“All I wanna know is, sexy can I.
Sexy can I, hit it from the front,
then I hit it from the back.
know you like it like that…
…It’s a kodak moment, let me go and get my camera
All I wanna know is, sexy can I.”
Over at The Animanachronism, there was an interesting post on the theology of Haruhi Suzumiya. And even with the work being exhausting (something I’ll explain on another day), I still managed to get sucked into a long yet interesting discussion about nature of Haruhi’s deity. I’ve burned out all my thoughts on it so I’m not going to rehash too much here. If you are interested in that kind of stuff, I suggest taking a look at the comments from that post.
Among the various ideas that were thrown about, at least one conclusion sorta came out: Haruhi fandom has grown in to a fairly large idolatry. And in this case, while the fandom has pushed some random ideas to go down the pipe, I’m acually very interested in this recent fanfiction suggestion…
What started that theology post was sudden appearance of Haruhi Suzumiya fanfiction about an alternate universe with the entire cast as a different gender. This new fanfiction takes on many different shapes and forms as fans seem to find new ways of twisting the original material for this purpose. So much so that there has been a sudden rise in the popularity of this fan idea as seen by the constantly updated Animesuki thread. Initially, I commented on the Haruhi theology post without having seen any of the fanfiction. Now that I have a few pictures and read few plot threads on this new fanfiction, I must say to my surprise that Kyonko is actually… quite cute…
The Return of the Trap?
The transformation of Kyonko and the subsequent mass fandom reminds me of the Mizuho and Jun from Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru and Happiness and their respective fandom. Mizuho has all the features of a sticking bishoujo and just emanates with the refined-girl moe. Jun just simply has all the makings the fun “out with the guys” girl. What helped their fandom on the anime bloggosphere was the references that those two may not be girls. The confusion of the gender of the those characters was one of the memorable elements of those two series.
Way back when, Jaalin made an interesting argument for anime trap fandom which I agree for the most part. The aura of Mizuho and Jun is that we never see the existence of their male form. The audience is left guessing the other possibility and that kind of wonderment pulled the audience through most of OtoBoku and the Happiness OVA (the awesomeness of Jun couldn’t save the Happiness TV series). While both characters displayed some hints of a male self, their appearance and most of their mannerisms are distinctly female. And with that, many of us in the anime community accepted the infamous philosophy of “fap first worry later”.
“Apple Bottom Jeans [Jeans]
Boots with the fur [With the fur]
The whole club was lookin at her
She hit the flo [She hit the flo]
Next thing you know
Shawty got low low low low low low low low”
Kyonko’s aura is inherently different from Mizuho’s and Jun’s in two ways. One, the audience knows and has seen the existence of her male self. Therefore, the audience has to undo their vision of the male Kyon. Second, because of the alternate universe aspect, Kyonko is technically a different character than Kyon which makes Kyonko 100% female (and thus no worries for interested onlookers). Kyonko’s mannerisms and mindset should be that of a regular Japanese high school girl. The question for Kyonko (along with the other gender-changed characters in the show): What elements that fans recognize as Kyon apply to make up this character of Kyonko?
The Image of Kyonko
Visually, the artists who developed the image of Kyonko have done a good job materializing her with some resemblance to the original male self. Kyonko’s character design is solid combination of small yet recognizable Kyon visual cues while holding a unique look. I personally like how the her ponytail finishes her complexion (just the way Kyon would’ve liked it). I find overall character designs of Kyonko and her cast solid (GAR Haruhi is ok, Nagato and Asakura are good, Koizumi is quite hot herself) which is important for setting the environment for this fandom. Considering that I also watched the questionable Clannad transformations (and thus, ruining my image of Kyou-sama), having solid character designs certainly helps.
Personality-wise, the new character should resemble the their appropriate counterparts. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to study more advanced psychology (outside of when my friend who is a psychology grad casually discussing it) so determining this personality core will be very simplified. I also unfortunately have not studied enough in gender studies (I learned bits of feminist theology) so determining how the characters should act with their core personality will also be very simplified. So if I were to help write the new fanfiction (I’m not saying that I will… I write too much technical writing to be of help nowadays), I’m not too sure how I would go about portraying the characters.
Yet, this gender-bending cast reminds me of another anime with the secondary title: The Melancholy of Haruhi Fujioka. Kyonko’s indifferent personality has me thinking Haruhi Fujioka from Ouran (although I find Kyonko and her ponytail much cuter). GAR Suzumiya is sorta a Tamaki with a bit of Hosaka from Minami-ke mixed in. You can make similiar arguments with other characters (Nagato as a less egotistical Kyoya or Mori and Koizumi can be reminiscent of Renge). Having Kyonko’s cuteness to mesh with a Fujioka-like personality just completes her character.
Personally, I am very interested in this entire thing. This is probably because my anime self has quite the fascination with Kyonko-chan (not to go against my faithfulness to Hinagikuism and Kyouism). Not all of this idea I am completely down with (Mikuru and Tsuruya are just too damn hawt to be anything but girls). I would like to see how far this fandom can go because you know some company out there wants to milk this as much as possible. Until then, I will certainly be keeping up with this and maybe contribute a bit of my own stuff (maybe my own Kyonko vector?).
Girl no one else would do
With every kiss and every hug
You make me fall in love
And now I know I can’t be the only one
I bet there’s hearts all over the world tonight
With the love of their life who feel
What I feel when I’m with you, with you, with you, with you, with you…”
…just to get all the songs out of my head. I’ve been listening to too much Wired 96.5 Philadelphia on my way to work lately…
As I wave my (unofficial and imaginary) flag, Kyonko for Saimoe 2008!