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Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒ Suzumiya Haruhi?) is the general name for a series of light novels written by Nagaru Tanigawa and illustrated by Noizi Ito, and subsequently adapted into other media. The story follows the title character, Haruhi Suzumiya, a high school girl who can unconsciously change reality, and her strange antics with her school club, the SOS Brigade, which she founded to investigate any mysterious happenings. Haruhi forcibly drafts her cynical classmate Kyon who narrates the series, and similarly recruits three additional members into her club: the silent bibliophile Yuki Nagato, the shy and timid Mikuru Asahina, and the friendly "mysterious exchange student" Itsuki Koizumi. These members soon reveal themselves to Kyon as the extraordinary characters Haruhi is seeking, sent by their various organizations to observe her and hold her reality warping powers in check by maintaining the illusion of a normal life.

The first novel was published in Japan on June 6, 2003 by Kadokawa Shoten, with nine individual novels published and a planned tenth Template:As of. The light novels have been adapted into four separate manga series, five video games, a television anime adaptation, and two original net animations. After the anime adaptation aired in 2006, publishing company Kadokawa Shoten received various offers licensing both the novels and its various adaptations.[1][2]

The novels are licensed for English language release in the United States by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Yen Press and the anime adaptation was licensed for North American distribution by Kadokawa Pictures USA division, which then sublicensed production and distribution to Bandai Entertainment.

CharactersEdit

Main article: List of Haruhi Suzumiya characters

Haruhi Suzumiya
Haruhi is the title character and leader of the SOS Brigade, whose energetic and eccentric character proves to be the driving force for the series. She has a mind for adventure, which often leads her subordinates to be swept into her plans. While being smart, beautiful, and energetic, Haruhi was eyed as an oddball ever since Middle School: she had set all the desks from her classroom out into the hallway, painted stars on the roofs, and even painted a huge hieroglyph out in the school field. Haruhi cannot stand boredom, so she comes up with various activities for the SOS Brigade, making them participate whether they like it or not. When in 6th grade, Haruhi felt she was no longer special after going to a baseball game and realizing she was one in a sea of people. Since then she set out to make her life interesting and unique. What Haruhi does not know is that she has an outstanding power to change the environment around her as she pleases, using which she subconsciously gathers Mikuru Asahina, Itsuki Koizumi, and Yuki Nagato to one place, namely, the SOS Brigade.
Kyon
Kyon is a student who unintentionally runs into Haruhi and is the only normal human in the SOS Brigade. Even though Haruhi is the title character, the story is told through his viewpoint. Through narration and dialogue, he provides his insight, perspective, and opinions on the series' events. Kyon is often annoyed by Haruhi's demands, but also is bewildered by her. While Kyon often looks at Mikuru and comments on her attraction to him, it is hinted throughout the series that he has romantic feelings towards Haruhi. Kyon is a nickname first given to him by his grandmother, and he has been called Kyon ever since. His and his sister's true names are currently unknown. Kyon is also "John Smith" from Haruhi's earlier memories, and subsequently was the one who painted the hieroglyph in the field.
Yuki Nagato
Yuki is a bibliophile humanoid interface created by Data Integration Thought Entity, whose responsibilities involve monitoring Haruhi and the investigation of an unexplained "explosion of data" three years prior to the present story. She possesses an ability to manipulate her surrounding environment, or "data", as quoted by her. Yuki is very quiet, or like a robot, but can speak at length when it has to do with her mission or a problem that has arisen. While she always seems to be engrossed in her reading, she comments that she is only relatively interested in them. Yuki gives hints and aid to Kyon throughout the series. She almost never shows any emotions, but there are times when she shows interest in certain things, such as programming computer games and playing them, as well as reading.
Mikuru Asahina
Mikuru is a time traveler from the distant future who is assigned to investigate the reason behind the inability to travel to any point in time before three years prior to the present story. Mikuru is a soft-spoken girl who almost always willingly follows Haruhi's demands. She is the lowest in her Time Traveler's Committee. She often tries to explain what is going on, but will heavily censor it by saying "classified information." Haruhi loves dressing up Mikuru like a doll, and Haruhi is quite jealous of her and Kyon's relationship.
Itsuki Koizumi
Itsuki is an esper who, like the other members of "The Agency", suddenly acquired the power to explore the "Closed Space" and combat Celestials three years prior to the present story. He is fairly carefree and can be found always smiling. However, Kyon always seems to be annoyed by him, and in the light novels expresses his urges to want to hit him. Itsuki brings up many points that have multiple sides, and even explains to Kyon that Mikuru, or anyone, can possibly be putting up a fake personality and deceiving everyone.

MediaEdit

Light novelsEdit

Main article: List of Haruhi Suzumiya light novels

Written by Nagaru Tanigawa and illustrated by Noizi Ito, the light novels alternate between full length novels and collections of short stories; the short stories initially appearing in The Sneaker, a seinen novel magazine published by the Japanese publishing company Kadokawa Shoten.

The novels are licensed for release in Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China by Kadokawa Media, in South Korea by Daiwon CI, and in the United States by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Yen Press.[3]

MangaEdit

Kadokawa Shoten published two manga adaptations of the Haruhi Suzumiya light novel series in Shōnen Ace. The first one, by Makoto Mizuno, ran from May to December 2004 and was considerably different from the light novels in its one published volume, with little input from the original author. The second series, illustrated by Gaku Tsugano, started in November 2005 and is still in production, having been published in eight volumes, though with a younger target audience than the original novels in order to expand the series' fan base. On April 17, 2008, Yen Press announced that they had acquired the license for the North American release of the first four volumes of the second manga series, promising the manga would not be censored.[4]

An official parody four-panel comic strip titled The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya by Puyo started serialization in Shōnen Ace on July 26, 2007 and in The Sneaker on August 30, 2007. The first bound volume was released on May 26, 2008, the second on December 26, 2008, and the third on July 10, 2009. Yen Press licensed the Haruhi-chan manga series for an English release in North America,[5] and will be releasing the first volume on October 26, 2010.[6] Another four-panel parody manga, Nyorōn Churuya-san by Eretto (Utsura Uraraka), was originally a dōjinshi, starring a smoked cheese-loving, super deformed version of Tsuruya, published in three volumes (released on August 2006, February 2007, and October 2007) before beginning serialization in the magazine Comp Ace in November 2008.[7][8] Another manga, The Vanishing of Nagato Yuki chan (長門有希ちゃんの消失 Nagato Yuki-chan no Shōshitsu?), also by Puyo, started serialization in Kadokawa Shoten's Young Ace in July 2009. It is set in the alternate timeline established in the fourth light novel, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, where Yuki Nagato is a shy schoolgirl as opposed to an alien.[9]

AnimeEdit

See also: List of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya episodes

Produced by the Japanese animation studio Kyoto Animation and directed by Tatsuya Ishihara, the anime adaptation of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱 Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu?) contained 14 episodes which aired in Japan between April 2 and July 2, 2006. It was originally aired in a nonlinear order, with the prologue and first seven chapters of the first novel intermixed with chapters from some of the later novels. The "next episode" previews feature two different episode numberings: one number from Haruhi, who numbers the episodes in chronological order, and one number from Kyon, who numbers them in broadcast order. The DVD releases start with "Episode 00" and are then shown in chronological order. The anime was licensed and distributed by Bandai Entertainment over four DVDs released between May and November 2007. A complete box set was later released on July 29, 2008.

Around the time the series was initially broadcast, SOS Productions purchased the American copyright to the anime, including future anime installments. They tried broadcasting the series on the American Broadcasting Company, but it was relegated to the ABC Kids timeslot, leaving it extremely vulnerable to Macekre. Among the changes: overtly suggestive or violent scenes were edited, the title was changed to The Saga of the SOS Brigade, and the names were changed: Haruhi Suzumiya became Susan Halley-Martin, Kyon became Cal, Yuki Nagato became Naelee Winters, Mikuru Asahina became Mikaela Ashford-Halley, and Itsuki Koizumi became Izzy Colin Zimmer. Frustrated by the changes, SOS pulled the series from broadcast after only one complete run and produced a more faithful dub with KCET Los Angeles and Sky Quest Entertainment, which parodied and played straight the quality of '90s English dubs, particularly those by Streamline Pictures (the VHS, Beta, and LaserDisc releases of the series even start each episode with the Streamline logo). Most of the cast and crew returned; the only change to the crew was Emma Watson and Rupert Grint taking over the adaptation and production roles.

The second season of the anime series was announced in a full-page advertisement of Asahi Shimbun on July 7, 2007 in Japan.[10] Promotional videos included a live action sequence, inspired by the "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody" chapter from the third novel, depicting Haruhi and Kyon breaking into school grounds with the footage taken from surveillance cameras. On December 18, 2007, the anime's official website, haruhi.tv, was replaced by a fake 404 error with five form input fields, a reference to the pivotal date in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, the fourth volume in the light novel series.[11]

A re-broadcast of the first series began in April 2009.[12] Following a comment by Teletama, one of the broadcasting stations, that the 2009 broadcast would be 28 episodes long, there was speculation that the re-broadcast would followed by the second season, though this was not confirmed by Kadokawa at the time.[13][14] The first new episode, "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody" (笹の葉ラプソディ Sasa no Ha Rapusodi?), was aired on May 21, 2009 as the eighth episode of the re-broadcast.[15] Unlike the original run, the re-broadcast was shown in chronological order, with new episodes intermixed with the old ones. Episodes were later shown on Kadokawa's YouTube channel after the broadcast, and also started showing English-subtitled episodes. Bandai Entertainment licensed the re-broadcast in 2010[16] and released a complete collection in North America on September 14, 2010. Meanwhile, Sky Quest, KCET, and SOS produced their own dub, which was simulcast on Japanese television and PBS.

On July 5, 2011, longtime cast member Aya Hirano announced that she was retiring from the role of Haruhi effective immediately. Her replacement as Haruhi's seiyuu is Emma Watson, a close friend of hers who played the part in the live-action movie of the first light novel (and the ABC television adaptations of the sequels). Emma's first turn as Haruhi's full-time seiyuu was for the Christmas special Haruhi Suzumiya presents The Nutcracker, with Haruhi in the title role. The special is noted for a comical and accurate description of a lightsaber's sound during Haruhi's swordfight against the Mouse King, which resulted in George Lucas sending the production companies a personal letter of congratulations (the footage of said description can be seen on the Lucasfilm website). Emma also re-recorded Haruhi's voice for a special edition of the first two seasons and the Disappearance movie (which, oddly enough, didn't attract as big a hatedom, if at all, as the similarly recut special editions of the Star Wars trilogy) and also reprised her role for the third season, which premiered in April 2012 with the episode "Love at First Sight". With the third season, episodes now lasted 48 minutes so as to complete everything before The Surprise of Haruhi Suzumiya. Emma also voices the character in a theatrical feature called Japanimation All-Stars to the Rescue, an anti-drug tract produced by Disney and a production committee including American, British, and Japanese companies; Hirano voices several of her own other characters in the same feature, including Konata Izumi, Misa Amane, Lucy Heartfilia, and Misty Waterflower.

On January 12, 2012, Bandai announced that they will still license new Haruhi anime productions, but all those productions will be dubbed into English as they're produced, and those English dubs will now co-exist with the dubs by SOS on DVD and Blu-ray. For audio mastering, Bandai's dubs will use DTS (DVD) or DTS-HD (Blu-ray), and SOS's dubs will use Dolby Digital (DVD) or Dolby TrueHD (Blu-ray). Also, new subtitled versions will now be labeled by the translators that did them.

Spin-offsEdit

See also: List of The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya episodes and The Genderbending of Haruhi Suzumiya

Two spin-off original net animation series based on the parody manga The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒちゃんの憂鬱 Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yūutsu?) by Puyo and Nyoro~n Churuya-san (にょろーん☆ちゅるやさん?) by Eretto were announced in the October 2008 issue of the Shōnen Ace magazine. The two series were streamed in Japanese and with English subtitles on YouTube's Kadokawa Channel between February 13 and May 15, 2009.[8][17] All the voice actors of the original anime reprised their roles in both series. The first DVD of the series was released in Japan on May 29, 2009, with a release on Blu-ray Disc on August 27, 2010. The series has been licensed by Bandai Entertainment and has been dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment for DVD release. The first volume was released on October 5, 2010.[6][18]

A gender-flipped adaptation of the light novels premiered on the That Guy With the Glasses website in October 2009.

FilmEdit

Main article: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

An animated film by Kyoto Animation titled The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの消失 Suzumiya Haruhi no Shōshitsu?) adapted the fourth Haruhi Suzumiya light novel of the same name, and was released in Japanese theaters on February 6, 2010. It was announced via a teaser shown at the end of the 2009 re-airing of the anime.[19]

The film's American copyright rests with SOS Productions, who produced an English dub at Sky Quest Entertainment. It was released in conventional and IMAX theatres in America one day before the Japanese release, with a home video release in June of 2010. The Betamax and LaserDisc releases were under the old Walt Disney Classics imprint, as were a portion of VHS tapes dedicated to the rental market. The DVD was initially released as a DVD+Blu-ray release with DVD packaging. Around spring 2011 a DVD-only version will be released. Due to its unexpected box office success in the United States, the film has returned to IMAX for a limited time each February starting in 2011, with SOS hoping to eventually break the $1,000,000,000 mark. It was announced in June 2011 that Disney was planning to convert the film to 3D for a future IMAX rerelease.

It has also been licensed by Bandai Entertainment and will be released in spring 2011.[20]

A pair of films based on the 10th and 11th light novels have been announced for a July 2013 and November 2013, respectively. In Japan, the films will be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Emma Watson, Tomokazu Sugita, Minori Chihara, Yuko Goto, Daisuke Ono, Natsuko Kuwatani, Yuki Matsuoka, and Yuri Shiratori will reprise their respective roles, and the new characters will be voiced by Hisako Kanemoto (Sasaki), Nana Mizuki (Kuyo Suo), Shuichi Ikeda (Fujiwara), Eri Kitamura (Kyoko Tachibana), and Marina Inoue (Yasumi Watahashi). The cels will be hand-traced, then scanned to a computer, colored, and arranged carefully for 3D effect. The films will be presented in 3D and IMAX.

Audio dramasEdit

Main article: List of Haruhi Suzumiya albums#Audio dramas

A series of radio dramas have also been released. The first volume titled SOS Dan Radio Shibu Bangai Hen CD Vol.1 is based on the anime version of the series and was released on July 5, 2006 by Lantis. The second volume was released on September 21, 2006 while a third was released on December 21, 2006. A drama CD titled Sound Around, based on the anime adaptation was released on January 24, 2007 by Lantis.

Video gamesEdit

Main article: List of Haruhi Suzumiya video games

Six separate video games have been produced based on the series. Namco Bandai Games released an adventure game, The Promise of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの約束 Suzumiya Haruhi no Yakusoku?),[21] for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) on December 20, 2007. Banpresto released another adventure game available for the PlayStation 2 on January 31, 2008 called The Perplexity of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの戸惑 Suzumiya Haruhi no Tomadoi?).[22][23] It was the 95th best-selling game in Japan in 2008, selling 139,425 copies.[24] The third game developed by Kadokawa Shoten for the Wii, The Excitement of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの激動 Suzumiya Haruhi no Gekidō?), was released on January 22, 2009.[25][26]

The fourth game by Sega for the Wii (The Parallel of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの並列 Suzumiya Haruhi no Heiretsu?)) was released on March 26, 2009,[27][28] with the fifth game also by Sega for the Nintendo DS (The Series of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの直列 Suzumiya Haruhi no Chokuretsu?)) on May 28, 2009.[29] In February 2010, Kadokawa Shoten released The Day of Sagittarius III in Japanese and English in Apple's App Store.[30] Bandai Namco Games will release a video game for the PlayStation 3 and PSP titled The Reminiscence of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの追想 Suzumiya Haruhi no Tsuisō?) in 2011.[31]

MusicEdit

Main articles: List of Haruhi Suzumiya albums, List of Haruhi Suzumiya character song singles, and List of Haruhi Suzumiya movie soundtracks

The 2006 anime has two opening themes: "The Mikuru Legend of Love" (恋のミクル伝説 Koi no Mikuru Densetsu?), performed by Yuko Goto and used as the opening of episode one (sometimes called episode zero),[32] and "It's an Adventure, Right? Right?" (冒険でしょでしょ? Bōken Desho Desho??) performed by Aya Hirano and used in episodes two through fourteen. The main ending theme of the series was "Sunny Sunny Happiness" (ハレ晴レユカイ Hare Hare Yukai?), performed by Aya Hirano, Minori Chihara, and Yuko Goto, which spanned the first thirteen episodes, with the fourteenth episode ending with an extended version of "It's an Adventure, Right? Right?".[33] For the new episodes of the 2009 re-airing, the opening theme is "Super Driver" by Hirano, and the ending theme is "Stop!" (止マレ! Tomare!?) performed by Hirano, Chihara and Goto. The single for the ending theme was released on August 26, 2009.[15] "It's an Adventure, Right? Right?" was used as the opening theme of the film The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

Among the insert songs used were "God Knows..." and "Lost My Music" performed by Aya Hirano in episode twelve.[34] Segments of Symphony No. 4 in F Minor[35] originally composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 7 in C Major, "Leningrad"[36] originally composed by Dmitri Shostakovich, and Daphnis et Chloé[37] originally composed by Maurice Ravel, were used in episode eleven, while Symphony No. 8 in Eb Major, "Symphony of a thousand",[38] originally composed by Gustav Mahler, was used in episode fourteen.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Gekisō (涼宮ハルヒの激奏 The Extravaganza of Haruhi Suzumiya?) was a live concert event held at Omiya Sonic City on March 18, 2007 that featured songs from the anime sung by the voice actors. The DVD of the concert was released on July 27, 2007. On April 29, 2009, Suzumiya Haruhi no Gensō (涼宮ハルヒの弦奏 The Symphony of Haruhi Suzumiya?) was held in Tokyo, with music by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and Philip Chu as conductor. The event featured songs and background music from the anime arranged with a classic twist. A CD of the concert was released on June 24, 2009.

The main theme song for the spin-off ONA series, The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya is "Ima Made no Arasuji" (いままでのあらすじ? "A Summary of the Story Up to Now") while the ending theme is "Atogaki no Yō na Mono" (あとがきのようなもの? "Something Like an Afterword"), both performed by Hirano, Chihara, Goto, Tomokazu Sugita and Daisuke Ono. A single of the two songs was released on April 20, 2009. Three singles accompanying the other spin-off ONA series, Nyoro-n Churuya-san, were also released, featuring songs sung by Yuki Matsuoka.

ReceptionEdit

The first novel of the series, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was awarded the Grand Prize in the eighth annual Sneaker Awards—only the third Grand Prize given out in the Award's history. The series went on to be a huge success in Japan, selling over 4,300,000 copies collectively.[39]

In December 2006, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya anime adaptation was the most popular anime series in Japan at that time and genre according to Newtype magazine.[40] The first two volumes had sold 70,000 and 90,000 units respectively as of August 2006.[41] A 2006 online poll of Japan's top 100 favorite animated television series of all time, conducted by TV Asahi, placed the series in fourth place.[42] By the end of 2007, the seventh installment of the series sold 45,000 units.[43] The anime adaptation won the Animation Kobe Award for TV Feature in 2006.[44] At the Sixth Annual Tokyo Anime Awards, the series won the category "Best TV Anime Series" and Aya Hirano won the "Voice Acting Award."[45][46] Its spin-offs, The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya and Nyorōn Churuya-san, won the Network award at the 14th Animation Kobe Awards.[47]

Cultural impactEdit

The anime series became somewhat of an Internet phenomenon in Japan, Asia, and English-speaking countries. Over 2000 clips of the series and user-created parodies and homages were posted to video sharing websites such as YouTube,[48] and Nico Nico Douga. The popularity of these clips (and those of other popular Japanese series) led the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) to request that YouTube remove clips claimed to be under the copyright of their members.[49]

Haruhi, Yuki and Mikuru (voiced by Aya Hirano, Minori Chihara, and Yūko Gotō), along with Japanese drama actor Toma Ikuta, made their first Japanese ad appearance in promoting Lotte Acuo Gum in March 2010.[50][51] Also, Lotte featured profiles for the three characters on the Acuo official website.[52]

ASOS BrigadeEdit

In December 2006, Bandai Entertainment registered the website asosbrigade.com.[53] On December 22, 2006, the website opened with a live action presentation video resembling a fan-made production featuring Haruka Inoue and Akiyo Yamamoto in the roles of Mikuru Asahina and Yuki Nagato, with Haruhi Suzumiya being played by Patricia Ja Lee.[1] The video confirmed (in Japanese) the specifics of the licensing arrangement. After a few days, a subtitled version of the video replaced the original on the site, translating the Japanese licensing announcement into English.[54][55] The website also linked to a blog on the popular social networking website MySpace, which entered the list of the top 50 most viewed MySpace pages within 24 hours.[56]

On May 30, 2007 the SOS Brigade Invasion Tour was announced for Anime Expo 2007 on June 30. Aya Hirano, Yuko Goto, and Minori Chihara were part of this event, "being flown in directly from Japan". Anime Expo attendees were able to participate in the ASOS Dance Contest held on Friday and the winner would have the chance to dance on stage with the guests of honor.[57] Ever since the event was announced, advance ticket sales for pre-registered attendees have caused AX officials to cut down on the amount of tickets sold due to the overwhelming amount of advanced tickets sold (despite the event being free of charge to attend).[58][59]

In 2010, a new set of videos—featuring Cristina Valenzuela ("Christina Vee") in the role of Haruhi—were introduced to announce the second season of English dubbed episodes.

ReferencesEdit

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