Tag Archives: light novels

Zaregoto and the Role of the Unreliable Narrator

“Come to think of it, I was on my way to deliver the contents to Kunagisa. But this lady really figured that out just from this bag? She was like . . . like one of those famous books of yore. Like . . .

Like a detective.”

-“I,” The Kubikiri Cycle (the first novel in the Zaregoto series by Nisio Isin)

In storytelling there are three basic beings responsible for the dispensation of the story: the author, the audience, and the narrator, with the latter often serving to bridge the gap between the author and the audience. When this occurs with a first-person narrator, they become our window or entry point into the story. This means that, especially in mysteries, the narrator is someone easily identifiable; someone who one can see themselves as in order to insert themselves into the thick of solving the mystery; a viewpoint character.

At first blush, our narrator for Nisio Isin’s Zaregoto series, who refers to himself only as “ぼく” or “I,” appears to be the perfect viewpoint narrator. Surrounded by geniuses of all types, he constantly reaffirms the fact that (although intelligent) he is not a genius like his peers, especially his best friend Tomo Kunagisa. He is not a detective. He is not a genius. He is not a complex or complicated man.

Or at least, that’s what he says.

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The Trust of Haruhi Suzumiya: Day of Sagittarius and Character Development

"jiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. . ."

“You’re going to feign ignorance? No, it’s possible that you don’t realize how much Suzumiya trusts you and you, in turn, trust her…Neither of you may express it in words, but the two of you are connected by an almost ideal bond of trust.”

-Itsuki Koizumi, The Rampage of Haruhi Suzumiya– Day of Sagittarius

In order for one to trust another, they must not only have confidence in the other person, but also have enough self-worth and confidence to figuratively let themselves go. One cannot simply proclaim their trust in another, especially in fiction. It has to be established, nuanced, and well-developed in order to be believable.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting a franchise you may not have thought of in a little while: Haruhi Suzumiya.

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