As rightly pointed out by jpmeyer’s post, the phenomenom that is Suzumiya Haruhi has exploded like mushrooms growing after a shower. From being virtually unknown to a catchphrase meme (search YouTube for Haruhi and you’ll see) , Haruhiism has captured the hearts, minds, bodies and souls of countless otaku’s across the globe, yours truly included.
Now, why does Suzumiya Haruhi have such an appeal?
It would undoubtly be the charisma of the heroine herself, Suzumiya Haruhi. As rightly stated out by Kyon, kids often have a limitless imaginative viewpoint of the world, and long for interesting and fun adventures, which no doubt being visited by aliens in UFO’s, encountering big-breasted loli time travellers from the future and ESP-pers would count as one. However, as we learn about the limits and the rules that govern this world, gradually our common sense develops and supresses our imaginations, leaning us to follow the rules of the world.
There is still the innate longing to break away from the humdrums of normal life, and what we label as the inner kid is always present inside everyone. Humans, in general, are curious lifeforms and the inaneness of normal life always drives people to have something they want to experience as “fresh”. In fact, watching anime can be included as a pastime for people to indulge in to break away from the normalcy, which is what makes anime fun in the first place.
As thus, Suzumiya Haruhi is the personification of this curiousity and “inner kid” that all humans have. She steadfastly holds on to the notions of UFO’s, aliens and time travellers, and tries with all her efforts to get in contact with them, stampeding over the barrier that is common sense & rules, ignoring the cruelty of reality and normal life. It is this quality which, no doubt, attracts people towards her, which is the desire to be like her, to break away from the rules that bind people to normal life and preventing them to do things that they want to.
Her utter lack of common sense in her ways to achieve her targets no doubt will shock people, I mean, the way she blackmailed the PC Club to get her computer and cosplaying as bunny girls to promote her club are definitely going to bring gasps to many a mouth, but secretly this appeals to us in a subconcious manner.
The members of the SOS-dan themselves are also part and parcel of the wonder that is Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu. Undoubtly, Kyon plays an important role in the series, which is to be the perfect foil of Suzumiya Haruhi herself, as the cynical, rational and normal high school student, disagreeing to her conducts, yet still attracted to her at the same time, being a normal human being.
Mikuru-chan… well, she’s Mikuru-chan, and as rightly stated by Haruhi-sama herself, she provides the moé appeal for the show, being the shy, naive and innocent type. Yuki Nagato, meanwhile, lends the show an air of mystique, which is apparent after the revelation that she makes in the 3rd episode of that she and Haruhi aren’t really human beings, which establishes the show’s *raison d’etre* for Haruhi’s behaviour and the further appearance of more fascinating things to come.
Of course, when talking about the anime, other factors do come in mind when considering the rapid spread of the phenomenon that is Haruhiism. Undobtably, the fact that the animation studio was KyoAni, which is famous for its recent track record of producting top-notch quality anime, such as Fumoffu, AIR and Second Raid, helped in making people sample the anime. Brand name does play a big part in determining watchlists this season, with the absurdly large numbers of new series’ debuting. Honestly speaking, I wouldn’t have paid that much attention to Suzuharu is XEBEC or Gonzo did it.
The infamous first episode of Suzuharu undoubtbly played a big part in publicizing it, as humans tend to be more impressionable towards negative things rather than positive ones. The sheer fact that the episode consisted of a amateurly done student video, and the fact that it was being done by brand name studio instantly attracted much viewing, especially with the lack of prior information about the series itself. Of course, when episode 2 came out, many otakus watched in interest, and KyoAni blew eveyone out of the water by producing one of the greatest episodes in anime, IMHO, in recent times.
Also, any discussion of the Suzuharu anime would undoubtbly be incomplete without adressing the infamous ED dance sequence by the SOS-dan members. The upbeat music coupled with the masterfully choreographed dance sequence (instructions available here and here) has a mesmerizing effect that is hard to explain and has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon itself, amazing considering the time that it has been out (only 3 weeks or so), with the infamous Gundam parody, and more recently, the RL version of it. No doubt, the ED sequence has established itself as one of the more memorable ones of anime.
Without question, the phenomenon of Haruhiism will be here to stay and make it’s impact among the otaku fanbase. I have personally never seen such success being achieved by a show, just 3 episodes in it’s initial run. Hopefully, Haruhi’s winning spree will continue on for the rest of it’s run, and I have no doubt about it, judging from the things that I’ve heard about it.