WARNING: These notes contain major spoilers for the TV series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. If you haven’t already seen the series these notes will not make sense to you and will tend to spoil your enjoyment if you watch the series later.
UPDATED 12/02/09: Added information from the new episodes in the 2009 rebroadcast.
Question: What the Heck is Going on Here?
There are a number of competing theories, some combination of which may be true.
Theory 0: Haruhi suffers from Bipolar Disorder.
That’s obviously true at some level, but it doesn’t explain much. Such people don’t really have a “reality distortion field”.
Theory 1: Haruhi has the power to create data.
The components of the Data Integration Thought Entity have the power to manipulate “data.” For the Entity the word “data” subsumes our concepts of “matter”, “energy”, “space” and “time.” However the Entity cannot create “data.”
Three years ago Haruhi created an explosion of new “data.” This attracted the attention of the Entity which has been studying her ever since.
Theory 2: Haruhi has the power to distort time.
Three years ago Haruhi caused a “time quake.” This created a “time fault” which prevents the people of Mikuru’s civilization from traveling any farther into the past. They are studying Haruhi hoping to learn how she did it, and if possible how to repair the damage.
Theory 3: Haruhi created the Universe and everything in it three years ago.
To put it bluntly, God, after billions of years of loneliness and boredom, has finally become insane and retreated into the delusion that she is a depressed Japanese high school student. This theory has great explanatory power. For example, the reason that Mikuru’s people can’t travel any farther into the past is that there is no past beyond that point.
Haruhi constantly says that she wants things to be “fun,” but she actually uses the word “omoshiroi” or “interesting.” For an omnipotent and omniscient being nothing can ever be really interesting. The trap Haruhi is in is that if she ever allows herself to realize that the Universe is her own creation, it will immediately lose the power to interest her.
So Haruhi sticks with the delusion that reality is fixed and that she cannot change it. But that’s a trap too. She needs things to be really interesting, and the life of a Japanese teenager just isn’t interesting enough. So she constantly pushes at the boundaries of reality, then backs away when they threaten to break and reveal the truth.
One possible counter-argument is that even if Haruhi did create the Universe, she probably didn’t create it from scratch three years ago.
Just before the climax, Haruhi describes the first time that she became depressed. This was when she was in elementary school, i.e. more than three years ago. So if she created the Universe three years ago, she created one in which she was already depressed. This doesn’t make much sense, though of course the ways of the Lord are mysterious…
Theory 4: Haruhi is a red herring.
This theory is never proposed by any of the characters, but several fans have suggested it and there is internal evidence to support it. Theory 4 is very much like Theory 3, except in this case the real “sleeping god” is Kyon, and Haruhi is just a demiurge that he unconsciously created. Consider:
- Kyon complains constantly, but he actually is having the time of his life. His life is certainly interesting.
- It is Kyon, much more than Haruhi, who gets his wishes and fantasies fulfilled.
- When Shamisen speaks he pretty much just states out loud what Kyon was thinking a few moments earlier.
- When an annoyed Haruhi throws a handful of grass at Kyon, the wind blows it back in her face.
Clearly if God is going to be deluded, Kyon is a more profitable delusion than Haruhi.
On the other hand, everything here can be explained in other ways. It may be that Kyon is getting his fantasies fulfilled because Haruhi is secretly in love with him and wants him to stick around.
One problem with Theory 4 is that it is hard to see the significance of the event three years ago. It has no special meaning to Kyon. (Yet.)
I personally find this this theory a bit distasteful. Kyon is the viewpoint character, the character we identify with. I would prefer to think of him as the hero, struggling to save the Universe from a mad god (while also struggling with his own attraction to her). According to Theory 4, he is actually a deluded troublemaker who is unconsciously causing the whole mess.
UPDATE: “Endless Eight” shifts the balance strongly in favor of Theory 4. It’s the only theory under which the ending really makes sense.
Question: What Really Happened Three Years Ago?
This is never clearly spelled out, but it definitely involved Haruhi drawing the mysterious symbols on the quadrangle of the middle school.
My best guess is that at that point she scrapped the previous universe and created a new one that was similar but included aliens, time travelers and espers.
Question: In the “Movie”, Why Does Yuki Physically Attack Mikuru?
That does seem out of character, doesn’t it? The full explanation is spelled out in The Sighs of Haruhi Suzumiya, but it can be inferred by closely watching the anime.
During the filming Ultra Director Haruhi forced Mikuru to wear a single blue contact lens to make her look more exotic. While staging the first fight between Yuki and Mikuru, Haruhi ordered Mikuru to shoot a laser beam at Yuki.
Kyon quickly interjected “You mean pretend to shoot a laser beam…,” but it was too late. In her enthusiasm Haruhi had accidentally altered the laws of physics, making it possible for a girl wearing a single colored contact lens to shoot a laser beam out of her eye.
Of course Mikuru didn’t know how to control the beam and almost killed Kyon when she glanced at the camera. Yuki quickly ran forward, knocked Mikuru to the ground, and forcibly removed the contact lens. Yuki suffered severe burns on her hand, but fortunately she was able to restore herself from a recent backup.
Question: Why Does Shamisen Talk During the Movie?
Because at one point Ultra Director Haruhi said that a witch’s cat ought to be able to talk…
Question: Why Does Kyon Make Haruhi Repeat the Disclaimer at the End of the Movie?
His goal is to make her repeat “the events in this movie are fiction” until she believes it herself, thus restoring the laws of nature to their previous state.
Question: During the First Conversation, Why Does Haruhi Ask Kyon if They Have Met Before?
This is answered in Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody, which
will probably be included if there is a was included in the second season of the anime.