Second Coming, huh

Nice shot.

Nice shot.

I don’t think so.  Or I guess I should say, whether you see it that way or not depends on your relationship with Haruhi Suzumiya.  First off, we have the division into the Anime-First crowd and the Light-Novel-First crowd.  Let me call them Animists and Lighters, for short.  Animists might or might not have read the novels, but when they think of Haruhi, they think of the KyoAni show.  Lighters will act similarly, but in reverse.  Mixtures of the two are possible (see below).  Then there are these three basic perspectives or levels:

1) User Level – we view the story from the inside.  We’re internal observers, ignoring our own “world” for the sake of the story’s.

2) Abuser Level – we view the story from the outside, looking in at a safe distance.  We’re external observers, enjoying it without sacrificing our own identity.

3) Worshipper Level – we view the story from the world, but now we believe that the truth of this very world is to be found in the story.  The outside turns to out to be the inside of the inside.  a.k.a Haruhiism Purist Faction.

[There’s an interesting way in which the User Level and the Worshipper Level become one.  In both, the story is actually real.  But for the User the story is the story, period (even the viewer vanishes).  Whereas for the Worshipper, everything (swine flu, coelecanths, IPods) becomes part of the story.  Anyway, I’ve never met a real Worshipper so I won’t talk of this further…]

Just because it's the ugliest tryptich ever doesn't mean it's any less relevant.

Just because it's the ugliest tryptich ever doesn't make it any less relevant.

For the Lighters, the wait is for the tenth novel.  I haven’t read the ninth novel so I don’t know how it ended, but I’m sure May of 2009 brings no joy to eitherthe Lighter Users or Abusers (I bet you they’re all chain-smoking by now, fittingly).

Same goes for the Animist User.  The last chronological episode of Haruhi S1 was “Someday in the Rain”.  Within the story world, nothing truly amazing happened on that day.  Haruhi didn’t go away, so there’s no reason to be looking forward to her return.  In our world 2-3 years have elapsed, sure, but the Animist User must come to grips with the fact that Haruhi has simply been…sleeping after a pretty regular day.

“Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody” occurs before “Someday in the Rain”, for cryin’ out loud.  You’d have to be an Animist Abuser to call this a Second Coming!  And if you are, then that’s fine.  But for the Users, the situation is like this:

Imagine you are a devout Christian, avidly awaiting the Second Coming.  Someone comes over and hands you a book, saying: “This is it, man.  Everything about the Second Coming!”  So you run to your nearest coffeeshop and start flipping through the pages.  What you have in your hands is the Book of Mormon.  You start reading: it’s a record of Jesus’ appearances in America after his crucifixion in Jerusalem.  As a devout Christian, this is all very important and special to you, but you feel a little bit let down, because nowhere in the book is Jesus  descending (or announcing his final descent) to judge the quick and the dead, which is what all the hype was all about.

Why Yellow?  Oh Empress.

Why yellow, oh Empress?

I’ve already read  fans on the Net complaining that “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody” felt like a filler.  My immediate reaction is to say: No.  In fact, it’s actually an important part of the story that should have been animated earlier and wasn’t.  Then again, it fills up certain gaps (like the Book of Mormon) so linguistically the name “filler” might be apt, just as long as it’s used in a positive way.  But whatever it is, it ain’t the Second Coming.

If you’re an Abuser, and you desperately want your Haruhi fix, then “Second Coming” is a funny/fun way to reference the long gap between two seasons.  Cool.  I myself would wait for the “Disappearance” arc, which is chronologically after “Someday in the Rain”, to even begin thinking of Haruhi actually leaving us.  And then, afterwards, let’s talk of a Second Coming.  After all, one must have disappeared if one is to reappear.

***

I’m actually neither an Animist nor a Lighter, but an Athenian (Anime, THEn Novel), which means I saw the first season, then read the first three novels; now I’m waiting to see how much this new season covers, then read as far as that in the novels, etcetera.  That’s how I enjoy it the most.

Because of the way the first season played, I had already read “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody”, and I thought the episode was very nice.  Because I also happen to be into Languages, I was very interested in Haruhi’s message to Vega and Altair.

I am here

I am here

“I am here”.  Of course in English, and I suspect in most European languages, one wouldn’t need five words to say that (I’m assuming each pictogram is a word).  But as Haruhi is obviously making/creating/transforming this language, it makes sense to focus on the Japanese, which Yuki gives as: “Watashi wa koko ni iru.”  5 words.

Whatever else can be said about this language, besides the probability that it’s related to Japanese somehow, is that it looks very expressive and personal, even excessively so.  I think Haruhi is not only telling the stars where she is, but also how she feels about that very fact.

Let’s assume “Watashi wa koko ni iru” matches up perfectly with this text.  Let me give an English gloss:

watashi = I

wa = [topic marker, tells us what is the focus of the sentence.  In this case, the focus is on “I”.]

koko = here

ni = in

iru = am

Immediately I get the impression that the text should be read right to left.  That’s because the character on the far right looks vaguely humanoid.

watashi?

watashi?

Maybe Haruhi’s true form is four armed and three legged (or two legged with enormous phallus), or maybe it’s who she’d like to be.  As for the topic marker “wa”:

wa?

wa?

It looks like pi (π) to me.  So, the  focus of the sentence is an irrational, transcendental factor.  Sounds like Haruhi to me.

Then there’s “here=koko”:

koko?

koko?

If you notice, the top part looks like the same four-armed humanoid, this time with arms outstretched and its head drifting to the side.  In other words, Haruhi is on the ball (=planet Earth) but her head is elsewhere among the stars.  Under this interpretation, the pictogram is not only telling us Haruhi is here, but that she is sad and asking to be taken elsewhere, where her head/heart/mind is.

But that’s just ridiculous 🙂  And anyway, I’m over 1,000 words, so I’ll stop.  It’d be interesting to hear other interpretations of this gibberish if anyone has them!!

~ by Haloed Bane on May 23, 2009.

8 Responses to “Second Coming, huh”

  1. I often (well as often as I had chance) compared the frequent tease-and-denials on Kadokawa’s part regarding the reappearance as the show to the Great Disappointment.

    I’m an Athenian too, but I must point out you forget the Novans (light NOVels, then ANime, I can has playtime with ellusion-rich portmanteaus too?). I far prefer the anime though. The Goddess Moves, Speaks and Is Incarnated.

    And while ridiculous, it sounds dangerously close to Haruhiiesque thinking. It is very rare that something is just crazy enough to work, but when it comes to emulating crazy thinking, it’s of course the only way you can do it right!

  2. Good stuff, as the writing out there in the tubes will be mostly analogous to bodily emissions pretending to discussion.

    I actually liked the episode very much. It felt substantive while remaining understated.

    I’m Athenian as well.

  3. Cant we just set aside the ‘I am here’ note? Its kinda fucked up for some reason and it makes my head asplodes.

  4. @Kaiserpinvin

    Surprising to find fellow Athenians. Yes, there are Novans, although I suspect most of them are people who got sick and tired of waiting around for KyoAni and ended up reading all of the novels… If someone by principle wanted to read novels and then the anime, they’d probably merit the term “Supernovan”!

    @ghostlightning

    Dude, I liked the episode a lot too. It’s a welcome addition to the mix…

    @Kairu

    squigglies, hieroglyphs and pictograms are some of my best friends, so I can’t share your opinion 😉

  5. No love for Deneb? Altair and Vega ain’t shit without Deneb.

  6. I think its an important ep, it shows haruhi and kyon connection. I’m currently on the 2nd vol but I hear some ppl say that after reading vol 9.

    Some think that kyon might be GOD and watching haruhi from a distance? I’m not sure how possible that is, there is still lots of things I dont know and understand, I hope the novel can enlighten me ^^

  7. @Raptor

    A bridge of magpies was made over Deneb so that Altair and Vega could meet each other once a year. The yellow-breasted magpie is native to China and SE Asia. That’s it!! That’s why lil’ Haruhi is wearing a yellow band there. Thanks! You’re a genius.

    @balance

    yes, it’s an important episode in a lot of ways. i pray that kyon isn’t god, though 🙂

  8. I actually have nothing to add to this discussion, but I have to say I enjoyed the post. I’m an “Athenian” too, and not an incredibly surprised one either. When people started talking about the DVD scenes being aired on TV, I started thinking that the obvious reason would be in order to fit this story arc (a very important one in the grand scheme of things) into the mix.

    That said, I enjoyed seeing the story animated. Even though Haruhi has about .0001% chance of being a revolution again, it seems like at least it’s going to be fun again.

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