Devotees to the Church of Haruhi-ism have been in for a rough ride of late. As of the latest episode The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya's current season, viewers have been forced through a virtual rerun of the "Endless Eight" story arc FIVE TIMES. For the uninitiated, "Endless Eight" involves a Groundhog Day-like time loop in which the characters experience summer vacation over and over again. So far it seems like Haruhi's current masters at Kyoto Animation and Kadokawa intend to stick all too closely to that source.
Yutaka Yamamoto a.k.a. "Yamakan," director of Haruhi's first season, offered his thoughts about the second season while attending Otakon 2009. Through his interpreter he stated that the "Endless Eight" concept came up while he was still onboard with KyoAni (he later left to direct Kannagi and form his own studio). He noted that he was against the idea, and that "two episodes was the most [they] can do." Clearly that advice did not stick, as the episode has been repeated five times to date. Yamakan admitted that while he left Kyoto Animation of his own volition, he felt "some responsibility" for the show's current state, and offered an apology "as a representative of the SOS Brigade Production Committee."
It was pretty ballsy for Yamakan to just up and state his misgivings about a show that technically isn't his anymore, but he's probably more qualified than anyone else to do that, having been a driving force behind Haruhi's original runaway success. That said, I maintain great respect for KyoAni even as its antics border on exasperation. From the original "broadcast order" fiasco to now, I have never seen a studio as willing (or able) to tool around with its productions, for good or ill. Well, maybe them and Gainax.
As for the future of Haruhi-ism? Conspiracy theorists are split between optimists hoping that the next episode will end the arc, and cynics who figure that "Endless Eight" has much more literal implications (aww Christ!).
For the curious, watch the 36-second-long video that follows the jump, then loop it 15,521 times. That's where we are right now.
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