Alternative Character Interpretation: Haruhi Suzumiya
Suzumiya Haruhi practically invites you to do this. Haruhi and Kyon are extremely discussible characters.
Haruhi herself is perhaps one of the most controversial characters in recent memory. Beware of Internet Backdraft. There are valid points for every camp, yet there's no common opinion even within the respective camps, which includes:
An absolutely random nutjob that can be either cruel or benevolent, never because of moral convictions but rather because she's just in the mood for it. Usually put together with Rebellious Spirit.
A textbook egocentric Jerk with a Heart of Gold with a dash of sociopathy, who never really learned to socialize with other people, is utterly disenchanted with the world as a whole and therefore "is just what she is". So amoral that she simply doesn't see the "evil" in things like blackmailing and molestation. Due to Character Development, she gets pushed to be a more empathic and kind person.
Tsundere or not? Even that is highly debated. Some say she hits every aspect of a Tsundere. Some disagree completely, saying she's the jerkass and Kyon has more tsundere tendencies. There's also the opinion that she's an inversion of a Tsundere, being abusive when she's happy with people and silently affectionate when she's boiling inside. Still, some also say she's not so much tsundere as "Genki Yuutsu", meaning she flips betweenGenki Girl / The Eeyore, rather than between violent/affectionate. From how the article states it right now, this wiki seems to rather disagree with her being a tsundere.
Even her sexuality is questioned. Is she hetero and molests Mikuru just for fun? Is she really bisexual and, well, lets her lust speak for itself? And who knows, maybe someone thinks she's a full-fledged lesbian too. People have been saying "she's just Haruhi", which would seem best because it's hilarious.
Kyon has a bunch, too. One interpretation (at least for the anime) is that he simply feels that Haruhi is annoying and has no feelings for her (not even friendship) whatsoever, but can't actually say this because it could destroy the world. This can be supported by his attitude towards Mikuru, among other things, but the best evidence is if you take the anime's conclusion into consideration: despite being an intelligent guy, he ignores everyone's hints that he should kiss Haruhi for an absurd length of time, the only thing that drives him to it is the possibility of spending eternity alone with someone who annoys him as much as she does. After that, his attitude towards her does not change at all, as if he was pretending to like her as a way of keeping the world from being destroyed, and would rather forget the whole unpleasant thing.
Looking at the other side of it (and especially the light novels), however, Kyon shows more fondness and trust (if still seemingly apathetic) for Haruhi. In the novels (and season 2 3The Movie of the anime) he even goes completely out of his way to revert the world back to normal after it is re-written as a result of someone hijacking her powers, when it would have been far easier for him to just work with what he had if he truly disliked Haruhi. There are also many other, smaller things he could have done to discreetly avoid her if he really wished to.
And don't forget the fact that Kyon is not a reliable narrator in the least - he never truly gives us a definitive picture of his inner workings. We only ever see his reaction to it, whether faked or not. This adds to the confusion as to who/what ANY of the characters are truly like.
Are you kidding? There's plenty of moments (such as the scene where Haruhi and Kyon are outside after Haruhi helped out a band) and you have to keep in mind that Kyon's explanations for his actions may not be completely truthful (such as when he holds Haruhi's hand and claims it's because he would have a better chance of surviving if he did).
He may also be a person that just doesn't care about the whole "Universe at stake"-plot and tries to make the best out of it. Conversely, his concern for persons is incredibly high, as opposed to Haruhi's view of persons as mere "things" and her inner, rational Agent Scully. While Haruhi is incredibly intelligent and secretly rational, which makes it even easier to solve the second "fake murder-game", Kyon has an almost magical ability to read others' true emotions.
This troper has wondered this from the very first lines of the anime: considering that Kyon and Haruhi have suspiciously similair interests, and that he has an unexplained connection to just about everything in the series, this troper wonders if Kyon is in fact the true bored dreaming creator of the universe being placated by his own creations so that he does not become bored or suspicious in his own role in their creation, instead of Haruhi, who could be an embodiment of his lost interest in the world. This would give a plausible explaination to many of the coincidences. Maybe it should really be called The Melancholy Of Kyon. He is the one who started off as melancholy until he met Haruhi.
Then there's the question of why, exactly, he even bothers to stick with the SOS Brigade, since he doesn't seem to want to hang around and no one's really forcing him to stay. Is he just around to drink Mikuru's tea and ogle her various costumes, as he seems to want us to believe? Does he actually like the other Brigade members and just doesn't want to admit it? Does he worry about what would happen to Haruhi's mental state ? and, as a result, the universe - if he left? Is he, in a Haruhi-esque manner that supports one of the above theories, simply bored? Is it Haruhi's willpower that keeps giving him reasons to come to the Literature Club room every day? Is it simply habit at this point? Maybe he's actually hoping to become involved in more of the supernatural occurrences Haruhi causes, in spite of his insistence that he gave up on having anything other than an ordinary life after entering high school? Does he - in spite of his insistence that this isn't the case - actually have a thing for Haruhi and just isn't willing to let the audience know? Or has he simply come to the conclusion that Haruhi would force him to come back if he tried to leave, as she has proven on more than one occasion that she is fully capable of dragging him to the club room if she finds it necessary (and probably more than that)?
To add to this, I would like to verbalize the main stream opinion. That is that Kyon is just a men Tsundere who actually likes everyone in the SOS. First lets begin with Nagato whom Kyon sees as his "knight in a shinning armour" or Deus ex Machina; Now he could stop and thing, but he goes further taking issue with her emotional and phsychological state (a recurring theme in the series). Then theres Mikuru for whom he has a crush. Now Haruhi. Since he is a unreliable narrator, his statements come out as if he absolutely despised her, but his actions shows us otherwise. Unlike most anime and light novels (where the girl approaches the boy), it was he who approached Suzumiya, he stuck with her and the SOS even before he knew the truth of its members, and he acted like a complete lunatic in order to get out of the alternate reality in which Haruhi didnt go to his highschool, thus causing them to never had met in such reality. He also admitted in the first episode to had always wanted to meet time travelers, espers, and aliens. He even went as far as confessing the truth to Suzumiya (she didnt take him seriously). Koizumi might be the one character he truly dislikes, but once again, he is always invested in playing different games with him, this actually appears to be his mayor past time while at the club room, so this could easily fall in the category of friend enemie, or amiable rivality.
And at the beginning it probably was partly because of the general instinct of every Genre Savvy character "It will be bad if I miss this story".
There is a case to be made for treating Kyon as a full accomplice for most of Haruhi's crimes. He's demonstrated time and again that he's the one person who can moderate her actions. Yet frequently he doesn't bother. Not because he's afraid it would destroy the world or thinks it would fail, but because it would personally inconvenience him. That's right, Kyon would rather stand by and watch as Haruhi commits theft, kidnapping, and felony than do anything about him, because it might annoy him! He is doubly guilty of this when it comes to Haruhi's treatment of Mikuru.
There's also the theory that Kyon is actively in love with Haruhi, knows that she loves him, and he's willfully denying it because it bothers him on some (or multiple) levels. This frequently plays off of the "male Tsundere" theory above, and then further fragments as to which reasons Kyon may have for this: simple denial, fear of being subjected to Haruhi's whims, general immaturity regarding romance, frustration that someone closer to his type (like Yuki or Mikuru) isn't the focus of his emotions, fear that Haruhi would reject his feelings even if she feels the same way... due to the Unreliable Narrator situation, all of these and more are quite plausible.
It's worth noting than most people overlook the situation he's in when commenting on his feelings for her. Assuming the above theory is true and he does love her, perhaps he feels morally wrong acting on his feelings while lying to her about her powers. Not to mention, being her boyfriend would probably mean a lot of pressure on him. On the other end of the spectrum, if Haruhi truly does have godlike power, she could be aware of Kyon's feelings but afraid he would only act on them to prevent the end of the world. Perhaps she's even subconsciously preventing him from acting on his feelings due to this.
Um, he also might just realize that realistically-borderline-insane Haruhi needs someone who can play her down safely without causing the end of the world more than she needs a loving boyfriend right at this moment.
Mikuru has her share of this as well. One prevalent interpretation is that the seemingly clumsy and helpless aspects of her personality are merely an act to endear to Kyon, who her superiors know is a major influence on Haruhi. This is even suggested by Itsuki, though—as with most of his theories—he never makes it clear if he was seriously suggesting this or not. The fact that her older self seems to have an unexplained agenda and is apparently somewhat devious (even Kyon, as much as he is clearly attracted to the younger Mikuru, is suspicious about said older self) lends some credence to this.
Don't forget how "The Melancholy Of Asahina Mikuru" revealed a much more vulnerable and insecure sight of her which, again, leaves room for any kind of theory. Maybe she's hiding it from Kyon because she's so self-sacrificing? It certainly seems to affect her much more than the daily difficulties Haruhi puts her in. That makes her either weird, stupid or brave. Then again, one could argue how unfair it is of her to lie and use Kyon like that.
It's also worth noting that unlike Nagato, Kyon and Itsuki, she's hasn't had a moment where she declares the SOS Brigade, Kyon or her friends more important than her boss or implied that this is so with her actions. Her loyalty and motives are still more for her job. This can even fit with her personality being genuine or faked; the faking part is obvious, but if that's how she really is it could help explain some of her stress.
Given her boss is an older version of herself from a stable timeloop it is unlikely she will ever end up having to declare the SOS Brigade, Kyon or her friends are more important than her boss or implied that this is so with her actions.
But she's never conclusively proven that she knows who her boss is. Hence, the possibility of her real personality hidden remains.
Finally there's Itsuki Koizumi, a self-admitted Consummate Liar who regularly says he is kidding after espousing various complicated theories. That puts everything he says into question, from whether or not he thinks Haruhi is God, to his loyalty to the SOS Brigade, to whether or not he is a Stepford Smiler (he hinted that he is, but who knows). Then there is the organization he works for, which seems to have it's hands in almost every aspect of their lives. That just brings up the question of how much they are manipulating all of the events surrounding the SOS Brigade, and whether their motivations are as benvolent as Koizumi says they are, and even Koizumi's loyalty to them. The only thing fandom seems to agree on is that Koizumi really likes flirting with Kyon, despite Koizumi's insistence that it is only Faux Yay.
His devotion to Haruhi can be interpreted differently as well. Imagine this: you are a seemingly ordinary middle school student and suddenly here comes a teenage girl who gives you esper powers. Awesome Right? Wrong. You can only use said esper powers when said girl's mood gets unstable. No problem, as long as I can still use my powers however I want when she is moody right? Wrong. You must use those powers to stop mosnters Invisible to Normals. If she grows too unstable those monsters will cause The End of the World as We Know It. So whenever you do not have esper powers you have to keep the teenage girl happy and when you do have powers you can only use them to stop the invisible monsters from destroying the world. So you and others like you will devote your entire lives to keeping the girl happy effectively losing any chance of an ordinary life. So you practically make your self fall in love with this girl because if she's happy the world doesn't end. But Wait, There's More!! After 3 years of devotation to the girl she starts to fall for someone else. What do you do? Smile.
Is the SOS Brigade the universe's first line of defense against Haruhi or its biggest threat? Consider: Most of the times Haruhi almost destroys the world it's because she has no idea she's doing it and even if she did, she wouldn't know she can stop it. It could be argued that the Brigade members regularly endanger the universe because they don't trust their friend not to destroy it, despite knowing she wouldn't really wish someone dead.
Hey, let's go nuts. Are the Anti-SOS Brigade really as evil as they're made out to be?
Kyouko, for instance, is a Well-Intentioned Extremist at worst who is convinced that allowing Haruhi to have powers is endangering the universe, and wants to prevent that. Also, consider that she may or may not be indoctrinated into her way of thinking.
Even Fujiwara, who appears to have no sympathetic qualities whatsoever, has some noble motives, (namely, trying to Screw Destiny to allow humanity free will), though the fact that he is not a pleasant person who is fine with murder to acheive his goals is denied by no one... I hope. His faction definitely comes off more sympathetic if the previous Alternate Character Interpretation for Mikuru's organization is used, even if he himself does not. After all, isn't free will an admirable thing?
Sasaki expresses no interest in being the god of the universe, and tries to actively undermine Fujiwara. It hardly even makes sense to declare her part of the Anti-SOS Brigade, since she's essentially at cross-purposes with every other member of the group.
Ryoko Asakura is open to some alternative character interpretation herself. Especially in "Disappearance". Is she a devoted friend to Yuki, who just wants to protect her from futuristic space-gun-wielding Kyon, a yandere knife-nut who wants Kyon out of the way, or just a glitch in Nagato's programming that got personified when she recreated the world. Who can say?