The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Alt titles: Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu

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kamenoko's avatar By on Aug 11, 2006

Story

Haruhi is an amalgamation of a startling number of genres: slice-of-life high school, science fiction, a detective story, ecchi fan service, harem, slapstick comedy, and more. What distinguishes Haruhi from other animes which attempt to bridge so many genres, like, say, Elfen Lied, or SaiKano, is that SuzuHaru works. Stated plainly, from start to finish, Haruhi is coherent. There is a steady hand at the rudder, and the director deserves a lot of props. The plot itself deserves special attention, but no detail. Suffice it to say it takes us in directions we do not expect. The title itself is a misnomer, Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi makes one think of drama, and there is hardly any drama here at all. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised at the unique twists this anime takes, and the liberties taken with the genres it both upholds and lampoons.


Animation

is about as faultless as it gets. Comparison-wise it reminds me a lot of the Full Metal Panic series, which shouldn’t surprise me since it was done by the same studio. Scenes are brightly lit when they need to be, extraordinarily detailed. Characters are harem archetypes as far as design is concerned: you have Asahina with her shy face, and large talents, Nagato’s loli cuteness, and Suzumiya’s vivacious, plain-stated beauty. The male characters are boring by comparison, following the harem tradition.


Sound

Voice acting is superb. Kyon’s VA first and foremost, since his has the difficult job of both being a narrator and a leading character at the same time. He has just enough omniscience to guide us along, but at the same time enough naiveté to dethrone him as the voice of God. Suzimiya’s voice actress rises to the level of the title character’s ambition, and the rest do their jobs as well as we have come to expect from Japanese voice actors. The music was very good as well, with two songs, from later in the anime, that are both wonderfully catchy, but not saccharine.


Characters

Did I mention Haruhi is a harem anime? That’s only about half-true, Suzuharu skewers harem comedies mercilessly, the tone of which is stated from the outset with the hilarious Adventures of Mikuru-chan ‘movie’. Many series treat their characters as ivory towers, with clearly defined qualities, a character’s less than appealing traits are usually caused by some childhood trauma such as abuse or parental abandonment (i.e. Evangelion, 90% of anime). This is not true of Suzuharu, Suzumiya herself is a horrible director, and a really, really crappy graphic artist. Asahina cannot utter a sentence without tripping over her own tongue, and Nagato cannot even string three sentences together. But the strongest character in the series should really be its weakest: Kyon. It is through his eyes that we view this anime, and without his eviscerating commentary, Haruhi would not be half as good as it is.


Overall

The thing is, I cannot summarize this anime, I cannot put it into a neat little box, and that is the highest praise I can give to it. The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi defies convenient description; it is a treat; an anime that surpasses the good, and the very good. In five years time we will be discussing this anime in much the same way as we discuss Kino no Tabi, Ghost in the Shell, or a Ghibli movie. This anime is a classic; it’s just too new to be called that. All I can say is: watch it.

10/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
RamkoX12X's avatar By on Oct 8, 2013

(Synopsis) Kyon, an average student, starts his first year of high school not expecting the sudden twist in his life that will change everything. He meets Haruhi Suzumiya, an eccentric and curious girl, who has a dream to meet aliens, time travelers, and espers. Haruhi then creates the SOS Brigade with Kyon and manages to grab a couple members for the club. Here we meet, Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina, and Itsuki Koizumi who each have a secret to tell Kyon about themselves and especially about Haruhi Suzumiya. Together, they sought out to find the un-ordinary with Haruhi Suzumiya.

(Review) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a slice of life/fantasy/comedy anime with a rather out of the ordinary plot. With great animation and soundtrack, they both help the anime bring up its witty story and feeling. Each characters has the chance to explaino their background stories which makes character development a great factor of this anime. Each character have very different personalities which makes them interesting and fun to watch.

(Final Thoughts) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya contains a out of the ordinary plot with the addition of well-developed characters and fun episodes make this anime a must watch. I give The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya a 9.3 out of 10. After watching the series, I recommend watching The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, which surpasses the series tremendously.

8.5/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
9.3/10 characters
8.9/10 overall
luisg1996's avatar By on Aug 23, 2015

Anime Name: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Studio: Kyoto Animation

Year of Airing: 2006/2009

DISCLAIMER: This is a review for ALL of the works of Kyoto Animation about "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya", not just season 1 but season 2 and the movie are also included in the review

If you were told to watch a series where the main premise is that unconsciously the God of that world is a 16 year old girl one of two thoughts will pop into your head, first is “That sounds interesting I’ll give it a watch” or “I’m afraid to find out what happens when she hits her period”. If your reaction was the former one continue reading, if you went with the latter mature a little and then continue reading.

  • Characters & Synopsis:

As said before, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is about the adventures of Haruhi Suzumiya and the members of her club, the SOS Brigade. As said before Haruhi is not your typical high school girl, she’s actually the God of this world, but she’s unaware of it and based on everyone around her is better to keep it that way due to the fear that the whole universe will be changed to her will, example turning regular City Pigeons into the now extinct Passenger Pigeon. With that said, just because Haruhi is unaware she’s God doesn’t mean she still doesn’t affect the world around her, and as a result her main goal in life, to become friends with Aliens, Time Travelers, and Espers, is realized when she forms a club based on the loose suggestion of a classmate.

The main characters of the series are the members of the SOS Brigade, after Haruhi we have the only “normal” member, and the one who accidentally suggested to create the club, Kyon (he’s also the only one who’s last name hasn’t been revealed in the show or the light novels), he’s the voice of reason to most of Haruhi’s crazy ideas and the one that tries to most to keep Haruhi in her place, the next member is the Integrated Data Sentient Entity Humanoid Interface, or alien, bookworm known as Yuki Nagato, she was sent by an alien race to keep track of Haruhi’s actions, and as for the rest of the members of the SOS Brigade Haruhi doesn’t know her true identity. The final two are the moe time traveler Mikuru Asahina, and the always smiling, ‘mysterious transfer student’, based on Haruhi’s description, epser known as Itsuki Kouzumi, all in all the members of the SOS Brigade fall into one of the categories of things that Haruhi wants to meet, except for Kyon he’s just normal.

Other noteworthy characters include Kyon’s little sister, Asahina’s hyperactive friend Tsuruya, and the, for lack of a better term, special Ryouko Asakura, reason why she’s special? watch the anime, don’t want to go into spoilers territory.

  • Animation & Soundtrack:

Considering that The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was Kyoto Animation’s first work that wasn’t originally started by another studio or based on a visual novel, the animation was extremely well done, whether it was the original series in 2006, the sequel of 2009, or the movie adaptation in 2010. Of course the animation quality increased with each new project but it never made the first work appear stale or dated by comparison. As for the soundtrack, I can only describe it as something worth listening to without watching the anime, whether it was the instrumental pieces, the rock-like season finale “God Knows”, the extremely catchy, and once craze of the otaku community, “Haru Haru Dance”, and both opening themes, the nonsensical “Super Driver” by Hirano or the adventure asking “Bōken Desho Desho?” by Aya Hirano (Haruhi’s voice actress in the Japanese version of the show). Whether you prefer to go subbed or dubbed is up to you own personal taste, but the dubbed version comes with the extra sprinkles of the sarcastic-tone provided by Crispin Freeman as Kyon.

One appraisal factor in both the animation and soundtrack department goes into effect when talking about the film The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, the amount of effort and quality increase, when compared to the series, is blatantly obvious and it makes many scenes of the film being memorable even after having watched it a long time in the past.

  • Final Scores & Opinions:

The decision of whether or not you consider if The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is worth watching it all depends on how much you like nonsensical characters and settings in your animes and of course if you want to watch one of the most iconic anime franchises of all times.

As for final scores I give The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya a:

  • Critical Score: 8.3/10
  • Personal Enjoyment: 7.9/10
  • Rewatch Value: 3.7/5

And the film The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya a:

  • Critical Score: 9.6/10
  • Personal Enjoyment: 8.0/10
  • Rewatch Value: 3.5/5

Along with everything considered I give The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya the overall recommendation of being a ‘Must Watch’, and to be among the 30 Animes You Should Watch Before You Die. To conclude it’s noteworthy that a much requested 3rd season is not to be aired anytime in the near future, due to issues with the voice actress for Haruhi, and one of the story arcs of the series is among the most infamous among the anime community, for being rather endless.

And with that I conclude this review, leave a comment, like, etc and if you feel so inclined tell me of an anime you would like me to review in the future please do. Thank you for your time and have a nice day.

8.3/10 story
8.6/10 animation
8/10 sound
8.1/10 characters
8.3/10 overall
animeDEMON901demsage's avatar By on Jul 19, 2014

I loved it, I really liked how there was some fantasy into the anime, I've always been interested in aliens and espurs, so this is really entertaining. I reccomend it. Cool anime

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
pikachu203's avatar By on Jul 16, 2014

Alright, before I go into detail, allow me to say one thing: This anime is not  my cup of tea.  However, I do see why a lot of people like it.  There's A LOT of good in this show.  My problems come from where it feels flawed, cheap, or rushed, which it sadly does.  However, the animation is absolutely spectacular, the music is great and fitting, and there are a lot of jokes in it that I find incredibly funny.  While I don't think it's as spectacular as a lot of people make it out to be, there is a clear sign that a lot of effort went into this show, even if it didn't come out as a masterpiece.  So, without further ado, let's dive into The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzymia.

Story(4/10):

The story revolves around Haruhi, a quirky girl who wants to meet aliens, time travelers, and espers, and her working to start a club, the SOS Brigade, to find them.  She enlists Kyon, a random boy who sits behind her in class, Yuki, who was part of the literary club she ursurped in order to create her own club, Itsuki, who's just kinda a laid back dude, and Mikuru, the high pitched walking pair of breasts that is only there to provide fanservice and squeak like a guinea pig any time she is touched!  Sorry... Sorry, I promised I would try not to rant.(Okay Pika, deep breaths, deep breaths...)  Well, as it would turn out: Yuki's an alien, Mikuru's a time traveler(Yeah, because in the future they let someone with no friggin' brain, presence, or the ability to defend themselves travel through time), and Itsuki's an esper.  Great, you must be thinking!  Now we can have awesome sci-fi comedy fun, right?  ...Right?  Nope.

As it would turn out, Haruhi is a God of sorts, and the four other members of the SOS Brigade, must keep watch over her and keep her happy by following her every order no matter how ridiculous, random, or degrading, lest the world will explode.  Okay, quirky plot, but you'd still be hoping for there to be some sci-fi in here, right?  Well, sadly, there's a lot more of the "School club doing whatever the leader tells us to do", than sci-fi.  As it follows Haruhi's random whims, what could have been a rather simple, albeit queer, plot becomes overly rooted in filler comedy and club activities, while the sci-fi aspect tends to be rather confusing.  I don't know, maybe if I watched it in the other order you're supposed to watch the episodes, it might make more sense, but I'm too lazy to sit through this for a third time.  I felt like it could have done a lot more than just show random crap that goes through Haruhi's mind, and there were a lot of missed opportunities for cool sci-fi lore.  Where it does exist, it's limited and leaves the watcher wanting more.  I also think it's slightly annoying that no one can ever say no to Haruhi.  It's like the writers just played that silly improv game they teach to acting students where each person has to come up with something ridiculous for the two people to do and the other has to say 'yes' and go on with the scene, and made that their plot.  That's my problem - It could have been more, and what's there is just kinda eh.

The first time I watched this show, I wasn't as into otaku culture as I am today.  I had not seen nearly as many iconic anime, read nearly as many fantastic mangas, or played as many popular games as I have today.  As such, a lot of brilliant humor went straight over my head.  Probably the best example of this is in episode eleven where the characters make a ton of Ace Attorney references, even going as far as copying the mannerisms of not only the main character, but of his rivals as well.  The first time I saw this scene I hardly thought about it, and skimmed over it without much thought.  After playing the afermentioned games, I saw that the scene was hysterical, they parodied the dramatic nature of the games brilliantly, and it had a great set up.  So, if you're thinking that this means I love all of the humor in the show, sadly, you'd be wrong.  

Some of the jokes are hit or miss, and I really don't find the whole 'strip Mikuru and treat her basically as a sex appeal tool' thing that funny.  Like I said before: ecchi has never been my thing.  It tends to be like cheap jump scares in horror, weak and not as impressive as something well thought out.  This does hold true, especially if you take Mikuru's identity into consideration.  However, there were some that had clever albeit juvenile set-ups I suppose.  It was a clever idea when she and Haruhi were dressed up like play boy bunnies for the sake of advertising the club.  Also, the jokes feel a bit uncomfortable, as they're generally sexual harrasment as Mikuru wants no part of being stripped down in the middle of the club room.  The initial ridiculousness may garner a chuckle I guess, but there's not much else there other than a rather uncomfortable situation.  I don't know, maybe if you enjoy ecchi humor more than I do you might enjoy these sequences.

Animation (10/10):

The animation in this show is beautiful, absolutely beautiful.  The character designs are quirky, and I love how Haurhi's always changing up her hairstyle to give variety to characters who generally sit around in their school uniforms all the time.  It's bright, colorful, and really does push the limits of what you can do with a school setting.  If you love awesome animation, I would recommend this show to watch in an instant, if only to enjoy the art.

Not much else to say other than everything's great!

Sound (8/10):

The sound fits the story - quirky and fun.  The opening definitely goes along with it and is quite catchy.  I didn't like the ending as much, but it was still pretty fun.  The music in the episodes generally fit and helped to move the scenes along well - there were no places where it really felt out of place.  

Voice actings pretty good across the board: I quite liked Kyon's.  My biggest issue here is Mikuru.  Mikuru, Mikuru, Mikuru...  She's like the burnt sauce poured over an otherwise delicious meal.  Sorry, sorry, ranting again.  Anyway...  She sounds like a high pitched whispery rodent.  She's either way too soft in her normal voice, or shrill and loud in her "Haruhi is touching me again" voice.  Ugh...  Seriously...

Characters (4/10):

My biggest issue with most of the characters is that they feel undeveloped.  Other than the quirky Haruhi, and kinda okay Kyon, I don't particularly feel any attatchment to these characters.  This is, once again, pretty sad, as I found Itsuki's lazy attitude rather entertaining, and thought that Yuki was a mysterious badass character who wasn't developed nearly enough.

Haruhi: She's not exactly what you'd expect in a protaganist as she really isn't likeable in any way other than that she tosses out a good joke now and again.  She's a total bitch!  She's bossy, has an overactive imagination that she forces out in unhealthy ways, pretty much molests Mikuru all the dang time, and the worst part is that there can't be any conflict with her.  This might have been great if there could have been some "No, I am not going to take your bs any more arguements here or there", or if perhaps she could have had some people not like her and show it to her face, but the plot simply 'won't allow it'.  There's apparently no way to make that sort of thing funny.  Newsflash, it can be done, and it would have made her character better!  In a way she's  a mary sue, she's all powerful, gets everything she wants, can practically push all her flaws aside, and no one can argue with her or dislike her.  I can see what they were going for with her as a different sort of protaganist, but I think that it could have been done better, and, ya know, can she have a single redeeming quality?  Just one?  You can make your character a complex jerk without making them this irredemable. 

Kyon: He's kinda bland to be honest.  He's the normal teenage boy sucked up into this.  He does, well, normal teenage boyish things.  He's not as quirky as the other characters, which makes him far less memorable.  Meh.

Yuki: I wish I saw more of her.  I mean, she's completely badass and she was shoved to the side by Haruhi's constant antics.  She could have been a much better character.

Itsuki: Same kind of thing as Yuki.  I also wish he used his powers more often as well, as they are REALLY AWEOSME!

Mikuru: Oh boy, here we go.  Mikuru is a fanservice character.  Her very existance is to please the male fans of this show by being squeaky, and having big boobs that are constantly grabbed by another chick.  She's really annoying honestly, and while I feel bad for her being sexually harassed all of the time, she simply has no character.  She's a walking pair of boobs that squeaks, jiggles, and is touched.  I honestly cannot personify her further.  Sure she's a time traveler, but... the only time she's even remotely interesting is when you see an older version of herself and she actually gets to talk like a human being for once.  Heck, even in ecchi/harem anime the girls have actual personalities! 

Overall (6.5/10):

Like I said, not my favorite show, but still pretty good I guess.  Yes, this review is opinionated, and I don't want to get any fans mad by me not liking it.  This is what I personally think the show deserves.  If you disagree then fine, maybe you liked it more than I did, I don't know.  Anyway, would I recommend this show?  Honestly, yes.  At the very least, see how you like the first few episodes.  If you're not into it you can drop it, but if you love it, great!  Watch it if for no other reason then the stunning visuals.

4/10 story
10/10 animation
8/10 sound
4/10 characters
6.5/10 overall