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Tag: the melancholy of haruhi suzumiya

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FREEWRITE: September 2009

September fascinates me as an anime fan.   September 2009 was a turning point for my love for anime, as well as the the roots for me analyzing anime, and convention trips. In September 2009, I was introduced to three anime series in college that would mold me as an full pledge otaku:  The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Elfen Lied,  and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.   While I’ve been an anime fan for years prior, I was watching anime  as just an entertainment tool alone –  not as a source for learning  and understanding how character development and theatrical themes works for story telling.

I still fondly remember back in September 2009 how anime message boards and blogs  were abuzz at Haruhi and Higurashi – praising both series for their  deep character development, storytelling, and themes.  Fans of Haruhi formed their own cult church – “The Church of Haruhi Suzumiya”; Praising their goddess Haruhi – their Lord and Savior.

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People couldn’t stop talking how fucked up Higurashi was with the show’s gore, carnage, and “killer lolis” while entry level weebs blindly celebrated Elfen Lied for its combination of violence and tragic narrative (it’s okay I was blinded by its bullshit back then as well.)

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I wanted in.  The appeal of these three shows were unlike the anime I was used to  watching on [adult swim] and Cartoon Network. Haruhi, Higurashi, and Elfen Lied weren’t shows for the mainstream entry level fans who were comfortable watching anime on television.   They were too otaku for them.  The average American fan wouldn’t expand to what I labeled anime like the three as “Internet Otaku Anime”.
And that was okay.

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Haruhi and Higurahi both had their charms that  drew me into those series.  Haruhi was weird, yet campy. Higurashi was brutal, yet mysterious. Nobody outside the hardcore otaku circles weren’t watching these shows.  Nobody who wasn’t an otaku or watched anime online were talking about Haruhi and Higurashi, which made my somewhat elitist ass happy.  I finally discovered shows that I could keep to myself and only talk about among the real otaku. No more mainstream anime for me!

Everyday after school I head straight home to  Haruhi, Higurashi, and Elfen Lied one after another. I would go online express  my love for  both shows with fellow fans and applaud how amazing they were.  They were special to us.   Yea, not everyone understood why we love Haruhi and Higurashi, but we didn’t care.  To us, Haruhi and Higurashi were love letters to the otaku community who wanted something better than was was being offered on T.V.

With all of that said I will be dedicating this month to Higurashi, Haruhi, and maybe some Elfen Lied in celebration of September 2009 and the turning point of my otaku lifestyle.

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 25 – Favorite Female Protagonist: Haruhi Suzumiya

It was the Fall of 2009.  Current, but lessen known (by the mainstream) anime series were appearing on YouTube.   Suddenly, I had access to shows that I otherwise couldn’t.  Browsing YouTube, a peculiar anime caught my attention : The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (THMOS).  I was previously hipped to the series thanks to  4chan’s /a/ and  various anime message boards.  Otaku communities everywhere were praising it, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong watching it.

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Haruhi and Kyon. In the background: Yuki and Mikiru

The titular character, Haruhi, is interesting.  She’s egoistical – nobody couldn’t compare to her (in her mind at least).  The normal and average bores her.  Haruhi’s only interested in the extraordinary. Haruhi wants the world to revolve around her.  She believes the world is her stage.  In fact, the world belongs to Haruhi – literally.

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If you ever watched TMOHS then can you really fault Haruhi for her views?  I mean, if you had a realization at age nine that you’re just one in the world of billions, you start questioning your  reason of existence as well. You’d want the world to notice that you’re not just a nobody, but a somebody.  You would want to stand out from everyone.

‘Have you ever realized just how insignificant your existence on this planet really is’

-Haruhi

The moment that I realized that Haruhi would become one of my favorite female character came at episode 13 of the first season.

Walking home from school, Haruhi tells Kyon a story from her childhood. The event of her and her family attending  baseball game catalyzed her need for notability.   Haruhi was amazed by the sight of the overflowing, sold out stadium. She perceived that the entire population of Japan was gathered there. In reality, as revealed by her father, the attendance was 200,000 people – only a small fraction Japan’s population.

This shocked Haruhi, causing her to break the population numbers down deeper. After arriving home from the game,  she starts breaking down the numbers driving her into fractions. She discovered that the attendance was merely two-thousandth of Japan’s total population at the time (128 million in 2006).  Haruhi thus concluded that she was merely one person in a world of endless billions. She was just like everyone else – nothing more. Upon this realization, Haruhi understood that in order to stand out, she must do it herself.

Sitting around waiting for change wasn’t a choice.

So, in her first year of high school, Haruhi made every effort to stand out and leave her mark. Even if people were bother by her actions, thought if she was weird or crazy, she wouldn’t stop. In fact the thoughts of others didn’t bother her.  Haruhi is doing her without holding back.  That what makes her stand out – her self- expression.

Her want of  notability.

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Watching Haruhi drive herself towards her goals without fear inspired me to do the same.  I wanted to stand out and let the world know I here.  That I will drive myself to make my mark upon the world.  The drive to stand out.  That’s what I want from life.

That is why Haruhi Suzumiya is my favorite female protagonist.

 ‘ I’d let the world know I wasn’t a girl who was happy sitting around waiting. And I’ve done my best to become that person. ‘

 

 

 

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 10: Favorite Seiyuu/Voice Actor

I don’t really pay attention to voice actors to the point where I can say something like “Yea!  That person is my favorite V.A. for all time!”.  As much of a trashy weeaboo that I am, I’m not really too hip on the world voice actors. I simply don’t invest the time to study and research them.  Regardless, I must go forth with this challenge.  I’ll just bullshit and write about one voice actress I do like.   I figure the fact that I wrote about the amazing “God Knows…” scene from the Haruhi Suzumiya anime,  I might as well  keep the Haruhi train going by talking about Aya Hirano.  And of course, her infamous scandal  – because why not?

It’s funny to talk about how mad people were at  her  for enjoying umm…physical pleasures.

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Meta.

High-key, Hirano was my first and only celebrity crush.  Or voice actress crush.  Whatever.  She’s cute as all hell.  Who doesn’t like cute women? Outside her looks, I love her performance as Haruhi Suzmiya – it was fun listening to her as  this energetic, ambitious teenager who believed herself as the  most superior being in the universe.  She also did very well in her role  as otaku Konata Izumi from Lucky Star.  I prefer the Japanese sub of both series over the English dubs just because of Hirano’s performances as both characters.

While this is still fresh in my mind, I gotta talk about her sex scandal (I really wish I was drunk for this one to go  all in. Alas, I must save my alcohol for the upcoming weekend).

To this day, I still  chuckle about how  her overly sensitive fans  were so butthurt about the 2011 incident. Like, why the fuck did these nerds got all in their feelings just because she allowed herself to be  filmed fucking her bandmates (expect for the bassist, poor dude)?  Niggas  were  forreal destroying all types of Hirano DVDs and CDs out of rage.  Hell, folks were even destroying their Haruhi and Konata figurines, burning any Haruhi mangas and light novels, and was boycotting her shit –  all because she had sex unlike those sad, pathetic permavirgins otaku.

And lets be real: All these dudes who were calling her a slut, whore, bitch or whatever sexist bullshit they were saying about her were the same dudes who probably wanted to smash her.

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It wasn’t that serious.
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Really, it wasn’t.  This is a waste of money.

2011 was a wild time in the anime community.

With that said I hope you enjoyed this quick little post.  The next topics of the 30 day anime challenges may be coming out a little slower than normal for I will be in Chicago from Thursday-Sunday for Anime Midwest!  If you see me don’t be scared to say “hi” to me and tell me how much you enjoy my works.  My ego needs to be fed by the minute!

Later!

Further reading http://aramatheydidnt.livejournal.com/2590681.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/aya-hirano-sex-scandal-060800561.html

 

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 9: Anime with the Best Soundtrack

Goddammit.  Another challenge day  that’s going to be a struggle.  Why?  Because I simply love music.  I simply love anime.  I love when anime and music comes together.  Just like with the  favorite opening and ending themes challenges, I just can not think  of that one anime soundtrack that deserves the number one top spot. That how much I love the unity of anime and music.

So, this is how I’m going to do this instead. Rather than me  going through my massive list of my favorite anime soundtracks and songs,  I’m going to discus one of the most  beloved concert scene from an equally beloved anime series that fuses both superior animation and high quality musical performance.

The scene – “God Knows…” from episode 12 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya “Live Alive”.

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I have the highest respect for the “God Knows…” animation and the  endless hours of hard work and love that was put into it. I am not saying this as an anime fan right now. I am saying this as a musician (I’m a violinist).  I wish I had the words to describe to you guys on  how much I love the greatly detailed animation, the energetic performance by Aya Hirano (voice actress of series heroine Haruhi Suzumiya), and of course, the audio and music production.

I can relate to Haruhi pouring out her heart, passion, soul, and emotions into her performance:  playing rhythm guitar and singing, expressing herself through body language (bouncing up and down, head bobbing,  rocking her guitar back and forth) and her facial expression (sweating under the bright, hot stage lights, her hair matted, and ending with her panting; struggling to catch her breath after such an intense performance.  This isn’t the normally bossy and aggressive attention whore Haruhi that we’ve known for a the last 11 episodes.

This  is Haruhi – the passionate musician.

Passionate about her musicianship. Passionate about becoming joining with the one that she loves.  It is as if she’s speaking heart-to-heart about Kyon through God Knows…

As if she wants him to know that she wants to be with him.

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‘I send my now passionate feelings-
they melt reality
then just hover there suspended.
There’s no reason for me
wanting to see you.
I pour my feelings into you, lovin’ you’
Haruhi Suzumiya

 The sound  production is just as impressive as the animation itself.   To start, I appreciate how the band starts tuning to key , how Haruhi’s mic picked up her moving  her stand, her footsteps, and adjusting the mic itself.  Next we have sounds of the audience chattering, chants, cheers, and clapping to the rhythm of the beat (in time with song to boot) as if this was a concert going on in real life (with them jamming to the performance itself).  There’s even a short period of time in which the crowd starts to cheer for Yuki’s guitar solo.

Those were nice touches to me.

My only gripe with this animation and music masterpiece is that Kyoto Animation did not use the fully animated God Knows in it’s entirety (meaning animating the full song and not the TV size).    But I assume that they were under a time limit to release the episode so I can forgive them for that.  And they did create a legendary concert scene that anime fans still love and celebrate to this day, so I can’t be so fault them for real.

With that said I hope you enjoy this quick little post!  See ya!

Please do yourself a favor and  watch/listen to both the anime and the live action versions of this song.  I promise you won’t regret it.

 

‘You’re here, and I’m here-
all the others have disappeared.
By sketching the beauty of our fleeting dream,
we’re just tracing our scars’

-God Knows…. (2006 Single)

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FREEWRITE: Haruhi Suzumiya and Law 6 of the 48 Laws of Power

‘Law 6: Court Attention at All Cost’

-Robert Greene, author of the 48 Laws of Power

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To say that Haruhi Suzumiya (The Melachonholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) is a bit of an attention whore is a grave understatement.  Haruhi lusts for attention.  She demands notability.  She wants all eyes on her like Tupac.  To Haruhi, the world should  and must revolve around only on her. (of course, she’s God after all, so she’s not. She’s not wrong to think that [despite unaware of her godly reality wrapping powers]). Every day, she makes an effort to be noticed, to have people know her name, and who she is.  She doesn’t care if people speak of her in a negative light; it keeps her name circulating. She loves it.

Haruhi  doesn’t want to fade in the background.  She does not want be average, or one of faceless many in the world. Haruhi’s drive is to become extraordinary and different from the rest of the world.  To understand this drive, we must look at her flashback scene from episode 13 of season 1.

‘So I figure I would change myself in middle school. Let the world know that I wasn’t a girl content with sitting around and waiting.’
-Haruhi Suzumiya

As they’re walking home from school, Haruhi tells Kyon the story of her family going a baseball game as a child. Haruhi was amazed at the sight of the overflowing, sold out stadium. She believed that the entire population of   Japan came together at the venue to watch baseball.  When she asked her dad about the number of people in attendance, he told her around 200,000 people. These people, including herself, only made up very small fraction Japan’s population (around 128 million during the show’s original run in 2006).  After returning home from the game,  she did the math, breaking down the attendance , compared it to the entire population of Japan, and discovered that it only made one two-thousandth of the population of Japan.

Haruhi was just one of many. A  drop in the massive and everlasting ocean.

Realizing this, she no longer felt special.  Haruhi was just like everyone else; doing the same shit (brushing her teeth, eating breakfast, going to school, etc.).  Life became boring. What’s life when you’re just like everyone else? Maybe in the world, there was somebody amazing, unique, and extraordinary And yet, it wasn’t her.

At this  revelation,  Haruhi  had to  stand out from the rest of the world. She to get up and demand change by her own will. To  not become content with being average.  She had to make her mark in the world by any means. To court attention at all cost.

 

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Be obsessed or be average.’

-Grant Cardone, American CEO, Author, and motivation speaker

 

Later, Haruhi set out to achieve her dream of being noticed and not average. On her first day of high school, she proudly introduces herself and states that she isn’t interested normal humans.  Rather, she wants to meet with time travelers, aliens, and espers. This caused a stir in her homeroom, making people think just who the fuck is this childish girl, and why does she still believe in such things at the age of 15?

Throughout the series, Haruhi attempts (and mostly succeed at) various actions to be noticed.  She devolved a system to change her hairdo by style (she even went as far to wear a different hair ribbion each day).  She stripped down from her school uniform into her gym clothes, not caring if her male peers were watching. She attempted to join every school club, only to dip out from each and forming her own club: The SOS Brigade. She stole the show at her school festival, filling in for a sick guitarist ( revealing that she’s an amazing musician in her own right). All in the name of courting attention.   She places herself at the center of it all, regardless of what others may think.

It’s her world.  She just want all the attention.

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‘A normal life’s boring’

-Eminem, American Rapper

Haruhi’s World art source:
http://photobucket.com/gallery/http://s634.photobucket.com/user/MawsCM

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What Makes an Anime Great (My Opinion of Course)

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Lupin the 3rd (1971). One of my favorites anime series of all time.

Everyone has an opinion on what makes an anime great.   Some people love storytelling.  Others enjoy aesthetics and art direction.

I love storytelling and music personally.   I love direction synergy between art and music tones.

We all bring in our own personal bias and taste when viewing anime, considering what will make or break an anime.

Anime is a visual medium.  I like anime series that can play off the aesthetics of the series. Visuals are narrative.  It gives aids the story’s tone.

Directors can use visual tones to emote viewers’ emotional reaction.

Example: The conclusion of Yusuke and Suzuki’s fight (Yu Yu Hakusho).

Series animation director Akiyuki Shinbo uses vibrant surrounding white light transiting into black and. dark shading on Yusuke.   It sets a depressing feeling; that Yusuke died putting his life energy to defeat Suzaku.

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Yu Yu Hakusho (1992)

Along with visual tone, a great anime needs a convincing story. The story needs interesting written characters with motivation. I like characters that are written in a way that can relate to naturally.

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Son Gohan of Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn (1994).  I love his goofy and carefree nature as Great Saiyaman.

Most of my favorite anime characters are written like this. If I relate to a character,  I care for them. I root for them to overcome their issues and improve overtime.  This factor makes the character seem more human.

Mob from the 2016 anime series “Mob Psycho 100” is a character that fits this.

Despite  blessed with everlasting psychic power,  Mob wants to improve in other accepts in his school life.  Rather than joining his school’s supernatural club, he joins the athletic Body Improvement club.

He aims to nurture his weak psychical strength and body.

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Mob and Musashi. Mob Pyscho 100 (2016)

He wants to improve his weak body by strengthen it.  He could have easily joined a club suited to natural skills.  However, Mob wants something more in life than just relying on his natural gifts.

This makes him feel human. This makes me relate to him because I want to improve in life. We all do.

Finally, a great anime needs a prominent music.  Similar to visual, music sets tone.  Music is narrative. Music is expressive.   Music should  reflect the mood of the scene.

I want to experience the same shock and amazement of Kyon, a normal teenager, as he was spectating reality wrapping aliens Yuki and Ryoko fighting inside a data field.   Hell, I want the music to make me believe that I am Kyon.

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Ryoko vs. Yuki from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2007)

I believe music can do this to my emotions.  The right usage of a background song can impact and trigger the emotional accepts of my core.  This enhances the anime for me.

As diverse individuals, we have our ideas on what make a great anime.  We bring in our own taste and ideas that reflects what we want in an anime.  Visual, sound, character story and tone.  We  use those factors to build standard of quality.

REFERENCES:

Ryoko vs. Yuki Fight Theme
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Love the song’s usage of of techno-like percussion, violins, cellos, and synths to create an alien sound.

Why You Should Watch Mob Pyscho 100

Super Eyepatch Wolf’s in-depth analysis on why Mob Pyscho 100 is worth watching.

Aesthetic IS Narrtive

Digibro’s analysis on the importance of using visuals aid and aesthetics for anime story-telling.