The phenomenon that is Haruhi Suzumiya is still going strong. This show and the light novels came in like a hurricane and it’s influence is still seen today, even though the books and the series were in the early 2000s. If you don’t know about Haruhi Suzumiya but you watch anime then you were probably living under a rock. Or you’re one of those people who won’t watch because it’s popular (which has to be one of the stupidest reasons to not watch something.)
The influence of Haruhi Suzumiya cannot be understated. Look at Lucky Star where the main character Konata is Haruhi at the cosplay cafe she works at. They even do a dance number and she acts like her. Or look at Angel Beats where one of the main protagonists looks almost exactly like her, hair ribbon and all. A lot of other anime have references to Haruhi Suzumiya in some way. Even from the Haruhi universe, you have The Disappearance of Nagato which in itself is a good show but I don’t think it comes close to being in the same stratosphere. There are many other references in other shows too.
The story revolves around Haruhi Suzumiya and Kyon but in different ways. Kyon is actually narrating the story while Haruhi is the focus of the show. One day, Kyon is sitting in class and a new girl comes in. The introduction she gives is what sets up the rest of the series. Haruhi pronounces that she is only interested in aliens, espers and time travelers and if you’re not one of them then she doesn’t want to talk to you. While everyone stays away from her because her aloof personality and the crazy stories about her, Kyon decides one day to say something to her and that’s where the adventure starts.
This isn’t your traditional school story or slice of life show. How can it be when there are aliens, espers and time travelers involved. The intersection of all these people creates some interesting situations, including saving the world from destruction. You do have your Tanabata festivals, making a student film and club room activities but the main storyline of the show is the supernatural happenings.
The main characters have very distinct personalities. They’re the type of characters that you don’t forget. Start with Haruhi, who acts like the world revolves around her and everything she thinks and does. She’s athletic, can sing, smart, she has it all except the bad attitude though she does have a caring side too. Kyon is the one you hear narrating most of the show. He’s the straightman and also the foil to Haruhi’s craziness. Itsuki is…strange. I’m not sure how to describe him, he’s kind of like one of those smooth talking salesmen who you’re not sure if you believe, when they’re done talking. Yuki is a quiet type who rarely says a word. Then there’s Mikuru, she is an incredibly sweet, cute character who gets used as a decoration. Haruhi strips her and dresses her in sexy outfits all the time. She’s so accomodating that she doesn’t really fight back when Haruhi pulls her schemes, Haruhi even calls her a moe character. Poor Mikuru, she’s like a scared little kitten. I just wish her cries didn’t sound like a cat getting stepped on. While they sound like an odd collection of characters, when you watch the show, you’ll see just how well they mesh together.
There’s not one thing about this show that I can pick at, it was done beautifully. Everything in the show meshes together well from the music to the art to the weird plot. If I was to name a few anime that I would consider gateway anime or use as an example of an anime that was built the right way, this would be near the top of the list, if not the absolute top. Though there is one issue that some people have with the show and that is “Endless Eights”. I don’t want to blow up what that is for those who haven’t seen the show but that’s something else that has been imitated in other shows like Little Busters: Refrain. The only issue I have is the last episode which has a lot of dead air but I guess it is a way to wind down a show that is full of movement all the time.
There’s a lot I could say about this show but I better end this thing here. This show was done well and I would recommend it to others. Of course that’s if it’s the kind of show they’re looking for. If you want examples of the popularity then look at the Wiki page for the show. The monster that is Haruhi Suzumiya has slowed down because there isn’t a new show planned but there are still the light novels which are still going strong and publication here in the US is going strong too. I would not be surprised if they find a way to make The Intrigue of Itsuki Koizumi into a show and then one about Mikuru too who doesn’t have a book yet. Don’t forget to check out The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya movie also.