The Rise and Fall (and Possible Rise Again) of Haruhi Suzumiya

December 18th: a time to celebrate the holidays; one week before Christmas; and quite the significant date for any SOS Brigade member out there.

Yep, kids, it’s that time of the year again, when good ol’ Kyoto Animation spiffs up the official website of anime The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya with some word on their latest work—in this case, the upcoming film The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Last year we were only given a teaser trailer in the form of a still image of character Yuki Nagato, but this year, we’ve finally been treated to something along the lines of an actual trailer.

Now, for the uninitiated, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya isn’t your everyday sort of anime—the fact that it’s based off of a light novel series of the same name should be hint enough of that. Trying to explain what the series is about without giving anything away is more impossible than licking your elbow, so I’ll just stop there and say that for those who haven’t seen the series yet, definitely give it a looksie.

Though as much praise as the series gets, there is another side of the series that fans tend to shy away from. Yes, it looks like even successful anime titles aren’t immune when it comes to things like black sheep. Back when the series aired in 2006, the episodes were aired out of order intentionally, making for quite the interesting move in an industry that’s primarily known for its soap-opera-esque “each episode must be seen in order” style of storytelling. Combine that with excellent writing, making even the original novels pale in comparison, and you’ve got the makings for a hit anime, right there. Though, given how the series was aired, not much was left for fans to expect a following season for the series, and at best there were radio drama CDs and videogames to fill in the void left by the anime’s ending.

Enter 2009—a time for change not just in terms of world leaders, but for the series as well. Not only did the series get back on the air in Japan (apparently, reruns are a rare thing over yonder), but they aired 1) in order and 2) alongside new episodes. Normally, this is when one would insert the cheers and applause from the fanbase, but something seemed a bit off about this new airing of the series. For one, the episodes were being shown in sequential order—completely the opposite of the show’s original airing. As for the new episodes, well… while the first new episode was good enough, other ones seemed to fall flat. In a nutshell, in terms of new episodes, fans were welcome to one good episode followed by eight of what was literally the same episode and finished off with five episodes explaining something that everyone already grew to accept already. I guess if I had to compare it to something, I would say the fans’ reactions to Haruhi 2009 was similar to Naruto fans’ reactions to Sasuke—you’re either of the party that absolutely adores it, or you absolutely hate it; ain’t no middleground here, folks!

So, with a trailer finally up for the first official Haruhi movie, covering what I’ve constantly heard as the best part of the light novels, one must wonder if the boys down at Kyoto Animation are prepping their dinner tables for dessert or disaster (cue Keri Hilson song)?

%d bloggers like this: