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Old 2006-06-29, 23:08   Link #161
The Sphinx
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Tanabata

Let's talk about Tanabata.

What is Tanabata?

Tanabata is sometimes called the Star Festival in English. It occurs on the seventh day of the seventh month of the old Chinese calendar, which would typically fall in mid August to early September. Since the Japanese have adopted the Gregorian calendar many people now celebrate it on July 7, while a smaller number still use the old date. Two things to know about Tanabata besides the date are the legend behind the festival and the tradition of displaying Tanabata trees.

The Legend

Tanabata is based on an old Chinese legend about a pair of star-crossed lovers. Here is a little page that gives one version of the story. I'll summarize it:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Legend of Tanabata
Orihime was a daughter of the Emperor of the Stars, a skilled weaver and very beautiful. One day she met a handsome young herdsman from across the river named Hikoboshi. They fell in love. In fact they were so much in love, and spent so much time together, they began to neglect their duties. Orihime did no weaving, and Hikoboshi's animals wandered. The Emperor of the Stars became very angry at the young couple and as punishment for their irresponsibility forbade them from ever meeting each other again. Hikoboshi was sent to his side of the river and they were not allowed to cross.

Orihime still did not go back to weaving. She spent all her time at the riverbank hoping to catch a glance of her lover. The Emperor of the Stars was finally moved to grant her wish, to see her beloved Hikoboshi... but only once a year, and only if they worked hard. So every year, on the seventh day of the seventh month, Orihime and Hikoboshi are allowed to cross the river in the sky and spend one day together, and on that day people celebrate the reunion of the two celestial lovers.

In the sky Orihime is the star Vega, and Hikoboshi is the star Altair. On a summer night you can see them seperated by the great river in the sky, the Milky Way.
The Tanabata Tree

This is the time of year to set up bamboo trees and tie colored pieces of paper to the branches, sort of like Christmas trees. If you have a special wish you can write it on you piece of paper and tie it to a tree. The star-crossed Orihime and Hikoboshi lovers may grant these wishes.

Tanabata and Haruhi

Tanabata is probably the most romantic day of the year, and it's also one of the best days for having your wishes come true. Haruhi obviously gets her wishes granted on a regular basis (though she doesn't usually know it), and she certainly has a romantic interest in her life. But these facts aren't unique to Haruhi... the romance part, at least, is shared by people all over the world. Is there any deeper connection between Haruhi and the Star Festival? Yes.

1) A major event in Haruhi's life occurs on Tanabata. These are MAJOR novel spoilers so don't click on the following unless you're willing to know about stuff that will be shown in the second anime series (IF there's a second anime series):

Spoiler for MAJOR NOVEL SPOILERS:

2) There are hints about Haruhi's continuing interest in Tanabata in the anime (and the novels). At the beginning of Episode 7 Kyon says "After spending Tanabata in a state of melancholy Haruhi made a full recovery from her blues during term exams and went back to doing whatever she wanted." It's obviously a big day for her, but a sad day. Later we see other proof of the Tanabata connection:


That is SOS Dan's Tanabata tree, complete with paper wishes. The screencap comes from Episode 9, but it can also be seen in the background of Episodes 7 and 11.

3) KyoAni has given us a lot of visual hints about Haruhi's connection to Tanabata. Let's take a close look at the EP.


This is one of the first frames of the EP. It looks like a classic Disney shot: A beautiful girl looking up at the night sky, perhaps making a wish on a shooting star. Notice this is a younger version of Haruhi.


A few frames later Haruhi has tranformed into her North High self, but she's still looking longingly up into the night sky.


Then a hand comes out of the sky. For most people in the English-speaking audience this probably seems like a clear reference to Michelangelo's famous painting in the Sistine chapel showing God reaching down to touch Adam's finger. I don't think that's the point KyoAni was trying to make. Haruhi doesn't strike me as someone waiting for a vision from God, and I don't think the traditional Western view of God really fits into Haruhi's universe anyway. Also, they don't just touch fingers- the hands clasp, and it looks like Haruhi expects to be pulled up into the sky, or to pull the person in the sky down to her. Haruhi looks very surprised and happy to meet this mysterious person in the sky.

To the Japanese this might be a reminder of the Tanabata story. Haruhi would be in the role of Orihime the Weaver, and the hand descending from the sky would by Hikoboshi crossing the great divide to meet her, or to pull her to him.


And then we go for a little journey through the stars. Notice something odd about the people Haruhi meets along the star-road- She sees all the major characters in the story, and several minor characters, but one person is missing. Where's Kyon?


At the end of EP we take a deep, deep look into Haruhi's eyes and see... More stars.

Tanabata and Kyon

If Haruhi is in the role of Orihime then Kyon must play the role of the Herdsman Hikoboshi. He is Haruhi's love interest, after all. Are there any other connections between Kyon and Tanabata? Again, yes.

1) More major novel spoilers, read at your own risk:
Spoiler for MAJOR NOVEL SPOILERS:

2) Who is Kyon, anyway? What do we know about him? Not much. He attended junior high with Kunikada, and he had a reputation for liking strange girls. He has a family but we don't know any of their names- we call his little sister simply "Little Sister". The strangest thing about Kyon is we don't even know his own name; no one ever uses it. In place of a name he has this strange nickname "Kyon".

"Kyon" is a kind of japanese deer, but it's not real obvious why the name stuck to him. We're actually told how he got the name- his aunt just started calling him that one day "several years ago", and his little sister thought it was funny. She started using it, and eventually so did everyone else. There is, however, another possible meaning of the word "Kyon"...

The Tanabata story isn't unique to Japan. It's also found in China, south-east Asia, and Korea. There are usually small differences between the circumstances of the story, and the names change from place to place, but the central idea of the stars Vega and Altair representing separated lovers remains the same. Here is a book telling the Korean version if the myth:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Description of the Korean Tanabata legend
The Love of Two Stars is a retelling of a Korean legend about the stars Altair and Vega, or Kyonu and Jingnyo as they are called in Korea. The stars approach each other in the Milky Way on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. According to the legend, Kyonu was a farmer who raised strong cattle while Jingnyo was a weaver who wove the most beautiful and durable cloth. They both lived in a starry kingdom in the sky...
Kyonu is the Korean name for the star Altair, the Herdsman in the Tanabata story.

Possible meanings

What does all this mean for the story of Suzumiya Haruhi? I think there are several plausible theories:

Theory 1) It's just another example of Haruhi's power. In this theory Haruhi really isn't Orihime, and Kyon isn't really Hikoboshi. However, since Haruhi believes in these kinds of things, since she believes in star-crossed lovers, then her own special relationship ends up mimicking the Tanabata story. Kyon is just a normal guy who happens to be the lucky(?) one Haruhi falls in love with.

Theory 2) It's literally true. Haruhi really is the goddess Orihime, and Kyon is the Herdsman. Somehow they have escaped the fate of only meeting once a year. This would perhaps explain Haruhi's amazing powers, and it would explain why Kyon was the key to unlocking them. But it doesn't help us understand why neither of them seem to realize their true identities.

Theory 3) Tanabata is just metaphor for what's actually happening. Haruhi isn't really a goddess, but she has powers like one, and Kyon isn't a normal human. There's something strange about SOS Dan as we know it... It seems to be missing a member. Haruhi originally said she wanted to meet "Aliens, time travellers, sliders, or espers." A slider is a traveller from another dimension. None of them have appeared in the club... unless one of the members is one and doesn't know it.

Could Kyon be the slider and not know it? It would match the idea of "a great divide" between the two lovers, since it's hard to imagine a bigger barrier than the problem of travelling through alternate dimensions. Maybe he was summoned here by Haruhi like Itsuki was "awakened" by her, and this dimension is so similar to his old one that he doesn't know it happened- the exact same except Haruhi only exists in this dimension. But there's the problem of Kyon's family...

Or perhaps Haruhi is the slider herself. She wished on the Tanabata tree to find a lover in another world and it actually happened- though she doesn't realize it. The "time quake" three years ago happened when Haruhi crossed into our dimension.

Summary

Whatever deeper interpretation of the story it's clear that Tanabata is very important to Haruhi, that she really wishes she could meet her own lover from across the stars, and that she thinks Kyon might be the one. This is why Kyon is the "trigger" for Haruhi's eccentricity, it's why she listens to only him, it's why she goes into a depression when he treats her badly.
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Old 2006-06-29, 23:38   Link #162
Vallen Chaos Valiant
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Kyon is also Greek for "dog", but I guess that isn't very glamorous?
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Old 2006-06-30, 05:17   Link #163
outcast_within
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C.A.
lol you've indirectly quoted me , that was a theory I had quite long ago.

But I think I'm not really standing by that theory anymore, for that I'm starting to think that Kyon is much more simpler than we think and he really doesn't have any powers at all...
argh when i quote someone i can see the spoiler didn't look though

anyway i think he has powers. the power of love
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Old 2006-06-30, 06:28   Link #164
Jacalee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sphinx
Let's talk about Tanabata.

The Legend

Tanabata is based on an old Chinese legend about a pair of star-crossed lovers. Here is a little page that gives one version of the story. I'll summarize it:
, this legend has a partial difference between the original story which is widespread in China.
By the bye, THIS STORY is closer to the original chinese legend.

In China Tanager tree is no more than grapevine.
Most of the Chinese know the other beautiful story that ppl can hear a conversation between Orihime and Hikoboshi under the grapevine at Tanabata's night.

Maybe there are some changes in Japanese Culture. Hmm...

BTW, The Star Festival of 2006 is July 31st according to the current old Chinese calendar.

Last edited by Jacalee; 2006-06-30 at 08:02.
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Old 2006-06-30, 06:30   Link #165
Kinny Riddle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sphinx
Let's talk about Tanabata.

Spoiler for MAJOR NOVEL SPOILERS:
A very interesting theory overall save this part above.

Spoiler for certain "flaws" in your theory:
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Old 2006-06-30, 07:24   Link #166
Jacalee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinny Riddle
A very interesting theory overall save this part above.

Spoiler for certain "flaws" in your theory:
Spoiler for I agree with you.:
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Old 2006-07-02, 19:42   Link #167
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I predict what they'll show as the opening for the second season:
Spoiler:

Half of me is also saying that it will ruin the mood for the rest of the season, however.

...

I think the making of the cultural festival movie will be a series on it's own. It's too long (5 chapters?) that it will take up the other half of space for the second season - there's a very high possibility for Shoushitsu, and probably 6-7 episodes for that, plus a couple of short stories from the other novels to keep the trademark random-episode-broadcast-order.
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Old 2006-07-02, 20:26   Link #168
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Spoiler for Second Season Speculation:
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Old 2006-07-03, 01:22   Link #169
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Who said there was a second season coming?
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Old 2006-07-03, 03:40   Link #170
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Originally Posted by Kaioshin_Sama
Who said there was a second season coming?
To be clear, no one has said so, at least certainly not officially. They've announced no second season, OVA series, movie, or any other form of animated sequel at this point. People are just speculating that there will be some form of follow-up based on the show's runaway success, and the fact that many more stories from the novels remain to be told. But it's not as if that's ever guaranteed a sequel in the past, either. That being said, announcing a sequel wouldn't be a huge surprise; after all, they are in the business to make money, and a series with a proven trackrecord is arguably better than trying to find something new that may or may not pan out. All we can do, though, is wait and see.
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Old 2006-07-04, 12:33   Link #171
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I just think not making a second season would be a crime. Towards profit, and fans. lol. From a company point of view, not caring about fans is ok and logical (Remember, George L.? ) but ignoring profit is stupid. At least that's my opinion. Then, they've got the material. So yeah, that would be a huge surprise if they didn't continue.

From an artistic point of view, as a scriptwriter, there's no way I would let things like as they are in the end of ep.14. Too many doors opened without being closed.

Would YOU stop?
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Old 2006-07-04, 16:45   Link #172
outcast_within
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outcast_within
argh when i quote someone i can see the spoiler didn't look though

anyway i think he has powers. the power of love
I was right?!?

cool
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Old 2006-07-04, 16:49   Link #173
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Haruhism compounds all
no but honestly i think there are loads of japanese otakus who want a sequel
i think they will have more influence then us (just look at Gundam Seed Destiny)
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Old 2006-07-06, 18:22   Link #174
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Oooo Tanabata is coming up *ties a wish to a bamboo stalk that KyoAni will announce they'll follow up Kanon remake with 'The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya'*
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Old 2007-03-14, 19:18   Link #175
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I have a theory. Maybe Kyon met Haruhi before she became "God" and gave her the idea of looking specifically for aliens, time travelers, espers, and sliders. Whether or not it happened after the baseball game doesn't really matter (though I sort of hope it's after).
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Old 2007-03-14, 22:57   Link #176
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I do not believe that Snow Mountain in itself would be sufficient without explaination coming from Intrigues. I actually find Snow Mountain to be sufficiently short a segment that is suspenseful enough to be a standalone movie, or OVA. Disappearance though would make a great s2 centerpiece, with augmentations from the previous volumes, maybe even with Endless Eight.
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Old 2007-03-14, 23:06   Link #177
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so who shot nagato to repair to haruhi/god timeline in vol 4?
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Old 2007-03-14, 23:40   Link #178
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so who shot nagato to repair to haruhi/god timeline in vol 4?
Spoiler:
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Old 2007-03-15, 01:01   Link #179
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for everyone's sanity sake i hope they make season 2 :3

but if they do make it...wouldnt it be good if they include at least 5 volumes (3-8) and possibly extend season 2 to about 26 ep (full season)?

i mean by the time they start production vol.9 will be out, so they wont overtake the novel.
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Old 2007-03-15, 01:37   Link #180
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They wouldn't include that many volumes in my opinoin. There's still the making of Adventures to explain. (I imagine that's a good way for S2 to open itself, with none other than Sighs).

Disappearance would be front and center, and in itself, there's so much to cover in that one book alone (maybe 6 episodes)...
The story regarding Adventures is easily going to take up 3 episodes, if not more.
Mysterious Sign and Bamboo Leaf should be dealt with as well (2 episodes), and that would leave time for Endless Eight (1-2).
Covering Where'd the Cat Go? (1) and Charmed at First Sight LOVER (1) should conclude the season, at count of 14 episodes.

I am suggesting this due to the significance of Snow Mountain as a precursor to Intrigues, as well as how dramatic the story is. That way, LOVERS and Where'd the Cat GO would hint to a potential season 3, and season 3 can structure itself on explaining the gap, and pick itself from there.
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