Perhaps surprisingly, I don't have a problem with crappy media but run into a problem with anything that gets glowing reviews. This is especially problematic in cases where fanboi's have spent their collective time enthusiastically ejaculating over whatever new hot thing has just come out. Their wet-the-pants adoration automatically makes me want to loathe whatever movie, tv show, song, etc that we're talking about. I know this sentiment isn't exactly fair, and so I often purposely avoid whatever is receiving the most praise or buzz. When the hype isn't so extreme and it's simply reported as being good, I often feel a fear of disappointment that when I finally watch it, I'll find it mediocre or worse. It's for this reason that many of the anime series I've chosen to watch out of the past collection I've amassed tend to be ones that I haven't heard a lot about at the time. Still, you can't avoid the hype forever and curiosity gets you eventually. Thus, enter Haruhi Suzumiya.
If you follow anime even the slightest bit it's hard to believe you could have missed the phenomenon that is The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. It began as a series of light novels but soon boomed into a franchise with an anime adaptation, a pair of mangas, and even a movie which was recently released in Japan. There were crazyass Otaku camping outside the theater for weeks ahead of time waiting for it, which now that I think about it is not all that different from those crazy Star Wars nutjobs.
The basic plot behind Haruhi is that the books' namesake is a "slightly" unusual highschool girl who has an obsession with aliens, time travelers, ESPers, and all sorts of other fanciful improbabilities. She states right off the bat that she has no interest in normal human beings, instead waiting to befriend ET and get beamed up to his mothership. The poor guy, and narrator, sitting next to her in class and forced to suffer her enthusiastic insanity at one point makes an offhand comment that leads her to decide to form a club whose goal is to find those aforementioned aliens, time travelers, and ESPers. Of course, he's dragged into the club as its very first (though very unwilling) member. Soon other individuals are forced to join as well, one after another, beginning with the sole member of the literary club (whose club room is annexed and re-purposed), a cute girl to serve as the club's 'mascot', and a midyear transfer student because they're always mysterious. Unbeknownst to Haruhi and slowly revealed to the narrator is that she's just managed to dragoon an alien, a time traveler, and an ESPer into the club.
It turns out that Haruhi is God. Well, not _the_ God, but sort of _a_ God. More of a reality warper really. Anything she wants to happen, will happen. She's completely unaware of her abilities but when her powers came to life 3 years ago, aliens, time travelers, and ESPers all popped into being as if they had been there all along. They soon discovered the source of their origin and proceeded, quite naturally, to send out a crapton of spies to keep an eye on their creator. Not only to keep an eye on her but to keep her docile and happy since it was more than possible that if Haruhi grew bored enough with the world she would simply destroy the current one and rebuild another in its place. Cue a tremendous amount of insanity as the narrator, whose nickname is Kyon incidentally, spends his time sinking ever deeper into this paranormal quagmire while trying to keep reality from going BOOM. And though Haruhi is the cause of all the various problems, the knowledge that she has any power at all has to be kept from her because her awareness of it...well, lets just say that with her personality I'd give the world the survival odds of a snowball in hell if she knew what she could do.
I really wanted to not like Haruhi because of the all the fanboi's but actually found myself enjoying it once I got past the first, intentionally, awful episode. The animation was top notch all around and the dialogue had that sort of snappy zing you see on some culty shows like those from Joss Whedon. I finished the first season pretty happy with the content and I've started the second. I'll probably be back to jot in some more commentary at some point since I feel I should expand on a philosophical point that struck me over the course of some of the episode.