Friday, October 1, 2010

The Head Trip of Haruhi Suzumiya, Pt. 1

The "gang of five" in the school clubroom.. L-R Kyon, Whack Goddess of
the Universe Haruhi Suzumiya, Mikuru Asahina, Itsuke Koizume, & Yuki
Nagato. Credit: Kyoto Animation
                                     The Head Trip of Haruhi Suzumiya, Pt. 1


                                                                  Jay Agan

      When The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya first came out, I paid no mind. On the surface it looked like another of those countless moe/schoolgirl shows giving anime a bad name. I'm not into this type of sub-genre & the only Moe I'm a fan of is a one Mr. Howard of an ancient comedy trio you young-uns hardly know about. Not caring for any of that rule 34/jailbait fodder, I gave it a pass (I like my women real & of legal age. Some of you folks make me wonder.)
      I figured it was also a Scooby Doo rip-off: Out of control little control freak forms an after school club investigating psychic phenomena & weird happenings. Ho-hum. Later, in passing, I read that three of the four she "dragoons" into the club, are the very people she's looking for. An esper, a time traveler, & an alien. A Scooby Doo rip-off with a twist. More ho-hum.
      Leafing through a copy of Anime Rough Guide, I read a more concise brief about this show on p.227. Seems the title character is (unknowingly)......GOD! Oh? And it's up to her four "friends"    to see she doesn't get bored &/or disturbed overmuch. Otherwise existance gets wiped & replaced with something else. Attention Deficit Disorder was also mentioned. O....K....
      As an ex-divinity student (I'm not a people person.), I got interested. If a story has a subject I find intrigueing I'm willing to let some things slide. I filed the show in the back of my mind & went my rollicking way.
      A few weeks later found me at the VGMX on Smokey Row in Columbus stoogeing around for flix (They actually had some Mexican horror films!) In the anime section I found the ep 00-03 disc of the first season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. 9.95 used, I snapped it up. (Episode guide.)
      On viewing, I was pleasantly surprised to find not only is it a satire on theology & metaphysics, but also a multilevel elbow jab at:
      1. Anime in general.
      2. Various types of anime sub-genres/fans/"fetishes".
      3. Itself. (It is an anime, after all.)
     A review of the principal "cast" pretty much sums up the plot as much as anything else:
      Irritating, laid back esper, Itsuke Koizume: His organisation believes the title character to be God, or at least someone with god-like powers. Main task is to undo/prevent some of the "damage" when Haruhi goes off the deep end.
      Dead pan alien, Yuki Nagato: Humanoid interface/physical extension of the Integrated Data Entity observing this galaxy. Powers similar to Haruhis' but can only manipulate data/reality already existant (Haruhi can create it out of nothing.). Believes Haruhi to be possible key to her/its own "evolution". Also does "damage control". Lots of it!
      Nervous time traveler, Traci, uh,..... Mikuru Asahina: Sent by her group to find out why they can't go beyond a point three years in the past. Believe Haruhi to be the cause.
      Put-upon Kyon: The poor slob who pays & pays for the mistake of putting a bug in Haruhis' ear about her getting more pro-active in her life. And unfortunately, his & everyone elses'.
      Oblivious diety, Haruhi Suzumiya, (aka Goddess Dingbat): Literal center of the universe. Doesn't know she's God, but thats' never stopped her.

     I would like to conclude this first part, with a caveat. Some scenes in eps 01-03 are inappropriate for children. Wether Haruhi swings both ways or is just testing Kyon (He intervenes.), sexual harrassment, no matter who does it & why, is not a laughing matter. At first, I thought I was going to have to toss this. As not much is shown & Kyon mans up & steps in, I let this slide. In later eps. the title character just seems to regard Mikuru as a very unwilling dress-up doll. (Then again what's up with that ear bite in ep. 07? Some wranglers do that to control horses.)
      Concluding installment will be a listing of the little "head trips" I found in this series. "See" you then......

Article copyright 10-1-2010 © Jay Agan

The Head Trip of Haruhi Suzumiya Pt. 2

The Head Trip of Haruhi Suzumiya Pt. 3

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