The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Title: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya aka Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Company: Kyoto Animation
Format: 14 episodes
Dates: 3 Apr 2006 – 3 Jul 2006

Synopsis: Kyon is just an ordinary student. Throughout his whole life, he’s never encountered a person like Suzumiya Haruhi. Her quirkiness intrigues him and, after time and a few conversations with her, he begins to find out just how bizarre she really is. In one of these conversations, he inspires her to start a school club of her own, due to her displeasure with the school’s “boring” extracurricular activities. This sets the stage for Haruhi to create the SOS-Brigade, an odd club that attracts even odder members.

The Highlights
Cast: The majority are likable and quite interesting, if not complex.
Plot: Twisted and odd, yet entirely absorbing.
Comedy: Hilarious and constantly on spot.
Animation: Some of the best you’ll ever see.

Many have dubbed The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya the “must-see anime of 2006”, and for good reason. An anime that displays crystal animation, an out-of-this-world concept, and an all-star cast of lovable oddities, Haruhi mustn’t be passed up for any reason whatsoever.

Reviewing Haruhi is quite difficult, seeing as how its magnitude is very difficult to portray in just a few paragraphs. The animation is A+ quality. Many scenes left me quite impressed, looking forward to the next episodes and the glossy visuals they’d bring. Each scene seems carefully thought out, which is phenomenal, especially in regards to an anime. However, one cannot forget (even if one tries) about the storyline. It’s an over-the-top extravaganza that mixes Haruhi‘s unique brand of wit with concepts of philosophy. And, even in the end, it all comes to a pleasant close. This is a feat rarely accomplished in anime, especially in a series as experimental as this one.

Haruhi‘s overall atmosphere would be nothing without its playful soundtrack (which remains delightfully subtle yet present) and even more playful cast. Our two lead characters couldn’t be any more of opposites. Suzumiya Haruhi, an eccentric lass looking for adventure in every sense of the word, brings an upbeat freshness to the plate. Kyon, her polar opposite, left a rather bitter taste in my mouth. His dull sarcasm and wet-blanket attitude utterly failed, especially in contrast with the other characters. In the end, he was nothing more than a killjoy, whereas Haruhi truly captured our hearts in her contorted way of doing so.

Despite Kyon, Haruhi has nothing else going against it. However, viewers may be troubled by the non-chronological display of episodes, which is almost as twisted as anything else this series has to offer. If you somehow feel bewildered when the series “ends”, try watching all 14 in order of occurrence. Hopefully, this second time, you’ll get the entire thrilling experience.

Haruhi is nothing short of a roller coaster joyride. It offers many unforgettable moments that you’ll cherish, as well as times where you’ll come close to dying of laughter. With its fresh sense of humor, stylized picture and plot, and characters you’ll absolutely never forget, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya may very well be the anime that defined 2006.

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Pachinko

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