“The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” viewing order irritation
Haruhi Suzumiya is not an ordinary light novel. That made it a tough series to adapt into an anime in 2005/2006-2010. Nagaru Tanigawa wrote several short stories between the publications of two full-length novel stories. These were published in “The Sneaker” literary magazine published by Kadokawa Shoten (until 2011). Those shorts were collected into four novels (Boredom/v3, Rampage/v5, Wavering/v6, and Indignation/v8).
Due to how the story was split chronologically, a simple chronological re-fitting of the series was not easily done. For example, if the same episode lengths were kept, a 14 episode season would end on the first episode of “The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya.” Obviously, this is not the most desirable outcome for either staff or viewers. Thus, Tanigawa proposed at the very first scenario meeting with the directorial staff to run episodes achronologically. This way, the staff could adapt latter stories and still end the season on a climax (ending with the first novel, Melancholy). Otherwise, your only possible high point of the season is at the end of episode 6.
That idea was expanded upon and a 14 episode series was drafted/created in 2006 as its own work. It was never intended to have a sequel come from it, though it was possible. That possibility became reality given the immense popularity the series had and the numerous financial revenue streams that spawned. The producers greenlit a second season in 2007.
However, plans changed sometime in 2007. The focal point of a second season, “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya,” was taken out and placed as a movie to finish the adaptation. This required a re-tooling of the series. No stories from after Disappearance could be told (as that’d spoil the plans to make the movie since /every/ short after Disappearance relies on the audience knowing what happened). Instead, the series was made to be a new 28 episode season with a movie conclusion (not unlike what happened with Mushi-shi or Buddy Complex (with its OVAs)). This would be the definitive version of Haruhi and every re-airing afterwards would be of this 28 episode method.
Sounds simple, right? “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” is one 28 episode season followed by a feature film “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.” As usual, fandom decides to screw it up. Due to licensing restrictions, international releases had to keep the episodes separate. Fans decided to call the new episodes in 2009 a “second season” despite no official term calling it as such. People are told “watch the first season in broadcast order and then watch the second season.” Haruhi is not meant to be seen that way now.
Instead of causing more confusion about “how do I watch Haruhi?” respond simply “watch the 28 episode set and then finish with Disappearance.” Doesn’t that sound easier for someone to get into the series? They don’t have to mimic your own viewing history to appreciate it now. In fact, no airing since the very first runs in 2006 kept that pattern, so it’s not “how it was meant to be seen” anymore. Continually hyping a gimmick that is 9 years old and outdated brings only confusion and people saying “it’s too hard for me, I’ll watch something else.” Do yourself and the people wanting to watch it a favor: say “watch the 28 episode set and then the movie.” It’s that easy.
Thanks for reading this rant. It’s been building up for a while.