The silence is broken

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Across the pitch-black screen, a line of characters appears.

YUKI.N> これをあなたが読んでいる時、わたしはわたしではないだろう。

If you’ve read the fourth book in Tanigawa Nagaru’s Suzumiya Haruhi novel series, you’ll probably recognise this as an important line from Chapter 3.

A very important line.

Details here (Anime News Network) and here (Moon Phase).

My only regret? Unlike the Tanabata Incident, this wasn’t something I experienced in “real time”. I only found out about it after reading that ANN article.

Call it viral marketing at its worst; dismiss it as a cheap rehash of a tired old gimmick – label it however you want. Heck, in one of my rare lucid intervals I’d probably agree with you. But in the end, what matters is that I got a good kick out of the experience.

KyoAni, you’ve really done it again. Hats off.

NOW GIVE ME A SODDING DATE.

**********

DESCRIPTION/COMMENTARY

WARNING: Massive spoilers ahead for the fourth book of the Suzumiya Haruhi novel series (and, quite likely, the second season of the anime series). If you haven’t read the book yet, STOP RIGHT HERE. Critical plot points are given away in the following paragraphs. Since it looks like the fourth book will provide the material for the second anime season’s main storyline, these same plot points are almost certainly second-season spoilers as well. Proceed only if you have already read the book or if you’re fine with knowing what happens in it. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

. . .

. . .

. . .

SECOND WARNING: This is your last chance. If you’re concerned about spoilers for the fourth book (and possibly the second anime season), DON’T READ ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE.

. . .

. . .

. . .

Haruhi’s Missing Website

Visitors to the official website – http://www.haruhi.tv – will find an error message instead of the home page. (I don’t know how long they’ll keep this up before reverting back to the usual site.) [UPDATE (22 December 2007): The website is back to normal.]

Wait for a few seconds. A translucent page with five empty input boxes will appear on top of the error message.

Enter “K N S A K” and click on the button.

Commentary: In the fourth installment of Tanigawa Nagaru’s Suzumiya Haruhi novel series, Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu (‘The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi’), Kyon must gather “keys” in order to find a way out of the alternate universe he was thrown into. The “keys”, as it turned out, were the five members of the S.O.S. Brigade – hence the need for a visitor to type in their initials (Kyon + Nagato + Suzumiya + Asahina + Koizumi) before advancing.

The order in which those five letters are typed is important. Other combinations will take the visitor back to the original error message.

Nagato’s Message

The following lines of Japanese script will appear on a grey screen as if someone were typing them out at reading speed. Each line will remain on screen for a few moments before disappearing to make way for the next.

YUKI.N> これをあなたが読んでいる時、わたしはわたしではないだろう。
YUKI.N > If you are reading this, I am probably no longer myself.

YUKI.N> このメッセージが表示されたということは、そこにはあなた、わたし、涼宮ハルヒ、朝比奈みくる、古泉一樹が存在しているはずである。
YUKI.N > When this message appears, it means that you, me, Suzumiya Haruhi, Asahina Mikuru and Koizumi Itsuki have all been gathered here.

YUKI.N> それが鍵。あなたは解答を見つけ出した。
YUKI.N > This is the key. You have found the answer.

YUKI.N> これは緊急脱出プログラムである。起動させる場合はエンターキーを、そうでない場合はそれ以外のキーを選択せよ。起動させた場合、あなたは時空修正の機会を得る。ただし成功は保障できない。また帰還の保障もできない。
YUKI.N > This is the Emergency Escape Program. To activate it, hit the “Enter” key, otherwise, hit any other key. Once activated, you will be given a chance to repair the space-time continuum. However, neither success nor your safe return can be guaranteed.

YUKI.N> このプログラムが起動するのは一度きりである。実行ののち、消去される。非実行が選択された場合は起動せずに消去される。Ready?
YUKI.N > This program can only be executed once. Once it is executed, it will be deactivated. Should you choose not to activate it, it will also be deactivated. Are you ready?

Commentary: These lines are from the third chapter of the fourth novel. (The English equivalents are from the translation of book four published on Baka-Tsuki.) In the original scene, all five members of the S.O.S. Brigade had gathered in the Literature Club room when the computer suddenly “made some electronic noises”. Kyon rushed towards the monitor and saw these lines appearing across the screen, one after another – probably in much the same way as they were shown during the 18 December Event.

At first, I didn’t recognise the text for what it was, although the display looked eerily familiar – think Episode 14 of the anime (broadcast order) or the last part of the first novel. One or two additional viewings allowed me to digest enough of the Japanese script to start suspecting that these lines came from book four. Most of the kanji were well beyond my elementary-level reading skills, so I fed the lines into AltaVista’s Babel Fish online translator to get a better idea of what they meant. (The output was as badly rendered as one might expect, but it served its purpose.) As an additional check, I also translated a few individual characters using the Japanese Dictionary Server. Then I held the lines up against the English translation from Baka-Tsuki and found that the two sets matched up quite nicely.

Kyon’s Choice

If you press any key other than “Enter”, the screen will go blank and the word “deleted” will appear. Game over.

If you start over and then press “Enter” when you return to this point (or if you pressed “Enter” the first time), the following line will appear:

YUKI.N> escape program

After a couple of seconds, the “announcement” poster will appear.

Commentary: Pressing “Enter” means making the same choice that Kyon made in the novel. As for the scene in the “announcement” poster, I believe it depicts the moment when Nagato changed the world and set the events of the book in motion.

**********

UPDATE (20 December 2007): Description/commentary added.

4 Responses

  1. I love the way Kyoto Animation does their marketing – viral or not. You can definitely see the effort they put into it.

  2. I agree.

    I think this latest campaign has that special “by fans, for fans” sort of feel. It’s precisely the sort of marketing tactic a true-blue Harutard would inflict on his fellow Harutards.

    Now I’m sorely tempted to compile a list of all of the key dates in the Haruhi novel series so that I’ll know when to keep a close watch on the website.

  3. […] that was already confirmed during the promotional campaign they ran last year – Part One in July, Part Two in December. On this issue’s cover, Haruhi is wearing clothes that conform to the text description on […]

  4. […] December 2007 – The Disappearing Website. Visitors to the official website find an error message instead of the home page. Shortly after the […]

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