Today is another hot and boring day and Haruhi is rather melancholic. Kyon is still confused on what his purpose is. As he remembers what the adult Mikuru told him about her mole, the present Mikuru ...
Today is the film festival. While the other SOS members are busying working in the festival, Kyon is walking around, doing nothing, apparently tired from his all-nighter. He goes to the auditorium to...
On July 7, the SOS Brigade holds a Tanabata ceremony. Haruhi reminds the other members that since the gods' stars are so far away from the Earth, their wishes will take at least 16 years to come true...
On his first day of high school, Kyon meets an eccentric girl named Haruhi Suzumiya, who announces to the class that she is interested only in meeting aliens, time travelers, and espers. Discontent with the selection of afterschool clubs presented before her, she starts a new club called the SOS Brigade and enlists Kyon, a quiet bookworm named Yuki Nagato, a shy but beautiful junior named Mikuru Asahina, and a grinning and loyal transfer named Itsuki Koizumi. Each of them except Kyon is secretly part of one of the groups Haruhi desired to meet, and they all must keep close watch on her. If she ever grows dissatisfied with reality, she may unintentionally destroy the world.Written by
"I believe that just imitating is boring" – Theme Song Lyrics
The definition of 'melancholy' is a prolonged state of mental depression but the funny thing about this series' title (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) is that this anime is anything but depressing. It's engaging, intelligent, and promising; in fact, it's nothing like the other school-oriented series that share the same genre. Sure, the early episodes of Haruhi Suzumiya have a dangerous obsession with fan- service but there's a unique charm to this series that helps it remain interesting. One of the most crucial aspects in making this series consistently enchanting is the show's titular character: Haruhi Suzumiya.
More often than not, the female lead character in an anime is a one-dimensional cardboard cutout, an attractive walking stereotype who wears skimpy clothes, who cries on-cue, who is naturally shy, and who only exists to please the male main character. For someone who has seen this character type over and over and over, Haruhi is a breath of fresh air. More than a few people who have watched this series complain that Haruhi is a selfish, scheming control freak, and that's true but I'd rather see Haruhi in a series over the army of mindless robots that have invaded the anime world. From the beginning, this series is about Haruhi's endless pursuit for the spectacular and how the people in her life are affected by it. In the series' theme song, Haruhi is listed as the "Ultra Director", and that's a fitting title for the character that lords over the essence of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Haruhi is a character with multiple occupations; she's a baseball star, a club president, a skilled detective, a film director, a passionate photographer, a world-class manipulator, a God-like deity, and one very talented singer (In what's easily one of the highlights of the series, Haruhi performs a song at the school festival that she barely practiced "God Knows", and she simply tears it to shreds). Like the show itself, Haruhi proves to be nothing less than unique.
One of my favorite things about this show is its music, a great jazzy soundtrack that can be repetitive but never comes across as dull (in serious, dramatic scenes, epic music is inserted and it fits like a glove). I've seen plenty of titles with great animation; however, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya tops them all in this department, its sharp, beautifully drawn animation serving as visual eye-candy for the audience. Not only is the animation great but the series also displays a creative flair with it too. During the second episode of a two- part mystery, the show uses a grainy live-action segment shaded in red in one scene and a simplistic sketch in another. What I love most about Haruhi Suzumiya is its appreciation of various genres and its change of setting. In episode 1, Haruhi provides a summary of moe (a key element in the school genre) to one of the main characters. In the 1st episode of the two-part mystery, the detective genre and its nuances are fully explained. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya isn't just a school-oriented series with a touch of mystery. In one episode, the focus is on a baseball tournament. In another, it's about a nerdy computer game (Battleship in space!) that Haruhi and her gang venture into. More often than not, the series transforms into a sci-fi/ philosophical drama, and it's what Haruhi Suzumiya is best at.
This series is a likable one but, unfortunately, it's one with flaws aplenty and the characterization is among its most noticeable faults. The only exceptions are Haruhi (of course) and Kyon, my favorite character. He's an average joe who serves as Haruhi's voice of reason (who she rarely listens to); he mostly voices his opinion with witty sarcasm and often breaks the fourth wall. There's an actual purpose to Haruhi and Kyon being present in the show's plot, unlike the other characters. Yuki Nagato is that one bespectacled female that you seemingly must have in order for an anime to be an anime, the quiet, purple-haired alien who talks in a dull, dry, uninspiring monotone (Getting rid of her glasses is the only change Yuki undergoes in the series). Mikuru is the walking stereotype that I mentioned in the Haruhi paragraph, a warm-hearted, docile, time traveler who's in this show purely for fan-service purposes. Perhaps the most disappointing character of the bunch is Koizumi, an easygoing ESPer who serves as damage control when Haruhi's God-like powers become a problem. For me, he's a fairly interesting character because, every now and then, you could see he's hiding something underneath that permanent smile of his (like the Mole scene during the final moments of the two-part mystery). Unfortunately, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya never shines the spotlight on Koizumi, which would've made the series a lot better overall, and the other characters (besides Haruhi and Kyon) received the same treatment.
Whatever flaws I found in Haruhi Suzumiya were highlighted by the thoroughly unsatisfying last episode, which (kinda) wrapped up the series in a nice way but failed to resolve the plot's issues. The opening and the wildly popular ending theme aren't all that great. The character designs all appear very similar, especially the females. By themselves, these flaws aren't that big of a deal but, when combined together with the issue mentioned in the previous paragraph, the show overall comes across as a problem. This is a good-but-not-great parody of the school genre with a few truly memorable moments (the classic episode 6, the two-part mystery, and the aforementioned "God Knows" song) but, somewhere along the way, it lost its charm and was unjustly handed a mediocre finale. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, in the end, was disappointing but at least it stands heads-and-shoulders above the legion of run-of-the- mill school series and Angel Beats.
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