So, I quite enjoyed the 2006 “Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” anime, and it turned me into a bit of a KyoAni fanboy; I went from there to watching Air, and Kanon, and Lucky Star and so forth.
I didn’t go back and hunt down Full Metal Panic, though.
Haruhi was one of those perfect storm sort of shows, playing with anime stereotypes in a way that came close to breaking the fourth wall, but never quite crossing the line into being an outright parody of itself, with really good music and a heck of a lot of fanservice for us boy type people.
Anyway, after about three years of endless rumor speculation and rumors, KyoAni actually made new episodes, slipping them – all stealthy-like – into the middle of a re-run of the entire series.
And I watched the first episode, and It Was Good, and then I kind of forgot to go looking for more episodes for a while, long enough for the entire new series to be broadcast, translated, and surreptitiously distributed to legions of slavering Haruhi fans.
So anyway, I got myself a full set of episodes and settled in to watch them.
The second episode was a little plotless, but fun enough. It was a lot like the baseball episode from the first series; Haruhi makes up her mind to do some sort of random activities and forces the entire group into participating, hilarity ensues, blah blah blah, end credits.
The third episode was the same as the second episode, except that the characters realized halfway through that they were in a time loop, but have no idea how to break it by the end of the episode.
The fourth through eighth episodes of the series were the same as the third episode. They were animated differently, but the characters were doing the same things, in the same order, realizing halfway through that they were in a time loop, and unable to break out of it.
The ninth episode repeated the same sequence of events, but at the very last minute Kyon figures out how to break the loop.
That’s 8 episodes – three-and-a-half-hours of anime – that were basically the same episode over and over again. After the fourth one, I actually went to wikipedia to make sure that there really WAS an ending.
I’ve seen things described, in the past, as being “love letters to the fans”
This would be more along the line of “hate mail for the fans”; the only enjoyable part of the whole thing was, after I’d finished watching the series, going online and reading the rants of everyone who’d watched it week-by-week.
After these 8 episodes – appropriately all titled “Endless Eight” – finished, the remaining new episodes were actually pretty decent, so it has that going for it. I just can’t fathom the thought process behind making two month’s worth of episodes all the same; it’s a low point that makes the infamous “island arc” from Nadia look like a triumph of storytelling.
Anyway, it’s over now, and I kind of feel like I accomplished something by making it through. I usually feel very detached from other fans, but reading the rants from around the web makes me feel a brutal sort of camaraderie; we’ve shared a certain pain and we’ve all made it through.
But I wouldn’t recommend experiencing it yourself.