And so the final character to round out my top ten favorite characters should come as no surprise (after four years of course). As the titular character in the franchise that is synonymous with the phrase Light Novel in Japan, this character appealed to many all around the world. She’s been in many countries, even as a sign of peace during wartime, and is known to most anime fans. The final member of my top ten is the one who Saved the World by Overloading it with Fun: Haruhi Suzumiya! That is all!
Out of all the brigade members, I feel that Haruhi is the most detailed (mostly from the first novel). I feel that Haruhi is emotionally, and very likely socially still a child. Her actions are rash and without consideration of others, until her growth in November from Sigh and the ensuing recovery in Live a Live. She wanted so much to believe that there was something special about the people around her in elementary school and when she realized how small of a world it is, it broke her heart tremendously.
Haruhi symbolizes the child inside all of us who never grew up. She’s the one who desires to believe in the impossible and yet somehow was able to acquire the power to make that happen. It’s the ultimate irony: she has the ability to make all of her wishes come true (and subconsciously they do), but she won’t find out about it. I wonder if that’s how her power will go away: she finally realizes that the world is fine the way it is with no super humans or time travelers.
Does Haruhi mean to hurt her friends? I’d argue heavily against it. Ignoring future stories, she’s been shown to always want to help someone in need although not always in the optimum method. Even in Sigh, she’s just trying to get Mikuru to be a better actress. The novel states it better where she’s trying to get Mikuru to have a reaction rather than just hitting her. She offers to share an umbrella with Kyon; she stays after to help edit the movie, she takes over for a sick member in a band, and she stayed by Kyon’s side all three days he was unconcious. Her loneliness from middle school has gone away and she truly treasures the people around her.
Haruhi reminds me of that person. When something needs to happen for her, it happens. Of course she has supernatural powers to help her, but things always seem to go her way when she least expects it. She’s able to do well on tests because she knows what to study and thus that’s what ends up being on the exam. She can’t comprehend how people can study and do poorly like Kyon. She tries to fit everything into things she’s seen rather than what they could be like in Mysterique Sign where the Computer Club President went missing. That’s why Kyon is a good match for her. He’s a grounding force that she needs to move forward.
She cares deeply for Kyon, yet she’s afraid to realize it. The last big things in her life (her special viewpoint and John Smith) were lost to her and I think she’s somewhat afraid he’ll leave her behind too. With how she stayed by his side and was depressed in Sigh are just two examples, but Someday in the Rain, Lone Island Syndrome, and Boredom all show how important he is to her. I can’t wait to see how their relationship develops.
Besides being the force driving me into anime, Haruhi is special to me because she reminds me of myself. I do dream about the supernatural types of beings she imagines regardless of what science has taught me because it’s more fun to imagine the impossible. Her ability to luck into things is something I’ve noticed that often happens to me as well. I think her quote about love in Melancholy fits what I feel about love as well (with the caveat that I think “whatever happens will happen”). She wants the best for everyone around her and will do anything for them, much like I think I do for my friends. She’s the side of me who’s afraid to grow up in the real world.
After Nagisa and Saten, Haruhi is the third most well developed character I’ve seen. She’s not a tsundere, she’s not genki, she’s just Haruhi due to the depth in her. Melancholy is one of the finest stories I’ve read/seen and her change from the prologue to the end is a great transition in writing. She visibly grows throughout the series bit-by-bit until (censored for novel spoilers). There are flaws in her character, but they’re realistic for her and ones that are entertaining to see overcome.
I have to comment that the Disappearance!Haruhi is one of the most appealing character designs in anime to me and is one of the reasons Haruhi is my favorite. Seeing the long hair make its return (without the ponytail) was a great addition to her design and emphasized the change that Kyon makes in her life. The contrast of her hairbands is further aided with the Kyounen uniform to draw even more attention, not to mention the uniform itself has amazing style by itself. The anime version emphasized that design even better than I imagined in the novel and I’m always sad to see it go away in the story.
Then what about me? What did “Haruhi Suzumiya” mean to me? Haruhi was Haruhi and nobody else.
That sums it up perfectly. Haruhi is Haruhi and is someone special to me. She’s the one who got me into anime and for that I’m always grateful to her franchise. Her character is one of the best I’ve seen. All that means one thing: there’s no better person to round out my top ten with. I hope you enjoyed it!
Edit: I forgot to include the last version of Haruhi on BD, so here you go!