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Here comes the turn-on.
“Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)” was animated after the hit of the original novel, one of the so-called “light novels” in Japan because of its “lightness” of the story. Frankly speaking, it is a type of animation that I would probably not see if I hadn’t had a chance to watch it on the internet. It seemed such a “mo-é” story to me (Haruhi calls it “turn-on” in English subtitle), I was kind of reluctant to watch. But once I saw it, it was quite easy to understand why this story became so popular.
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The animation is narrated by a high school boy called Kyon who somehow happens to be dragged around by Haruhi – a top-class cute & smart girl but much too eccentric and self-centered for Kyon’s taste. Being bored to the bone of her ordinary life, Haruhi establishes a “S.O.S. Brigade” (if you want to know what S.O.S. stands for, watch the animation) to meet aliens, time travelers, ESPs, and “unordinary” phenomena. If the story ends here, Haruhi is just an ordinary (?) eccentric girl, but what makes this story peculiar is (spoiler in white font) that she actually finds them all (!) without knowing it and brings them into the Brigade. Kyon, who desires most usual, normal, ordinary life is confessed from the Brigade comrades – who unmask themselves as alien, time traveler & ESP – that Haruhi is the center of their concern and interest because she has the power to change the entire universe. But they also warn Kyon to keep that fact as a secret to Haruhi who frantically desires “unordinary” phenomena and therefore risks the current world state if she knows she actually has a power to change it completely. Consequently, it is Kyon and not Haruhi who actually sees / runs into all kinds of wonders (or troubles in Kyon’s point of view) that he would gladly pass it on to Haruhi. I think Kyon’s narration is the key to this story, his unperturbed and sarcastic comments making the unusual situation even funnier, while most of the time his face doesn’t reveal his feelings except for the tone of this voice (in narration).
And thanks to Haruhi’, I finally got what “Tsun-dere” character acts like. I knew “Tsun” stands for “prissy” and “dere” stands for “fawn”, and although they are expressed as “Tsun-dere”, they have to be “tsun” most of the time, just showing “dere” once in a while. And Haruhi is 95% “tsun” in a way she drags Kyon around very selfishly without any kindness, but on the other hand, she seems to show just the slightest affection to Kyon (so slight that Kyon does not suspect that a bit in his narration). Haruhi (or “Tsun-dere” characters”) can be just the extreme type of Japanese who are not good at expressing their feelings – especially when it comes to love or affection. Well, this type of “gap” seems to fit right into taste of some Japanese animation fans. And what I think makes a “turn-on” for the audience is the fact that though Kyon is seemingly dragged around by Haruhi, it is Haruhi who is very much aware of what Kyon says and does. Wait, come to think of it, I recall a similar type of “Tsun-dere” girl ; Asuka of “Evangelion”. And now being said that, I realized how Kyon is similar to Shinji, and Yuki to Rei.
I also thought it interesting that makers of this story deliberately shuffled up the episode order. Quite confusing to watch the final episode while you know it actually happened before the episode you saw in the past. Also, sometimes they seem to parody other animations or games just slightly (it’s a pity that I don’t understand most of them).

I must apologize that I had underrated this animation and assumed as simple “mo-é” story with many typical cute girls appearing on the screen. Well, they do appear, but the girls are not so simple or typical as they appear to be, and you will find the story quite cynical and serious as it develops (though the episodes are shuffled). Yes, I can say it is very cynical …and scary in a way. Just think that the world you live in is on the verge of vanishing, all up to one eccentric girl’s feelings – and she’s unconscious, for God’s sake.
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【2007/07/04】 | anime/manga | trackback(0) | comment(0) | page top↑
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