November 4, 2011
Everybody loves them…except me: Haruhi
Everybody loves them…except me is a column where I’ll be discussing characters who are generally well-liked among anime and manga fandom, but I’ve never particularly cared for (and vice-versa). I’ve noticed that in many series I’ve watched, the character with the biggest fanbase is one that I’m indifferent to, or actively dislike, while characters who are typically hated or ignored don’t bother me much. Haruhi Fujioka, the main female character of Ouran High School Host Club, is often credited as one of the best heroines in a shojo anime and manga. During the show’s run, she often ranked on Newtype‘s Top Ten female character list. Unlike most shojo protagonists, who are whiny, dense, and love-obsessed, Haruhi is sarcastic and often indifferent to the wacky people surrounding her, so she stands out from most shojo heroines. However, when I watched the anime series, Haruhi’s blasé attitude towards everything left me feeling blasé towards her. While I can definitely respect Haruhi from being a different type of shojo heroine, she just doesn’t win me over. It’s not as though I dislike her – it’s just that I don’t find her to be that amazing.
After rewatching the anime series, I realized that in many ways, Haruhi’s actually not that novel of a character. Although she’s uninterested in romance, she’s still just as dense about love as the average shojo heroine. I also found that for the most part, she still functions in the same way as the stereotypical shojo heroine. Because she is surrounded by so many over-the-top characters, I found myself paying attention more to the members of the host club and their intriging backstories than to Haruhi. Thus, even though she does it in a very different way, she still plays the same role as the passive whiny shojo heroine who gets overshadowed by her harem of handsome suitors. If the male cast was changed or taken out of the series, I just don’t think Haruhi could hold up a series by herself (although to be fair, neither could most shojo heroines). I think a major reason why I’m not that amazed by Haruhi is because there are other shojo leads who I find to be far more interesting, such as the feisty Sana from Kodocha and Yukino from His and Her Circumstances. But I do still enjoy watching her interactions with the host club members – especially Tamaki.