The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumyia: A Postmodernist Anime?

HARUHIThe Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumyia can be read as a postmodernist text in that it not only employs experimental techniques typical of postmodernist literature such as non-linear narrative and repetition but also because the form of this anime mirrors its content. Form mirroring content is characteristic of postmodern novels. The protagonist of Slaughterhouse-Five, for instance, is a time traveller and the form itself is also non-linear. Similarly, characters in Haruhi Suzumyia engage in time travel and the series when first aired was shown out of sequence. Indeed, the order in which episodes were shown appeared almost randomly selected, resulting in the audience being just as confused as the characters on screen as to which time the series is taking place in. Indeed, viewers were initially presented with a sequence of inexplicable events and given the explanatory details later on in the series. For example, the first episode to air was actually the season finale while we were shown the events leading up to that point towards the end of the season. Moreover, the form of Haruhi Suzumyia further mirrors its plot in its ‘Endless Eight’ arc, a series of eight identical episodes with slight variations in dialogue and costume. In the ‘Endless Eight’ episode arc, the protagonist Kyon and his friends are trapped in a time loop and doomed to live out the same summer vacation over 15,000 times. Viewers subjected to eight identical episodes experience a similar sense of boredom and fatigue as the characters on screen. Therefore, Haruhi Suzumyia is not only postmodernist because of its experimental form but also because its form reflects its content.

 

This is the final scene from the ‘Endless Eight’ arc. Here Kyon manages to break free from the time loop:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efa5viokn_Q

For a further analysis of Haruhi Suzumyia’s postmodernist features, see here:

http://nate.metroid2002.com/yuuutsu/

 

Dotdash. ‘Suzumiya Haruhi: The Case for the Defence.’ Plot Shield, 25 June 2009. 10 Mar. 2015. Web.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumyia. Dir. Tatsuya Ishihara. Kyoto Animation, 2009. Anime.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five. London: Vintage Classics, 2000. Print.

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