Maria†Holism, Hispania and a Fresh Inquiry into the Roots of Haruhiism

So although technically on an anime-free three week holiday in the lovely Western Hemisphere, I broke down, hijacked the family computer and watched the first installment of Maria†Holic.   So far so good.   There’s Matsurika, your classic viciously sadistic servant (at least classic in the Russian sense, for example look at Gogol or Dostoyevsky’s servants).   There’s also the framing of each maiden as she initially appears in the style of an Art Nouveau poster.  For example, Yuzuru’s debut:



 Which border is surely inspired by:

Mucha poster

Mucha poster

(Mariya’s debut is depicted that way as well.  I picked that up because I just finished reading a book on Art Nouveau.  I’m no art buff.)

Anyway, the most interesting aspect of the show will be Kanako (Everywoman?) and her relationship with Mariya/Maria/Mary. 

 The concept of  Maria†Holism  is very familiar for to as a native of Hispania (Hispania is my shorthand for Spain, Portugal and their former colonial sphere in America, Africa and Asia).  In Hispania’s brand of Christianity, devotion to the Virgin Mary is extremely strong.  To this day in Spain it is common to give boys Maria for a middle name.  In my own little corner of Hispania a common accusation by the small Protestant community is that Catholics downright worship Mary, i.e. Mariolatry.  And this devotion is mostly carried out by women.  So Hispania is in a sense full of Maria†Holics, which might lead an irreverent psychoanalyst to call this civilization a divine yurifest.  We worship what we want after all…

But of course the reason people are devoted to Mary is because she is the Mother of Jesus (Son of God and God in His own right).  The ancient universally approved term for Mary is Theotokos (God-bearer).  So this bold psychoanalyst could take it one step further and say that Hispania’s women are not yuri at all, but really worshipping the male (the Son, the Father) all along.  This is interesting because the first question that popped into my head when I saw Maria†Holic was: does Kanako’s conviction that Mariya is the one for her, coupled with Mariya being in fact a male in disguise, mean that she is not really a lesbian? 

You can set up an opposition:

Appearance – Mariya the maiden VS Essence – Mariya the trap

Mediatrix – the Virgin Mary VS Creator – God (as Father, as Son)

What is Kanako gaga over?  Appearance or essence?

I was disappointed to find that although Aya Hirano did Kanako’s voice  in the drama CD for Maria†Holic, she’s not doing the TV show.  Aya would have been great in conveying Kanako’s intensity (Asami Sanada will do a great job too, I’m sure).  There’s another reason though, why Aya is a perfect Kanako, and it involves her other famous shows.

Of course, Aya Hirano is mostly known for portraying Haruhi/ Trikanaton, or God.  Until this point I haven’t actually read any discussions on the specific role of Aya in Haruhiism (I imagine such discussions have happened, but I haven’t seen them).  Anyway, after this role Aya went on to play the character of Konata in Lucky Star, who in the anime version was quite devoted to the Trikanaton.  Kanako in Maria†Holic is once again a worshipper (at least in the first episode, we’ll see how this develops) of the virginal figure Mariya.   So Aya Hirano, subsequent to her role as deity,  seems to be acting as worshipper.  It’s like she’s a shark circling around the second season of Haruhi.  Just because of this I’m very optimistic about Haruhi S2.  It also makes me wonder about the interrelationship between Aya’s roles.

Aya-m that aya-m

Aya-m that aya-m

A tiny bit of Jewish philosophy: in a Spinozean framework where ultimately everything is God, worshippers are part of what they worship.  In the Kabbalistic system, creation occurs in a series of emanations from the ineffable deity all the way to the world as we know it (known as Malkuth).  The point of Kabbalah according to some is for Malkuth (us, the worshippers) to act in such a way that it can ascend the series and return to the source.   Viewed in such a way an identity of Kanako/Konata/Suzumiya is not so far-fetched.

This doesn’t at all make sense, even within the bounds of Haruhiism, unless the center be shifted.  I have heard it argued before that (from a Haruhiist standpoint anyway) the creation and distribution of the Haruhi Suzumiya  franchise is but Trikanaton’s way of revealing itself.  Aya Hirano’s career brings a new question to the fore:

Is it possible that the whole phenomenon of Haruhi Suzumiya = God is  but a way for Aya =God to reveal itself?  That is, that the center of Haruhiism is not really the center, but that in fact we should be talking of Hiranoism?!  Speaking hypothetically, if a certain Aya Hirano came out of the blue and proclaimed herself God she’d be locked up in an insane asylum.  So what better way for her to go public than to put it into someone’s head to write up a story of a girl who was god and then get herself to act that role, followed by acting in supporting rules related to worship, as an example?? 

I wonder…

~ by Haloed Bane on December 29, 2008.

5 Responses to “Maria†Holism, Hispania and a Fresh Inquiry into the Roots of Haruhiism”

  1. Interesting first arc, you got that right about Hispania. Here in the Philippines, the whole month of October is the month of the Holy Rosary, Sept. 8th is a big feast day (Mary’s birthday), as well as December 8th (feast of the Immaculate Conception).

    But, your binary re: existence vs. essence, is Mariya’s essence is the trap personality necessarily? Isn’t it just contingent to the guise? In any case, I think it’s very difficult to distill the ‘essence’ of a character after one episode (perhaps you’ve read the manga). But even for a human lifetime, I find it difficult to ascertain the essential (why do some people have multiple biographies?).

    Everything is God… panantheism? The trouble with god being absolutely everything makes real (non-anime) contexts of Haruhi = god and Aya H = god pointless. Because in panantheism, my comment right here is god and maybe you should worship it.

  2. Sorry, it’s spelled panentheism – differing in pantheism in that God is everything in the universe but is also greater than it. In hindsight, simple pantheism is a better fit for the purposes of my comment.

  3. ghostlightning,

    I agree with you completely on the treachery of the appearance vs essence dichotomy. I’m just working off of the very first episode of the show, i.e. off of what the authors want “us” to believe about Mariya. For all we know Mariya might be in essence a female, and Kanako more of a male (i know, what the f___ does that mean?)
    Panentheism is what Spinoza and other heretic Jewish thinkers uphold. Technically all things are divine (or infused with the divine), but all things are different, and they differ precisely in their position within the development of the deity from virtual Nothingness outward to the whole world, and then back. In that sense there is still room for a privileged position for God/Haruhi/Aya.
    PS While I refuse to adore your comment, I might be persuaded to venerate it.

  4. […] I’m totally up to date on these, so up to eps 10 and 5 respectively.  A couple of chuckles out of 3 minutes on YouTube is acceptable, in my opinion, so I’m enjoying this.  And the fact that Haruhi and Konata from Lucky Star are merging before our eyes under the auspices of Aya Hirano is further proof of, well, read my post. […]

  5. […] Exhibit Four – Maria†Holism, Hispania and a Fresh Inquiry into the Roots of Haruhiism […]

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