There’s an Elephant in the Corner and Her Name is Haruhi

So they tried to sneak an ALL-NEW episode of the Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu into the season 1 re-airing, but tripped up in the end and left people anticipating its arrival. No more tricks, no more magazine covers to mock the fans. The episode’s come and gone, and fun was had by all. Of course, there’s nothing to stop them from doing this over and over with anything Suzumiya Haruhi-related, and the fans will gladly punch themselves in the stomach for it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as the makers and distributors of Haruhi have a unique relationship with their fans.

We saw it with Lucky Star and its meta-self-referential humor which knocks down not just the 4th wall but keeps charging and makes a gigantic hole in the wall behind you as well. Kadokawa even licensed and created a mini-series out of the hit doujinshi series Nyoro~n Churuya-san. They are so aware of their fanbase that they might as well be standing on a pedestal dangling Haruhi merchandise and offering goods in exchange for your undying love and devotion and fan-generated content. It’s kind of like Gainax, but only a step further as Gainax has at the very least presented an air of distance, unlike Kyoto Animation which is right there in the thick of things high-fiving the audience and taking photos with them. And yes, I know my two metaphors just contradicted each other. Let’s just say that they decide to occasionally jump down from that pedestal.

And this newfangled Haruhi has something else to say:

“Enough with the DANCE openings and endings. We are laying to rest the beast we created. Move on, anime! Move on, fans! Well not too much, we still want you to do our Haruhi and Lucky Star dances.”

Will anyone heed their advice? Only time will tell.

Give it let’s say… about 16 years.

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10 thoughts on “There’s an Elephant in the Corner and Her Name is Haruhi

  1. Oh, I wouldn’t count out a dance OP just yet.

    But now that the guy who was often credited with those sequences (Yutaka Yamamoto) has moved on to another studio (A-1 Pictures), maybe there really won’t be a dance sequence. We’ll see.

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    • Hopefully that will be the case. I really don’t need to see another “wootEDdanceFTW” Youtube/www frenzy… We already have enough Haruhitards going around the web since season 1.

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  2. I wouldn’t be so quick to call it “an” all-new episode, when it’s pretty strongly indicated that it’s a whole new season.

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  3. The thing that really made the first season for me (other than Kyon’s narration) was the scrambled chapter order. Doing it all over again would be really tedious – but what new tactic could live up to it?

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  4. It’s still an apt metaphor because they could still stand on their pedestal and bend over just enough to let the fans high-five them. Or the fans could just try to jump really high. (One could maybe argue that being really vocal on 2ch lets them do that).

    Sometimes I worry that Haruhi has gotten too big for its own good… or too big for anime’s good anyway. I certainly got pretty disenchanted by Kadokawa’s treatment of the fans, to the point that I haven’t even watched the new episode yet (but will fairly soon). When the first series aired, I couldn’t watch the new episodes fast enough.

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  5. I’ve been reading some American SF criticism, and actually your description of KyoAni sounds a lot like the general model of SF writers/editors — that they’re pretty much down on the convention floor with us. Now, how that model skews when there’s more than just basic product (book/shows) to be had, I dunno. But that could explain KyoAni’s appeal, that they seem more like a group of professional fans than a distanced studio (nevermind that, at this point, anyone who wants to work in a studio would necessarily be a fan to some degree).

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  6. Pingback: After All the Kadokawa Bullcrap, At Least She’s Still the Same Suzumiya Haruhi » Behind The Nihon Review

  7. As I remarked on Gareth’s blog a few days ago:

    “That’s just how it is, I suppose.

    “We gripe, groan and grumble for three years whilst the Dark Kadokawa Empire tosses out trolls with impunity – and then, as soon as fresh episodes are trotted out, we’re back to grovelling at their feet.

    “I love this fandom.”

    I faintly recall feeling some irritation over the season 2 delay (sometime during the first year I think), but that was probably nothing more than the usual “I loved it, so give me more NOW!” kind of irritation rather than a backlash against the Dark Empire’s hint-dropping campaign. Since then I’ve actually enjoyed following these little tricks and teasers.

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  8. Sorry, posted a wee bit too soon. My comment should have ended thus:

    “Since then I’ve actually enjoyed following these little tricks and teasers, and wouldn’t mind seeing more of the same in future.”

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