the moment just before Jesus dies on the cross, when he says, “My Lord, My Lord, why have you forsaken me?” There are many different intepretations of this line, but the one I always stand by is that it’s a marker of Jesus’s humanity. He’s nailed to a piece of wood and suffocating to death! Of COURSE he’s going to hate it and say that his life sucks!

    Similarly, yes, Haruhi’s being a bitch. But she’s been coddled by people who put up with her crap, clearly even before she ever met the cloak-and-dagger agents of the SOS-dan. She’s unlikeable, even despicable, but her behavior is understandable. She is a human goddess after all.

    • I think this explosion of comments is a confluence of various fortuities. One of which is an unarticulated sentiment regarding episode 23 beyond the usual complaining or championing and references to trolling, ad nauseam. Another (and is the most decisive fortuity) is a server crash affecting a large population of blogs that allowed this post to stay on aniblogger antenna’s front page for 12 hours. I won’t take credit for the discussion, but I do think I’m a very luck guy (I’m fortune’s favorite).

      I don’t see Haruhi as Jesus at all… if you’re appealing to a sense of humanity (bitchiness is humanity as much as complaining is as Jesus did, as per your reading of that moment goes), then I suppose yes. I do prefer the “Agony in the Garden” as Jesus’ ‘existential’ human moment myself.

  26. X10A_Freedom says:

    117 responses…congrats – and way too long for me to read them. Excellent article which was long but interesting to read, and for the record, I’ve always thought of Haruhi as a bitch ever since I first watched it.

    Me: Haruhi’s a bitch
    Friend: She’s a Goddess
    Me: She’s a bitch
    Friend: No, she’s a Goddess.

    Being frequent IM exchanges with my best friend, who recommended me the series.

    • Thanks, think of it more as a 60-70 comment thread (to control for my responses to comments). Your conversation with your friend exemplifies the naivete (?) that fans had/have(?) about her character that is apparently challenged by the current arc.

  27. Pingback: A Conspiracy of Dickbutts – Attitudes in anime blogging « orz – I Will Show You Terror in a Handful of Flans

  28. gloval says:

    I was gone on vacation and this happens?

    I had this recent stray thought on the ending of Haruhi, and I’m glad someone else seems to have it: Haruhi gets depowered, gets to know about those powers after the fact, be mature about such a discovery, ends up with Kyon, and they live happily ever after. No wait, even better, she chooses to lose those powers, ends up with Kyon, and they live happily ever after.

    Ok, back to the discussions about God and moe and trolling among aniblogs. Oops, “japtoonblogs,” my bad. And oh yeah, Macek’s Robotech is a “masterpiece.”

    • LOL. Robotech isn’t a masterpiece, but I’ll be straight with you: I loved it, and I have much nostalgia for it. I make it clear about the nostalgia, because it’s unwatchable for me now. I must’ve watched the whole thing 4-5 times over, and the novels I’ve re-read even more times.

      Haruhi discovers her powers, gives it up for Kyon, who rejects her for Mikuru, who wants him but goes back to her time. Both of them are left bitter and feel punished for both their sacrifices. Kyon goes to college and tries to forget about everything. Haruhi hunts down and crushes every single cicada she can find.

  29. Pingback: Moments of 2009: Kyon Fulfills His Destiny « We Remember Love

  30. Pingback: How to Quickly Establish Yourself as an Editorial Anime Blogger

  31. You were spot-on when pointing out that this isn’t for Haruhi haters like me. Despite her bullying making Mikuru even more cute, she’s still bullying the girl and always has been. Her target merely rotates depending on her boredom. I’ve never found her endearing, even during her most shiny, triumphant moments.

    By the way, how the hell did you come to the conclusion that Catholicism was the Gundam of religions? Not complaining, I just wanna to know.

    • Let’s see, the older religions were big deals but were never big outside their respective nationalities/ethnic groups: Egypt’s, Persia’s, Greek/Roman, India’s, (even Judaism) etc. To me, they’re the awesome super robot shows with their larger than life heroics and characters.

      They concern themselves with supernatural/theistic interventions on Earthly matters: Ares fights in the Trojan war, Vishnu directly intervenes in the Bhagavad-Gita, the God of Abraham sent the flood, etc.

      Catholicism brought in the “real robot” kind of grassroots level magic. Jesus was the ultimate Newtype who wanted people to follow 2 commandments instead of 10, reducing the rules to an encompassing love for one another. He also dies saving the world from a falling asteroidin a mythic self-sacrifice gesture.

      It also heralded an entirely new sub-genre of ‘real robot’ religion: the various Christian sects, and Islam.

      This isn’t a super-thorough analogy, but I certainly had fun with it.

  32. Pingback: A Criticism of (My Own) Critical Approaches | We Remember Love

  33. htrhjio says:

    To be fair, Jesus was just as batshit crazy as the portrayal of God in the Old Testament – there’s plenty of times he acts rather… well, psychotic. It’s just that people tend to only read the stuff that makes them feel good, and ignore the bits in the New Testament likewhere Jesus destroys a tree because it didn’t bear fruit for him (when it was the wrong season for it), Mark 11:13, or where Jesus says beating the shit out of slaves was A-Okay, Luke 12:47, or, in response to criticism by the Pharisees that he should wash his hands before eating, tells them that they’re committing a worse deed by refusing to kill disobedient children (“He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” Matthew 15:4-7).

    If you actually read the Bible, Haruhi does act quite a lot like Jesus: they’re both lunatics at time. Thankfully, one of them is made up by a bunch of very imaginative storytellers with a deranged sense of humor, and the other is an anime character.

    • Batshit crazy is just a bit much when describing Jesus. I think Bertrand Russell did just enough covering the same points you made.

    • Product9 says:

      Your comparison looses validity when put to scrutiny. You infer that you’ve “actually read the Bible” and yet make these wild claims that have no basis in what you are supposedly quoting. For example, you equate the statement Jesus made in Matthew 15 with murdering children. Out of context, maybe. Read it in context and Jesus was making a comparison between what the Pharisees claimed to follow (Mosaic law, which does not apply to everyone, and something Jesus came to abolish), and their actual practice. He was pointing out that they were being hypocrites with an example.

      Again, you are pulling things out of context in Luke 12. Jesus was telling a story, known as a parable. These stories never happened, and he used them to illustrate a point. The example given was in no way indicative of instruction. Read it again, in context.

      If you want to be misinformed then that’s your decision, but don’t go sharing that plague with others.

  34. Product9 says:

    You had me up until the reference to the book of Job. Can you clarify what you meant by playing dice?

    I understand you might be referring to God ‘betting’ on Job, but if that’s what you meant then I have to respectfully disagree. If you had some other intention or meaning I would like to hear it.

    After that section I lost interest in the rest of the article, so if you covered it down the line and I missed it I apologize.

    • I accept your disagreement. After all you could actually propose the Judeo Christian God exists and we’d have a lot of pointless disagreement.

      No need to apologize. I don’t.

      I love Christians, Catholics even more so. They’re so moe.

      • lolikitsune says:

        Best comment on Catholicism ever. Can I steal it and post it on Facebook.

      • Product9 says:

        Fair enough. However, it’s not like this is some awkward attempt to convert you to Christianity, or even an argument for the existence of God. If you choose not to believe in God that is your choice alone, and no one else’s.

        However, even in the context of a story, your reference to the book of Job in relation to Einstein’s quote makes no sense to me. If you are indeed suggesting that God ‘cast the dice’ betting on Job, then I have to say that is a flawed statement. In the story, God pointed out to Satan his servant Job because he could find no blame with him. Satan proposed that Job was only loyal to God because God always took such good care of him. Satan said that if Job were to lose all that he had then he would surely curse God.

        So, God essentially replied “oh, you think so, do you? Well, tell you what, you can do whatever you want to Job short of taking his life and I guarantee you that he will still serve me. Go ahead, do your worst.”

        So Satan did. And even despite all that, Job still praised God.

        God wasn’t casting dice – he already knew the outcome. In my opinion, this actually strengthen’s Einsteins ideas about a ‘God of order.’ More importantly, this book shows something very important about the Christian faith and the purpose of mankind. God created mankind both for fellowship and for God’s own glory. Job brought glory to God, even when he had nothing to be thankful for, and as a result God rewarded Job with even more than he had before.

        Again, this isn’t an attempt at conversion. Even if we considered this story a myth (which for the record I do not) the analogy you made makes no sense.

        Also, no offense intended. I respect your insights, but I also reserve the right to express my own viewpoint. I mean, I’m American after all.

        • Okay.

          God has the game rigged, an even better bet.

          Oh, I don’t think it’s evangelism you’re doing. It’s hardly ever effective to argue one’s way into converting another. Even if God did exist it’ll be a big job to sell which particular one to believe in over another.

          But if I were a serious betting believer, I’d bet on the God of the Catholics. He’s got the game rigged. Satan’s screwed.

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s