The Degeneration of Haruhi Suzumiya

No, it's not a new novel and certainly not a new episode ending finally the Endless Eight. What follows is a point of view on a studio and a publishing house that have no respect for their customers, a recurring theme these days.

So what's the deal here ... for those that are blissful but want to get enlightened on what Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu is I suggest wikipedia, but in short it is/was (past tense explained below) a light novel series published by Kadokawa and adapted into an anime by KyoAni. Both were very successful breaking away from the otaku fringe market into mainstream both in Japan and abroad.

That was up to the glorious year 2006. What followed is the focus of this post. First of all, the last novel that concludes the series is in limbo since the spring of 2007, with its publishing date being constantly pushed and finally ending in TBA status. Also the last published volume ended in a cliffhanger aggravating more the situation.

On the anime front the owner of the franchise and publisher launched ambiguous advertisements indicating that a second season would air soon and based on the fourth volume. They were careful enough to create a lot of anticipation but offer no definite dates which the company used as an excuse to do nothing after the marketing stunt became viral.

Finally, in 2009 after another attempt, they used a doujinshi for a couple of web-casts that appeased many (me included). And finally, they animated new material that indicated that the fourth volume will finally be on the air by the end of the summer.

But as the saying goes: "Hope die last, but certainly dies non-the-less". The tombstone was put when we entered an endless repetition of the same episode plot, The Endless Eight, for no less then a month already and possibly for a second one, eliminating almost all hope that volume four will be part of this re-airing, re-run, re-launch or whatever you want to call it.

Now let me move to the studio's sins. Let me first clear out that any adaption can not be 1:1 because of the differences between media, but in my book as long as it preserves the feel of the original I consider it loyal. But just being loyal does not cut it, it has also to be good considering the medium itself. For example Tsukihime is an excellent game, with a disloyal adaption that I found good. On the other hand, Kurokami, was not loyal and in addition sucked by itself ... and so on.

Original Novel

The original artwork from the novels by Ito Noizi was OK. Still the first season was very loyal and both lead director and character designer improved upon the novels artwork, without altering the it's feel.

2006 airing

Unfortunately, though the studio fired a lot of it's most talented stuff, with the most known example that of Yamamoto Yutaka (Hare-Hare director) and in the three years that followed animated two 4-koma moe-blod shows and two Key moe-blob shows, all four of which share one important detail ... they need no competent writers.

2009 airing

This led to the abominable stills and amorphous animation, resulting in single-cellular organism instead of anthropomorphic characters. To indicate this influence Just compare the screenshots above from Haruhi to K-On! below and the 2006 airing. Haruhi (2009) ended up looking more like Yui than herself from three years ago XD

The culprit, K-On!

So what now, the optimistic rumor say that pressure from sponsors and the threat of DVD sales will either cut short the Endless Eight or force a rushed Disappearance by the end of the season. A more realistic rumor speculates either a back-to-back second season or at spring/summer 2010 with Disappearance and stories from latter volumes. Worse case scenario and most likely is that The Endless Eight iteration continue for either 6 or 8 episodes or even the end of August, then Sigh with or without a cliffhanger for Disappearance, with no deadline on air date.

So what can we do? Frankly, nothing! There are so many fanatics of Kadokawa, KyoAni, Haruhi, that we seem like annoying whiners and they act like rabid hounds to silence us in forums, IRC, etc. On the other side, they suddenly disappear when ignorant red-necks and jaded feminist twist reality. I just hope that in time, humans will become intelligent, managers competent, investors humane, animators talented, writers paid, ... and in other fairy-tales ;)