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:
(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.
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??