Kadokawa Shoten’s Newtype magazine recently stirred up a flame of fan anticipation for the long awaited second Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi television series, only to have that fire doused by the clarification that the touted April broadcast would be merely a regional re-broadcast of the first series instead of new animation.
Kadokawa and production studio Kyoto Animation have further aroused then quickly dashed expectations by scheduling the online premiere of the Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan anime, only to delay to premiere without warning at literally the last minute.
These delays and red herrings have certainly caused some outspoken criticism and frustration in the anime community, but that resentment represents only a small minority of persons.
Otaku have a tendency to be highly critical of things they dislike, and especially forgiving of things they do like. Changes to the tone of the Nogami Nuero anime caused a Japanese fan petition decrying the changes.
A red tint in the coloring of Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) DVDs launched a Japanese class action lawsuit against Buena Vista Home Video and Studio Ghibli. However, anime fans have also put up with wholesale changes in the voice cast and steadily declining production values in modern Saint Seiya anime. And the Negima anime remains successful despite having a first season so flawed that its director made a public apology for it.
Rather than the Suzumiya Haruhi anime losing fan support due to extensive delays and mis-starts, the second Suzumiya Haruhi series can survive these setbacks specifically because it is such a highly anticipated and successful franchise.
The long awaited Saint Seiya sequel appeared 13 years after the end of the original television series broadcast. And the revival has been successful enough to sustain three multi-episode series, a theatrical motion picture, and an upcoming prequel television series. Evangelion is one of the most beloved anime titles of the 1990s.
The blockbuster hit Evangelion 1.0 motion picture premiered more than ten years after the TV series ended. The Hellsing OVA series debuted more than four years after the final episode of the TV series, and despite its extended, tentative release schedule, the Hellsing OVAs remain highly popular and eagerly anticipated by viewers worldwide.
With these examples, there’s no reason to think that Suzumiya Haruhi, a title with a similar level of popularity, won’t also sustain fan interest indefinitely. Undoubtedly fans would have been pleased to see a Suzumiya Haruhi sequel premiere rapidly upon the heels of the first series, but probably the wait won’t harm the eventual sequel’s potential for success.
As long as the new series is good, the satisfaction of reuniting with beloved characters will overcome any resentment over broken promises and dashed hopes. In fact, especially considering the precedents set by Kyoto Animation, the wait for Suzumiya Haruhi season two may ultimately be beneficial for fans. Nearly four years after the release of the second Munto OVA, Kyoto Animation has produced a new version of Munto superior to the original.
However, Kyoto Animation also rushed out a Lucky Star OVA rather quickly after the TV series, and the OVA was rather disappointing. Kyoto Animation seems to be a studio that produces its best work on its own schedule, rather than trying to hurriedly meet the demands of viewers. More at: AN