...and they all lived ever after: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
What is with the obsession, particularly in science fiction, with everything returning to normal at the end of your feature film? "We've just had an amazing adventure so let's get back to our dreary old lives." Particularly in cases where aliens and the like are concerned I think we need to face the fact that this is completely unrealistic and just plain silly.
I suppose it provides some sort of closure that everyone's still living as happily as ever, but given the chance to live a happier, nay better, life why wouldn't you jump on it? This is a question, with particular regard to 'The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya' (or Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu if you're like that), that someone raised a while back and it got me thinking.
There are what some might call spoilers ahead here, but knowing the overall story won't spoil anything for you - it's not exactly original and you may even know it already or have gleaned it from a trailer - as it is more the unfolding of events that make this movie special rather than the differences between beginning and end.
The bottom line is: Yuki's snapped. Tired of living in Haruhi's shadow, tired of repeating the same week however many millions of times, perhaps tired of not receiving as much attention from Kyon as she'd like, she has completely altered the world to change it into one that could only be described as "normal" - no aliens, no time travelers, no espers. Yuki is just a quiet bookworm with an overpowering aura of innocence, Mikuru is a happy member of the calligraphy club, Haruhi and Koizumi attend an entirely different school altogether and no one, bar Kyon of course, can remember anything of the previous world.
Needless to say, Kyon eventually finds a way to return everything to normal (handily left in by Nagato, who must have clearly understood the ramifications of her actions). So the question is, why did he do it? In this world he couldn't be troubled by the appearance of closed space, he wasn't dragged along by Haruhi into one foolish adventure after another, he could potentially pursue a relationship with any of the girls without the cosmic repercussions - the one who raised this question originally highlights the cuteness of Yuki in World B, and I'm known for being a long-haired Haruhi fan, but that's a story for another day - so why would he want to return to the way things were?
I suppose the simple answer is that despite both outward and, surprisingly, inward appearances, Kyon actually enjoys being caught up in Haruhi's shenanigans. Perhaps he also suffers from the same mindset as fiction authors and deep down believes that there should be some harmless resolution, meaning everyone can carry on as they were. But that's just not the way it is! Nor is that possible in the circumstances he finds himself in! For one he has to consider the way it would affect Yuki. Obviously she is put through a lot in our original World A and is clearly suffering because of it. Not to mention the way it's revealed she feels about Kyon - even discarding the romantic undertones, she has torn down and created entire worlds for his sake, why would you then trample over that?
The question of how the two worlds relate is actually very important when deciding what to do in this scenario, not that Kyon seems to consider it at all. Some of the possibilities are helpfully laid out by Koizumi on these napkins:
Essentially, the two worlds (A and B) exist separately and Kyon has traveled from one to the other or only one world exists at any one time and as such World A must have warped into World B. Of the two possibilities here, the latter would seem more likely - firstly there is the question of what happened to Kyon's counterpart, Kyon-B as it were, if Kyon has merely traveled over, and secondly it has been established (in World A at least) that Haruhi is the only being capable of creating or destroying whole worlds; it seems far more likely that Yuki would simply manipulate the 'data' of the world rather than create a new one.
So assuming that this is the case we can safely say that whatever world is not being inhabited, for the purpose of our argument, by Kyon no longer exists in any form - all memories, lives and potential are lost. Does this mean then that we should try our utmost to restore the original world? After all, Kyon is lost without the shared memories and companions of the SOS Brigade. But if this wipe has already happened, is it worth reverting at the risk of an entire other world? Not to mention that in World A it has been established that there may have already been several failed attempts by Haruhi to make a world and there may yet be more, so would it be a big deal in that world for such change to occur? I doubt Yuki would have gone through with it if that were the case. And even if World A were to be restored, who could guarantee how long it would last before it is warped yet again, this time by Haruhi? In such a case there is no logic behind merely arguing "it's the way things should be."
It's down to you now then. Will a world be saved or destroyed? Which action would be the selfish one? Do you stay here amongst veritable strangers - no matter how adorable they may be - or do you return to where the lives of you and others are made to be living hells by an eccentric teenage God? It's a toughy, that's for sure. I think Kyon definitely took the easy way out, but that's rarely the right one. If only there were some kind of guidelines or precedents to follow....oh wait, they all say that things have to turn out the exact way they were when events were set in motion. Easy choice for the writers to make, but in Kyon's shoes I'd imagine it would be anything but.
Perhaps I'm reading too much into things here, but I'd like to hear what you would do - both as Kyon and in the case of a comparable world parallel to our own being created.
P.S: This really is a great film, and you should give it a watch. It's not 'Haruhi-centred' (which firefox is trying to auto-correct to Entrepreneurship) in the slightest, but there are some brilliant moments in there and the resolutions are satisfying in their own ways.
I also love how this storyline completely fulfills Haruhi's opening speech at the start of the series, with Kyon in the role of 'slider' (a point which is missed in various adaptations/translations of the light novel).