Micura Asahina Regina Otacorum
Behold Mikuru Asahina Queen of the Otaku.
The Haruhiverse provides loads of fodder for theological speculation. Ep 14 of Haruhi-chan, as this image proves, is no exception. Kyon and Haruhi are battling with balloons and Mikuru gets hurt. Even though she’s clearly survived the attack, Haruhi and Kyon pretend she is dead and decide to crucify her (somehow in their twisted conception that’s the correct way of entombing her). Then they decorate her”tomb” with balloons.
The storyline is silly, no doubt. And to use the imagery in a theological discussion, well, it’d be easy to do but not particularly illuminating, would it? These days crucifixion is “in”, trivialization of religious icons is rife, etc…
There is an angle here, though, that’s pretty unique, and it stems from the well-known fact that Mikuru is Moe. In my book Mikuru is Super Moe. Whenever I hear of Moe, Mikuru comes up (or her shadow Miyuki from Lucky Star).
But the subject of this post is not the “Crucifixion Moe”. I do believe that you could work that angle, since people are extremely helpless when they are crucified. One could argue then that this is ultimate Moe.
The subject of this post isn’t “Moe Crucified” either. I mean, you could argue that Mikuru’s plea “but I’m still alive!” falls on deaf ears because Kyon and Haruhi are basically abusive to her and treat her like a toy, just like Yuki treats Achakura. While usually this a source of merriment, maybe the crucifixion in this episode pushes it too far and reveals in the end the evils of Moe. I’m not going to argue that, but I gues someone could.
So what’s my angle? Well, a commenter on the Random Curiosity thread for this ep made the joke: “Mikuru died for your sins.” Then it hit me: the imagery of this episode is neither the glorification of Moe nor the denunciation of Moe. The imagery is just…Moe itself, barenaked Moe.
Mikuru is a Moe character in anime. This means:
1) Mikuru herself, or at the very least her “moe” traits, have been superadded to the story and are non-essential, tangential to the plot.
2) The role of Mikuru is not to interact with the other characters in the show so much as to interact with the viewers. This explains why Haruhi and Kyon cannot hear her.
3) Mikuru’s role is soteriological: she dies to save us. She dies for our sins, the sins of the otaku community.
And what are these sins? Well, let’s single out the original sin, which is:
a) Insufficient willpower to relate to people in the real world, especially those of the opposite gender. Lack of confidence obviously plays a role, but there is also this paradoxical cause:
b) Excessive confidence in our own self-worth, which leads us to denigrate others and detach ourselves from society by shifting the burden of “opening up communication” to the other side. E.g. “I know I’m worthy, so if they don’t want to talk to me then they suck. If they suck then I don’t need to talk to them.”
Mikuru suffers and we feel better and laugh, while at the same time we love her and wish to protect her. And just by watching her and thinking of her we feel we are in some sense fulfilling that role.
And I guess that’s one more way to look at the appeal and function of Moe. I don’t intend it all to be a negative view of Moe although I suspect that many would view that way. But come on, we don’t blame Christ’s Passion for making Christians look bad!
One happy side effect of my Latinization of Mikuru Asahina’s name is that Micura = Mi cura, which means “my cure” in Spanish.
Of course, the MARO above the cross on the first pic is of my own insertion 🙂