Suzumiya Haruhi no Zangai

Ever since Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (aka: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) came out in anime form, I was convinced that KyoAni had developed a marketing gimmick by which they developed a great deal of buzz and generated more ratings by doing something unthinkable — playing the episodes of their anime in non-chronological order. It is a risky ploy to come up with such a marketing scheme but it worked brilliantly on the part of KyoAni. In fact, I dare say it may have worked too well as there is so much controversy online about the new season at the moment with fans feeling like their chain (or tie) is being jerked.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Fans not only bought into this “scramble the episodes” scheme of the first season, but so many people elevated watching this anime into some sort of religious experience. While I didn’t find the anime bad, I didn’t find it great in either the TV episode order nor the DVD chronological order (sans the first episode, which in both versions is shown first even though it comes later chronologically). Basically, I was told by fans in no uncertain terms that this was no marketing scheme on the part of KyoAni but rather pure genius the likes of which we’ve never seen before and as such, should Haruhi be worshiped. Why even Muslim children saw the brilliance of Haruhi as this widely circulated picture of a Palestinian protest in early 2007 showed.

The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya
Haruhi fans — remember how you were back in February 2009 when the mere rumor of a new Haruhi series/season was circulating around the Internet? You were orgasmic at the thought of this prospect, then depressed when KyoAni said, “Nope, its not true” (as part of their new marketing scheme) but then they gave you what you wanted — new episodes…or rather, the same episode over and over and over and over again with minor changes each time.

Back in February, I predicted what could happen when it came to a new season/series of Haruhi being created.

…this kind of over-reaction to an anime (or indeed to any sequel be it TV, movies, books, manga, etc.) can only lead to one place — disappointment-ville, anger-ville (or rage-ville), or some other similar place.

I have been proven right.

I have to say that the rage I’m seeing all over the Internet, fueled further by the apology video from Japan, amuses me to no end. I would not be so amused were this franchise truly a brilliant masterpiece instead of a huge marketing scheme. The Haruhi anime is not brilliant. It certainly is interesting on several levels and enjoyable on others, but this anime is far from brilliant or a work of genius. However, since Haruhi fans believed it to be better than sex, I am amused at how KyoAni continues to use that against you and generate more publicity for themselves (and there’s a saying about publicity, you know ^_~).

The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya
Still, has KyoAni crossed the line?

Well, that remains to be seen. Certainly, KyoAni had a high hurdle to cross after the astonishing success with Haruhi out of the starting gate. They psyched everyone up with the fake “no new season” lie while teasing you with the Haruhi-chan series. Then they came out with this “Endless Eight” arc where they are apparently going to play the same episode eight times. There’s no doubt in my mind that the executives at KyoAni thought, “If these bastards thought that airing the first season on TV out of order was brilliant, they’ll certainly think that airing the same episode eight times will be sheer brilliance.” At the moment, you guys aren’t buying that but KyoAni could turn this around depending on how they end the season, thus restoring themselves as marketing kings internally and gods of brilliance to the fans.

Now I’m glad that as I did for the first season, I decided to hold off on watching this second season until it had run its course on TV. ^_^

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29 Responses to “Suzumiya Haruhi no Zangai”

  1. Toonleap says:

    “However, since Haruhi fans believed it to be better than sex..”

    This is not better than sex, but it is worst than Sadomasochism!

  2. arimareiji says:

    Haruhi was an interesting, sometimes amusing anime… but the only way I could think of it as The Second Coming would be if I were a teenybopper. They do have the habit of turning pimples into ZOMG world-shattering crises, ne? ^_^

    I would agree that the out-of-order first season and The Episode That Doesn’t End are related, but from a different angle. At my undergrad, art and drama students thought of themselves as a special elite. Within their cliques, they would praise each other to the skies, and bemoan how mere mortals couldn’t understand their superior techniques, or symbolism, or… well, you get the idea.

    I’ve seen this motif repeated increasingly in recent years. Lately, you don’t need to look any farther than your nearest fanfic circle or political blog. And IMO, you don’t need to look any further than the creators of Haruhi.

    I’d speculate that it’s not that they’re marketing geniuses… it’s that they’ve lost the ability to distinguish between their good ideas and their bad ones, because criticism from mere mortals is meaningless.

  3. pissedbuddha says:

    The more stunts they pull, the more content I put on haruhi’s Encyclopedia Dramatica article. So while this still brings me a bit of anger, it also brings me laughs. Besides, the original books are a lot better, and much more detailed.

  4. thunder says:

    Well, i clearly remember what you said, and i remember too that i agreed with you.
    If i’m not wrong, i couldn’t even see the first episode ’till the end… it was… boring.
    What i mean is : suzumiya haruhi no yuutsu ins’t a brillant anime, nor a good anime, it’s a COMMON anime with a COMMON story. And like anyother anime, the 2 protagonists will start to love each other and bla bla bla.
    It’s the endless circle of plagiarism.

    I know many fans of this series will be mad at me but… Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu is a loss of money and time, but however, these are my thoughts.

    Now that you read all this ( or not )…
    If you don’t agree with me: cool!
    If you agree with me: sweet!
    If you love me: WTF?!
    If you hate: whatever.

    See you.

    One last thing: forgive me for this bad english, i’m not american nor english ( or don’t forgive me, i don’t really give a damn about what you think about me )

  5. Ultimaniac says:

    I have always been a Haruhi fan but there is NO excuse for this new season. Endless Eight is a complete rip off, especially to japanese otaku who collect the dvds. So far there are just about seven episodes with the same scenes played over and over with a nearly identical script, and the dvds will be close to $70 for two episodes!

    Just watch this video to save some time and be done with it.

    http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2009/07/22/kyoani-responds-to-endless-eight-fiasco/

    Otaku are not amused…

    http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2009/07/18/endless-eight-drives-otaku-to-destruction/

  6. James says:

    I think you got that muslim worship picture wrong. They are saying stop torchering/killing the children.

  7. AstroNerdBoy says:

    That may be what the sign actually says but when the image first arrived, there was just buzz both here and in Japan about how Haruhi showed up even in the Middle East — as if the people there care one whit about anime. *_* That’s what I was sarcastically referring to. ^_~

  8. arimareiji says:

    @Ultimaniac: “the dvds will be close to $70 for two episodes!”

    And people wonder why copyright circumvention is the Japanese national pastime. ^_~

    Thank you for the links – if I knew where to find a video editor capable of merging the result, I’d hijack their idea and use pauses to sync the videos by scene after KyoAni finishes its business. I doubt the result would take longer than 30-35 minutes, and I think it’d be more watchable that way.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand why, and frankly I’m very disappointed that my comment was filtered out before. I have nothing against this blog or you AstroNerdBoy personally. I like the reviews and I like seeing the early Negima spoilers. The only thing I don’t understand is what’s your beef with Haruhi. I’m a big fan of Haruhi, so it’s hard for me not to notice your Haruhi articles here. As far as I can tell, there’s no other show you post about exclusively to ridicule it and it’s fans. OK, you didn’t like it, didn’t get why the episode order thing was such a big deal. That’s fine, if you’re not a fan you don’t have to get it. But you also don’t have to take potshots ridiculing the Haruhi phenomenon and its fans.

    The reason I brought up your own obsession with Tenchi is because I used to be a pretty big Tenchi fan back when it was still on TV. I read a lot of sites and boards and collected a pile of images and fanfics I still have. So I still have some interest in Tenchi and read your posts about Tenchi-related stuff and it’s obvious that you’re a die-hard fan. As a die-hard fan, you think about the show in ways that may seem weird to a more casual observer. For example I’m hard-pressed to understand why only Kajishima Tenchi should be held in high esteem when I like TU a lot more than I like the OVA. In any case that’s not really the point, the point is that as a die-hard fan you have a different mindset that could be ridiculed or nitpicked. That’s why I said look at your own obsession with a critical eye before ridiculing Haruhi fans. It’s not as if we’re dumb and blind to how the franchise is being manipulated now. It’s just not for you to pass judgement on us. If you never liked Haruhi that much that’s fine, just leave it alone already.

    If you don’t think that’s a fair thing to say, by all means filter this comment out as well.

  10. cxt217 says:

    I agree completely with the post, and if anything, I am more surprised than you that it took Haruhi fans this long to realize it.

    Haruhi S1 was entertaining, which is what anime and entertainment should fundamentally aspire to. The problem was that they took a gimmick of presentation (The out of order broadcast – and to see R1 otaku roast Bandai for daring to release the episodes on DVD in sequential order was a sight to behold in itself.) and considered it brilliance inherent in the series itself. Sorry, using the presentation style to justify points like ‘Haruhi is the greatest anime of this decade’ as one fan commented in AnimeTV, does not make reality. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking self-perpetuated itself, and grew larger and more grandoise (Reminds me of certain political incumbents right now.).

    At least watching the reaction of Haruhi fans and KyoAni/Kadokawa’s posturing is amusing for those standing on the outside.

    C.T.

  11. The reasons for the comment rejections for whatever you posted back whenever were explained then.

    ANB can comment on your other items.

  12. AstroNerdBoy says:

    “OK, you didn’t like it, didn’t get why the episode order thing was such a big deal.”

    I never said I didn’t like Haruhi. To quote myself from 2006.

    Bottom line: while I give this the producers credit for trying to be somewhat different, it didn’t make me laugh near enough, nor have a story-arc involved enough, nor have enough character development for me to rate this above a rent. Had I watched this in the TV order, I would have been more irritated and may have knocked this down another notch. Clearly, this is the latest hyped anime to be created with a gimmick that has made fans of the show have big “O’s” because of it being shown out of order. Still, should a new series/season be created, I will check it out, as I plan to do the first novel.

    My point is that hardcore fans of Haruhi didn’t get that they were being played by KyoAni from day 1. There was no special meaning behind playing the episodes out of order other than as a marketing scheme that worked brilliantly. The proof that there was no special meaning behind the broadcast order is that the episodes were released on DVD in Japan in chronological order.

    The difference between my being a hardcore Tenchi fan and the Haruhi element is pretty much the same as my being a Tenchi fan vs. most other Tenchi fans. I appreciate and enjoy Tenchi’s story and the greater world that Kajishima-sensei created. I don’t worship Tenchi but I see a lot of Haruhi worship. If I talk about Tenchi, I mention what I like or don’t like. I don’t say it is the best anime ever because it isn’t. It is my favorite anime though, flaws and all. ^_^

    Anyway, Tenchi will always be my favorite anime but to be honest, I’m always looking into other anime and not spending much time thinking about Tenchi. This year is somewhat of an exception since I am going back and rewatching the OVA’s as I think about it (I’ll try to get OVA 2 watched over the next couple of weeks) and the new spinoff is ongoing in Japan.

  13. arimareiji says:

    @angry anon: I’m not ANB, so for all I know he really did filter your comment out. I’d be very surprised if he did; from my limited experience he’s a gentleman about including all POVs.

    I’d hypothesize that what really happened is something that made me similarly suspicious when I first posted here, until I figured it out: ANB didn’t throw it away, Blogger’s system never took the input.

    The Captcha (“type these letters in”) times out after a certain period. This is practically guaranteed to happen on long posts like yours or mine. If it does, then when you hit Publish, it looks like the comment goes in – but it doesn’t. Your only real clue is that your comment doesn’t disappear from the input window. If you don’t type in the new (2nd) Captcha, your comment will be lost when you navigate away.

    The only one who can say for sure what happened is ANB. I’m not sure if he knows about Blogger’s nasty tendency in this regard. He may have just not understood why you would make that accusation when he did nothing of the sort, and thus not responded.

    (Or for all I know, it’s possible he really did kick your comment out. But I’d hate to see a comment so abusive and/or rant-acious that he’d do that, and I don’t want to assume that of you.)

  14. @arimareiji — I rejected a comment he made in some previous post that I don’t feel like looking up. That’s because it triggered a flag. When he complained, I decided to go ahead and let the 2nd comment through and play along since no foul language was involved.

    We do routinely delete pure spam and whatever Psycho Parrot has to say most of the time.

    For this blog entry of ANB’s, none of us have deleted any comments so if this Anon tried to say something earlier and it didn’t show up, it is a Blogger issue.

  15. arimareiji says:

    @Frank – Thank you for explaining; I didn’t know. I figured given the length of this post that the most likely explanation was that it got lost b/c the Captcha timed out.

  16. Kyon says:

    Astro: I never said I didn’t like Haruhi. To quote myself from 2006.

    Come on now Astro, let’s not start parsing sentences word by word. If you only gave it a “rent” rating and looking at that paragraph you quoted, you obviously didn’t like it that much, whereas your distaste for the whole Haruhi phenomenon is palpable. Anonymous is clearly right about you not being a Haruhi fan. It can hardly be news for you that a lot of the time the “special meaning” elements are thought up by the fans themselves, not the creators. Which means that regardless of it being a marketing scheme, the episode airing order is something hardcore Haruhi fans view as special. Since you’re not a fan and didn’t care for this move, to you it looks like bs and you roll your eyes at Haruhi fans going gaga over it.

    Another thing you have to realize is that this craze was never just about the show, it was a community event, a meme, a shared mindset, being part of something. If you never got on board with that wave, you wouldn’t feel the same way about Haruhi even if you liked the anime. It’s pointless to try to prove the meaninglessness of what’s behind this phenomenon. Of course it’s meaningless, it’s based on a freaking anime of all things. But it’s has meaning for the fans, and no purpose is served by trying to take that away from them.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Fully agreed on Haruhi fans, but I’m slightly surprised to see you testify that you’re an irrational freakshow compared to most Tenchi fans:

    “The difference between my being a hardcore Tenchi fan and the Haruhi element is pretty much the same as my being a Tenchi fan vs. most other Tenchi fans.

  18. arimareiji says:

    @Kyon: I could easily be wrong, but I don’t think ANB’s intent was to take away the good parts of the Haruhi experience from fans. (I don’t think he could if he tried.) If anything, I get the feeling he feels sympathy for most of the fans whose “chain (or tie) is being jerked.”

    Like most humans, he can’t resist saying “Told you so.” ^_^ But I think it’s out of frustration with the evangelists who tried to cram it down the throats of heretics, not out of any desire to be spiteful to the believers who simply loved it. He doesn’t strike me as that kind of person in the least.

    He does blur the lines between the two groups, probably too much so – but most of us do that when it comes to the difference between extremist (insert member of your least favorite religion here)s and mainstream (insert member of your least favorite religion here)s.

    @ANB: My apologies for trying to mind-read you, particularly if I’m wildly errant. I have that bad habit. m(_._)m

  19. Anonymous says:

    @Frank
    I don’t know who you’re talking about because this was the first time my comment got filtered here. I got the confirmation from Blogger that said the message was accepted and would show up after being approved by AstroNerdBoy, so it wasn’t anything like what arimareiji was talking about. That wasn’t a long post either so the captcha wouldn’t have timed out anyway and it wasn’t a rant. If you say you didn’t see my comment let’s play it that way then, but I’ve never had a comment before that was confirmed by Blogger but then got lost.

    @AstroNerdBoy
    If you’re so much smarter than us stupid Haruhi fans, have it your way. I think it’s immature to categorize an entire fandom as morons, but I’m one of the morons so what do I know. What’s wrong with saying that something is the best anime ever if for you it is? How do you know Tenchi will always be your favorite anime when you keep watching new anime all the time? That’s exactly the same kind of talk you blame on us. If you have a problem with Haruhi or its fans, that’s your problem, not ours. Nobody is forcing you to pay attention to Haruhi if it bothers you so much, you do that all on your own.

  20. Kyon says:

    arimareiji: But I think it’s out of frustration with the evangelists who tried to cram it down the throats of heretics

    I don’t know that Haruhists, not counting their avatars and signatures, have been unusually active in evangelizing people in random places. For that to happen, you generally have to go somewhere they congregate in crowds. Fans of other shows are no different in that, and many would love to emulate the success Haruhi fans have had at building their fandom. I have a hard time believing Astro’s dislike is because Haruhists kept going after him everywhere he showed his face. It seems more likely that he got bitten back for going out to them and trying to tell them that what they thought about the episode order was bs.

  21. Taco's Rule says:

    Frank, ANB — it is like we thought. 😉

  22. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Thinking people were suckered by the KyoAni marketing is not the same as thinking they are “morons.” I’m quite sure there are doctors, lawyers, and other intelligentsia who’ve been suckered in their life (maybe by one of the many Nigerian scams?). That doesn’t make them idiots even if they feel that way. ^_^

    @TR — I figured. Thanks for checking. ^_^

  23. arimareiji says:

    @Kyon/anon: A whiiiiile back, I worked as the “token white guy” cashier in a grocery store in a black neighborhood. Good times and good memories. ^_^

    But one incident was particularly memorable for the lesson it gave me. A (black) woman came through the line looking at one of the magazines we stocked, so I asked if she wanted me to scan it or if she was just reading it while she was in line. She went ballistic, ranting nonstop about how she brought it into the store and she’s not a thief and that I must think all black people are thieves and how racist that was and the store should be ashamed to have a racist there because all white people are racist.

    After about the fifteenth time she said “racist,” I stopped biting my tongue and looked up to sweetly say, “Ma’am, you know – I was raised to believe a racist is anyone who tries to judge a person on the basis of their skin color.” She looked absolutely befuddled… until the (black) couple behind her started ROFLing.

    It taught me one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned: If you look for something hard enough, you’ll always find it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to prove the worst of a person (like her), or looking for the best in a person (like the couple behind her). You’ll always find “evidence” that satisfies you, if you want it bad enough.

    Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

  24. arimareiji says:

    Kyon – I never said anything remotely close to ‘Haruhists followed him everywhere he showed his face, trying to force him to convert.’ It would be a ridiculous argument if I had.

    Slightly more ridiculous than ‘He went out and looked for Haruhi fans so he could tell them how dumb they were,’ but that doesn’t make the latter a smart argument by comparison. Just a straw man.

  25. Kyon says:

    So then arimareiji, if they didn’t come after him and he didn’t go after them, what would be the reason for his “frustration with the evangelists who tried to cram it down the throats of heretics”? People don’t usually get frustrated with things that don’t concern them. Since you came up with the frustration theory, what did you have in mind if you thought my explanation was ludicrous? It wasn’t a strawman, just a hyperbole to explain your theory.

    However, to imply that I’m looking for the worst in Astro is indeed a strawman. I’m simply curious why someone who’s not a fan would care so much about what happens in the world of Haruhi to post about it on a regular basis, and not without some gloating involved. I think Astro is in his thirties, so I can believe his reasoning skills are superior to your average teenage Haruhi fan even without him showcasing them like this. ^_^

    Let’s not pretend that a posting that was intentionally controversial – any “hey Haruhi fans, you should’ve listened to my prophetic words when I told you I know better than you” posting would be – doesn’t warrant some scrutiny.

  26. Kirbstar says:

    Yeah, it seems Kyoto Animation’s marketing strategy may end up becoming too good and eventually backfire.

    I wasn’t a fan of Haruhi to begin with, although I don’t mind all the Haruhi references in my favorite Kyoto Animation show Lucky Star (I pin the catalyst there on searching for Bonta-kun images, but I digress). I thought the airing of Haruhi episodes out of chronological order was a quirky idea, but very confusing to first-time viewers, and the anachronic order makes even less sense especially if there is an actual story involved. (Another show I recently saw, the “SHAFT-ed” Hidamari Sketch, also airs anachronically but it is a true slice-of-life show and does not have to air in order there.) After watching all Haruhi episodes in the chronological order, I never saw a reason why the anachronic order was considered “better” to begin with and suspected that the Kyoto Animation ploy was to blame for the raucous fanbase.

    And now comes this “Endless Eight” repeat, which if I recall correctly, was supposed to be the same event happening over and over from a light novel story (which I haven’t read yet, so I don’t know all the details), and KyoAni seems to capitalize on that just to please the fanbase? I think some die-hard Haruhi fans have seemed to realize that enough is enough, but the more vocal ones I notice over the Internet have tried to defend some of the silliest details as something important later. Ugh. Someone on one of your previous Haruhi posts is right—this is probably the most overrated anime to ever come out, even more so than the controversial Evangelion, and the crazy fanbases for both are rearing their ugly heads.

    Upon reading your post, my love for Kyoto Animation is shaken. While their animation is top-notch (which is my main reason for their shows being among my favorites), their marketing strategy seems to cater primarily to the otaku only. This is not only limited to Haruhi, but it has applied to all their recent work, including K-ON! and Lucky Star. There is too much merchandising related to all three shows I mentioned (how many image songs or figurines need to be produced for these shows lasting two seasons at the most?). If somehow Full Metal Panic is greenlighted for a continuation of their stories from their light novels, their merchandising might become out of control and we would lose faith in all KyoAni shows entirely. It would be such a shame that KyoAni is relying on gimmicky merchandise for their recent shows outside Key Visual Arts work which may end up clouding or overshadowing their legacy of realistic animation.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Astro, do you post your dislike of Haruhi on other blogs or forums? I’m just curious is all.

  28. Jeff Morris says:

    For someone who hates Haruhi, you sure did spend a lot of time trying to get me to watch it, ANB. 🙂

  29. AstroNerdBoy says:

    *LOL* I do my part. ^_^

    Seriously though, everyone can make up their own mind. However, in your case, I can see wisdom prevailing even if you really like the series. ^_~

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