The Cockamamie of Haruhi Suzumiya
An editorial by Al Cone
(WARNING: The following is extremly scray. Viower excretion
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is the worst anime I have ever
seen. It's one of those things that you watch, and you can tell
that it sucks, and you cannot understand how or why it gained
the kind of popularity that it did, but then you look at all the
rabid devotees who proclaim it to be the best thing since
buttsex, and you just want to drink until the hurting stops.
Now, I'm not the first person call this show overrated and
examine what makes it one of the most fucking pointless and
stupidly-written cartoons of the last decade. The truth is, a
lot more people hate this series than its vast popularity would
seem to suggest. It's a lot like Twilight in that way. Actually,
it's a lot like Twilight in a lot of ways...but maybe we'll get
to that later.
No, Haruhi has been dissected, analyzed, cock-slapped around and
buried six feet under the ground numerous times by numerous
people. Over and over again. It's a lot like Twilight in that
way too. But watching all of those reviews, and listening to all
those analyses, I gradually had myself one of those epiphany
things that you hear so much about. As exhaustive as some of
these reviews were, they never brought voice to my own
complaints about the show.
Like any reasonable middle-American, I sat down and waited
patiently for somebody to say something that roughly
encapsulates my feelings on the subject. But nobody ever did. So
we're gonna talk about that right now, you an' me. Let's discuss
the reasons why Haruhi Suzumiya is such a fantastically stupid
show. And let's do a good job of it.
Reason #1: The main character is an asshole.
This has actually been pointed out a lot, likely because it's
pretty damn hard to miss. Haruhi Suzumiya as a character is
rude, abrasive, oblivious to other people's feelings and needs,
and seems to believe that the universe revolves around her.
She's right, of course, but that's a whole 'nother basket of
Her whole character centers on being this free-spirited
nonconformist who does her own thing to the chagrin and
confusion of her peers and superiors. And in a country like
Japan, being a free spirit is tantamount to being a hideous
demon octopus who violently rapes catgirls with his many suction
cup-covered tentacles while shitting all over a heavily-muscled
kung fu warrior from outer space. No, wait...they're okay with
that other one. The demon octopus one, I mean.
So anyway, that's Haruhi's shtick. She's a free spirit. Now, I
can get on board with this. I like characters who march to the
beat of their own drum. The problem is that it's a lousy beat to
Haruhi displays several qualities that are supposed to endear
her to the audience, but in reality just make her out to be an
overall shitty person. Our shining heroine embodies such
- An unrepentant love of violence for its own sake.
- A penchant for cruelly manipulating others' thoughts and
emotions to further her own gains.
- The ability to treat the people around her as objects for her
own amusement without remorse.
- Habitual lying to get what she wants.
- A lack of understanding of clear and imminent danger.
- An alarming, constant lust for power, dominance, and control.
...I could go on, but that's a look at the tip of the horribly
unlikeable iceberg that is Haruhi Suzumiya.
They actually have a word for people like Haruhi, I think. You
know, people who demonstrate the traits that I just outlined
above. It's a term you might recognize: "Sociopath."
Of course, we're not supposed to realize that. No, we as an
audience are supposed to find Haruhi's outlandish and violent
behavior amusing. We're not supposed to become conscious of the
fact that she's a deeply troubled and unstable person. Or maybe
we are, and we're supposed to find it cute. Is that it? We must
be expected to laugh along with her when she does things like:
- Rape her fellow classmates.
- Concuss her fellow classmates.
- Blackmail and publicly castigate her fellow classmates.
- Cause the universe to destroy itself.
Haha, you never know what adorable antics that girl will get
herself into next.
Now, making your main character an asshole--it can be done well.
But you actually have to put a little bit more thought into it.
You have to express redeeming traits in her personality
somewhere. Show us that there's more to her than just what we
get to see. People in the industry usually call that
It's when you flesh out the character in question, and let the
viewers know their hopes, their dreams, their plights and
struggles, and show us what drives and motivates them and all
their actions. It gives the characters depth and makes them
relatable. To be fair to Haruhi, they actually do this pretty
early on. In one of the early episodes, she tells us what it is
that makes her the way she is. And is it ever a doozy of an
See, it turns out that one time, when she was really little, her
dad took her to a baseball game. While she was there, she
figured out that there were lots of people in the world. And
then she had some kind of existential crisis. And that's why
she's such a bitch.
Another part of constructing an interesting and relatable
character is that you have to make sure the character grows over
time. If they stay the same way the entire series through, then
it's kind of a waste of a character, don't you think? People
change pretty radically over time in real life, especially when
placed in new or strange circumstances. And The Melancholy of
Haruhi Suzumiya is all about putting Haruhi in a new, strange
circumstance. She's never actually had friends before, yet now
she does. That's a pretty significant change for a teenage girl.
When you develop your asshole, you want to demonstrate
some real, positive, tangible change. Not just like, little
stuff, like now she'll put blankets on people when they're
sleeping...that's just not enough. Or, like, showing us that she
gets shy when people thank her for playing in their stupid rock
bands. What's that bullshit? You can't just give us singular,
isolated incidents and say "Okay, she's changed now. That one
seemingly insignificant action shows that she's a whole
The character of Dr. Cox on that TV show Gray's Anatomy is a
perfect example. At the start of the show he's a narcissistic,
self-loathing and self-sabotaging doctor trapped in a go-nowhere
life with no friends, no family--no meaningful relationships at
all, actually. He's generally a lonely and miserable person. But
then his life starts to change. He reconnects with his ex-wife,
starts a family, and grows closer to people he would otherwise
have pushed away entirely. We see him develop as a character
based on the way he adapts to the situations presented to him.
We see him demonstrate a loving and warm side towards his
son...we watch him look after Zach Braff and take him under his
wing...we find out about his past with his abusive, drunken
father, and how deeply that screwed him up. We as an audience
learn about this fictional person and watch him change as he is
faced with new challenges and new experiences, so that by the
end of the series, he's a completely different person--a better
person--than the person he was in the beginning.
Now, some might say that Haruhi changes radically from the
person she started out as. And that's a fair assertion to make.
But let's see how well that claim holds up under scrutiny.
So, in the beginning of the series, Haruhi is totally isolated
from everybody around her. But then she gradually gathers a
bunch of stupid jerks to boss around. So now she's not so
isolated anymore. Huh. Well, that is development, I have
to admit that. And you can really see the dramatic impact this
has on her, with the way it alters her behavior radically in the
second half of the show. I mean, it's not like she does things
like, oh, say:
- Attempt to force-feed one of her friends rancid,
bacteria-infested food past its expiration date, possibly leading to food
poisoning, and eventually death.
- Drop-kick a classmate in the face based on an outlandish
assumption that he's a ninja warlord or something.
- Rape one of her friends.
- Send away the one person who would stop her from raping one of
her friends, expressly so that she can rape one of her friends.
- Treat one of her friends like a sex toy.
- Use said friend's endowment for many nefarious purposes.
- Claim sole credit for unraveling a bullshit murder
mystery...when she in fact had almost nothing to do with it.
- Go completely over the heads of her friends and enlist them in
tedious activity after tedious activity--oftentimes when they
have no prior experience or expertise in said activity--and then
become furious with them when they perform exactly how any
normal person would expect someone with no experience in said
activity to perform.
- Cause the universe to destroy itself.
The fact that she does none of these things in the second half
of the anime clearly demonstrates her transformation as a charac--wait...wait,
you mean she actually does all of those things? I--Really? ALL
of them? You're sure? Oh... Well, I guess she really doesn't
change at all.
Some of you might make a number of arguments about why it's not
fair to judge her growth after one season, or that her growth is
more clearly demonstrated in the novels from which the anime was
adapted. Okay, fair enough. Let's address those arguments.
First of all, it's totally fair to evaluate her character growth
after one season, because the anime was only supposed to be one
season. From the outset, it was intended to be a self-contained
storyline that would wrap up and conclude and never be spoken of
again. I don't think anybody (including the producers) could
have predicted that the Haruhi anime would become as popular as
it did, and they certainly didn't plan ahead based on that
prediction, as evidenced by the shitty storytelling. But we'll
get to that part later.
The point is, yes, I can damn well judge Haruhi to be a terrible
character after watching her lack of development after the first
season. That was the intent of the producers.
Second, I DON'T READ NO GODDAMN JAPANESE LIGHT NOVELS, BECAUSE I
DON'T READ GODDAMN JAPANESE!! And even if I COULD read the
language, I'm not concerned with the light novels! I'm watching
the fucking show! If her development and growth is so obvious in
the books, then they should have adapted that element in the
anime better, instead of making her an unlikeable fuckbitch
without any redeeming qualities! Besides, I shouldn't have to
read some extensive back story that never made it into the show
to get the truth behind it all. If it were that important, then
it should have been written into the cartoon.
Oh yeah, and I guess Haruhi is basically a god, or
something...yeah. That comes up a couple of times...but that
really doesn't have much to do with her so much as it has more
to do with the people around her... Strange as that may sound.
Reason #2: They waste a perfectly good story.
At the core of its story, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is
about three rival organizations wrestling for control over an
omnipotent deity who doesn't realize her true nature. Her whims
subconsciously alter the fabric of reality, and so the groups
must simultaneously put aside their resentment toward one
another to keep her content with reality so as to avoid her
blowing the universe up, while at the same time trying to
utilize her for their own goals. Taken at face value, that
sounds like a pretty cool premise for a show. I'd watch it.
The problem is that this principle concept really has no bearing
on the show. We're told that there's some sort of clandestine
power struggle between various organizations, but we never see
it happen. In fact, the show seems pretty dead-set on taking
these extraordinary people and putting them in stupid sitcom
situations that are totally uninteresting. It's like if you took
Iron Man, and instead of having Tony Stark use his suit to beat
the crap out of Mickey Rourke, you had him use it to,
like...repair the septic tank...or bathe the elderly...or play
baseball. You know, some menial bullshit that really
underutilizes his full potential. And that's basically this
cartoon in a nutshell. It's menial bullshit that underutilizes
its full potential.
So our protagonist is this kid named Kyon, played by Crispin
He just happens to meet Haruhi one day, and they start talking,
and he accidentally gives her the idea to start her own club,
because apparently none of the clubs at school are cool enough
for her. So then she starts gathering up jerks to be in her
stupid club for jerks. First they get this purple-haired chick
What the hell is it with Japan and rainbow-haired chicks anyway?
Is it dyed? Or is purple supposed to be her natural hair color?
Do you think she's purple down there too? I don't know.
Maybe someone should check.
But see, Nagato's really, like, an alien robot with the power to
manipulate the fabric of space and time! No, not like Haruhi,
because Nagato can't...do it...a lot, or something. I don't
know. They never really adequately explain what she is, or how
it is she's able to do what she does. She's a robot from outer
space that works for...someone...I don't know. This shit is
impossible to figure out.
Later, Haruhi rounds up this other girl named Mikuru, whose
character is centered around her big-ass tits. Haruhi basically
wants her around because she likes to motorboat those
puppies...this is the girl that is always getting raped, by the
way. Surprise, surprise.
Mikuru basically exists as fanservice. Haruhi tears her clothes
off and dresses her up in humiliating outfits, then parades her
around school for the perverse pleasure of the students and
faculty. At one point she even shames Mikuru so completely, and
breaks her sense of self-worth so thoroughly, that she just
leaves the school and doesn't come back for like...days. She
finally returns only because it's her mission...
Oh yeah, she's a time traveler. From the future. I guess that's
kind of important. And she came back in time because...um...they
detected a time-quake. I don't know what the hell that means,
but it sounds really stupid.
Apparently, this time-quake made it impossible to travel back in
time past the point where it happened. I don't know how that
works, because you'd think that, like, it being the future and
all, they'd never have been able to travel past that point in
the first place, because it would have already happened, or...I
don't know, temporal mechanics never make any fucking sense.
Just forget it. If you want to watch bullshit time travel
stories then you're better off watching Star Trek reruns anyway.
But I digress. Bottom line, it's Mikuru's job to find out what
the deal is with this time-quake nonsense.
...Except we never really see her do anything besides, you know,
get raped. Oh, and she's got this thing for Kyon...and Kyon
quite obviously wants to motorboat those puppies too. But
because Haruhi's in love with Kyon and is always on the rag,
that makes her jealous enough to blow up the universe. So
yeah...looks to me like having Mikuru around just causes more
problems than it's worth. Maybe they should have sent someone
else back in time. Someone who Kyon wouldn't fall in love with.
Maybe they should have sent, like, Kyle Reese...
That would have been kind of cool...Except I guess they need him
to fall in love with the agent so they can manipulate him or
something like that...so that would have caused problems too...
Then you have this other asshole named Itsuki Koizumi, who's
played by the Black Power Ranger.
He's got magic superpowers, but he can only use them under
certain circumstances while in certain dimensions that Haruhi
subconsciously creates whenever her vag starts bleeding
particularly badly. So he's basically pretty useless. All he
really does is provide countless hours of exposition to the
audience and smile a lot. He's not very interesting. He COULD
have been, mind you, because we do occasionally get subtle hints
that he's this creepy bad guy. Unfortunately, that barely-there
subplot never really goes anywhere and is seldom brought up
after a certain point. It's a wasted opportunity, just like
everything else on this damn show.
So as you can see, this show gives its audience an interesting
premise, then goes about it in the absolute worst way possible,
mishandling nearly every aspect of it and ruining what should
have been a kickass TV show. And in all fairness, the first six
episodes are quite good, and make up a complete and well-told
story arc. We meet the characters, we're introduced to an
engaging conflict that eventually gets resolved, there's a
developing love story between Kyon and Haruhi...it's basically a
Damn, you know what, the show should have ended right there.
They could have even combined those episodes into a movie and
released it theatrically. It still wouldn't have been great,
but at least it would have been better than what we got. And
that way the writers could continue to tell the story in future
theatrical releases and expand on the world that they
Instead, the show goes on for ten more episodes that go
absolutely nowhere, do nothing to expand the story presented in
the first six episodes, and just generally serve as padding and
filler. Padding and filler is supposed to come DURING the main
story arc, not after, you retards! How the hell do you pad out a
show that's already ended?! That'd be like if the end of
Battlestar Galactica was followed by twenty additional episodes
where Starbuck plays backgammon.
So instead of continuing the story from where we left off, we
get a lot of cutesy-ass one-shot episodes that make me want to
kick Haruhi in the teeth. More than I already did, I mean.
Instead of more episodes focusing on the hidden agendas of the
characters, or maybe building upon the budding romance between
Kyon and Haruhi--you know, interesting stuff--we get episodes
- The SOS Brigade plays baseball. Oh, I forgot to mention, they
call their stupid club for jerks the SOS Brigade. And for no
reason whatsoever, Haruhi likes to wear an armband that is a
blatant visual reference to a Nazi Swastika armband. Like I
said, megalomaniacal tendencies...
- The SOS Brigade fights a giant space cricket inside a computer.
It comes completely out of left field, is never adequately
explained, and nobody ever mentions it again. Hot damn, that's
some great writing right there.
- The SOS Brigade plays StarCraft.
- The SOS Brigade solve a murder mystery. Spoiler: It turns out
that there actually was no murder...just like with O.J.
- The school has a fair...of boring.
- Kyon buys a heater while Nagato reads a book. Meanwhile, Haruhi
rapes Mikuru. Guess which one of these plots gets the most
attention? I'll give you a hint: Nagato reading the book.
Nothing pisses me off more than a show that wastes a totally
good premise. Just shit or get off the pot, you stupid--
Reason #3: This show is ridiculously popular.
I like to compare this show to Twilight because it sucks ass for
so many reasons, yet it's among the most popular franchises out
there within its fanbase. Ask almost anybody these days what
their favorite anime is, and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
will be either at or close to the top of their list. It's
actually making a strong case for "Most Overrated Anime of all
Time," a title that Neon Genesis Evangelion has held onto pretty
securely up to this point. I actually think that Haruhi is
worse, though, because at least Evangelion occasionally has
giant robots kicking the shit out of one another. Also, I really
like that Shinji kid. Unconscious chicks can't say no...
But why is Haruhi so popular? Is it the plot? Is it the story?
Is it the characters? Fuck no. It's that stupid dance
that they do at the end of every episode.
Now, if that sounds like a cynical absolute statement, that's
only because it is. However, it's also the truth. I recently sat
down and watched the end sequence of Haruhi Suzumiya with my
friend, Fred Phelps.
We both agreed on one thing: Those stupid Jews have got to g--
the animation for the ending sequence is of far higher quality
than the rest of the episode.
Granted, that's not to say that the show looks bad. It's
actually got a very aesthetically pleasing art style. Nor is it
unusual for an anime's opening or closing to have a different
animation style from the rest of the episode, or be made with a
higher budget that grants an increased attention to detail. But
it's not supposed to eclipse the quality of the episode's
animation, nor is it supposed to be more entertaining than the
whole of the episode itself!
Not to say that the dance is entertaining. It's one of the
stupidest things ever, actually. But I guarantee you that
there's more happening in that minute and a half of dancing than
in the entire twenty-two minutes of episode that you just
watched. It's sort of like My Heart Will Go On, the song at the
end of that movie, Titanic. You remember that? Yeah...yeah, that
movie was swell...
Anyway, everybody was singing that fucking song. Everyone loved
it. It was part of the Titanic fever that hit way back when. To
this day, it's still the part about Titanic that most quickly
comes to mind when you think of the movie. That fucking song.
That's because it was meant to be memorable. Just like the
stupid dance at the end of Haruhi.
See, the Japanese have this thing called moe.
It means, like, really really cute...or, like, appealing...for a
variety of reasons...okay, I don't really know the exact
definition. I don't speak no Japanese, remember? But I knows it
when I sees it. And that's the appeal behind that goddamn dance.
It's cute! And exciting! And the animation is so fluid! And they
sing a stupid song and make silly poses--holy shit! I gotta buy
this show! And every box set that comes out! Because then maybe
I can see that dumbass song and dance at the end of every
Because really, when you get right down to it, the anime itself
is pretty incidental. It's really just a vehicle for more of the
same loosely-related J-Pop bullshit that has no bearing on the
show itself...which is so deeply entrenched in anime these days,
it's fuckin' ridiculous...
Oh, and there's also all that crap about them releasing the same
episode over and over again and calling it a complete season,
but I won't get into that. By this point, I think I've driven
home my message about as thoroughly as possible: Haruhi Suzumiya
sucks and you suck for liking it.
Al Cone - 9/10/10