And so ends the season of The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan and Nyoron Churuya-san, fading away with none of the fanfare that the ONAs were initially greeted with (nice boat anyone?). I never intended to write about the short series, but since I’m a Haru-tard, I was probably fated to do so.
It wasn’t the second season that we were all waiting for. And in fact, once we got past the Kadokawa trolling, it seemed like everyone forget about Haruhi-chan and Churuya. At least, there wasn’t much buzz about it. Which is probably to be expected since they were mediocre and pretty forgettable, if not for the fact that they took advantage of the unstoppable Haruhi-hype machine. But with the ONAs having ended, and the Haruhi troll machine starting back up again, I figured it’d be nice to take a quick look back.
Moe, moe… WTF? Koizumi?!
For some strange reason, I really like the 4koma strips of Churuya-san. It’s just so simple and bizarre, it’s hard to resist. But in a 13 episode format? Eh, not so much. Even though the whole series probably lasted only 20 minutes, it felt like they ran out of jokes at about the 5 minute mark. Which is admirable in some respects, since you could probably cover a 4koma strip in 15 seconds. But after a while, Churuya became the guest who stayed their welcome way too long. You just want to kick them out, but they keep going for the damn smoked cheese. And when you combine the unfunny jokes with miserable art direction, you end up with Nyoron Churuya-san: the Tragedy.
The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan
It was clear that the producers had no idea what the hell they were doing with Haruhi-chan at the beginning of the season, what with the nonsensical first episode and the randomly scheduled release of links. I guess they intended Haruhi-chan to be similar to JC Staff’s –tan versions of Shana and Index, focusing on short, sketch humor. But as the season went on, they began adopting more cohesive storylines to the point where they put out a 8 minute episode for the finale. This was a change for the better, because the show wasn’t working when it was in crazy, fun time, variety show mode.
While the show wasn’t that memorable, I do give it credit for giving us three things:
- Cute, chibi art.
- Otaku Nagato.
- ACHAKURA and Kimidori.
Cute, chibi art
Haruhi’s permanently rosy cheeks, Nagato’s rabbit headphones, Mikuru’s bug eyes, Koizumi’s perma-sparkle, ACHAKURA’s adorableness – it wasn’t your usual Haruhi, but I really liked the art direction, character models and bright color pallettes. And the art got better as the season went on.
It’s been a while, so I’d almost forgotten, but Otaku Nagato carried the show in the beginning. Of all the ways they twisted the characters, they hit a homerun with the eroge-addicted Nagato.
ACHAKURA and Kimidori
But the best character twist of all was the death of Asakura and the birth of ACHAKURA (as well as the reimagination of Emiri Kimidori). Both fairly forgettable characters in the first season of Haruhi, their bizarro version antics were what I ended up liking most about Haruhi-chan. If there’s anything I’ve learned from Haruhi-chan, it’s that Nagato, ACHAKURA and Kimidori deserve a spin-off of their own.
Good-bye Haruhi-chan, we hardly knew ya. Please return with more Nagato, ACHAKURA and Kimidori! And don’t forget about the real season 2!