The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Haruhi Woes- Is Haruhi Suzumiya’s resemblance to Yui Hirasawa still a point of contention?

I wonder if the reader still recalls those days back in June-July 2009 following the release of the second season to The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, a time frame I know best for being the buffer point between secondary and post secondary education. I would spend much of that summer preparing for the then-next great journey known as university, happily unaware of the heated discussions concerning the appearance of Suzumiya Haruhi in the second season of the anime compared to the first. I raise this topic because I’ve gotten around to watching the second season a second time, and contrary to the claims otherwise, I find that Haruhi does indeed bear a great deal of resemblance to Yui Hirasawa. Do I really mind or care? Not really.

  • If people have time to complain about the artwork in an anime, they have time to direct towards more productive things. I remind readers that I did not decide to watch Haruhi until summer 2011, two years after the Endless Eight arc aired.

In the first season, Haruhi had a straight upper lip with a curved mouth below. No teeth are visible in her expressions. Her eyes are also narrower and more angular: in her season one incarnation, Haruhi gives off a very confident, aggressive air befitting her character.

  • Season One Haruhi is loud, confident and fierce. I recall watching season one many moons ago, and will probably post some recollections as I watch some episodes yet another time. The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi represents one of the most amusing and dynamic anime out there, well-known for its obscure references to science, philosophy and popular culture. However, these are merely callbacks: the show itself is not particularly complex and as such, individuals who claim the show is profound in some way are mistaken. Below is an approximation of my reaction to these pseudo-intellectuals.

  • Season Two Haruhi has a distinctly ditzy feel to her appearance, despite being more aggressive than her season one counterpart. When coupled with the moments where she throws tantrums a la FPS Doug, the results are rather unsettling. Below is a scene from the Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi movie, which seems bring back a majority of elements from the first season.

By the second season, Haruhi’s mouth has a greater curvature and more noticeable, a visible upper set of teeth common to the character design in K-On!. Moreover, her eyes are taller and more rounded.

  • This post was motivated by my own curiosity: I was recently re-watching the Sighs of Suzumiya Haruhi and felt compelled to see whether this trend was noted online. I would soon discover that this trend had not merely been noticed, but acted as a source of contention between anime fans.

While the differences are noticeable, I did not find them to be sufficiently distracting to warrant wasting time complaining or arguing over the topic: having seen a few of the ancient forums threads and websites out there vehemently saying the series was ‘unwatchable’, how the animation had declined and so forth. Presently, to the best of my recollection, there are several anime in existence that derive similar traits from K-On! characters, including Kokoro Connect and Tamako Market. This trend is unlikely to disappear, however vocal a handful of anime fans are about the subject, as it has been subject to market forces and found itself to be successful at generating revenue. However, and perhaps fortunately, it appears that all of the commotion surrounding this topic has faded into obscurity. Most of the locations where these “discussions” occurred have since moved on to complain about new things, and this matter might as well have not existed, at least until my curiosity on the matter led me to the older corridors of the internet.

2 responses to “Haruhi Woes- Is Haruhi Suzumiya’s resemblance to Yui Hirasawa still a point of contention?

  1. ninetybeats March 10, 2013 at 12:25

    That people took the time to actually find minor flaws in a series. Well if somebody has the intent to hate, they will find something. Even if it is small.
    I actually didn’t notice the small differences in the design of haruhi, as I was more focused on the story. The animation also wasn’t noticeably bad. I’ve seen works from J.C. Staff with MS Paint graphics.
    There is also nothing wrong with the character designs of Tamako Market and K-ON. If it is a winning formula, I don’t see the need to directly label it as lack of skill. People forget that anime is still something that has to make revenue, instead of it being like a pure artform. As some anime tend to be like art, that’s not always a succes. Which contradicts the common saying that everything has to be original, as the sales are really bad for some series. So there is definitely a market for Tamako Market like animation.


    • infinitezenith March 10, 2013 at 15:02

      I found it disappointing, if not unsurprising, that self-proclaimed anime critics would bother to note the difference. When I saw the second season, I noticed immediately, but the differences themselves were not significant enough to drop the animation quality per se.

      A closer reading finds that I did not provide any insights as to my thoughts on Tamako Market. We’re still in the midst of watching it, but I find that the animation style suits its easy-going setting quite nicely. I’m enjoying the show, of course.


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