The news that Haruhi Wii dance game Suzumiya Haruhi no Gekidou’s opening day sales managed a pathetic 8,500 units, according to announced figures, has been greeted by fans not with horror but with derision.
It seems there can be no doubt now that Haruhi fans have dwindled precipitously, and that those that remain are more jaded than is convenient for the purposes of marketing to.
The game itself seems a good bellwether of these trends; without much in the way of innovation or gameplay, its chief selling point is reasonable production values and the presence of the essential Haruhi cast. Character goods, in other words.
Additionally, a substantial contingent doubtless viewed the game as an extra to the accompanying Fraulein figure, further diluting its effective sales between two bundled products.
This state of affairs is much the same as with previous games, which have been uniform knock-offs, however these sold much better, reaching heights of 140,000 in the case of Suzumiya Haruhi no Tomadoi (PS2, February 2008), and 87,000 in the case of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yakusoku (PSP, December 2007).
Their opening day sales were correspondingly high.
As it is reasonable to extrapolate out from opening sales to total sales (a poor seller on its opening day is unlikely to experience any rebound), even a generous estimate would suggest likely total sales in the region of 20,000 (including the figure-less edition which some purchased).
A far cry from the heyday of the franchise, where merely roping in Aya Hirano and commissioning a Noizi Ito cover apparently guaranteed success for any product.
The Wii is also a popular and current console, so it does seem reasonable to compare these figures.
Given all this, is the franchise now in terminal decline? Most fans are now quite jaded at the treatment they have received from anime producer Kyoto Animation and publisher Kadokawa, to say nothing of the hiatus the novels suffered.
Few are willing to believe KyoAni’s announced announcement is anything but another tiresome marketing ruse, so we are left to wonder about the prospects of the series even if it is resumed in anime form.
A case of chronic mismanagement of a franchise, spelling a decline in popularity?
Or will amnesiac fans flock back to the banner of a second season, should it ever appear, and forgive their past mistreatment?