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Old 2017-09-16, 23:01   Link #1
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Haruhi Suzumiya as the founder of the Chuunibyou genre?

Something I've been thinking about for awhile and would like some feed back on.

I remember when The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was first released, there was a lot of discussion about how it would impact the anime world.

For those who weren't around then, or don't remember, Haruhi was huge. The fanbase was massive, and it seemed like it was the next big thing that everyone was going to draw on. Similar to how Evangelion effected the anime fandom.

However, the effects were not clear at the time. Haruhi had several notable aspects marking it as different from past anime. One was that it was based off light novels instead of manga. Another was the very strange marketing methods used (shows airing out of orders, endless eight, etc). Still another aspect was that Haruhi was often labeled a genre buster. It incorporated elements of multiple genres, but often with twists, and everyone had trouble placing it in an existing genre.

Because of this, at the time (and I believe you can even find examples of this discussion on this site in older threads) there was a view that Haruhi's main legacy would be a shift to light novels as a source of anime. This has of course come true.

But recently I rewatched Haruhi, and suddenly realized that I could now give it a genre. It's a Chuunibyou anime. True, it's certainly not the normal chuunibyou anime, but you can clearly see the new genre's elements there. Or to be more accurate, you can see how Haruhi has laid the grounds for the Chuunibyou genre of today.

It strikes me as an example of what tvtropes calls an Unbuilt Trope. A classic example of which is the anime Those Darn Aliens which is the first case of the Magical Girlfriend genre in anime.

Similarly, Haruhi appears to me as the obvious precursor of both the "normal kids pretend to have special abilities" Chuunibyou genre (such as Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! itself), as well as related anime such as Kokoro Connect, or When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace.

I can also see how there is a strong link between Haruhi and the Isekai genre.

Specifically through the substep of Angel Beats. Angel Beats had clear inspirations from Haruhi (as well as a lot of other anime such as Evangelion). And that seems the pretty clear precursor to the explosion of Isekai novels and anime we've seen since then. In addition the Chuunibyou and Isekai genres seem to influence each other quite a bit. I'd say that they are related to each other. Of course, the Isekai genre has much older precursors as well (dating all the way back to Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, or even Dante's Inferno), but it's current prevalence in anime/manga/light novel culture must have a more immediate catalyst.

What are other people's thoughts on this?

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Old 2017-09-17, 02:02   Link #2
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I always thought it's legacy would be the massively annoying rabid fans

Hmm, I don't think so.

Isn't the whole point of Chuuni, about immature kids with delusions of grandeur? If anything, Haruhi is the opposite of it both in the attitudes of the titular character and the fact that the unusual stuff isn't imagined.

I think Haruhi's main legacy would be its implementation of modern moe as well as a specific form of meta storytelling. Not that meta stuff wasn't common in anime, but much in the way it interacts with the fanbase. One of the things was memeable stuff, which seemed to have exploded much afterwards. The ED credits, while kinda dated in a vaccum, started a trend by itself. The way it was marketed, such as the trailers for season 2 showed sound really interesting marketing techniques that would be emulated nonstop on social media. I mean it all seems quaint now, but back then it was new. I think the best thing to do is compare it right against the anime just before it, so like 2004-2005 anime such as Shana, Mai-HiME, and then compare it against 2006 anime immediately after. It feels like a light philosophical moe anime. And no, of course philiosphical anime about existential shit have always been around, but it's also more tongue in cheek and laid back in its introspection. Existentialist moe!

Honestly, I thought it was kinda weird it sorta just died.
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Last edited by Archon_Wing; 2017-09-17 at 02:15.
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Old 2017-09-17, 03:46   Link #3
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I thought you were talking about chuu2 vns like dies irae, 11eyes, muramasa and etc but guess not.

Anyways i don't think those shows are under the chuunibyou genre. Unless i'm under the wrong impression of what the chunnibyou genre is cause i've never seen chuu2 used to describe SoL stuff. Its mostly the superpower action stuff that are called chuu2.
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Old 2017-09-19, 15:22   Link #4
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Well main difference is either its anime about chuu2 and about chuu2 alike or anime written by chuu2 himself /herself . Haruhi and other are former.

Later is not really genre it is just insult of sort though in many cases not necessarily unwarranted.
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Old 2017-09-19, 16:43   Link #5
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Haruhi I think has somewhat of a chuuni aspect of it but because of it's contents it's more like a deconstruction of it as well in a way.

The Haruhi popularity has probably died down a lot but after seeing the anime I just can't help but want more of it. I wasn't around for it's initial startup as I first watched the anime in like 2014 or so.

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Old 2017-09-20, 01:25   Link #6
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If such a genre was to be defined then yes, I guess Haruhi founded it.'s a light novel adaptation. And I don't think it was even that remarkable for its story content or structure.

How I would describe Haruhi is "the show that was successful in spite of pandering to otaku"

And it did so by raising the bar for overall quality so high that it more or less devoured every other hardcore anime fandom of its time. "Big fish in a small pond" sort of deal. For instance, this forum became basically a Haruhi fansite for over a year.
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Old 2017-09-20, 08:01   Link #7
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I see what you're getting at OP and I don't disagree. However, as an ur-text to the chuunibyou genre (if it can be called a genre and not a subgenre), I don't think it stands quite alone.

I've not seen enough of the show myself. I tend to judge a chuunibyou by how much I think the characters should have just played Dungeons & Dragons instead and I never really thought that about Haruhi. Then again, like I said, I'd not seen enough of the show.
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Old 2017-09-22, 03:22   Link #8
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Well in the first place "chuunibyou" is a derogative slang term for IRL young girls\boys that try hard to be different and don't realize that doing so doesn't make them cool (as they believe) but actually awkward and annoying.
This is different from terms like "tsundere" which were created for fictional characters to begin with.

Anyway in that sense you might rightfully say that Haruhi qualifies as a chuunibyou. The concept has probably been around for a while before a term was made up for it.

Though the western audience or anyone who is just into anime\manga and not really into a certain internet subculture now only think of chuunibyou as people that sort of roleplay as some kind of fantasy character in a low fantasy setting of their own creation, because that's how chuunibyou are commonly depicted in recent media.

This new definition only considers one specific way the character tries to be different (as opposed to the original meaning, where there could be many different ways, like dressing strangely or pretending to like stuff nobody does) and takes away any negative connotation from it (which is strongly associated to the original meaning).

When you consider this new meaning Haruhi doesn't quite fit with that as she doesn't really pretend to possess some strange power (ironically she does) or to be a chosen one (ironically she is).

Anyway I'm not quite sure if "chuunibyou" could be considered a genre rather than simply an archetype.

Last edited by Jan-Poo; 2017-09-22 at 03:37.
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Old 2017-10-01, 03:29   Link #9
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Originally Posted by Jaden View Post
If such a genre was to be defined then yes, I guess Haruhi founded it.'s a light novel adaptation. And I don't think it was even that remarkable for its story content or structure.

How I would describe Haruhi is "the show that was successful in spite of pandering to otaku"

And it did so by raising the bar for overall quality so high that it more or less devoured every other hardcore anime fandom of its time. "Big fish in a small pond" sort of deal. For instance, this forum became basically a Haruhi fansite for over a year.
Eh, if you mean chuu2 type protag (as opposed to actual clueless chuu2 kid parody like chuu2koi) then there's older stuff than Haruhi. Boogiepop comes to mind and I'm sure Kadono is not the first to do it either even if he kind of popularized the genre (unfortunately, few have succeeded in writing characters as well as him)
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Old 2019-02-14, 08:22   Link #10
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So far as I can tell, all of the content in anime falls into two categories:

(1) Topics that appeal to Chunnis: (special powers, violent events that didn't actually happen, plus subcultures to get into), and
(2) Girls

In Haruhi, the protagonist gives up his interest in (1) and then the girls show up (2). Then the (1) topics come back with a vengeance, but it is really about girls.

Seen that way it is an allegory about growing up. You reach "a certain age" and all you give up your childlike preoccupations and get into girls. If you are a guy that is about heterosexuality, if you are a girl, well...

I talked this over with my tenth-grader son and he told me he started getting interested in girls around the 7th to 8th grade, but I figure there is always a transition time...
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chuunibyou, genre discussion, haruhi suzumiya, isekai

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