From basics to Koizumimegax

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but now feels to be the best time to complete it. As my many avatars, posts, research, translations, imports, and news attest, I am a immense fan of the Haruhi Suzumiya series. But why this series? Aren’t there better series that can be used as examples of why anime is great, much less ones that would appeal to a broader audience? I’ll get back to the former and yes to the latter. I can’t deny that Haruhi is not technically the greatest series. In fact it has quite a few flaws in comparison to other series but it holds much more significance to me. This is why I’m a Haruhi fanatic.

When I was in university, I discovered that I was a fan of the Super Sentai series when I was reliving part of my childhood. That led into the Kamen Rider series and the beginning of an appreciation for the Japanese culture itself. I saw a banner ad for something strange on a forum that I was a member of and decided to see what it was about. That turned out to be discussion about a series that aired the prior year and had spawned multiple threads throughout the airing. Not wanting to be classified as an anime fan, I was hesitant to try watching it but something told me to give it a chance. That was my first glimpse of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

I don’t need to go into detail about the broadcast order, but at the end of episode 10 I was enthralled. I had to finish the series that night! It was something special that I immensely enjoyed seeing. Then, to my delight, I discovered that it was being released in the US in Limited Edition formats. I immediately picked up the first volume and planned to get the other three as well. I read that the series was based off of novels and tried giving the second one a read as it hadn’t been animated. That failed as it wasn’t enough to catch my interest. I tried to watch Kanon and RomeoxJuliet, but neither of those interested me like Haruhi and such I fell away from anime.

Having shown my best friend some Tokusatsu shows (including the comedic re-make of Sailor Moon), I decided to give Haruhi a chance and show it to him. Of course he was the only one I showed it to who liked it. The series sparked many conversations with him about the series and life. No other show to this day has been in my mindset as much as the 2006 version of Haruhi thanks to our conversations. It was during these conversations about the various elements and the future of the franchise where I started to become a Koizumi fan and go away from liking Kyon and Nagato.

So then 2009 came and I graduated from university. Of course later that month the first new episode Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody aired and the excitement was felt around the net. I couldn’t fully enjoy it as I had two more exams to take for my post-graduate career (and did very well on both), but I could enjoy the next one: Endless Eight. After the exams, I was lost. I had no job and no plans for the future besides getting a doctorate. As sad and sappy as it sounds, Endless Eight was the one thing I could count on every week to provide some stability in my life. Eventually something came along and the loops ended.

During the loops, I took the time to sit down and give the novels another chance. The immense quality in Disappearance moved me and had me finishing the series (even going back and re-reading the others) in less than a week. I could finally understand why fans were upset at Endless Eight. The season ended and we found out about the movie, which led to a few posts on AnimeSuki about the trailer premiere on 12/18/2009. From then on, I started being able to find news before some other people and started to spread it. Now I enjoy my term of endearment: Koizumimegax as one to always be there with the information.

So why is Haruhi the one series that I can’t get enough of? I can’t consciously say that it’s one thing in particular. The series just amazed me completely from the first episode. The immense quality of the animation combined with great character interaction with a twisting and turning storyline made it something I couldn’t get sick of. Add in the fact that you could watch it different ways and come out with new views on the franchise was incredibly new. And all of this was after the big discussions of it during the time it was airing.

The only character in the entire franchise that I don’t care for is Yuki. Everyone else (and I mean everyone, including the Tamera brothers for example) tend to be likeable, but the immense overload of Yuki has been trying to say the least. Of course Koizumi has and will be my favorite character, but all of the SOS Brigade has likeable characteristics. Haruhi ranges from a child-like personality to a deep contemplative person, Kyon has one of the best narrative voices I’ve read, Yuki has a personality you can apply anything but emotional to, and Mikuru allows for many humorous moments. Separate they’re decent characters, but the interplay between all five brings about many wonderful moments like in Sigh I when they ask about the literature funds.

Tanigawa has created a universe that remains consistent and hides so much at the same time. So many things are hinted at, yet they come together at the perfect time. What’s also great is that he hasn’t gone to the same extent that Kazuma Kamachi has gone to in introducing so many characters yet not having enough space to focus on the important people. There’s just the right amount of mystery and solving in the same story to satisfy yet keep you wanting for more. Just look at the end of Disappearance and the fans all asking “When is Kyon going back?!”

I know that Haruhi isn’t the best show or franchise technically. There’s little action at times and there are plenty of flaws with all of the characters. The 2006 animation hasn’t held it’s wonder due to the way it was animated, and Kadokawa seems content on keeping it as a cash-cow on reserve. Yet there’s something special when all of the elements combine to form something that you have to see. Even the worst arc had people talking about it constantly.

So as we approach the final days before the next story is published and the fandom goes crazy again, it’s been nice to reflect on how I’ve arrived at this place. The Haruhi Suzumiya series has amazed me both as a fan and as a critic at how well it’s put together. There’s so much joy that I’ve invested in this franchise and I believe that it’ll be one that I’ll be sticking with long after its finished. Sorry for the ramble, but I’ve wanted to put this down for so long. Now I just need to finish my CD collection.

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7 thoughts on “From basics to Koizumimegax

  1. Nice post, I enjoyed learning more about your history with the series that’s so important to you!

    I believe we began talking in late 2009, so that wasn’t too long after you read the novels for the first time, right? It was great sharing the excitement of the movie and the volume 10 preview chapter with you – and I of course look forward to the upcoming volume 10/11 release…and more exciting Haruhi news to come~

    I’m also glad that through Haruhi you’ve branched out into lots of other great anime. In less than two years you’ve discovered Raildex, Clannad, Toradora! and so many other fantastic shows that you may have never known were it not for Haruhi. There’s a lifetime’s worth of things to look forward to in Haruhi and anime ^__^

    • I have to say that it is due to this franchise that I was able to get back into anime in general. Though it has never been my favorite, I still think it is a pretty awesome series.

      It is because of you and this history that I found Toradora!, which put me back on my anime path. I can still remember ultimatemegax badgering me to watch Toradora!, and some of the best memories I have had in recent years involve him and anime of varying kinds.

      I have gained a greater appreciation for this series once I saw it in the correct order, and still find things I can like. I am still trying to work through the novels (but being a grad student and chemist, I get less time to read than I would like).

      I also remember all of those conversations we had back then. My how times can change though.

      • You put it too nicely. I wasn’t “badgering” you so much as “nagging” in every single conversation that you had to see this amazing show and I wanted to be there when you got to see the great episodes like the Christmas one.

        Haruhi is awesome. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s more of a “right place, right time” for me to love it as much as I do. I do have to thank you for putting up with my overenthusaism at times for the franchise, but seriously finish the novels so I can talk spoilers with you!

    • It’s only just begun. I can’t wait until we get some news about a third season and then fangasming can really begin!

      I think we began right around the first month the movie came out because that’s when I started blogging for Cartoon Leap, but everything else is right. I think I had read the novels a few times by then, but they were still fresh in my mind.

      I have you to thank for almost all of the shows I’ve begun. If it hadn’t been for your posts on shows like Railgun, Toradora!, and Kami nomi I would never have given them a chance, so thank you very much (though my wallet would disagree).

  2. Good to hear how important Haruhi is for you. I’m constantly impressed by your dedication in obtaining just about every officially released disc & novel related to the series, both JP & US! Reading your post reminds me that the anime we consider important are the ones we come upon at key points in our lives. I’ve watched the two Haruhi series and the movie, and even though I think it’s an excellent, well-executed series in many aspects, and would readily recommend it to any anime fan, I don’t consider myself a Haruhist since my enthusiasm for the series isn’t at the levels that you and Yumeka have for it.

    • I’ve still got to catch up on Haruhi-chan as I’ve only got the JP BD. I have a bad feeling about my visit to Kinokuniya in July due to the JP Haruhi novels and regular editions. The strange thing about Haruhi is that outside of Endless Eight which would be explained by your theory about key points, the first time I watched it wasn’t at any crucial time period for me but just hit me in a good time.

      Every franchise has immense fans. I’m sure there’s many shows that I would consider well-done but I wouldn’t have near the enthusiasm as some do (Lain sound familiar to any scorpions?). Haruhi just happened to be the one for me. I’d say I’ve made up for not being involved during the three year wait.

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