WARNING. WALL OF TEXT.
- Aliens, time travelers, and espers may exist - and not just in your dreams. Nagaru Tanigawa's The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya has the main character, Kyon, deal with high school freshman Haruhi Suzumiya, who believes in supernatural life. Little does she know that she has the power to create, destroy, and change the universe at her will, and only Kyon can convince this eccentric girl to keep the world as is. When Haruhi makes a club at school and invites three members, Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina, and Itsuki Koizumi, these four people change Kyon's life drastically. Through the conflict of dealing with Haruhi, Kyon becomes more respectful of her, and learns that the people that you say you hate are actually some of your closest friends.
First of all, Kyon's whole life changes when he meets the strange Haruhi. She's beautiful, has a great personality, and is athletic and smart. But one thing that sets her apart from others is her passionate belief in anything extraordinary. As Haruhi Suzumiya introduces herself at the beginning of the school year, she announces with a glare, "I have no interest in ordinary humans. If there are any aliens, time travelers, and espers here, come join me. That is all" (p6). This quote shows how Haruhi believes in strange things and also how she doesn't exactly like the world as it is. Haruhi wants something exciting to happen, and describes humans as "ordinary", implying that people who have amazing powers wound be more fun to befriend. Kyon, however, doesn't respect Haruhi's thoughts and guesses everyone else didn't either. "Is this some kind of joke? There were probably big question marks in the minds of everyone in the room as they wondered how they were supposed to react. Are we supposed to laugh?" (p6). This quote reveals Kyon's disrespect toward Haruhi's presentation. He thinks it is pretty immature to still believe in things like this, and doesn't want to take her seriously. But, he learns later that she is dead serious about her words. Despite this, Kyon tries to talk to her, but always seems to not connect well with her due to him secretly not regarding her beliefs.
Second, Kyon changes to respect Haruhi a bit more after he finds out that a supernatural phenomena actually exists. The club Haruhi has made, the SOS Brigade, is searching for people with astonishing powers, but they're actually all there in the club room! The three invited members, Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina, and Itsuki Koizumi have each revealed themselves to be an alien, time traveler, and esper, and have also showed proof to Kyon after he reluctantly believes them. Yuki Nagato used her alien powers to save Kyon when he was attacked by another alien posing as a student at school. Mikuru's 'older self' also time traveled back to the past to meet him. In addition, Itsuki took Kyon into a 'Closed Space' only accessible with esper abilities and which is isolated from the rest of the world and is created when Haruhi is in a bad mood. "A self-proclaimed alien-made, artificial human. A self-proclaimed time traveling girl. A self-proclaimed squad of esper boys. Each has shown me honest proof of identity... Okay, I could live with that. Or no, like hell I could live with that, but even if I accepted everything that had happened and been said, there was still one thing I didn't get. Why me?" (p166). In this quote, Kyon believes the three people who have become his friends but still doesn't understand how it connected him and Haruhi together. But he partially accepts the fact that the SOS Brigade members are weirdoes, so thus partially accepts the fact that Haruhi is true about phenomenal people existing, and he just doesn't know why it all revolves around him at the moment. However, Kyon is now another step closer in understanding Haruhi Suzumiya and respecting her.
Third, Kyon is brought the point in the story where he realizes and admits that he doesn't actually hate Haruhi as he thinks and indirectly says, and that she holds a different meaning for him. When he's stuck in a closed space with her, and the only way out of it is to admit that he respects her a lot, he sincerely tells that to her. Kyon explains, "Haruhi, I've been through some really fantastic experiences the past few days. You probably don't know, but there are actually a bunch of extraordinary people interested in you. These people, they consider you to be a unique girl and are acting accordingly. You may not have realized, but the world was definitely moving in an interesting direction" (p190). In this quote he is referring to the SOS Brigade's thinking of her, but is also implying how he feels about Haruhi too. He's accepted her as a close friend, rather than the insane immature classmate who sits behind him in class. Kyon has finally learned from the phrase "keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer".
Kyon begins to respect Haruhi and learns that all people are different when he deals with Haruhi and her problems. Kyon first met Haruhi in class, and though that she was odd and didn't like her or her ideas of supernatural beings. However, the club that she forms has members that have paranormal powers and they prove to Kyon that people like them do exist, so Kyon begins to believe Haruhi and now thinks differently of her. In the end, he picks up signals that he respects her quite a lot. I have been in a situation like this once, where I met a girl who was pretty strange, but after we talked and got to know each other, we found out we had a lot of things in common. She is now one of my best friends! So, make a new friend today out of someone who seems to be dubious person you'd get along with, and then maybe you'll find out something unique about them.
Honors material for an 8th grader? o_O I had fun writing this, because it was about a light novel which inspired anime which I did watch and enjoy... *shot*
Constructive criticism is welcome!
((I didn't know which section to put it, so anime/manga it is! ))