The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
On the first day of high school a beautiful girl named Haruhi Suzumiya introduces herself as having “no interest in ordinary humans”. She asks for any aliens, time travelers, sliders or espers to join her. Watching her weird behaviour is Kyon who sits in front of Haruhi and is the only person who talks to her. When Kyon comments about Haruhi’s joining every club in school and then quitting he unwittingly gives Haruhi an idea to start her own after school club. Thereafter Kyon and several others find themselves dragged, literally, into the Save our world by Overloading it with fun Suzumiya Haruhi’s Brigade (the S.O.S. Brigade for short). Source: AnimeNewsNetwork.com
Haruhi Suzumiya strongly feels that a normal repetitive life is mundane. To add meaning to her life, she seeks all mysteries of the world. Aliens, time travelers, espers, and all others are eccentrically welcomed. She is definitely the energy of the bunch. Making Melancholy feels lively at times, although she does overdo it. The anime portraits Haruhi’s mood and feelings, no matter happy or sad, well. Too bad it was only useful in a single episode when Haruhi was feeling down and that did made an impact. Otherwise, Haruhi was just too hyper during the other 13 episodes and there was nothing Haruhi could express herself with.
Haruhi’s unique feature appearance wise is how she has a huge chin. Up to the point of almost being male like. I like how Haruhi referenced Moe in the anime. I wonder if the term Moe got famous because of this anime. And Haruhi is right.
Mikuru Asahino is definitely the moe of the anime. A character equipped with yet another glass shattering high pitch voice. I expected her to play a bigger role as the anime progresses from the brief appearance of her adult version during the earlier episodes of the series, but Pfft… was just getting my hopes high.
Kyon used to believe in the paranormal and supernatural but stopped as he got older and didn’t find any proof to his beliefs. And now he is a laid back, passing everyday as it comes kind of guy. His crush on Asahino is definitely strong right from the start. No silly “oh-so-many-girls-I-can’t make-up-my-mind” stuff here. Definitely a strong point for his character. Another unique attribute for Kyon is that for a main character, he seems to have quite a lack of friends. Another refreshing difference welcomed in a character design. Especially for a lead character, where normally they’d have friends who would stick by their side night and day.
Yuki Nagato… just an observer? I hope not. More importantly, Yuki’s lack of expression pretty much kills her character. I hoped she would have changed as the anime progresses to prevent her becoming dull but again I was wrong.
The thing I never liked about school life animes is especially when they don’t include any form of background revelation. Like family background, parents, what sort of homes they come from, etc. and Melancholy does just that. At no point did a single hint of any the characters’ background came to play. It was understandable for Asahino, Yuki or Koizumi. But what about Haruhi and Kyon? Do they stay with their parents? Does Haruhi even have parents? Definitely one of the important points which the anime has left out.
Nothing much to expect from the animation. Characters come with slightly colorful palette. The above average architectural designs used in different scenes every now and then are quite refreshing. Overall, it does what it’s supposed to do and doesn’t awe.
About the opening and ending themes, I remember reading someone mentioned that it was an otaku’s dream come true. That guy was talking about how the dance video was very Moe. Maybe it was then, but unfortunately, better dance sequences have appeared in other anime titles and are becoming a common sight. So it didn’t really do much for me. Song was still enjoyable though. So again, another stale plus.
First episode didn’t inspire confidence. It didn’t even feel like a character buildup episode. Instead, there were some giggles here and there, which does fine for the start of a series. Episode 2 shows how everyone came together to form the group that they are. The S.O.S Brigade! Melancholy felt like a rather slow anime, nothing too serious. Then BAM! Episode 3 hits you like a bomb. Information overload! The setting is not that hard to grasp, it’s just too much too fast. All characters will be cast by the end of episode 4 and the anime takes a turn for more action and less play time. The exciting battle scene was a plus, the playing
out of the mystery of Haruhi’s origin made things get really interesting. A stray thought popped up at the start of episode 5. Everyone was referring to Haruhi as the main cause of everything and Kyon as a key ingredient. What if, in later episodes, the plot changed to reveal that it was Kyon who was actually the creator and Haruhi was just a creation instead? I remembered back in episode 1’s opening that Kyon was talking about how he used to believe in ghosts, aliens and espers but stopped at one point and settled for the ordinary. What if he still wanted to believe in them? Wouldn’t that create Haruhi? I was really starting to go with the flow and the series was really starting to grow on me.
The transition between episode 7 and 8 felt like there was loss of direction, at one episode the anime was funny and had some crazy moments. Next, everyone put on their serious mask and was talking about life and its creation. It was these episodes that Melancholy was starting to drop in my ratings. It feels like the studio didn’t know what they wanted to do with the anime. Episode 9 and yet another bummer showcasing way too much talk. The anime was trying to get more complex that it should have been. And ended up just got downright boring. Ok, seriously, everything felt downhill all the way from episode 6. So much that I can just spoil the anime for you by telling you to only two things to look forward to in the second half of this 14 episode anime.
First would be the two songs Haruhi sings and Yuki guitars to at the school festival which I find superb both in terms of animation and music. Second would be when Yuki finally shows an expression with the desire to win a computer game match between the S.O.S. Brigade and the computer club. Others were terrible. At one point, I was calling out begging for Kyon to stop his rambling which I initially enjoyed during the first half of the series. Remember the thought I had about episode 5 above? Reading that I laughed at the fact that the anime didn’t even attempt to play out a conclusion to all the Haruhi mystery and I was over-analyzing. Can someone tell the studio that having Hard Gay and hints of other animes does not help an anime from sucking?
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Note to consider: I watched the episodes in chronological order. As packed in DVD’s.