Monday, January 23, 2012

Character Study-Haruhi

               Haruhi herself is a very divisive figure. Many people don't like the series because of her specifically. The problem with talking about that issue, and about her personality in general, is that it changes a lot. She received more development of the course of the series than most characters do in long-running series. What people really don't like about her is her beginning self. At the start of the series Haruhi is a major jerk. She doesn't give a crap what anyone thinks, and seems to treat her fellow human beings as toys, if she notices them at all. Yes, that is a horrible personality trait, but the people who are mad are mad for a reason. It isn't just that she's a jerk, it's that she's a charming jerk. She abuses some people, and treats the rest as if they weren't there at all, but she has a way about her. When Haruhi is happy and excited, it's hard not to feel the same way. She had a very magnetic personality, she feels emotions with such intensity that it's hard to not have them broadcast to those around her. So is she a very fucked-up person? Yeah. But that's kinda the point. Over the course of the series she is forced to deal with the way she treats others, and because of it becomes a better person. Sure, she's still kind-off jerky at times, but I think everyone has a friend who is a jerk like 50% of the time. I have friends like that, and like (post-development) Haruhi, it is obvious they try hard not to be so mean, but it's a part of who they are. There's also her 'crazyness', which I think is very well done.
               For those not in-the-know, when Haruhi was a little girl she had a crazy revelation of just how many people there were in the world. And when she put it together, she realised that with so many people everywhere, what she thought was a fun and original life is actually the same kind of life that everyone leads. She wasn't special. But if there are so many people in the world, then some of them must be special! Some must lead crazy and interesting lives! But why wasn't she one of those people? This drove her to seek out the odd, supernatural, and weird just so she wouldn't be like everyone else. The problem is that she is a very intelligent and rational person, and so she knows deep down that the things she looks for don't exist. This makes for a great internal struggle, the fight many geeks must have between what they want to be and what they know is.

             The big strength that helps convey who she is depends on the source material. In the novels, it had a lot to do with the illustrations, which are great and serve to display her manic personality. Her seiyuu in the Japanese is Aya Hirano, a now famous pop idol. She also sings the many songs of the series, and is Konata from Lucky Star as well. She...
You do know about Aya Hirano's ca-
                  -Yeah, okay. For those who don't know, in November 2010 Hirano revealed she had a pituitary gland tumor, and gave up on voice acting until further notice. Luckily, when researching this bit I found out that last August she announced she would return to voice acting. I hope she is able to continue with her life despite the tumor, as cancer is a horrible disease that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies.

                  Back on track, her acting as Haruhi is...well...amazing. She did almost as good a job at her voice as Freeman did as Kyon. Every line is charged with that insane energy that makes Haruhi awesome. It is easily the best performance in the Japanese version. On the English side of things she is voiced by Wendee Lee, who you would know as Faye Valentine in Cowboy BeBop, T.K. in Digimon, and (surprise) Konata in Lucky Star. Now, she has taken quite a bit of flack for being worse than Hirano. Is her acting worse? No. Does her voice not suit the character as much as Hirano? Yeah. I still think that she's really good. The problem is that she never manages to copy the manic insanity hiding in Hirano's voice. Still, a good job.

               Overall, Haruhi is a very deep and complex character, and personally she is a very fun anti-hero, and I would be her loyal brigade member any day.

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