Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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Who is Haruhi?

If there's one series that would really benefit from a remake it's The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. There's so much I admire about the original anime series, which I just finished rewatching, though. It's really only one or two things that bug me about it.

Number one for the axe would probably Mikuru Asahina and her annoying voice, performed by Yuko Goto. The show premiered in 2006, eleven years ago now, and it could bear a lot of the blame for one of the worst aspects of modern anime, a fetishisation of pretty girls who behave like house pets. There are a couple moments where Mikuru rises above this, particularly in her future incarnation that appears in a few episodes. There's also a moment in the arc where they're shooting the film for the cultural festival and Mikuru advises Kyon not to trust Koizumi--and Koizumi not long after suggests Mikuru's ridiculous naivete is all an act to seduce him. This is a bit hard to believe and furthermore I want to trust Koizumi in his theory about Haruhi because it's the most interesting aspect of the show to me.

The idea that Haruhi is God and doesn't know it, that she must be kept from the conscious knowledge lest it cause unforeseeable chaos, adds wonderful tension to every scene. I love how there are hints that she can read Kyon's mind but it's so subtly carried off you can never be quite certain.

Should I suggest an English language remake? With white actors? We see what trouble the Ghost in the Shell and Death Note remakes have gotten into. It's weird how the forces pushing the political dialogue are deaf to the desires of people in countries they're supposedly so concerned about offending. People complaining about white washing in the Ghost in the Shell remake almost always failed to mention that the film features one of the biggest Japanese stars of the past forty years, Takeshi Kitano, and the fact that almost no-one interviewed among Japanese audiences minded the casting of Scarlett Johansson. There's a subtle arrogance implicit in this omission from the arguments of most crusaders. It's as though two conflicting realities are coexisting in the minds of these politically minded individuals--on the one hand, they have to be concerned about offending anyone, and on the other, they have to ignore the actual interests of people in foreign countries. It's a matter of taking control away from people so that they can have what they're supposed to want. Assuming the motivations are genuine which I don't think they are.

In any case, I wouldn't want to recast Haruhi as white. In fact, I'd want all the characters to be Japanese. I wouldn't want to change any of their names, for one thing, and Japanese high schools are so different from American high schools I feel like it would be a shame to change the setting so I'd want to set it in Japan. Maybe it doesn't need a remake. Maybe it just needs an edit, like the version of Phantom Menace without Jar Jar. It would be so good if it weren't for Mikuru.

Many consider Haruhi, voiced by Aya Hirano, to be the prototypical tsundere. Yet there's a lot more to her than simply a character type. Her anxiety about the meaninglessness of existence in the impossible numbers of individuals around her is really nicely conveyed on the show. It's a normal anxiety for a teenager and her subconscious tendency to manifest supernatural beings and events nicely interact with Kyon's reluctance to be so weak as to empathise with her. Both characters are intelligent and vulnerable in ways that don't seem flat and exploitive.

Twitter Sonnet #1031

The unobtrusive tinsel takes a place.
In dots defined against the lamp it glows.
A power pickled last assumes a face.
For all its shrouds the vintage sand still shows.
Connected Ls beside a seven lean.
A flaring line bisects the digit half.
In empty booths the ghostly nurses clean.
There's noisy worlds inside a golden calf.
Reflecting flame was clothing for the sun.
Outside the newest store the oldest waits.
The faded pigeons yet are not so done.
A checked banana bishop always mates.
A table clock is timing drinks for keys.
A shaking lock is lifting chords for knees.
Tags: #1031, anime, television, the melancholy of haruhi suzumiya, tv show
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