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Haruhi general debate
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#1
03-08-08, 6:53 AM

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Because the comments section doesn't have enough space.
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#2
03-08-08, 7:06 AM

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For those who missing the whole debate

Kaiserpingvin | Yesterday, 1:00 AM
Salve.

I am, as you might guess (hint: <-Picture), not at all a hater of the Haruhi franchise, in fact I'm an avid fan. Proclaimed haruhiist, even. Yet I have joined. Why? Pure altruism. Now you have someone to bounce your dissatisfactions with, or flame if that's your cup of tea!

I don't care particularly much for what you think about Haruhi; that doesn't mean I won't argue with you. Nothing will come out of this except for eventual distraction.

This is, thusly, a respectful sort-of-troll, I guess?

What's great about the plot? Now, first of all: Man-as-God is by no means an unique idea, yet here it's used in a totally new context and with a slightly new premise - it's original, and it's executed quite intelligently. There's a lot of things going on "behind" the characters - tey have plots and emotions obscured by the fact that only Kyon is offered as a viewpoint (and even here, we should assume he's an unreliable narrator).

Also... Have you aptly comprehended the premise? The reason aliens, ESPers and time travellers "SOMEHOW discovered" Haruhi, was because she wished for them to. The Universe is her will, however subconscious it might be.

It's certainly not "shallow" when compared to most everything in popular culture. It isn't exactly Umberto Eco or James Joyce, but the reversed-solipsism, whatever's going around in the heads of the characters, and the theme (boredom, I guess) offers quite a few interesting questions.

Also, shallowness is in the eyes of the beholder. There is author-intended depth, but what's important is what you, as a viewer, see, is it not? This, I guess, is exactly why you're entitled calling it "shallow".
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alugirl613 | 24 hours ago
For me, I liked the deeper meaning that the idea of God could be anyone and he/she wouldn't know their divine powers. The main reason I disliked the anime was indeed the main characters Suzumiya, Haruhi
and Asahina, Mikuru. With a cast who is annoying to watch it's hard to really like it overall.
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Kaiserpingvin | 23 hours ago
*nods*

There is no argument for "this character is wonderful" that is logical or factual. So no counterargument from me.
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alugirl613 | 23 hours ago
*nods back* :)

I guess it comes down to is the matter of personal preference.

*music in background* "What if God was one of us, just a stranger like one of us"* -Sorry, that song popped in my head :P-
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Torisunanohokori | 20 hours ago
It's been a while since I've really torn into a Haruhi argument, but I can't just let that one lie.

Foremost of all, the reason I dislike Haruhi is not an issue of depth perception, as you claim it to be. It's because two aspects of the show: 1) the dialogue is bad and 2) every aspect of the show, especially Haruhi's powers, is a plot device.

The script itself is worse than most fanfics, which grated on me to a substantial degree when watching (something which culminated in episode 9's 5 minutes of Yuki in a room). It's very badly cliche, and whether that's intentional or not doesn't matter. Speaking of fanfics, rather than being an original type of god-figure, Haruhi basically serves as the author to a poorly-written, self-insertion fanfic. It's a childish fantasy world, coming from a somewhat weak main character, and I expect a little more from my anime.

I've heard the insinuations - that Haruhi is somehow "deep" simply because it does these things on purpose. The Haruhi advocates fail to take into account that the normal conventions of storytelling and character development exist for a reason. Not to say that conventional is better than unconventional, but the show cannot be held as better because it's different. Different is just that - different.

I'm also very much offended by another point that I see a lot of pro-Haruhi people make. They argue that, if you do not enjoy the undercurrents of Haruhi, that makes you a shallow person. That's just not true. Never assume that, just because there is denunciation of what you view as a work of art, that the critics are just a bunch of small-minded goons. We have our own, distinct reasons for disliking the show.
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Theorys | 8 hours ago
Torisunanohokori, that's really well thought out points...but I doubt you'll ever convince any Haruhi fan of that. I for one agree with you that the show by itself is overall quite dull.

I especially agree: it's not really that deep. Deeper animes such as Now and Then, Here and There(LaLa-Ru is a better representation of how a Goddess would act), Lain (Lain herself had far more going on than Haruhi does), Haibane Renmei (any scene with the elder members that watch over the Haibane is extremely deep and yet subtle) or even Blue Submarine 6's evil character Zorndyke was far deeper and far more interesting than Haruhi was as some quasi-goddess of reality.
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Kaiserpingvin | 5 hours ago
Now, first of all: TMOHS has none of the pretenses that NGE, Lain, GITS or the other classic "deep shows" have. It's supposed to be a light-hearted high-school comedy-ish thing (I can't really put the finger on what genre I'd personally apply to it).

Also, "better representation of how a Goddess would act"? That's one sad statement. Why would something act in a specific manner only because it's got certain reality-upturning powers? She's not even aware she has them! "Deeper" I will touch on later on in the post (and I can't specify to what you brought up, as all I've seen is SEL), and "interesting" is subjective and nothing else, so no counterargument.

Torisunanohokori said:
Foremost of all, the reason I dislike Haruhi is not an issue of depth perception, as you claim it to be. It's because two aspects of the show: 1) the dialogue is bad and 2) every aspect of the show, especially Haruhi's powers, is a plot device.


I do not think I ever said "this is why you dislike Haruhi", and am not arrogant enough to say "you're stupid, and it's only because of that you dislike show X". Tastes differ.

That the dialogue is bad, I cannot quite comprehend. Care to give examples? I found the dialogue to be above average (hardly unique nor mind-blowing though), avoiding many of the most egregious pitfalls and clichés but only every now and then delivering something ingenial.

Also, everything a plot device? Huh? Is there any work of fiction anywhere where there's something that's not ultimately a plot device, yet still is featured prominently in the plot (i.e. is not filler or irrelevant material)?

Torisunanohokori said:
The script itself is worse than most fanfics, which grated on me to a substantial degree when watching (something which culminated in episode 9's 5 minutes of Yuki in a room). It's very badly cliche, and whether that's intentional or not doesn't matter. Speaking of fanfics, rather than being an original type of god-figure, Haruhi basically serves as the author to a poorly-written, self-insertion fanfic. It's a childish fantasy world, coming from a somewhat weak main character, and I expect a little more from my anime.


Huh. First you state it’s cliché, then you agree it’s different. Now, I wholeheartedly agree, and I see that this is where it attains its power from. This, in itself, is “depth”. Not “depth” as in “a clear message”, but as in “there’s another layer”, one that looks at storytelling tropes from within.

I also happen to think Haruhi is a very powerful character. Here the lines between what’s actually in the work and what I project onto her begins to blur.

Torisunanohokori said:
I've heard the insinuations - that Haruhi is somehow "deep" simply because it does these things on purpose. The Haruhi advocates fail to take into account that the normal conventions of storytelling and character development exist for a reason. Not to say that conventional is better than unconventional, but the show cannot be held as better because it's different. Different is just that - different.


Here I disagree. What is "better", when it comes to fiction? I’ll overlook the answer I hold as most important (“that you like it”), as it’s irrelevant in an objective-ish discussion. What’s left, then, is that it adheres to a certain set of qualities that are deemed as “good”. This, too, is hard to compare (as most everyone have wildly differing qualifications for a “good” piece of art). I happen to hold “original/different” as a quite high quality. I’m a modernist freak, you see, and like the avant-garde (Haruhi isn’t as much avant-garde as “not traditional”, though).

Depth, then, is not something only objective. There’s different types of depth – author intended, author injected, spectator perceived and spectator projected. Author intention is what’s “actually there”, the levels of subtext, metaphor and similar metacontent that the author had in mind while crafting the fiction. Author injection is what the author put “subconsciously” into the work – the archetypes, symbols, and similar to-himself-important content. Spectator perceived is what a spectator sees in terms of metacontent – it may overlap with what the author intended, and is not at all unaffected by the work in itself, but may still contain pretty much anything. Spectator projection then, is your projected subconscious material onto the work (and this affects the spectator perception, no doubt!).

Haruhi might not have very much of author intented metacontent – we’d like to flatter ourselves that it did, but we do not know. Personally, I see a lot in the show and the characters, and that in itself is more important than what’s intended. Naturally, this is irrelevant to an objective discussion, where the only “objective content” is from the author, but we have no real way to prove that, except by asking Tanigawa himself. I could support my readings of the work by means of what’s in the work, but that’d necessitate that you support your stance that there’s nothing by pointing at the work, which is hard (because there’s nothing there for you to point out).

Torisunanohokori said:
I'm also very much offended by another point that I see a lot of pro-Haruhi people make. They argue that, if you do not enjoy the undercurrents of Haruhi, that makes you a shallow person. That's just not true. Never assume that, just because there is denunciation of what you view as a work of art, that the critics are just a bunch of small-minded goons. We have our own, distinct reasons for disliking the show.


I agree. You're not shallow disliking it. Yet nor are us Haruhiists for liking it.
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greckoboy | 3 hours ago
Kaiserpingvin said:
There's a lot of things going on "behind" the characters - tey have plots and emotions obscured by the fact that only Kyon is offered as a viewpoint (and even here, we should assume he's an unreliable narrator).
i'd like to hear some examples. perhaps i'm a really shallow guy myself, but i rather believe i know mostly everything there was to know about nearly all the characters of haruhi after a single viewing and i don't think there were any "obscured emotions/plots" that were left for the viewers to figure out.

and anyway, i'm not going to counter your points, although i do applaude the effort (seriously) and wish i had the dedication to spend some time countering them.

but i've got to say this. i'm STILL of the opinion that it's a small number of people who think about why TMOHS is so great as much as u do. and lots of people still like the show 'cos they think haruhi's hot. admit it, you think she's hot too. which's why we're also complaining about people's poor taste in girls on this club. although admittedly it's only in my opinion that your tastes are bad (may u two live happily ever after and all that kinda stuff).

and if this is all just a question of personal opinions and tastes, then yes, i'm afraid you're right when u say that nothing will come out of this discussion. despite everything you've said, i'm still of the opinion that the plot is simple and that it wasn't that well thought out. i think that the author did well to come up with such a premise (man-as-god) for an anime but i don't think there was enough work put into the story beyond that. plus i think that most of the metacontent WAS unintentional and i feel as though the author and the anime studio just "lucked out" with their success. i don't have much to back me up but that's just the kind of feeling i get; that haruhi isn't the top 10 or 20 show that it's supposed to be.
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Torisunanohokori | 8 minutes ago
@Kaiser
When I said that Haruhi was like a poorly written fanfic, I meant that it was the same as the bad fanfics out there (as in not original). The premise of giving oneself ultimate power within one's own story was parodied at least as far back as "This is Otakudom" in 2001.

Kaiserpingvin said:
Also, "better representation of how a Goddess would act"? That's one sad statement. Why would something act in a specific manner only because it's got certain reality-upturning powers? She's not even aware she has them! "Deeper" I will touch on later on in the post (and I can't specify to what you brought up, as all I've seen is SEL), and "interesting" is subjective and nothing else, so no counterargument.


Storytelling conventions dictate that a god character must be something more than totally selfish. There's a reason for that. Once a god is in a story, the story has to move along with some form of consistency. When the god is totally selfish and impulsive, it gives rise to the phenomenon of Deus ex Machina.

According to Wikipedia, "A plot device is an element introduced into a story solely to advance or resolve the plot of the story. In the hands of a skilled writer, the reader or viewer will not notice that the device is a construction of the author." It defines a flat character as "distinguished by its lack of detail. Though the description of a flat character may be detailed, the character itself barely has detail and usually just follows one characteristic." I think both pretty well fit Haruhi. Haruhi is a pancake flat character whose only real meaning is having the god powers and using them to advance the plot.

As far as dialogue goes, I'll recall to mind the Yuki in the room example, which I mentioned already but didn't really get into. You have there five minutes of Yuki sitting in a room reading a book, while a disembodied voice shouts out cliche lines. It was kind of sad, like watching someone try to use a webcomic joke in real life.

I disagree with the suggestion that you made that depths as a result of spectator projection and perception. Obviously, such phenomina exist, but I dispute defining them as depth. The primary case here would be Jim Davis' Garfield. One of the most merchandised comics in the world, it stays popular not so much as because of Davis' comic talent as by his marketing savvy. Such depth is artificial and not really valid as evidence of a show's quality. Subjectivity is, in this case, more of a cop out from the logical parts of the argument than an actual counterargument.

Kaiserpingvin said:
I could support my readings of the work by means of what’s in the work, but that’d necessitate that you support your stance that there’s nothing by pointing at the work, which is hard (because there’s nothing there for you to point out).


I didn't say that there was "nothing" in Haruhi, just "nothing unique", which is easily justifiable. I've done this before, but I can dredge up a ton of examples as to why Haruhi is in fact truly not special.

Woo, that was long. I'm setting up a forum thread for the long posts from here on.
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#3
03-08-08, 7:54 AM

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Storytelling conventions dictate that a god character must be something more than totally selfish. There's a reason for that. Once a god is in a story, the story has to move along with some form of consistency. When the god is totally selfish and impulsive, it gives rise to the phenomenon of Deus ex Machina.

I think both pretty well fit Haruhi. Haruhi is a pancake flat character whose only real meaning is having the god powers and using them to advance the plot.

Makes me wonder how the heck Greek mythology became so popular in the first place. Even then, the heroes were usually more interesting and more altruistic than the deities.
 
#4
03-08-08, 8:42 AM

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Torisunanohokori said:
When I said that Haruhi was like a poorly written fanfic, I meant that it was the same as the bad fanfics out there (as in not original). The premise of giving oneself ultimate power within one's own story was parodied at least as far back as "This is Otakudom" in 2001.

So, what you're saying, is that Tanigawa identifies with Haruhi? I can't see this as even in the slightest way making it any less well-done. Roger Waters identified with Pink of The Wall, and that certainly didn't make the work in question any worse. That it's some kind of masturbatory pleasure of making everything in the story happen as an avatar of you wishes is obvious (judging by Tanigawas character, Haruhi is anything but a representation of himself though). That this equates bad story is hardly obvious.

On the topic of fanfics, I'm very ill-read, so I cannot comment on that. I still think the whole concept to be quite original in its context.

Torisunanohokori said:
Storytelling conventions dictate that a god character must be something more than totally selfish. There's a reason for that. Once a god is in a story, the story has to move along with some form of consistency. When the god is totally selfish and impulsive, it gives rise to the phenomenon of Deus ex Machina.

According to Wikipedia, "A plot device is an element introduced into a story solely to advance or resolve the plot of the story. In the hands of a skilled writer, the reader or viewer will not notice that the device is a construction of the author." It defines a flat character as "distinguished by its lack of detail. Though the description of a flat character may be detailed, the character itself barely has detail and usually just follows one characteristic." I think both pretty well fit Haruhi. Haruhi is a pancake flat character whose only real meaning is having the god powers and using them to advance the plot.


I beg to differ on the point of Haruhi being a pancake flat character. She's mostly a thousand ergs of energetic will, not caring for what other people think, that is true – but she has certain scenes where more complexity shines through. See for instance her reaction to the crowds appreciation of ENOZ performance in Live A Live, her attitude to her feelings for Kyon, the way it's shown, and how she reacts during Remote Island Syndrome Part 2 when she thinks that it was Itsuki and Kyon who, by mistake, slew the owner of the mansion.

And if her divine powers didn't influence the plot, what would be the point?

Deus ex machina, then, one of my most loathed storytelling devices, is not what the omnipotence of Haruhi is. Her divine powers are, to be exact, the villain. Deus ex relies on a previously unmentioned entity/concept entering the scene and resolving a problem which seemed unresolveable. Haruhis omnipotence is the main theme and focus of the story, anything but unmentioned, so it's not deus ex machina.

Torisunanohokori said:
As far as dialogue goes, I'll recall to mind the Yuki in the room example, which I mentioned already but didn't really get into. You have there five minutes of Yuki sitting in a room reading a book, while a disembodied voice shouts out cliche lines. It was kind of sad, like watching someone try to use a webcomic joke in real life.


Personally I liked it as a change of pace, and reinforcing one of the main themes of TMOHS: it was obvious fanservice, but it also parodied it. The stereotypes exist because they are stereotypes in TMOHS, expressively, which is something of an acidic comment on fanservice-y shows, as well as being a member of the genre and guilty of the crimes it critique.

Torisunanohokori said:
I disagree with the suggestion that you made that depths as a result of spectator projection and perception. Obviously, such phenomina exist, but I dispute defining them as depth. The primary case here would be Jim Davis' Garfield. One of the most merchandised comics in the world, it stays popular not so much as because of Davis' comic talent as by his marketing savvy. Such depth is artificial and not really valid as evidence of a show's quality. Subjectivity is, in this case, more of a cop out from the logical parts of the argument than an actual counterargument.


I agree that it's not a valid argument for an objective debate; but I still hold that spectator perception is as important, or even more important, than what the author intended when it comes to your enjoyment (not that author intention is not unimportant – badly executed ideas of metacontent can spoil the most elegant piece of art, and vice versa).

And it is depth, merely not inherent depth. What creates ”inherent depth” is, in short, intertextuality and subtext. Intertextuality can only apply if the audience knows the work(s) being referenced, and subtext only is the associations pointing to what's below the surface makes sense to the person. This means that missing intended metacontent is not on behalf of lack of ”depth-perception”, but a lack of having experienced what's vital for the metacontent to be metacontent.

For actual shows of depth – I offer the aforementioned juxtapositioning of fanservice and parody of fanservice. It's also about how to enjoy life (Camus would say that' the only philosophical question there is), and it's a view of metaphysics in anime I haven't seen since Serial Experiments Lain. It's shock-full of references (and not only to other anime), which makes it very intertextual.

As said, the inherent depth isn't spectacular, but it's not shallow.

Torisunanohokori said:
I didn't say that there was "nothing" in Haruhi, just "nothing unique", which is easily justifiable. I've done this before, but I can dredge up a ton of examples as to why Haruhi is in fact truly not special.


If there's anything remotely like TMOHS out there, I'd be all over it, so please!
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#5
03-08-08, 11:50 AM

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@Kaiserpingvin
sorry for butting in with a reply to just the lower half of your post...but anyway. it just seems to me that you're making a link between anime with parodies (of fanservice and whatnot) and depth which i feel is a rather dangerous conclusion to come to.

i'm not sure how much "story depth" has to do with intertextuality and subtext. just because NGE makes references to ancient symbols or biblical texts or whatnot doesn't mean i'd feel that the show has depth. my lack of literature training probably plays a part to my differences in thought, but i think there should be things such as emotional depth and depth with regards to how much thought and effort the author puts into his works to make sure his characters say and do things that make sense and that those characters aren't just inserted into the story as plot devices.

and, in any case, the parodies i see in TMOHS aren't exactly the same as the subtler kind of intertextuality/subtext of great literary works. parodies are, in my opinion, a rather bold form of intertextuality and ALSO one which doesn't require much effort to think of subtle, deeper ways to weave them into the story. still, parodies are getting quite overused in anime these days, and i feel that the reason it's overused is because 1. it's easy to make parodies, and 2. parody anime sells 'cos some people just can't get enough.

i remember anime like Hayate the Combat Butler had plenty of parodies too, but just because i've had the experience required to understand gundam references doesn't mean i'll just sit there laughing and appreciating the show's supposed "quality" when my favourite gundam just appears out of nowhere during the show. perhaps i'm just of the cynical kind, but i don't think that noticing the references and parodies in the anime would make me think that the show has depth.

in the end it could simply be a problem with definitions...you've got your definition of depth, and i've got mine. yours may be right, and mine's probably wrong because i haven't done any searching up on the matter. :| but even if the people who "officially" decided what "depth" means say that i'm wrong, it still doesn't change the fact that i've got certain issues with the show that prevent me from acknowledging it as a top anime.
 
#6
03-08-08, 1:06 PM

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greckoboy said:
in the end it could simply be a problem with definitions...you've got your definition of depth, and i've got mine. yours may be right, and mine's probably wrong because i haven't done any searching up on the matter. :| but even if the people who "officially" decided what "depth" means say that i'm wrong, it still doesn't change the fact that i've got certain issues with the show that prevent me from acknowledging it as a top anime.


First of all – there's no ”right” definition of ”depth”, as it's a human-made concept not grounded in absolute reality. There's, however, more or less useful definitions and more or less powerful definitions. Yours is as correct as mine. I have a very limited understanding what the generally accepted theories of literary criticism is, I've mostly thought about the topic a bit and come to the conclusion that this definition works best for me.

And you're right in that no matter what's said on the objective elements of TMOHS, your opinion probably won't change. The interesting part here is, well, pride – the pride in liking something that is ”objectively good” (as always it comes down to that phantom phallos). Whether it's actually ”objectively good” or not, well, that's what the debate's about. Roughly.

greckoboy said:
i'm not sure how much "story depth" has to do with intertextuality and subtext. just because NGE makes references to ancient symbols or biblical texts or whatnot doesn't mean i'd feel that the show has depth. my lack of literature training probably plays a part to my differences in thought, but i think there should be things such as emotional depth and depth with regards to how much thought and effort the author puts into his works to make sure his characters say and do things that make sense and that those characters aren't just inserted into the story as plot devices.


I realize I used the terms without pinpointing exactly how I meant them. S'rry!

Intertextuality – Open references that increase the implications/associations of what's being said should you know what the referens is to. For example, the scene in the last episode of NGE where they explain ”boundaries” against a mostly white backdrop, with objects that constantly changes, which for most people is merely a very interesting take on why we need other people – if you know of Lacan, though, your appreciation widens and you begin to comprehend the characters and message more. It also means you're an overread prick (I'm totally guilty!).

There's also intertextuality that doesn't emphasize the themes or increase comprehension of them, as for example religion in NGE. An even better example is Ergo Proxy, the most horrendous display of meaningless namedropping I've ever seen. So, intertextuality can be meaningless too – signifiers of nothing. It's the bad kind of depth.

Subtext – what is not said outright, or what's said ”behind” the words. A good example for the latter would be FLCL, where almost everything read in isolation is a sexual innuendo (fitting for the theme of adolescence that Enokido seems so fond of) or about ”being free”. It can also be the emotions/motivations behind the personas of the characters, depth-as-emotional-depth (here our definitions overlap slightly), but this is more shady as it might flow over into the realm of ”intrigue” instead.

About ”depth as effort”, this one is even shadier. How do we define effort? How do we know how much effort's there? Not to mention that some people do what you mentioned effortlessly, while others can be pushed to their utter limits attempting this. Characters making sense and being ”above mere storytelling devices” (still, everythings ultimately storytelling devices), is not ”depth” as much as ”good storytelling” to me. You can tell a good story without depth (Baccano!), and have depth without good storytelling.

greckoboy said:
and, in any case, the parodies i see in TMOHS aren't exactly the same as the subtler kind of intertextuality/subtext of great literary works. parodies are, in my opinion, a rather bold form of intertextuality and ALSO one which doesn't require much effort to think of subtle, deeper ways to weave them into the story. still, parodies are getting quite overused in anime these days, and i feel that the reason it's overused is because 1. it's easy to make parodies, and 2. parody anime sells 'cos some people just can't get enough.

i remember anime like Hayate the Combat Butler had plenty of parodies too, but just because i've had the experience required to understand gundam references doesn't mean i'll just sit there laughing and appreciating the show's supposed "quality" when my favourite gundam just appears out of nowhere during the show. perhaps i'm just of the cynical kind, but i don't think that noticing the references and parodies in the anime would make me think that the show has depth.


There's different types of parody, granted. There's the garish and obvious type, which isn't metacontent because it's, well, conbtent. TMOHS has the more obvious types too (completely apropos : ”launch the Gu****!”). However, the great parody – or perhaps Irony – of it is of another type altogether, one that indeed can have pretenses at ”depth” (it's both a meaningful commentary – meaningful in a semantic context, not necessarily appreciative – and not outright stated).

This is a matter of subjectivity altogether, parody cannot be said to be objectively good nor bad.
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#7
03-22-08, 11:22 PM

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It's been a while since I've sunk my teeth into a megapost like this.

Kaiserpingvin said:
So, what you're saying, is that Tanigawa identifies with Haruhi? I can't see this as even in the slightest way making it any less well-done. Roger Waters identified with Pink of The Wall, and that certainly didn't make the work in question any worse. That it's some kind of masturbatory pleasure of making everything in the story happen as an avatar of you wishes is obvious (judging by Tanigawas character, Haruhi is anything but a representation of himself though). That this equates bad story is hardly obvious.

On the topic of fanfics, I'm very ill-read, so I cannot comment on that. I still think the whole concept to be quite original in its context.


I don't know whether the author identifies with Haruhi, and that's not what I said. I don't disagree about identification with characters being a good thing, but the issue here is the unoriginality of the god powers "innovation". What I did say was that giving a character frivolously* ultimate powers is an old, reliable ingredient of a bad piece of writing.

*Key word

Kaiserpingvin said:
I beg to differ on the point of Haruhi being a pancake flat character. She's mostly a thousand ergs of energetic will, not caring for what other people think, that is true – but she has certain scenes where more complexity shines through. See for instance her reaction to the crowds appreciation of ENOZ performance in Live A Live, her attitude to her feelings for Kyon, the way it's shown, and how she reacts during Remote Island Syndrome Part 2 when she thinks that it was Itsuki and Kyon who, by mistake, slew the owner of the mansion.

And if her divine powers didn't influence the plot, what would be the point?

Deus ex machina, then, one of my most loathed storytelling devices, is not what the omnipotence of Haruhi is. Her divine powers are, to be exact, the villain. Deus ex relies on a previously unmentioned entity/concept entering the scene and resolving a problem which seemed unresolveable. Haruhis omnipotence is the main theme and focus of the story, anything but unmentioned, so it's not deus ex machina.


Haruhi's lack of depth comes from the fact that the emotions which she experiences are somewhat childish, and always predictable. She never really changes or shows evolution of character beyond that of a preteen girl with a social adaptivity disorder. She herself doesn't much go through character development - most of her "development" is really just screen-time as the main character.

I don't really buy the "god powers as a villian" thesis. Nonpersonified forces are only aspects of a story, and while they can influence a story, they never stand as heroes or villians. All Haruhi does is to focus more on those powers. The powers themselves are excuses, not reasons, to advance the plot. Making deus ex machina the main focus of a story doesn't change the fact that it is a weak story element.

Kaiserpingvin said:
Personally I liked it as a change of pace, and reinforcing one of the main themes of TMOHS: it was obvious fanservice, but it also parodied it. The stereotypes exist because they are stereotypes in TMOHS, expressively, which is something of an acidic comment on fanservice-y shows, as well as being a member of the genre and guilty of the crimes it critique.


No argument on the first part. Fanservce is a pretty laughable stock feature of most anime. It invites its share of parody. The cheif problem with the parody in Haruhi is the single persistent problem which dogs the entire show: the writing is poor. Most fanservice jokes in Haruhi fall flat because they're just thrown in, whether they work or not. Part of this may come from personal experience; I've seen too many nerd friends in school butcher good jokes from VGcats or some other webcomic for just that reason. For me, it's painful when a joke is botched.

Kaiserpingvin said:
I agree that it's not a valid argument for an objective debate; but I still hold that spectator perception is as important, or even more important, than what the author intended when it comes to your enjoyment (not that author intention is not unimportant – badly executed ideas of metacontent can spoil the most elegant piece of art, and vice versa).

And it is depth, merely not inherent depth. What creates ”inherent depth” is, in short, intertextuality and subtext. Intertextuality can only apply if the audience knows the work(s) being referenced, and subtext only is the associations pointing to what's below the surface makes sense to the person. This means that missing intended metacontent is not on behalf of lack of ”depth-perception”, but a lack of having experienced what's vital for the metacontent to be metacontent.

For actual shows of depth – I offer the aforementioned juxtapositioning of fanservice and parody of fanservice. It's also about how to enjoy life (Camus would say that' the only philosophical question there is), and it's a view of metaphysics in anime I haven't seen since Serial Experiments Lain. It's shock-full of references (and not only to other anime), which makes it very intertextual.

As said, the inherent depth isn't spectacular, but it's not shallow.


It sounds here like you're saying that the point of the references in Haruhi is that there is a large quantity references, not that they each have particular meaning. That is a bit of a problem. Firstly, meaning is vital to depth. In order for any story to have what we define at depth, it has to have meaning. Meaning truly does work best when it is present on both the micro and macro levels. Secondly, accessability is vital to humor. When the fact that a particular joke is being told is more important than the joke itself, you lose part of what makes humor fun: it's abitity to reach and connect with people outside of a small circle of insiders.

Kaiserpingvin said:
If there's anything remotely like TMOHS out there, I'd be all over it, so please!


Well, as far as the extraordinary becoming ordinary, and granting vast power to a teenager, there's always Death Note. I've got a few other examples that I could name quickly (I think you know plenty of reference-based anime already, so I'll skip those);

Exhibit A (Emotional use of God powers) : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Survivors_%28Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation%29

Exhibit B (Author-God of a Universe) :
www.bobandgeorge.com

I realize that this post was late in coming. For that, I apologize. I would have posted sooner, but I've had my hands full between the release of Smash Bros Brawl 2 weeks ago and a trip to Texas with my family last week.
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#8
04-20-08, 9:18 AM

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Hyuver said:
For those who missing the whole debate

Kaiserpingvin | Yesterday, 1:00 AM

I've heard the insinuations - that Haruhi is somehow "deep" simply because it does these things on purpose. The Haruhi advocates fail to take into account that the normal conventions of storytelling and character development exist for a reason. Not to say that conventional is better than unconventional, but the show cannot be held as better because it's different. Different is just that - different.

I'm also very much offended by another point that I see a lot of pro-Haruhi people make. They argue that, if you do not enjoy the undercurrents of Haruhi, that makes you a shallow person. That's just not true. Never assume that, just because there is denunciation of what you view as a work of art, that the critics are just a bunch of small-minded goons. We have our own, distinct reasons for disliking the show.
Torisunanohokori's List


I agree.

Sorry for the some "fans" who read this but I'm speaking my mind. MHS is a good anime and I gave it 8 but I can't just stand it's overrating.

The one thing I heard from the fans is that the episode are not arranged in order: And they said that it made MHS one of the most unique animes blah blah blah. I respect the creativity and originality but if you tell them frankly that the episode juggle made the series hard to understand, they would sometimes say that you didn't think enough or didn't appreciate it better. But I don't think they understood the plot fully either, some of them want to look "deep".

For me, instead of getting extra entertainment, I got frustrated because of the episode arrangement's confucing the storyline. Fans say it's coherent and it will give you a clue for what happened or what will happen, but if it did, does it really surprise you or is it really that satisfying?

About the characters, I understand that people have different tastes. BUT I also think that the characters are fan-hyped. For me, in my personal opinion, on the negative side, Haruhi is selfish, inconsiderate and always correct; the series was Haruhi centered and if the center fails, the whole plot falis. Kyon is normal and normal too. Mikuru was cute, has big boobs, and she's like Orihime and Tomoko, orange haired and innocent. Yuki and Koizumi are interesting, but I could have loved them more if they delivered lines other than about Haruhi.

Lastly, for me Haruhi may be deep in a sense that it tackles the supernatural in an unnatural way. But does it have thought-provoking issues? It did not leave any impact to me, just fun. I just can't see why people think that MHS is deeper than other series such as Naruto or Gundam where they involve war, death and morality.
"One way, Jesus, You're the only one that I could live for! You are the way, the truth and the life. We live by faith and not by sight... "
 
#9
07-02-08, 2:40 PM

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Didn't want to join the conversation, but when I see these comments, I MUST reply with something meaningful.

First of all, you guys seem to think "overrating" is what every Haruhi fan does.
This is a great anime, and you all can tell, or you're blind.

You see, why is this a great anime?
Maybe you guys didn't realize, but I'll sum it up.

First of all, you know that Kyoto Animation is a great studio in animating.
They did a great job here, especially in "Live Alive".
Can you even compare another scene from an another anime with that concert? I don't think so. They're one of the less companies who actually care about the animating progress, so how can you guys even compare it with Naruto?

People might say that Haruhi isn't quite deep, well I can agree with that, but at least it's deeper than other anime who TRY to be deep (Elfen Lied anyone...?).
The sensitive themes aren't as explicit as the "serious" anime, but if you're smarter than a donkey's ass, you can see that it's got a deeper message (not claiming to be the debat of the year ofcourse).


 
07-06-08, 6:53 PM

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rethardus said:
Didn't want to join the conversation, but when I see these comments, I MUST reply with something meaningful.

First of all, you guys seem to think "overrating" is what every Haruhi fan does.
This is a great anime, and you all can tell, or you're blind.


35/22 vision, actually. With glasses, I can see just fine, and I don't see much material in Haruhi which serves as as grounds to declare it any sort of anime great.

rethardus said:
First of all, you know that Kyoto Animation is a great studio in animating.
They did a great job here, especially in "Live Alive".
Can you even compare another scene from an another anime with that concert? I don't think so. They're one of the less companies who actually care about the animating progress, so how can you guys even compare it with Naruto?


The animation quality was never really an issue, not for the vast majority of us, but good animation only makes an anime watchable, not great. Crappy shows can have good art.

rethardus said:
People might say that Haruhi isn't quite deep, well I can agree with that, but at least it's deeper than other anime who TRY to be deep (Elfen Lied anyone...?).
The sensitive themes aren't as explicit as the "serious" anime, but if you're smarter than a donkey's ass, you can see that it's got a deeper message (not claiming to be the debat of the year ofcourse).


As much as I'm flattered being compared to an ass' ass, I'm not an idiot. I do agree that Elfen Lied was about as deep as a puddle on the ground after a drizzle. I saw more of that show than I cared for in Deutschland during my recent trip to Europe. However, Elfen Lied's being shallow doesn't in any way imply Haruhi's being deep. Yes, it has underlying morals and dynamics which work under the main plot. So does pretty much every other anime aimed at viewers above the age of 12. In other words, the evidence you give is more a justification of averageness than any particular greatness on Haruhi's part. Making said dynamics harder to recognize (not much harder, though) does not give Haruhi more depth, but rather just makes its depth less accessible to the average person. Subtlety in spioradic, insufficent quantities is more awkward than clever.

I welcome your comments on the subject, but you haven't really said anything that I haven't already heard said.
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07-24-08, 6:25 AM

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rethardus said:

You see, why is this a great anime?
Maybe you guys didn't realize, but I'll sum it up.

First of all, you know that Kyoto Animation is a great studio in animating.
They did a great job here, especially in "Live Alive".
Can you even compare another scene from an another anime with that concert? I don't think so. They're one of the less companies who actually care about the animating progress, so how can you guys even compare it with Naruto?


What does animation have to do with the actual story? I've seen plenty of anime with great storylines and disgusting animation. So what? Nobody here's taken a swipe at Haruhi's animation! >_>

 
08-02-08, 6:26 AM

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hikaru-ru said:


What does animation have to do with the actual story? I've seen plenty of anime with great storylines and disgusting animation. So what? Nobody here's taken a swipe at Haruhi's animation! >_>



hikaru-ru's right. Animation doesn't save anything. It could have the best animation in the world even tough the storyline is horrible. And in this series the storyline really is horrible. I, personally, didn't roll on the floor laughing as lots of other people did (or at least they said they did).
Overall, the series was horrible.
 
08-06-08, 3:44 AM

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I have to agree with your comments, but at least it doesn't mean the anime in it's total is crap. An anime doesn't only rely on one aspect, as you guys have been saying.
That argument goes for all of the aspects.

Sure, you're saying that the story is crap, and doesn't offer any depths. And Torisunanohokori tells me that I shouldn't compare with other anime. Then what the hell should I compare to?

A standard is only set when it's relative to another thing. Then, Torisunanohokori, do you care to explain why the fuck you gave "Ah! My Goddess" a 10?
Basically, you're saying that Haruhi has no depth or whatsoever, but you're insinuating that AMG does.

Now really, that makes you credible as a person.

 
08-06-08, 9:33 AM

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rethardus said:
I have to agree with your comments, but at least it doesn't mean the anime in it's total is crap. An anime doesn't only rely on one aspect, as you guys have been saying.
That argument goes for all of the aspects.


We're talking about the justifications you gave for it. You said 2 things; 1) The animation was good, and 2) the plot was deep. 1 doesn't really matter, and the kind of depth you're talking about is pretty common in a show that even tries to be sophisticated. We're only going by what you've said.

rethardus said:
Sure, you're saying that the story is crap, and doesn't offer any depths. And Torisunanohokori tells me that I shouldn't compare with other anime. Then what the hell should I compare to?

A standard is only set when it's relative to another thing.


Ideally, anime should be graded on merit rather than on a curve. I'm not going to get into a discussion of what shows should and/or should be rated higher than Haruhi. The issue at hand is that the merits of the show itself don't extend much beyond it's pretense of depth, and the dialogue is really cliche and awkward. (Yuki in the room, episode 9)

rethardus said:
Then, Torisunanohokori, do you care to explain why the fuck you gave "Ah! My Goddess" a 10?
Basically, you're saying that Haruhi has no depth or whatsoever, but you're insinuating that AMG does.


(Unwritten rule of MAL ettiquite: Never use people's ratings to diss them)
There are so many things about this statement that are just childish. For one thing, Ah! My Goddess has nothing to do with the argument we're having. If the best you can do is turn to an entirely different show in an attempt to discredit me, then you really need to reconsider your position. For another, you watched 2 episodes the OVA (which I gave a 7), and none of the TV series (which I gave a 10). Depth is hardly the only way an anime can be good. Anime can also be clever, it can also be romantic, it can be funny, it can be inspiring, it can be psychological, it can be adrenaline-pumping, and it can be a host of other things. I certainly don't apply a single litmus test to the shows I watch.

And if you want the full monty of why I liked AMG, I would care to explain why I gave it a 10. First and foremost, I saw AMG as a dub, with Eileen Stevens and Drew Aaron doing very skilled renditions of Belldandy and Keiichi, respectively, and the rest of the cast doing a good job as well. The romance aspect, absent almost all angst and indecision typical of a RomCom, was just nice and made me comfortable with the series. The comedy was, I would say, a good mix between subtlety and explicitness - it ranges from the fact that they have Murphy's Law on their side to Skuld's obsession with self-destruct mechanisms. Some of the jokes are clever, too - like how Skuld finally defeats the Lord of Terror by putting him in a floppy disk and waving a magnet around. Keiichi's not the average RomCom wuss, his passion for cycling makes him an interesting character to watch. There you are, the reasons why I enjoyed it. You'll notice that depth doesn't have to be a criteria for a show to be great. I certainly didn't need it to prove my point.

rethardus said:
Now really, that makes you credible as a person.


Is this an attempt at sarcasm? No, really, I can't tell.

But seriously, in the future, if you run out of things to say, try a more artful smear then just bashing one of the 10s I gave. I can defend the other 15 just as easily.
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09-07-08, 6:45 AM

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I didn't enjoy watching tMoHS for one reason and one reason only: the characters. I'm sorry, but I can't watch an anime and like it if every one of its characters annoys me. All of them are so extreme in their own personalities that they're either "black" or "white". In real life, people don't act one way all the time because that's who they are. Real people are contradictory. That's what makes us interesting. The characters of Haruhi Suzumiya are so deeply immersed into what makes them THEM that any development at all is strange to see and horrificly out of place. And when characters in a series can't develop, that's a big problem.

Every character is just... typical. You got the stoic girl, the girl too scared of her own shadow to speak properly, the girl who is meant to be "assertive" but is really a "bitch", and so on. The characters are what ruins the entire seies for me, not its depth or lack thereof.


 
09-19-08, 10:45 PM

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In my view, if you dislike this series, you had ought to be fired from a cannon.
 
09-23-08, 3:28 PM

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Then why join the "Haruhi is Overrated Club" when you think the opposite?

I originally managed to get thorugh half the series before getting bored of it and I found the fact that you have to watch the episodes in a random order unnecessary. Why not just number the series in order, there seems to be no logical explanation for it.
Regarding the acutal characters, their personalities are far too extreme to the point where Haurhi and Kyon could have been the opposite gender to what they are and it probably wouldn't make any difference (besides what spineless fool would sit back and watch another girl get abused like that). And that smiling dude is just another one of those psycho-looking people such as Ichimaru Gin (Bleach) or Mitsune/Kitsune (Love Hina).

rethardus said:
Now really, that makes you credible as a person.


It's just plain childish making a statement like this where it's a nothing more than a bad attempt at insulting someone because you disagree with them.
Modified by ShadowSlasherZ, 09-23-08, 5:06 PM
 
10-06-08, 9:20 AM

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hankgathers said:
In my view, if you dislike this series, you had ought to be fired from a cannon.
*fires self from a cannon straight into Haruhi's gut* :)
 
10-15-08, 3:20 AM

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This show had the potential to be good. The concept is very interesting.

But, in my opinion, they ruined the concept by stuffing so much semi-ecchi and bad comedy in that the actual plot became only a minor element in the show.
I'm sorry, but I don't want to wait twenty minutes to get to five minutes of something that could possibly be good.
 
12-25-08, 6:27 PM

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I've always thought: the plot could be used best in a single movie, NOT in a TV series.
 
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