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dtzav.bmp Two years ago on this day, an anime aired and confused the ever-living crap out of a large number of people. It was broadcast in High Definition, but the sidebars, grainy animation and poor voice acting all gave the impression of a low-quality work for a few seconds before it was realized that, wait, this is a parody of crappy student films. That episode was the first episode, eleventh chronologically and zeroth by official episode numbering, of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

dioav.jpg We already know all this. What’s your point?

dtzav.bmp MY POINT, my little bacterial buddy, is that it has now been two years since the anime that converted me from Pastafarianism to Haruhi-ism started, and a year since the last Haruhi light novel was released. Do you know why this is a bad thing, aside from the whole “being deprived of good anime” business?

dioav.jpg Everyone knows that. The fans go insane.

dtzav.bmp PRECISELY! And when people as absurdly rabid as Haruhi-ists go crazy…

Image Shamelessly stolen from image site

THIS HAPPENS.

dioav.jpg My god….what is that?

dtzav.bmp That is Haruhi and Kyon with their genders swapped. Meet Haruki and Kyon-chan.

dioav.jpg I can see forever…

dtzav.bmp I first became aware of this strange phenomenon a few weeks ago, where another blogger pointed out that the Haruhi-ists have started entertaining themselves. He attributed this to a lack of a second season of the anime, and I’m inclined to agree. It seems to have begun in several locations at once, with fanart available right around the time an American Haruhi-ist on the anime suki forums posited the simple question of “what would The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya be like if all the characters had their genders swapped.”

dioav.jpg I saw some hints of it myself. Some really freakish Youtube vids out there. But isn’t this beyond basic boredom and into madness?

dtzav.bmp The thread that began it is currently growing at a rate comparable to the Motivational Poster thread on RPG.net. It is now at 366 pages in just one month. I think madness may be too weak of a phrase to describe it.

dioav.jpg And then I found that they were even rewriting the novels to reflect the crazy parallel universe.

dtzav.bmp But let us not recoil in fear! Let us instead analyze the changes to this universe, so that we may understand it. Then when we’re done we can run away in fear.

dioav.jpg You sure I can’t run now? I’m feeling that urge.

dtzav.bmp First, let’s look at the changes to the characters.

dioav.jpg Right, he’s ignoring me again.

dtzav.bmp The instant fan favorite of the gender bent characters seems to be Kyon, who has transformed from a cynical high school freshman male to a cynical high school freshman tsundere girl. It seems the main reason for the popularity is the fanart; Kyon-chan seems to be getting the moe fans riled up in ways they really shouldn’t. Kyon’s personality seems mostly retained, but now sports a sailor suit, is much shorter, and has a rather long ponytail.

dioav.jpg The artwork doesn’t scare me too much, because fandrawings are constant and random.

dtzav.bmp That said, my personal favorite change is what happened to Haruhi. Because part of the appeal of Haruhi from the main series was how unconventional her character was, they tried to not just copy-paste the personality over. Instead, they took inspiration from two other sources and created a monstrosity. A hilarious monstrosity! But still a monstrosity.

dioav.jpg And here’s where things get really scary. You see, the personality they created does actually channel Haruhi surprisingly well. and that might be the problem. If you recall, Haruhi Suzumiya is an impetuous, short tempered girl with low body image concerns who likes to molest other girls occasionally.

dtzav.bmp To get that personality without just being any other harem lead, Haruhi’s personality seems to have been spliced with Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club to create Haruki, who is brash, gung-ho, and insane, and the molestation hasn’t gone away either. If just Haruhi had changed, it wouldn’t be that interesting. But the reverse-harem atmosphere created by flipping the universe makes it work once again, by making a very unconventional brash shounen-lead type the major male in a shoujo-feeling series.

dioav.jpg Kyon comes out almost exactly the same, but seems a bit sadder about her own melancholy, less social and uneasy.

dtzav.bmp The introductions we get to the new versions of the characters really set up the feel of this universe. Kyon’s opening monologue shifts from a love of heroism and sci-fi to a more romantic view on life, wanting to find a prince or be the magical girl who fights for love. Viewed through this lens, she establishes the feel of the world as a shoujo series rather than the shounen/seinen feel of the original.

dioav.jpg And she still ends up cynical and bored. But on the other hand, Haruki is even more outspoken. His opening speech to the class is changed only SLIGHTLY. ‘”Normal humans do not interest me! If anyone here is an alien, a time traveler, a slider, or an esper, then come! Be my bride! That is all.’” Instead of a hyper joke on tsundere type girls, we have the most outspoken romantic lead ever. In other words, as you said, DTZ, Kamina type Tamaki.

dtzav.bmp Meanwhile, the other three members of the SOS brigade haven’t changed AS much, but they do complete the “weird reverse-harem” vibe of the universe swap. For example, Nagato Yuki, the “Rei” moe stereotype of the original series, has become a cool stoic type Yuuki, much like the character Kyouya in Ouran portrays, and has received a height increase to accommodate that.

dioav.jpg Really, the next one amuses me greatly. I myself am actually not in the least a fan of Asahina Mikuru. I won’t get into that. So anyways, by having Asahina Mitsuuru, the extremely wimpy shouta-boy in the style of uke, the jokes about the character become so much easier.

dtzav.bmp And Koizumi Itsuki… well, for the original series, he pinged on some radars as the “gay option.” With the gender swap, the “gay option” suddenly becomes appealing to the largely male fanbase of the series, so they’re trying to amp it up with Itsuko, where the big thing that irritates Kyon-chan about Itsuko is Itsuko’s extremely flirtatious nature… with her.

dioav.jpg Well, since I’ve focused on the writings, and they haven’t gotten that far in the closest thing to an ‘official project’, Ill just take your word for that. But it does add to my fear.

dtzav.bmp The side characters have been the subject of the gender swap as well. While Taniguchi and Kunikida don’t have much of a change at all to them, though Taniguchi is a bit cattier, the Computer Club got a VERY amusing change. Since a all-female computer club is very hard to come by, the creators of this farce added the character trait of “fujyoshi” to them, and their large collection of contraband yaoi is part of the blackmail Haruki uses to extort a computer.

dioav.jpg And then there’s Kyon’s bratty little brother, of course.

dtzav.bmp So you want to bring that up, eh?

dioav.jpg Anything not to mention what happens with the computer club and Mitsuuru.

dtzav.bmp Fair enough. So as a final point of discussion… would this series have been successful if the genderbent world was the canon world?

dioav.jpg I really don’t know. And I’m kinda tired of viewing the madness. May I go back to less frightening topics?

dtzav.bmp I honestly don’t think it would, though not for reasons of overall quality.

dioav.jpg He’s ignoring me again…

dtzav.bmp The trouble is, it would have run smack dab against Ouran. This would have had two subversive shoujo series in the same season, and the competition would have hindered both. Though if we consider a full gender swap universe where this exists, Ouran would have been a fairly subversive NORMAL harem series… hmm, this might be worth exploring…

dioav.jpg GAHH! Fine! I’m off to watch something less scary. This.