On this episode of Bakacast, we go from super-serious to super-goofy in the span of one LOST episode. First, we use this article on the Akihabara killer as a springboard to talk about…well…a lot of stuff. Then, we discuss Blu-Ray sales going up and what that might mean for our anime collections. Plus, the ASOS Brigade is back with a new voice actress for Haruhi. Finally, we wrap the show up with our finalized impressions on the Silent Mobius movies and a review of the Dirty Pair TV series. Be sure to watch the clean OP that Jon/Ryoko uploaded. It’s disco-riffic and perfectly encapsulates the style of the show.
The first Endless Eight Haruhi DVD sales figures are in, and the news isn’t good. In its first week, the first Endless Eight volume chalked up 14,104 sales. By comparison, the Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody DVD sold 26,265 copies in its first week, meaning Haruhi DVD sales have dropped by around 54% as a result of Endless Eight. Overall, this places Haruhi third on the DVD sales charts for this week, albeit against other weak contenders like Hetalia, Prince of Tennis and Queen’s Blade.
So what does this mean for Haruhi’s future? Well, the franchise certainly isn’t dead; it is, however, a shadow of its former self. Sales figures from 2006 reveal that Haruhi DVDs used to sell between 28,000 and 38,000 copies in their first week; the E8 sales are less than half of that. It is almost certain that another Haruhi season will be animated; however without significant advertising or DVD sales revenue from the current “season”, this means Kyoani has less money to work with for future seasons. Unfortunately, this could mean that the next Haruhi’s production values will be significantly lower.
Back in 2006, Kadokawa marketing director Takafumi Ishibashi claimed that “Haruhi could become Kadokawa’s big pillar like Bandai’s Gundam series.” At this rate, that prediction very well might wind up being Haruhi’s famous last words.
It’s no secret that the fan reaction to Endless Eight has been highly negative. A Project Haruhi poll found that 69% of our readers hold a negative opinion of E8 (with 16% classifying it as “an absolute disaster” and 24% saying they didn’t even bother to finish watching the arc). Fans were further disappointed by E8’s ludicrously exorbitant DVD releases, which were priced at ¥6,930 (approximately $72 USD) apiece upon release. As a result of this atrocious marketing strategy, the E8 DVD releases all have very low user ratings on Amazon Japan, averaging around 1.5 stars. Now, Kadokawa seems to be acknowledging that fans may be hesitant to spend hundreds of dollars to purchase a substandard Haruhi filler arc. The following text comes from an interview between Men’s Cyzo and an employee of the “Kadokawa Media Bureau”.
“Even in the company hardly anyone knows why it took eight repeated episodes spread across 4 DVDs with two episodes each in order to unravel the mystery thoroughly. We are aware of the fan reaction, but…”
When asked if the E8 DVD sales could match those of Season 1:
“Well… All that can be said is that it would be nice if they sell, wouldn’t it?”
Given that E8 aired late at night (which ensured low ratings and less advertising revenue), the fiscal success of the new Haruhi season likely rests on these DVD sales. Unfortunately, it seems even Kadokawa does not think their prospects are very good.