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Season 1: Wasted potential
Haruhi Suzumiya was definitely an interesting series that was fun to watch. However, it wasted much of its potential.

The storyline is like a drunkard who forgot where he lives and can't find his way home. The first half is strong and interesting, and seems to set up great things for the second half. However, when we get there, it seems like what was built up to that point is forgotten in favor of a more slice-of-life tone

Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against slice of life. It's actually the setting of the first half anyway (in which more interesting things occur). But when you build up something that's intriguing/interesting/mysterious/makes me want to find out what happens, shifting the focus to slice-of-life alone makes me feel like the time spent setting up something much bigger is wasted. It's like the writers forgot what they had even written about to begin with.

In short: I got trolled. Haruhi is made out to be something of a god, but it's never explained in any way. Yuki, Itsuki, and Mikuru all have origins/characterization worth exploring, but aren't. They allude to the possibility of a romance between Kyon and any of the three heroines manifesting, but none does.

Haruhi herself is easily the most interesting and unique character in the series—in fact, one of the more unique characters I've ever seen. However, I couldn't find her likable in any way. She's pushy, always used to getting her way, and doesn't care about the opinions of others as long as their view is inconvenient to her in any way. Her distinct personality is a breeding ground for many possible aesops to be had: you can't always get what you want, the opinions of others are important too, you shouldn't treat other people like objects, etc. But no: None of these opportunities are taken advantage of. All we get is Kyon's commentary/observation about her unpleasant personality traits.

Also, these characters had lots of room to grow and develop into something better, but didn't. Kyon could've made good on his promise early on to protect Mikuru from Haruhi's eccentricity and stopped being a huge pushover—Haruhi's slave—but he doesn't. Haruhi could've learned lessons like what I said above, but didn't. Yuki could've developed more human emotions, but didn't.

AND, last episode did nothing.

(Big sigh)
- The series was conceived for the broadcast order. What you said only applied to the chronological order. It's not valid criticism when it was "meant" to be watched in broadcast order, with the chronological order only serving as an "ah, I see" to the Jigsaw Puzzle Plot.

- You act like Season 1 is the only thing the story cosists of and then complain that this and that wasn't featured in Season 1, when it actually did, in later parts. For one, Haruhi almost gets punched by Kyon for taking her Lack Of Empathy too far. Yuki does develop more human emotions, but not in Season 1.
comment #10284 Excelion 26th Sep 11 (edited by: Excelion)
Broadcast order's just a shoddy excuse to make the show more mysterious. "Ooooh they're talking about something weird we don't know about!" Then you have to watch the episode that takes place before this one to find out.

I can agree with you about the characters though. Yuki is especially boring. Emotionless, Instant Expert, every super power under the sun (except time travel). Haruhi pretty much has the same except emotionless is replaced by being a total sociopath. And the whole concept of having to keep her entertained and dignify her inflated ego or else she'll unknowingly destroy the world never sat right with me.
comment #10285 KashimaKitty 26th Sep 11
I know this isn't much of an argument, but Haruhi really mellows out in the novels. This development is shown in the second season, which chronologically occurs before the episode Live Alive.
comment #10286 Augustine 26th Sep 11
I had to watch them in chronological order or I would've stabbed myself.

@Kashima Kitty: Yuki isn't boring per say; just had a lot of room to grow but didn't (in season 1). But I DO completely agree with your sentiments on Haruhi.

Maybe I'll change my mind some after I see the movie. But regardless of what it does, it can't change the fact that the second half of the first season was a pretty colossal waste of episodes with a not-finale.
comment #10288 DraconisMarch 26th Sep 11
@Draconis March

Yea, a lot of what I hear she goes through development wise (same goes for Haruhi) happens in the second season or way late into the light novels. But between the screwball plot that can't decide what it wants to be and the annoying characters I couldn't finish even the first season.
comment #10289 KashimaKitty 26th Sep 11
I've seen the second "season." All that seems to have happened is that she kind of sort of realized that people aren't tools for her to command to do whatever she wants (thanks to Kyon). It still wasn't apparent that she had changed in any significant way, though.
comment #10299 DraconisMarch 26th Sep 11
Update: Just finished the movie. It was AMAZING. 9/10. Would've been perfect... if Haruhi had actually changed at all. I guess she's just destined to be a self-centered, pushy bitch who *hardly* cares about other people forever and ever.

But I ADORED Yuki—or rather, adore her even more. She got some much-deserved focus, attention, and development. <3
comment #10312 DraconisMarch 27th Sep 11
I think the criticism is valid in the sense that season 1 (and even season 2) by themselves don't see the kinds of dramatic growth and development one might expect. That's fair. By an objective standard, the kinds of changes that occur in this series are slow to unfold, and not everyone has the patience or willingness to hang around for that.

That said, I must make an argument for episode order: the first season really doesn't work on a dramatic level in chronological order. In broadcast, you get the first half of Melancholy fairly quickly, The middle of the season gives most of the slice of life stuff (though, admittedly, there's no real good reason for "Remote Island Syndrome" to have "Mysterique Sign" sandwiched in-between), and then the end of Melancholy is the climax. Viewed as a season in and of itself, not having "Melancholy VI" at the end changes the mood quite a bit. That's the reason broadcast order is spaced out compared to chronological—once you finish the Melancholy arc, you're outside the main mystery of things. That's why chronological, in my mind, doesn't work nearly as well from a dramatic standpoint.

Truthfully, though, if you're looking for concrete indicators that Haruhi's become a better person, the obvious signs aren't until book 7. If that sounds like a long way away, bear in mind there are only four short stories (mostly from book 6) that have yet to be animated before book 7. Haruhi Season 3, if it were ever to come, would undoubtedly be all that put together (maybe plus the 2 short stories of book 8). Book 7 also gives Asahina some development as well.

But, I know what might come in the future is no substitute for what could've been in the present. Really, the folks at Kyoto Animation do an incredibly faithful job of adapting the series, and the fault for its problems in development or plot (though episode order is a different matter) should lie with Tanigawa.
comment #10320 Muphrid 28th Sep 11
You don't need to have a huge glaring Aesop for character development.
comment #10339 eveil 28th Sep 11
There's a difference between a huge glaring aesop and an obvious, nearly-perfectly-complete lack of change in the way one treats others/themself.
comment #10340 DraconisMarch 28th Sep 11
Yeah, that's kind of how personality changes work. Small, subtle, and slowly.
comment #10341 eveil 28th Sep 11
...Except that not even that really happened. The only taste we get is that of her sleeping in Kyon's hospital room at the end of the movie, but it's not even because she cares about him as a friend and not just an SOS member (or rather, can't admit this as being the case). Once he wakes up, she immediately begins to "penalize" him... for falling down stairs, hitting his head on the wall, and getting knocked out for 3 days.

What a bitch.
comment #10373 DraconisMarch 28th Sep 11
Learn to read between the lines.
comment #10375 eveil 29th Sep 11
"(or rather, can't admit this as being the case)"

Since you obviously didn't see it the first time.
comment #10382 DraconisMarch 29th Sep 11
There's an entire character archetype based on being a jerkass to someone you care about.
comment #10385 eveil 29th Sep 11
Sooooo... because there's an archetype for it, that means it's okay? And it's okay for them to continue being that way forever?
comment #10406 DraconisMarch 30th Sep 11
For you? No. For a lot of others? Yes.

If you can't stand Tsunderes, don't watch shows that have them as the main character.
comment #10408 eveil 30th Sep 11
Haruhi isn't a tsundere LOL. Ookami? Tsundere. Asuka Langley Soryu? Tsundere. Haruhi? Self-centered bitch.

At least tsunderes have another side.
comment #10415 DraconisMarch 30th Sep 11
"Haruhi isn't a tsundere LOL"

Judging from polls, over half the viewers disagree with you there. You're suffering from personal bias.
comment #10421 eveil 1st Oct 11
ROFL. Okay. So if she's a tsundere, tell me all the times she displays distinctly deredere behavior.

Also, links to these "polls" you site.
comment #10486 DraconisMarch 3rd Oct 11
Uhh, sleeping in Kyon's hospital room?

I'm not going to link you to what you can find with a 5 second Google search.
comment #10487 eveil 3rd Oct 11
I don't see the value in arguing this. If Draconis March thinks Haruhi's not redeemable, then that's on him/her.

S/He'd hardly be the first person to say, "Well, I was expecting someone likable, and Haruhi wasn't/didn't become that."
comment #10489 Durandall 3rd Oct 11 (edited by: Durandall)
Good job. She did ONE thing. You see, the thing with tsunderes is... BOTH SIDES ARE SHOWN IN SIGNIFICANT QUANTITIES. A single out-of-character moment doesn't make a bitch a tsundere.

And if it'll only take 5 seconds to Google search, it should be all the easier for you to find them and prove it. And besides, "over half" doesn't mean shit in a poll. And personal bias? ROFL K. So judging based soley on what you observe right in front of you = personal bias. Makes perfect sense.
comment #10496 DraconisMarch 3rd Oct 11
Good job. She did ONE thing. You see, the thing with tsunderes is... BOTH SIDES ARE SHOWN IN SIGNIFICANT QUANTITIES. A single out-of-character moment doesn't make a bitch a tsundere.

Wow, you mean a Tsundere character has a personality besides being Tsundere?

This is where you're supposed read inbetween the lines. You don't need "Haruhi actually cares" shoved in your face every 5 seconds to know that she does care.

And there are other deredere moments that she has that I can't be bothered to look for you.

And if it'll only take 5 seconds to Google search, it should be all the easier for you to find them and prove it.

No. You want proof? Do it yourself. You want to continue being ignorant? Then feel free to do nothing.

And besides, "over half" doesn't mean shit in a poll.

Hi my opinion means more than everyone else's.

And personal bias? ROFL K. So judging based soley on what you observe right in front of you = personal bias. Makes perfect sense.

Haruhi's a bitch and I hate her, therefore, she can't be a tsundere!
comment #10504 eveil 4th Oct 11
Uh... are you being retarded on purpose? Tsundere is a mix of two distinctly different personalities combining into a new supertype, dude. Look it up right here on this site.

News flash: "Over half" is not statistically significant in any way, shape, or form. And why there would even be a poll regarding her tsunderity is laughable at best. Again, even if such polls exist (and I have no desire to search for them), it'll still be meaningless. I don't care if there was a poll that reported that "over half" of people who've seen Evangelion say Asuka is a kuudere and not a tsundere, because it would be bullshit and just prove the fanbase is retarded. It would be pointless: It wouldn't automatically make her a kuudere.

I think you're forgetting that the argument was initially about her likability as a character, not her tsunderity. "She's a bitch with almost no redeeming qualities; therefore, I hate her" is the thought process. Tsunderity has nothing to do with her likability. I can like a character and they can also happen to be a tsundere; I can dislike a character and they also happen to be a tsundere; I can like a character who also happens to not be a tsundere; I can dislike a character who also happens to not be a tsundere.
comment #10512 DraconisMarch 4th Oct 11 (edited by: DraconisMarch)
News flash: "Over half" is not statistically significant in any way, shape, or form. And why there would even be a poll regarding her tsunderity is laughable at best. Again, even if such polls exist (and I have no desire to search for them), it'll still be meaningless. I don't care if there was a poll that reported that "over half" of people who've seen Evangelion say Asuka is a kuudere and not a tsundere, because it would be bullshit and just prove the fanbase is retarded. It would be pointless: It wouldn't automatically make her a kuudere.

The point I was trying to make was that her tsundereness was at least debatable, not clear-cut as you seem portray it as.

I think you're forgetting that the argument was initially about her likability as a character, not her tsunderity. "She's a bitch with almost no redeeming qualities; therefore, I hate her" is the thought process. Tsunderity has nothing to do with her likability. I can like a character and they can also happen to be a tsundere; I can dislike a character and they also happen to be a tsundere; I can like a character who also happens to not be a tsundere; I can dislike a character who also happens to not be a tsundere.

Huh, I wasn't actually arguing about her likability at all. Hell, even I think the character is a bitch overall, even if she's gotten a little better throughout the series and has a few dere dere moments.
comment #10522 eveil 4th Oct 11
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