Nagato, or, Pinocchio Foiled

So basically Kyon is playing a harem eroge, he hits the wrong button and ends up with one of the girls (Nagato).  Thankfully he’s saved the game so he goes back a few steps and continues playing.  You see, he still hasn’t decided who he wants to end up with.

It’s a pity because Nagato had done such a marvelous job: shipping Haruhi off to another school, and then shipping Itsuki with her (the feelings he felt for her in the new world IMO were brand new, they weren’t there in the original world, therefore one can assume Yuki implanted them).  Asahina gets disposed off by being paired up with Tsuruya (I’m not suggesting yuri, though maybe it’s there).  And so Nagato had Kyon all to herself.  But Kyon didn’t go for it.

Or you could say Nagato was Pinocchio, and Kyon was some evil wizard that transformed the doll that had turned into a human back into a doll again.  I guess the evil wizard had his own priorities.

I really enjoyed The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.  It was visually stunning, the voice actors were all brilliant as usual and the plot kept getting better and better as it went along (though I’m confused about Asakura’s and Nagato’s last actions).  I don’t criticize Kyon per se, I can see why he chose to stay in the original world, but sometimes I wonder if this isn’t the most outrageously blatant male fantasy in the history of Japanese animation!!

I can be persuaded that Haruhi fancies Kyon.

I can be persuaded that Mikuru fancies Kyon.

I can perhaps be persuaded that Nagato can overcome her extraterrestrial, interfacial nature and somehow fancy Kyon.

But that all three of them do???  To the extent of destroying and recreating worlds???

Well, as a Matsumoto fan I deal daily with the fact that Emeraldas loves Tochiro, so I guess I can live with this as well 😀  Wait, hold on, Tochiro built the friggin’ Arcadia!  What are Kyon’s credentials again?!

P.S. I guess if I went to Haruhi’s school I’d ask Tsuruya out, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out she was madly in love with Kyon too…

P.P.S  At no time during this film does Kyon actually think “Oh, Haruhi must like me lots to sleep on the floor so many days” or “Oh, Yuki must really love me lots to have changed the world”.  Instead we get Kyon thinking “Oh, the world is more fun with Haruhi around, and that’s why I want her around” and “Oh, Nagato is sick and tired of the S.O.S. brigade, so that’s why she changed the world”.  Is this self-deception or some infinitely manly coolness that mere mortal men can never aspire to??

 

~ by Haloed Bane on January 16, 2011.

34 Responses to “Nagato, or, Pinocchio Foiled”

  1. Kyon’s in denial. Always has been over the girls. I think he knows what is happening, but don’t want to commit to anything..perhaps not feeeling worthy, or just because things are complicated (I mean, if you upset Haruhi the world might end.)

    However I think he shows regret to a point about pushing that button after he finds out what Yuki did. There is a sadness in his tone and a “but” that remains mostly unspoken. He was perfectly willing to go out and stop whoever did this thing until he was told who and he figured out (mostly) why. The looks and the music (oh the music)…he’s torn because of his choice…not because he thinks it was the wrong choice…but because if he had known, he might have chosen differently…for Yuki’s sake.

    His inner conflict (which we see in wonderful detail) shoes why he made the choice, but there is that last piece of regrete…because he can’t really undo his choice (he already pushed the button). In fact he don’t even have the option of doing so because of complications (which won’t be resolved until a later date) and not pulling the trigger.

    But then I’ve a complete Nagato fan. Not a shipper (Kyon can have Haruhi or Mikuru or anyones for that matter). I just hold Nagato Yuki on a different level for some reason. Probably because the first episode I watched was the computer space battle episode…because I was looked for Yamato parodies…Yuki pulling the Wave Motion Gun on a Desler cosplayer was perfect.

    • So I wonder if hardcore Yuki fans would welcome her becoming more and more human, or would instead reject this as an unnatural development in her behavior…

      Or does it depend on how she becomes more and more human?

  2. Kyon had to pull the trigger. The Nagato We Love was not the Nagato in the alternate world. Kyon had the choice of staying in a world where Nagato could love him or going back to a world where he loved Nagato for who she was.

    In Kyon’s case it’s a companionate love not romantic. Nagato is Kyon’s “ride or die chick” She has his back now and forever.

  3. I’ve already read so many reviews of Disappearance, but what you said in your final paragraph was quite interesting. Is Kyon truthfully that dense to not realize how the girls feel about him, or is he just in self-denial (like he was about how fun the SOS Brigade is) and it’ll take something galactic to make him see their (and his) feelings?

    • Oh he knows how they feel about him because he feels the same way. I have read all of the novels and his affection for all of them is evident. There is a line in the Wavering of Suzimiya Haruhi that is very telling, “…if Asahina-san were to suddenly have a boyfriend, I’d probably stalk him all day…
      Huh? So that’s why, that’s how it is.
      Now I knew what this uncomfortable feeling in my heart was.
      Whether it was Asahina-san or Nagato, I just can’t stand any guy getting between them and me! It was that
      simple.”

  4. See now, here’s a breakdown of the harem that I was too unsure to make.

    Asahina bends time to see her route play out.
    Nagato bent everything to get rid of her rival.
    Haruhi is herself, she will destroy the world instead of her rivals.

    Kyon reciprocates by threatening to use Haruhi to destroy the world for the sake of keeping the status quo.

    What are Kyon’s qualifications? It doesn’t matter.
    The women are desired by Kyon and by others not because of their credentials. We all know this.

    Credentials? Meritocracy? Governing infatuation? Moe?

    • Your breakdown is accurate, I think.

      Perhaps it’s because I’m a man, actually, I’m sure it’s because I’m a man, but I always tend to think that the ones that get to choose are women, and so the question is always “what are the man’s credentials?” and not “what are the woman’s credentials?” Women are lovely, that’s enough credentials 😉

      (maybe i am as neanderthalic as kyon is, my apologies)

      • The trouble with Kyon is that he is classed as an unreliable narrator. His narration seems to be in a style like he is telling it from the future, but uses present tense a lot..which confuses matters. Add to this the times he seem to be talking/thinking to himself and Haruhi answers him.

        • The anime as well as the manga deliberately confuses Kyon’s thinking and speaking. It’s really well done, though unnerving. It definitely hints at an unreliability of the entire account, or viewed from another angle, at the possibility that Kyon is the God.

          I’m reminded of how often you can’t be sure whether the baby Stewie in Family Guy can be understood or not by the people he talks to…

      • Yes! As a man I do think that too by default. A pretty girl suddenly must be matched by the very best of men. It takes a lot more to happen for us to start thinking, maybe like a pregnancy scare or the barest hints of marriage pressure…

        I exaggerate, but yes.

  5. I can be persuaded that Haruhi fancies Kyon.

    I can be persuaded that Mikuru fancies Kyon.

    I can perhaps be persuaded that Nagato can overcome her extraterrestrial, interfacial nature and somehow fancy Kyon.

    But that all three of them do??? To the extent of destroying and recreating worlds???

    Ah. Well. Let’s examine this, shall we? I’ll preface this by saying that it’s been a while since I’ve examined Haruhi, so we’ll take all the AFAIKs and IIRCs and IMOs as implicit.

    For a start, we have no evidence that Mikuru cares for Kyon as anything more than a friend. There’s a fairly popular theory that I’m partial to that she’s willing to play to his (unusually explicit) desire for her in order to exert influence over him (and thus indirectly Haruhi), but I don’t think she’s ever done anything that could be unequivocally qualified as eros rather than phillia, unlike the other two girls.

    Now, let’s examine Nagako. You make three important points in the above quote. A: she’s an alien. B: she’s an interface. C: she reconstructs the world to be with Kyon. The latter you single out as an exceptional act of devotion, possibly unaccountably so.

    Is it? She is, as per point A, alien, with an alien viewpoint. You or I attach great significance to the regeneration of the universe, she might not. Of course, this requires speculation on the nature of Nagato’s alieness, which we simply don’t have the information to support. But I think we can reach this point another way.

    Nagako is an interface. What exactly does that mean? She was created explicitly to perform a function; to facilitate the observation of and communication to humanity by/from the Integrated Data Entity. Now, I think it follows that in order to do this she needs to be able to understand humanity. She needs to understand, in particular, their emotions. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to allow that in order to understand emotions you have to be able to feel them- and even if we disallow that, I think it’s safe to allow that the IDE, itself incapable of understanding emotion, would not have been capable of making a creature that understood it but did not feel it.

    So, Yuki Nagato. Not an alien in the form of a human, but a human/alien hybrid. A bridge between the two worlds.

    Humans are social animals. They long to connect with other humans, and I believe Nagato’s human part longed for that as well. But even a cursory examination of Nagato’s life shows how profoundly disconnected she was. Her home is empty; just a box to store herself in. The IDE simply does not exist on the level she wishes to connect on. Asakura seemed much more to the side of the alien than the more emotional (no, for srs) Nagato and, being the glove to Nagato’s hand, was far more connected to the world in any case.

    And then the SOS Brigade comes into her life. Haruhi, of course, cannot seem to grasp the concept of empathy. Mikuru and Itsuki think of her as “the alien”; Mikuru is terrified of her, and the latter offers only the same distant courtesy he grants everyone else, which serves as much as a barrier to connection as anything.

    And then we have Kyon. Kyon who thinks of her as “Nagato”, who introduces her to the magical wonderful glorious library- who places more importance on her feelings than perhaps even she does. So finally she connects with someone.

    I put it to you that by the time of Disappearance, Kyon constitutes Nagato’s entire world. He is only only remaining thing she attributes value to at all. In “destroying the world”, she’s actually doing nothing of the sort. Kyon, remember, is completely unchanged, as in old world so in the new. All she did was rearrange the unimportant bits to her liking.

    Reviewing this, what surprises me most is not that she remade the universe but that she killed Asakura for Kyon’s sake. She cared enough about her to remake her. I can only attribute it to a loyalty to her mission that was later eroded by the ordeal of the Endless Eight.

    Haruhi is a similar case. She’s brusque and unfriendly, and anyone who tries to get past that she drives off. Kyon perseveres. Not even he understands why (or at least, he prefers not to ;)), but he does, and before either one of them understands what’s happened, they’re friends. Connection. And Haruhi, like Nagato, is disconnected from most everything.

    So why does she destroy the world to be with Kyon. We can’t claim alienness of perspective here. Or we can, but it’s unlikely to hold up to scrutiny as well as in the case of Nagato. For all of his importance to her, we can’t claim that Kyon is Haruhi’s entire world.

    But there’s an important difference; Haruhi did not consciously destroy the world. It’s a core tenant of the series that Haruhi does not know what she does or who she is- and that might be just another lie among Nagato’s inherent inscrutability and Itsumi’s dissembling and Mikuru’s (possible ;)) manipulation and Kyon’s unreliable testimony, but let’s assume it’s not. Haruhi’s power is a blind, instinctive thing, fumbling and flailing towards her desires with no understanding or oversight; an act of will devoid of mind. She rejects the world, everything except Kyon, and it destroys the world.

    It’s one thing to rail against something and entirely another thing to conciously choose to destroy it. Remember Henry II? “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”

    Of course, Kyon doesn’t need to win the hearts of all these lovely young ladies for them to love him (people die if they are killed LAWL). All he needs is to win Haruhi’s heart. She wishes for the object of her affections to be desireable -> he is desired. But the “Haruhi did it” option is always the lazy fallback position for Haruhi SPECULAH 😉

    Or maybe he’s just that goddamn top-grade knicker-flooding bishie gorgeous. He wouldn’t be the first unreliable narrator to be unreliable first and foremost about his own appearance…

    • What a comment! I’ve had to open two tabs, one to read and one to respond. It’s all super interesting.

      Mikuru could be posing, this is true. Though if she is then her acting is pretty good. I really get a sense that the adult-version Mikuru is romantically invested in Kyon, and I even get a hint of a sense of nostalgia (as if in the future Kyon has totally left her, which I guess is likely if we end with a Kyon x Haruhi matchup).

      I can get very confused very quickly on Nagato and Asakura, but my own sense is different from yours: Asakura is the one that is supposed to engage with humans, while Nagato is in charge of engaging (or observing) the phenomenon that is Haruhi. That said, I do love your point about the problem of perspective, for an alien interface of enormous power “fixing” a world might not be a big deal as it sounds for us. Actually, this reminds me of Maetel in Galaxy Express 999, who will often destroy a world with the flick of a finger, leaving the viewers aghast (and/or giggling).

      On Kyon, the more I think about it the more I suspect there may be an excellent reason why everyone would be drawn to him. And that said reason will not be revealed until the very end of the series (if we ever come to that). I am speaking of theories (which I know abound) that it is Kyon and not Haruhi who is the spectacular phenomenon at work…

      What you say about Haruhi and Kyon’s desirability is very interesting. Doesn’t this happen with Hollywood superstars too?

      I haven’t read Henry II. Shame on me!!! Isn’t that part of a cycle? I read Richard II (or is it the third) “Now is the winter of our discontent…” etc.

      That last book series you linked looked very interesting too.

      • What a comment! I’ve had to open two tabs, one to read and one to respond. It’s all super interesting.

        Thank you. Walls-o-text are my specialty. I have a tendency to get lost in my own mind. :p

        I really get a sense that the adult-version Mikuru is romantically invested in Kyon, and I even get a hint of a sense of nostalgia (as if in the future Kyon has totally left her, which I guess is likely if we end with a Kyon x Haruhi matchup).

        I got the sense that Mikuru will eventually have to return to her own time, and her nostalgia is for the happy childhood adventures and friends she is now estranged from. Romantic interest; I suppose it’s possible, though I am (perhaps irrationally ;)) disinclined to take anything she says or does at face value. :p

        And there’s a interesting parallel between the way she has no qualms about exposing herself to Kyon and the way Haruhi casually disrobes in the classroom (“It would appear she viewed guys on the same level as potatoes”), contrasted with the way Haruhi later forcibly expels Kyon from the clubroom so she can change.

        //Was going to write something here on Asakura being more alien that Nagato, on the grounds that while the latter displays no explicit emotion, the all of the former’s emotions are entirely contrived… but thinking about it, Asakura does display genuine emotion when she’s trying to kill Kyon. It’s just that the stimulus -> response mappings are all fucked up from our perspective.

        On Kyon, the more I think about it the more I suspect there may be an excellent reason why everyone would be drawn to him. And that said reason will not be revealed until the very end of the series (if we ever come to that). I am speaking of theories (which I know abound) that it is Kyon and not Haruhi who is the spectacular phenomenon at work…

        I’ve heard of these theories but not their particulars. I’m not sure what evidence there is for it, but it’s a interesting idea.

        What you say about Haruhi and Kyon’s desirability is very interesting. Doesn’t this happen with Hollywood superstars too?

        In the sense of famous -> desireable -> even more desireable because so many people want them, thus prestigious “catch”? Yes.

        I haven’t read Henry II. Shame on me!!! Isn’t that part of a cycle? I read Richard II (or is it the third) “Now is the winter of our discontent…” etc.

        Shakespeare did do a cycle of “historical” plays based on kings of England, but Henry II wasn’t one of them 😉

        No, I was referring to the historical personage. He had a long-standing dispute with one Thomas Becket, the then Archbishop of Cantebury, over (what else?) the influence of the Church over the state. After one particularly vexatious offence, the King infamously cried out, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”. Traditionally, at least; it might have been “What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?”

        In any case, the household knights interpreted this as an order to go out and murder said priest, which they promptly did. King Henry was had to take public penance to make amends, and the Pope canonised Becket as a martyr.

        As an aside, Becket had been a personal friend of the King’s before he became Archbishop.

        That last book series you linked looked very interesting too.

        It is, and a personal favourite. Not least because it’s so rewarding to analyse. Unreliable narrator, non-linear causality, alusions and allegory running rampant, and it’s constructed almost as a literary puzzle box. The appendix of the first book- “A note on the translation”- might as well be an invitation- “Do you want to play a game?”

        • What I meant with Hollywood was, if Angelina wants you then that makes you more desirable in the eyes of others..that sort of thing.

          Ah, yes, Becket! I don’t know much about him, though I’m a big fan of Thomas Cranmer, with whose life I guess he shares a couple of incidents (being archbishop, being martyred)..

          I myself don’t know about the Kyon God theories either…I never go to the forums because I know they’re teeming with people who’ve read the all the novels ten times over and I like to keep the anime fresh for me.

          What I don’t get about Asakura is why she acted like she did in the alt-world. Was she an alien even in that world or was she just a psycho friend? And how come Yuki stopped her? Wasn’t alt-Yuki a regular human girl?? I must have missed something 😦

          • You didn’t quite miss something…but that will be answered later…when they get to the later books.

          • It’s been postulated in the novel that Asakura was created as Nagato’s shadow or human id. If anyone has watched “Forbidden Planet” we know the deadly consequences of someones id being unleashed upon the physical world.

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  8. “(the feelings he felt for her in the new world IMO were brand new, they weren’t there in the original world, therefore one can assume Yuki implanted them).”

    Probably not, the anime and light novel hints several times that Itsuki has feelings for Haruhi. Example: Second Season: He teases Kyon about trying the kissing tactic on Haruhi again and suggests maybe he should instead. In the first season, he talks about how his assignment from the organization was to continuously watch over her while always pointing out her admirable characteristics to Kyon. Heck, in the movie he comments how envious he is Haruhi’s reaction to Kyon falling down the stairs. He’s just doesn’t act in the actual world because of Kyon’s friendship, his role in the organization, and a realistic assessment that Haruhi doesn’t have any feelings for him.

    • I see these hints, I do, but they strike me as red herrings, or as his way of preventing Kyon from arriving at a correct assessment of his feelings and motivations.

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