The Not Finishing of Haruhi Suzumiya

It’s no big secret that I am a Haruhi Suzumiya fan. I think I have watched the first season no less then five times all the way through, sometimes in chronological order, sometimes in broadcast order.  I have the soundtrack, I sing along to the words of the songs while driving despite not being able to speak Japanese, and I even helped direct and edit a short parody of the Hare Hare Yukai dance for my local anime club…

So why is it I have yet to finish watching the second season?

It’s not because I’m some purest who thinks it is inferior and unwatchable.  Not at all.  It’s not that I am pissed off because of the whole “Endless Eight” fiasco.  Nope.  When I do actually sit down to view it, I enjoy it quite a bit.  It’s just there have been a series of unfortunate events that have so far prevented me for being able to finish it.  Which we will now examine.

Event 1:  The Waiting and the Hype of Haruhi Suzumiya.  I wanted this season to be good.  Really good.  Kyoto Animation made us all wait a lot longer than we should have for season two, and the only feasible reason had to be they were going to make it perfect.   When it did finally air, the first episode Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody was awesome.  I thought Yes, this season is going to be just as good as I hoped.

Event 2:  The “I’m Way to Busy Right Now To Watch” of Haruhi Suzumiya. Three weeks later, Endless Eight started.   Life was busy and all I could do at the time was download the episodes as they came out, but I didn’t have the time to watch them yet.  I tried to stay away from spoilers, until by chance (I think around about the fifth Endless Eight) I caught wind of the uproar regarding the current run of episodes.  I couldn’t fathom it being as bad as people were making it out to be.  Surely, they were overreacting.  But, just in case they were right, and since I hadn’t had time to watch anyway, I decided to wait until Endless Eight actually ended.

Event 3:  The “I Look To Much Like K’On” of Haruhi Suzumiya. Endless Eight ended, finally three weeks later, and I found myself with a free weekend to actually watch anime.  I tried watching Endless Eight from beginning to end.  I couldn’t do it.  Sure it was repetitive, and there really was no reason for the story arc to be drawn out for eight episodes, but those are not the reasons I had a hard time watching it.   Slowly, I was noticing that Haruhi wasn’t looking like Haruhi anymore.  She was looking like Yui from K’On cosplaying as Haruhi.  This annoyed me.  The first season of Haruhi Suzumiya is wonderfully animated and has a great style all it’s own.  Why on earth would they start to subtly change that?  Nothing against K’On’s style, but it’s K’On’s style, not Haruhi’s.  It eventually was so distracting, it made it nearly impossible for me to watch.  I think I finally finished Endless Eight after season two was over.

Event 4:  The Corrupted Download of Haruhi Suzumiya. After I finished Endless Eight I took a break from Haruhi for a while.   I knew the next story was one I was really looking forward too, The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya. I had all the episodes downloaded so I figured it would be ok to wait until the bitterness of the K’On taste had left my palate.  So in early December I started watching it again when I could with my busy work schedule.  An episode here, an episode there, putting up with the “K’On style,” till in mid January when I was on the second to last episode.  I plopped onto my bed to relax and watch the penultimate episode of season two, excited that finally I would finish the series.  Nothing.  The download for this episode hadn’t worked, and the file wouldn’t play.  Grumble, grumble, spit… Well, no biggie I guess, I’ll just download it again and finish watching it then.

Event 5:  The Licensing of Haruhi Suzumiya. Well scratch that idea… And I know so many of you out there are like “So what?  You can still download it even though it’s licensed.  It’s not like it’s hard to find.”  True, but that’s not how I am.  Once something has been licensed in the US, I respect that and I don’t download it anymore.  That’s just the kind of hairpin I am.  So because of my odd sense of interweb morality, I’m going to have to wait till the DVDs are released (or until one of my friends who also downloaded it wants to lend me a copy).  It may be silly, but I’ve waited this long, so a little more won’t kill me.  And it’s not like I don’t know what is going to happen during the Sigh arc anyway because I read the light novel over Christmas.  So I can wait.

So there you have it, the reasons I have not finished season two.  Is it inferior to season one?  Sure it is.  It would be impossible for it not to be because season one became a pop culture phenomenon for good reason, but season two is by no means unwatchable like many people have claimed it to be.

I am really looking forward to the Disappearance movie, which I hope will be making it over here across the pacific sooner rather than later. And I can’t help but wonder which I will see first, the movie or the end of season two?   Anyone willing to place bets?

Till next time.

– DC

PS:  I apologize for the lateness of this “rant, blog, essay, thing, whatever.”  I am well aware I told you fine people that you would have this well over a month ago.  I beg your forgiveness and humbly throw myself before the mercy of the court.

6 thoughts on “The Not Finishing of Haruhi Suzumiya”

  1. It’s no worry at all, DC. In fact, the wait until the second season as well as the domestic release of Disappearance may end up making it all worth it. Problem is the length of time you may be required to wait. Either way, yes, make sure to finish season two before moving into the feature. Or better yet, use this time to read up on the original novels.Seriously worth the effort. Looking back at season 2, had I waited another year to see it, I don’t feel like I would have missed a thing. It’s the film they’ve really put their energy into.

  2. I wouldn’t expect the box set for the 2009 episodes to be out before July at the earliest, so look for your friend if you want to see it. I say this because the final 2009 DVD comes out later this month in Japan.

    The 2009 episodes were made simply because they were the last remaining stories before Disappearance and had to be animated. Having the guidebook for the movie (and a helpful person to translate), they first started working on the movie in June 2007, meaning the whole three year wait and the Endless Eight planning was done way back then. The 2009 “re-airing” was done to catch people up with the story and air the three remaining stories (Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody, Endless Eight, and Sigh) in a format that people would watch. I’ve looked at the events that have gone on and reviewed what they have meant in the link above if you’re curious.

    The whole 28 episode season leads up to Disappearance (much like the novels do as it’s a bit different after wards), so just make sure you review all of it before you watch the movie.

  3. It took me forever to finish S2. During Endless 8 I eventually just played them in the background while doing something else, and I NEVER do that with anime. Things I watch have to have my full attention.

    If it wasn’t for the Online shorts and Churuya ONA I would have given up on Haruhi completely. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but if it doesn’t blow me away then Haruhi will never reach the ranking it had with me over a year ago again.

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