Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoukyou

I didn’t really want to believe this at first, but I’m now convinced that there’s a new religion in the world, specifically Japan and the United States. That religion is Suzumiya Haruhi, aided in part because in the story, Haruhi could indeed be the “God” of that universe.

Bandai is now taking requests to see how American fans want the series to be released on DVD — in Japanese TV broadcast order (scrambled to make it fun and brilliant) or in Japanese DVD order (shown in chronological, as-written order). So you can make your choice as to the way you want to see the series.

Personally, I don’t care how the show is released in the U.S. since I’ve no plans to buy it. I enjoyed watching the anime for what it was and indeed would like to know more of the story. But I don’t have iku moments because the anime was aired on TV in Japan out of order (even splitting a 2-part summer episode with one from the winter). But I’ve already ranted about that.

The signs that folks have gone beyond being a fan of the series into something more certainly started with the debate that the show is only to be viewed in the order as seen on TV in Japan, with a viewing in chronological order just as an aside. That’s the position of most U.S. fans. Ironically while the mere mention of the series being released in chronological order on DVD throws the hardcore fans into fits of varying degrees, the Japanese didn’t seem to have this problem when the show was released in chronological order there. Why not?

The fanaticism shown by fans who refuse to accept the marketing ploy of the TV release is amusing. If the TV version were truly what the anime creators and TANIGAWA Nagaru-sensei (the creator of the original novels and short stories from which the anime is based) intended as the way to view the series, then why put it on DVD in chronological order? Some fans have tried to come up with reasons as to the whys, but in the end, they have no answer, only interesting speculation.

While the Japanese fans may not be as fanatical about how the anime is released on DVD as the American fans who’ve watched the fansubs are, the Japanese are fanatical in other ways. The novels are best sellers, the anime is a best seller, figures and other related Haruhi products are hot sellers. OK, that’s nothing new for any very popular anime series. Otaku love their favorite titles and support them to the max.

Still, the Japanese show an even greater, nearly religious fanaticism about the title in other ways. For example, there’s a 4-hour Haruhi event scheduled for March 2, 2007 in Saitama, Japan where the seiyuu from the anime and the audio drama CD’s will attend. Tickets for the event went for ~$54 but are now being sold online for as much as ~$540 (for some of the best seats) with the not-so-good seats still bringing in as much as ~$275. Astounding.

Then, I see a Japanese blogger with a photo that had fans everywhere in a near iku state.

Yes, even the children of fanatical Islamic folks know the truth — there is no Allah, only Haruhi! Banzai Haruhi!

OK, series with style over substance getting mad raves is not new. For years, there’s been a huge debate over Neon Genesis Evangelion and if it is overrated or not. For a long time, it was treated by many fans in the U.S. as Haruhi is — this is the greatest anime ever and how dare you say it isn’t, you heathen! Over time, other anime titles have made their splashes (including Haruhi) and so EVA is no longer seen with such fervent adoration.

So why is this bothering me so much? You know, I don’t really know. Maybe because I’m a Christian, I don’t like seeing religious furor on stupid things. Maybe I’m just getting old and more cynical about fads and those who grasp anything different as the most brilliant thing ever. Maybe I just loathe what I see as a gimmick. I like the new Battlestar Galactica, I think it is miles above the original in story and execution, and I discuss it with friends at work and at times on boards. But I don’t worship it, Ron Moore, or anything else here. I see worship with Suzumiya Haruhi and that is what I can’t fathom.

Oh well, time to let this go and move on, ne?

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2 Responses to “Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoukyou”

  1. Peter Decker says:

    No sense in giving yourself a heart attack ANB. 😉 I agree the series is overrated but I don’t see it as something to get worked up over.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Yeah, you’re right. A fan on ToonZone’s board said something similar. It makes no sense to get worked up as I have (two blog entries) but I did. OK, deep breaths and walk away. ^_^;

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