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Nietzschean Philosophy in Haruhi Suzumiya

October 9, 2010

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS TO THE HARUHI SUZUMIYA FRANCHISE.

In the Summer of 2008 (I know, slowpoke.jpg) I saw for the first time the anime known as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Long story short: it was unlike anything else I have ever seen. The characters, the plot, all seemed familiar; however, it was the presentation of it all that was unique.

Also at this point in time, I was studying a lot of Friedrich Nietzsche, the famed German philosopher. In his works, Nietzsche heralds the coming of the Übermensch, the Overman who shunned all current values, beliefs and world-views to create his own, a person who was beyond good and evil, a person who seeks to create and dominate, not to enslave, but to inspire.

The Übermensch, I believe, is a pretty good description of our very own Haruhi Suzumiya.

Exhibit A: Haruhi seems completely ignorant of social norms and morals throughout the series, beginning with announcing her manifesto in her introduction to her class (Not being interested in “normal” things, calling out to any aliens/time-travelers-ESPers/Sliders, etc.), continuing by occupying the Literature Club and essentially kidnapping people for her new club (more on that below). In addition, she has no qualms about stripping for Gym Class in front of everybody, regarding everyone, as the dub put it, “like a sack of potatoes”, framing the Computer Club to essentially steal their brand-new, self-bought computer, and what can only be called molestation in regards to Mikuru.

However, when one applies the Übermensch concept, it can be seen clearly that Haruhi is acting out the role of the Übermensch. She has created her own set of “norms”, to fight the “boring” norms of the society that surrounds her. Thus, she does what she does not out of any sense of malice, but to enact her will upon everyone around her: just as the Übermensch would. She is what she is, and will never conform to anyone else’s ideas, the only person thus far being able to influence her being Kyon (though it is implied that he is the one and only exception).

Exhibit B: Haruhi seeks to “greatly enliven” the world. To do this, she forms the SOS Brigade. Thus, in this role, she fulfils the Übermensch as creato and inspirer, for she wishes to make the world as fun as she wishes it was.

Also, it has been theorized by some that she created the SOS-Brigade in an attempt to gain friends (though, especially early on, she treats them like servants). Thus, it could be argued, she fulfills the last role of the Übermensch: seeking out companions.

Thus, Haruhi combines all of the roles of the Übermensch into one, and may be one of the best examples in fiction.

Note: I plan on re-writing this in more detail in the future.

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