Okay, reading the comic hurts my brain because I formed a strong association with the Anime for its order. I keep forgetting the ‘proper’ order of the anime, i.e. the chronological order, so the comic is okay to read.
But that’s not what I want to write about.
I want to write about the Haruhi franchise.
Haruhi is overrated. Let’s be frank folks – aside from the lols and slice-of-life, Haruhi is overrated. It doesn’t end nicely, the order jumbles it up and season 2 sucks. Good? Perhaps. Favourite? Not really.
So what exactly makes Haruhi so popular? Some argue that it’s like Evangelion- a breakthrough in anime history. Some call its cast of characters interesting, while others really dislike their characters. Being one of the first anime I watched , I thought it was nice – Haruhi’s still on my wall and on my bedside, cheering me on. But now when I think about it, why does Haruhi have such an extensive fanbase? It can’t possibly be due to the plot, could it? The characters, perhaps? I failed to comprehend anymore. I simply forgot why I had liked Haruhi ; I felt it was funny, but then I watched Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. So I broke Haruhi’s franchise down to its major points:
Characters: I realised that I could not say that this was Haruhi’s selling point as there was not much, if not no character development whatsoever : it’s slice-of-life. Perhaps the part where Kyon kisses Haruhi could be argued to be character development, but that’s that. Characters were also mildly interesting, but were also cliched. We have the silent type Yuki, who resembles Rei on two points – Yuki and Rei are similar names, hinting at snow and coldness, an indication of their character type. Nagato and Ayanami were both battleships – hinting at their powers to fight. We have the usual hyperactive girl, and whatnot. So why do people like their characters? Simple. It’s slice-of-life mass anime -no one gives a shit. Yes. You heard me. No-one gives a shit. So Characters might influence the masses who like their ‘personalities’, while it might not attract those who look for select types of anime.
Accessibility : Way too easy to find. You can find it on almost all the streaming sites. Not to mention merchandise. I have Haruhi merch too, sadly. 2 completed Gachapon sets and a broken Figma. Not to mention that gigantic poster. But I don’t even love Haruhi; heck I’m generally ‘meh’ towards it now. So why do I still have these stuff?
Easy. Haruhi is easy to find. Haruhi is in every anime convention, anime store, comic book store, book store you look. Sometimes you’ll even find her in the library. Buying something generally makes you a fan, in my opinion ;normal people buy the figurines they have affiliations to. Not much would buy something from a show they don’t even know about ; no, they would buy figurines to shows they had watched. As a result, a fanbase is created easily.
Reputation: These two factors combine to create a huge reputation for Haruhi. As such, Haruhi is publicised to have great art, characters, and storyline – when in actual fact, these are not true. You will think so when you’re watching Haruhi, especially if you watched her from curiosity after reading reviews about her. Think of all the normal people who might have been scared off after watching episode 1, or finding Haruhi’s awkward little episode order! Without her reputation, the Haruhi franchise would collapse. The fanbase is what makes Haruhi attractive- in the end, by assimilating into this fanbase, you unwittingly love the show. It’s only after some time do you realise that what you felt then would not be the same.
If I were to watch Haruhi only now, I would give it an 8. Why? Haruhi is funny. The show is funny.The art is nice. The characters are moe, or similarly funny. There isn’t much to hate for Season 1.
And that’s a wrap. Haruhi might be mediocre to some , but it appears that since most watchers find it enjoyable, Haruhi’s empire will stand for years to come…until something similarly enjoyable appears on the scene.