As I stated on an Anime3000 podcast, this season of Haruhi seems to be intended for enjoyment strictly at the meta level. It’s easy to picture Churuya insisting, “Kyon-kun, Kyon-kun! This summer it’s all about the meta!” Even the ongoing controversy over former KyoAni director Yamamoto making an apology for Endless Eight at Otakon only fed the drama.
What’s really going on?
To answer that, I’m going to have to digress a bit. You may have heard of an excellent little manga called The World God Only Knows. In it, Katsuragi Keima, the titular “god” of dating sims, postulates the following approach to conquering women:
In short, building a good relationship is a matter of repeated exposure. What is Endless Eight but repeated exposure? But that isn’t the whole of it, of course. Exposure alone doesn’t do it. TWGOK goes a step further and postulates a specific trick:
Keima tries to use this method to make a girl fall for him by making her angry, and then change her feelings for him to good ones. The tenor of her emotion will still be present, only all of the experiences will be reinterpreted in a new, positive light.
The resemblance to KyoAni’s strategy is uncanny. Endless Eight built up monumental levels of frustration and anger in devoted fans, which matches the first half of the strategy depicted above. While the Endless Eight arc may have concluded, I still expect the other half of the gambit to show up at the end of the season.