Haruhi’s Blu-ray Appearance Doesn’t Come Cheap

As reported by Sankaku Complex [NSFW], pre-orders for the October 22 release of the complete Haruhi TV series on Blu-ray have recently gone up on Amazon Japan. With all twenty-eight episodes of Haruhi in high-definition, extra content and English subtitles, it may seem like this is the release fans are waiting for.

But then there’s the price: 30,000 yen (or $338 USD). For eight Blu-ray discs.

The Project Haruhi staff has talked about Japan’s absurd pricing structure multiple times, but it bears repeating. What the heck are they thinking? Here’s a short list of other stuff you could buy from Amazon Japan for that amount of money:

Okay, you probably get my point.

What makes this frustrating is the actual release is great. It’s something I might like to own, and I’m not even that big of a Haruhi fan. The price, however, kills it for me. The even crazier thing is that, compared to the price of the DVD release of Endless Eight, this Blu-ray release is actually a bargain. Collecting the single-volume release of Endless Eight on DVD would cost the equivalent of $288 USD.

So, now the question is: how many people will actually buy the Blu-ray series? And if it sells poorly, will Kadokawa interpret this as disinterest in the Haruhi franchise instead of a rebellion against outlandish pricing?

Bakacast 6 – Robots in Hell

That’s right, it’s the episode everyone I have been waiting for… we finally review Casshern Sins. But because even we can’t fill up an hour with Casshern discussion, we also review Venus Wars and tackle some important issues with the help of special guest Chris (aka Kagami on Project Haruhi): manga aggregationabsurd Haruhi DVD pricesthe “loli bill”, Japan’s search for new creative talent and—of course—beards.

Truly, we are the pinnacle of moe- and beard-related content. And if my script for a new slice-of-life show about lumberjacks gets green-lit, we may finally get to combine our passions!

As always, you can download the episode directly, follow our RSS feed or subscribe to us through iTunes. Head on over to our forums to discuss this episode in detail!

The music at the end is “ROBOTS” by Dan Mangan and is available for digital download on Amazon.

Haruhi Season 2 DVD Details Revealed

Image unrelated but awesome.

How much would you pay for Endless Eight?

Bandai has just released detailed information about The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 2 DVD boxset.This release will contain 14 episodes, both dubbed and subbed. Also included are various special features such as “location scouting videos”, “Behind The Scenes of Aya Hirano’s Music Video”, “Endless Eight Prologue”,  and a “special event video”, as well as CD tracks for “Super Driver” and “Tomare.” Oh, and don’t forget the exciting “interactive menus!” Oh boy!

And the best part: this all-frills boxset can be yours for the low, low price of $64.98!

Wait a minute… sixty-five dollars? Bandai wants to charge me sixty-five dollars for fourteen episodes of Haruhi? Worse, eight of those are the same friggin’ episode! GO TO HELL, BANDAI!

Sorry, I know I shouldn’t be so pissed. After all, the Japanese had to pay over five times as much for their Season 2 DVDs. Still, charging sixty-five bucks for less than six hours of anime seems a bit extreme, especially when the anime industry (not to mention the entire economy) is in a state of decline.

So, yeah… I think I’ll wait for the Anime Legends boxset. How about you, dear readers? Are you willing to dish out the big bucks for Haruhi S2? Let us know in the poll below, then discuss the issue further in our forums!

Will you buy the upcoming Haruhi S2 boxset?

  • Yes! I don't mind paying $65. (32%, 45 Votes)
  • Yes, but I'll wait for a bargain price... perhaps at RightStuf. (23%, 32 Votes)
  • I think I'll wait for a cheaper boxset. (18%, 26 Votes)
  • Screw Bandai! I'm sticking with my fansubs. (13%, 19 Votes)
  • No, I'm not planning to buy it. (8%, 11 Votes)
  • I'm still not sure. (6%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 142

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Endless Eight Sales Mediocre, But Not Disastrous

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.

–Via Cartoon Leap and the Anime News Service archives

Early Endless Eight Sales Indicators Poor

Although official sales figures for the Endless Eight DVDs are still forthcoming, early indicators seem to reinforce Kadokawa’s pessimism about the much-reviled arc’s market potential. In particular, Akihabara’s various anime-oriented stores have seen low sales, with one employee describing them as “mortal”. Whether or not this will translate into poor sales overall remains to be seen; however, it’s not looking very good at this point.

Despite this, Akiba’s shops still feature a wide variety of colorful Haruhi promotional material, some of it emphasizing the fanservice aspects of the E8 arc. The variety of swimsuit designs featured throughout E8 seems to be a particularly potent selling point. Pictures of a few of these displays can be found below. For a peek inside the actual DVD set itself, check out this post over on Cartoon Leap.

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Kadokawa Pessimistic About Endless Eight DVD Sales

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.

–Via Sankaku Complex (NSFW)

Aya Comes Clean on Endless Eight

It will be a few weeks before the blood temperature comes down below boiling point for dedicated fans of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Now that the contentious Endless Eight arc has ended critical people from behind the scenes are coming forward and voicing their opinions.

Aya Hirano, the popular seiyuu of Haruhi Suzumiya, has spoken out on what she thought about the decision to run Endless Eight for two whole months:

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What Did You Think of Endless Eight?

Vote in our new poll, and let us know what you thought of Endless Eight! You can vote below, or on our Poll page.

What did you think of Endless Eight?

  • After two or three episodes, it got very boring. (29%, 26 Votes)
  • It had too many episodes, but I still enjoyed them all. (24%, 21 Votes)
  • I gave up and stopped watching partway through. (24%, 21 Votes)
  • It was an absolute disaster. (16%, 14 Votes)
  • It was a fun and enjoyable arc, with no major flaws. (7%, 6 Votes)
  • I do not plan to watch this arc at all, due to all the bad hype. (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 89

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Endless Eight in Twenty Minutes!

The arc may have ended, but the aftershocks continue….

While hardcore fans are most definitely going to buy all of the four Endless Eight DVDs, some people may point out that each DVD contains only two episodes; that each DVD will be retailing for $70 USD apiece; and that overall they say each DVD is a complete and utter waste of money until a box set comes out.

But not us at Project Haruhi! No siree!

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