The importance of Amami Haruka

Because Haruka is taking you up to the top floor.

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS over 1000 words of raw fanboyism, JUST SO YOU KNOW!

Note: I have not seen the last two episodes of idolM@ster either, and given their importance to Haruka, they might be significant to this post, but it shouldn’t matter much. I hope.

When IdolM@ster first started, no one really paid special attention to Haruka. No one hated her or anything, but there were other more interesting girls to gush over. Haruka was just an average girl, put there to make the other girls look different, and to possibly provide a secondary frame of reference (the primary frame of reference was of course the producer). But, as the show progressed, people realized that Haruka had a personality too, she was the token optimistic girl, the one who was always happy. “So, what?”, people thought? “Every show has the trademark optimist. I don’t hate Haruka, but I am too busy gushing over someone else right now”.

Well, I doubt very many are still thinking that after episodes 22 and 23. Us, benevolent viewers of idolM@ster have now realized just how important and cool Haruka is, BUT the idols in idolM@ster still seem to be clueless about the true identity of their fearless leader. The idols might think that they have been lead into the idol battlegrounds by their Lieutenant Producer (otherwise known as Broducer) or in the case of Ryugu Komachi, Lieutenant Ritsuko. Or, maybe the idols think that Takano or Ayumi is their leader(since they are the eldest), but the idols are wrong, so very wrong!

She may not act like it, but Haruka is the leader of the 765 Pro Idols. She is such a great leader, that no one even knows she is leading. With nothing, but her own inner strength, Haruka leads the idols. Sure, Haruka doesn’t lead them during one of their performances or anything like that (for all idols need to have at least some inner strength of their own) no, Haruka leads them as a team. She brings them together, and keeps them together.

Haruka keeps the gang together, like only a godfather can.

No matter how strong one’s legs are, almost everyone needs a cane. Things happen in life that are either too difficult to tackle alone, or simply too mortifying, and we need people to be there and be our walking cane.

These walking canes are often built out of wood collected from many different sources, many different friends, family and maybe even pets.

What the idols of idolM@ster have yet to realize is that their walking sticks, though originating from many different places, would be severely dysfunctional without Haruka. The part of their canes that is made from the support of their companions/co-workers(which in this case, given their circumstances is quite an important part like the handle or the base) is held together by Haruka. Haruka is the glue that keeps the knights of the 765 table together and subsequently, because she is there, the whole team is able to provide support to one another.

I have no doubt that this show would be very different if any one of the idols were not present, but without someone like Haruka, I am sure that this show would have felt fake and artificial. It’s hard to see how people who are so different can get along so well if there is no glue to hold them together.

In the recent past, weak females who had to rely on their manly (read as effeminate) boyfriends were the common trend in manga and anime. And, to a certain extent, they are still quite common, but given viewer demand, anime/manga creators have now begun focusing on “strong” females.
This strength is normally shown by either making the aforementioned girl physically strong or simply headstrong and stubborn. The modern “strong” female does not care if people dislike her, she only worries about her lover and only blushes around him. All of these modern tropes like Tsundere, Yandere and ShanaClone (An extension of the Tsundere trope) probably came about as a result of viewers wanting to see stronger female leads. Note: this is all conjecture, I don’t know much about anime history.

Anyway, the above is mostly irrelevant, all I wanted to get at was that most of these “strong” female leads don’t even have half the strength that Haruka possess. What strength am I talking about? I am talking about Haruka’s inner strength. It takes an incredibly strong person to be that optimistic. And, no, before you ask, it’s not a flaw, Haruka is not an unrealistic character. People like her are just really, really rare.

When the going gets tough, Haruka first reprimands herself, and then

Haruka summons her inside strength.

Some people would have you believe that Haruka is not suitable to be an idol, and that she should grow a pair or something. Yeah, well! They might be right, but, I don’t care. I want Haruka to succeed as an idol. Why? Why would I want something unrealistic like that from a totally fictional character? Because, it would increase my hope in humanity (even if it’s fictional humanity), that even in a vain sub-culture like idols, youth, optimism and kindness can prevail. I want to see something like that. I don’t want Haruka to lose this race just because she does her best to support others, and enjoys good company. That would be silly, and to me anyway, shallow as well.

Now, this year has had a lot of great characters. Okarin, Makise, the entire Nichijou cast, the Mirai Nikki cast especially Yuno ( I haven’t watched the anime past ep.1, but I have read a bit of the manga), the Persona 4 cast, the Un-Go cast, and lest we forget Rider and Waver. Now, I would want a good deal of those characters to be real and be my friends (well, except for the Mirai Nikki characters of course), but I honestly think that having a Haruka-eque friend would be most beneficial to not  only me, but to anyone.

Think about it! Wouldn’t it be convenient to have someone cheer you up whenever you are down, and give you cake whenever your mood is foul? IT WOULD BE SUPER CONVENIENT.

Which is why, I honestly think that everyone needs a Haruka in their life.

I have on occasion tried to pull of a Haruka, you know trying to be “that guy” who always tries to annoyingly cheer people up, but unfortunately, I (and most people) lack the inner fortitude to pull it of. So, after some lame attempts, I normally just crash and drown myself in anime/video games, BUT HARUKA DOESN’T DO THAT. When it comes to making others happy, she never really gives up, but she is still a human.

Now, there is one glaring flaw in the Haruka personality. See, earlier I mentioned that everyone should have a Haruka-eque friend, and I also made note that Haruka is a human to. So, when a Haruka does not have a Haruka, you have a problem.

When your optimism fails, when you can no longer keep people together, it sort of just builds up, and breaks you down.

Eventually, things get so bad, that all it takes is one last push. One final tap.

This little tap pushed Haruka very close to tipping point…(When Miki tells Haruka that they are competing)

and this is the push that pushes Haruka over…

So, what do you get when all that pressure builds up and that final push is given?

A Broken Haruka.

Now, it looks like Haruka will pick herself up (most likely with the help of her friends) in the last two episodes, or well, she probably did, I just haven’t watched them yet. 🙂

edit:

This post had a link to “http://www.atalude.net/2011/12/10/the-idolmster-23-goodnight-sweet-prince/”. Removed because the link is dead and redirects to god knows where.

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