Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya

Alt titles: Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu

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Mystotakun's avatar By on Nov 2, 2013

The Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya (or The Disapperance of Haruhi Suzumiya, depending on the localisation) is the full length feature film of the Haruhi Suzumiya series, taken from the light novels. If you've never heard of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, you've probably been living under a rock.

Now, I'm not ashamed to admit that I came into this film expecting something completely different to what I ended up with. In thought this was going to be a hilarious film, showing the antics that the members of the SOS Brigade got up to and when I heard that it was a 2 and a half hour long film, I was livid! What I got...was a beautiful masterpiece which exceeded all my expectations, exactly like how the TV series exceeded the riduclously high expectations I had of it.

Disapperance's story start off like a typical episode of the series; Haruhi wants to celebrate Christmas with her fellow members of the SOS Brigade, by having a nabe party. As this is going on, there is some funny banter between the Brigade members and it sets itself up to be exactly what the TV series was about, only longer...that's when it slaps you in the face.

Kyon goes to school on the 18th December and it turns out...everything has changed. Everything we've seen of the TV series...that doesn't exsist anymore. Nothing. Kyon's high school life, it's like it was completely erased. It turns out that both Haruhi SUZUMIYA and Itsuki KOIZUMI are missing, Mikuru ASAHINA doesn't recongise Kyon, Ryoko ASAKURA is alive again and Yuki NAGATO is now human...complete with her own full set of emotions!

Now all of this is practically explained in the first half an hour, so the next two hours is all about Kyon, going back and forth between if he wants to live in this world, or the world with aliens, time travellers, espers and Haruhi. It's an amazing journey and it's an absolute joy to watch.

Admittedly, I felt like the film dragged on at parts, it's by no means an easy feat to watch it all in one sitting...it's the equivalent of watching five episodes back to back, with no breaks in between. It's challenging to say the least, but after everything was done and dusted, I was left satisfied, perfectly content with the masterpiece I had just watched.

One complaint I did have, was how the characters of Itsuki and Mikuru were nothing more than minor characters in the film...especially Itsuki, which is a shame, giving how he's my second favourite character in the series. Due to things happening in the story, Kyon and Yuki are given the most screen time and as such are given the most character development. The title character, is more like a side character in her own film and when she appears for the first time in over an hour or so, it's a very pleasant surprise...which is ridiclous to say, giving how her name is Haruhi Suzumiya!

But I will say, that doesn't put me off from watching it again and again and again. It is an absolute masterpiece of a film, I can't stress that enough. The emotions, the character development, the subtle humour, it's all done so perfectly and it really fits the mood of each and every scene. It's not my favourite anime film, in terms of rewatchability and that's due down to there hefty 164 minutes of running time, but in terms of sheer brilliance and as a form of art, I can't see any other film, anime or otherwise, beating it.

9/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
RamkoX12X's avatar By on Oct 19, 2013

Synopsis

Kyon is ready to spend Christmas with Haruhi Suzumiya and the SOS Brigade. But the next morning, he finds himself in an alternate world where no one has heard of the name Haruhi Suzumiya. Kyon then has to decide on whether to stay in this parallel world or figure out how to go back to his original world.

Story

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya gives one of the most well-thought out stories that I have seen. The original series was pure comedy and school life affairs involving the SOS Brigade, but this movie turns it around to show how this type of show can become serious. In a concept of choices and regret given to the male protagonist, Kyon, is suddenly thrown into an alternate world where no one has heard of the name Haruhi Suzumiya. By setting Kyon into this situation, he learns how life is without her and becomes emotionally unstable showing his care and consciousness towards her and the club. The story provides gripping suspense and drama that was exceptionally thought out and slow paced scenes don't really affect the overall atmosphere and mood that the movie is set to give the viewer. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya gives a amazing story with a dramatic setting and dark moody tone, that is alternate to the original series.

Animation

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya provides the viewer with spectactular animation drawn out by the Kyoto Animation studio. Comparing the original series with this movie, you can already tell that the movie is much more improved since it did release in the year 2010 with the series coming out 4 years prior. But this improvement is no disappointment because of how well the animation fits the mood and atmosphere of the movie playing along. With detailed backdrops and characters, the movie does an excellent job of showing Haruhi's world in a much emotional way.

Sound

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is well-equipped with some of the most emotional soundtracks I have heard. This sets well since the movie is a drama. With each individual sound, given in a scene, it fits exceptionally to the scene that is playing, giving the viewer a much more emotional impact than it does without the soundtrack. Voice acting was performed amazingly with talented voice actors in both the Japanese sub and English dub. I personally have not seen the movie in it's original Japanese sub, but I really have no complaints with the English dub. With seiyus like Crispin Freeman who voices Kyon and provides the BEST narration that I have heard in a anime, along with Johnny Yong Bosch who voices Koizumi, these two and the rest of the cast performed well in this movie to support its emotional output in each character they play.

Characters

Along the lines of each individual aspect of the movie, I personally opinionate that the character development is the strongest output. The movie shows the inner emotions in each individual character in the most dramatic way possible. With climatic scenes involving the emotional breakdown of Kyon, an alternate side to Nagato, Asahina, and Koizumi, and a surprisingly changed Haruhi, The Disapppearance of Haruhi Suzumiya performs well with the fully developed characters.

Final Thoughts 

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya greatly surpasses the show by crafting an amazing story with beautiful animation, an emotional soundtrack, and fully developed characters. Different sides of characters are shown when they are not actually “supernatural” such as Nagato who acts as the secondary character to Kyon on helping him return to the original world. From me, there was no major or minor flaws within this film. However, the slow pacing of the movie can bore some viewers but that's hardly an issue with its amazing turn of events that this movie has to offer. If you are a “Haruhi” fan, then this is a definite must watch, you will not regret this masterpiece. I give The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya a perfect score of a 10 out of 10.

~RamkoX12X

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
Flint879's avatar By on Sep 20, 2013

After watching The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, you are introduced to a mixed variety of characters that you kind of become attached to. Not mentally, but in the way of you can feel their pain. The story didn't shine on the potential it had and kind of left it high and dry. The Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya really brings to light a more psychological aspect.

THE STORY IS: The story pretty much picks up right where Melancholy left off. The SOS Brigade is getting ready to throw a Christmas party. December 18 comes around and Kyon wakes up to, what seems like, a normal day. Little by little he realizes that everything is wrong. Haruhi is nowhere to be found, nobody knows who Haruhi Suzumiya is, Nagato and Mikuru have no idea who Kyon is, and the SOS Brigade doesn't exist. Kyon begins to have a major freak out sets out to find out what is going on.

Unlike the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, The Vanishment more focuses on Kyon more than anyone else. Once everything starts to happen, you kind of get the sensation of freaking out with Kyon as he tries to figure out what is happening. Once everything starts to fall into place and comes to light as to what is going on, the movie takes a psychological turn. Don't fret too much, it was easy to follow, but in a way, kind of clever. They didn't delve too much into it to the point of confusion, but had a nice medium to it. Overall the story was definitely more realized than that of Melancholy. The Vanishment had nothing to do with aliens or time travelers or espers like the series. It more so focuses on time leaping and an alternate world, but seemingly more well received in potential than the series.

THE ANIMATION was top notch. It was better than the series and the developers definitely took their time crafting this.

THE SOUND was very good. Most of it was kind of bland, but it fit the movie really well. The voice actors delivered top notch performances and the music was, more so, background noise behind the dialogue.

THE CHARACTERS were definitely different this time around. Kyon is still kind of the same except for being more scared and lonely. All the characters are practically the same as in the series, but maybe a bit different. I can't go into too much description without spoiling anything within the movie.

OVERALL The Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya was top notch. It had a great story and shook things up and got you thinking about what is happening/going to happen. Sure, Melancholy wasn't fantastic by any means, but it still prepared a great setup for a great movie.

9/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall
theSentinel's avatar By on Sep 15, 2013

The Series messed itself up in a big way as it got closer to the end.  You lost its sense of direction and the character building was not working towards a resolution, but rather unwinding itself.  the Series tried to be a slice of life, but then ended up trying to be something else.  This hurt the series in a big way for me.

the movie on the other hand .. . .

this movie heavily outshined the series.  The aspects of the series which fit into the movie were amplified, but the things that the series screwed up were amplified by the movie too.

Story:  The feels that occured in my mind during this movie built up and built up.  By the end you are in such a good mood with the characters.  They also integrated the the roles between the alien and the time traveler extremely well in this movie, which added to the plot.  By the end you will feel satisfied that there was meaning for what happened in this movie.

Animation: A little bit better than the series, but not extrodinary.

Sound:  nothing immensly awesome, but as the "feels" increased it seems like the quality and music did too.

Characters:  they did it right in the movie.  The series messed it up.  the movie fixed it (mostly). And at the end you are satisfied with how the important characters developed.  Really good job in this movie.

overall: definitely worth a watch, you should probably see the series first (if you have the patients), but I think its worth seeing it so that this makes more sense.

8/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
8/10 characters
8/10 overall
MordredMS's avatar By on Jun 1, 2013

Note: I realise there's already far too many community reviews for this one, but I had written this overly long rant for another site, so what the hell.

When I read a review praising a certain work as “flawless”, it normally makes me raise an eyebrow, it feels more like a biased ass-licking trying to force a “perfect ten” out of something the reviewer likes than an actual critical overview. However, I realise that there are indeed times when no matter how hard you try, you just can’t manage to find any defect in what you’re dealing with; it may be because it moved you, maybe you like the franchise to begin with, maybe it really is that good, but you kind of feel guilty finding any defect or giving them importance over what’s good about it. For me this is one of those times.


STORY: 9.5/10
It’s Christmas time for the SOS brigade, and preparations for the party are in full motion. But one morning, Kyon wakes up to find that Haruhi has disappeared from the class and from everyone’s memory. Asakura has appeared in her place, neither Mikuru nor Tsuruya know him anymore, Itsuki has vanished, Shamisen can no longer talk, and Nagato behaves quite differently… but he is the only one who notices. Is he in a parallel world, or was time altered? Who caused this, why was he the only one untouched by the alteration, and how can he get back? But most importantly… will he want to?

The premise is surely simple, in the typical “How would the world without X be?” fashion of many a Christmas special. But the execution is, I’m afraid I’m going to use that word, flawless. Besides the actual plot (with its involving mystery, its interesting tangle of alternate realities and time paradox shenanigans, and its final twist) what really makes the film is the exploration and emotions of the characters we already know from the series. I’ll expand on this later, but for now I’ll simply say that the emotional impact of Kyon’s conflict, especially in a very intense Evangelion-like sequence which I consider the apex of the whole movie, of Nagato’s exploration and development, and also of a few new glimpses of Haruhi’s personality, were much more than I expected, and that each of the three times I watched this movie it left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling for the whole day. You probably already know that here Nagato smiles, blushes and stuff, but the sympathy and compassion we feel for the side of her self we get to see here go well beyond the simple moe (though she is indeed one of the most adorable things I’ve seen in my life, poor, little Yuki…). In general, when it wants to be hilarious, to be touching, to be suspenseful, to be heart-warming, it is. Straight on target.

Yes, there is a voice in the back of my head that tells me that this story may be just milking the cash cow, or that all this character interaction, like the wonderfully heart-warming finale between Kyon, Haruhi and Yuki, may be only a way to fuel shipping and thus the entire franchise, or that a couple of plot devices are definitely getting overused; but the teary-eyed feel-good vibe of warm fuzziness that fills me even as I think back on it while writing tells me that I don’t give a flying shit.



CHARACTERS: 10/10
Unsurprisingly, since the entire series and debatably the entire slice-of-life genre owe their success to well-crafted characters, it’s the members of the SOS brigade that make this movie, especially Kyon and Yuki. It manages to give a new twist to such well-established characters by exploring a different side of their personality and showing an inner conflict. Kyon, being the only one who notices the change in the world and arguably the true protagonist of the whole franchise, is the one most focused on: we see his reaction (his confusion and despair as the world he knew disappears without any clue as to how to go back, the genuine joy and relief when he does find that clue, and so on, are all so masterfully conveyed that they manage to fill the first portion of the movie with surprisingly emotional moments), we get to see a different side of his self (does he even like that world with Haruhi and the SOS brigade? Is he really fond of them?), and his conflict when he understands the cause of the world’s transformation is the big turning point of the movie.

As for Nagato, seeing her show emotions is positively touching, as we get to see a lonely, longing side of her self that was only hinted at up until now; how does she feel about her role of a silent observer, occasionally fixing word-threatening situations around her? How does she feel about the rest of the Brigade? Does she feel anything, in the first place? Needless to say, all of this is not only extremely interesting, but also extremely moving if you interpret, as I personally do, the Yuki we see here not as an “alternate version” but as how she really is beneath that Rei-clone shell.

Haruhi is here little more than a secondary character, but some scenes in the “alternate world” and in the finale do show new, interesting glimpses of her. Koizumi and Asahina are little more than extras, even though there is a line of Itsuki’s that may or may not mean a lot. This goes to show how carefully each line of dialogue was crafted to provide evocative exploration, expectation and emotional involvement (like the “Yuki” line at the end of the movie’s most tenderly heart-warming scene, a clever example of how to exploit the word-play possibilities the Japanese language lends itself so well to).



ANIMATION: 9.5/10
Well, if you’ve seen the average quality of Kyoto Animation’s work I think you can imagine by yourself what they can do with a the budget for a feature-length. The details of the facial expressions, the backgrounds so full of life and so carefully drawn, the fluidity of the movements, the landscapes, all reach Studio Ghibli-like levels. And it’s been a while since I last saw snowflakes that look like, you know, actual fucking snowflakes instead of white dots. One little detail that may put some people off, as it did me, is that the character design retains the K-On!-like look the series had taken on since the second season, thus loosing that more original and detailed one it had in the first. This nonetheless, the impact of the facial expressions is not hindered.



SOUNDTRACK: 10/10
The soundtrack, an awesome collection of mostly orchestral pieces with some themes returning from the series and some more bluesy or rock-ish numbers, manages with every single track to not only punctuate, but effectively create the atmosphere, especially in the most tense and suspenseful moments. Be it upbeat and happy, slow and soothing, intense and bombastic, melancholic and ethereal, or whatever adjective I can manage to pull out of my English vocabulary, each piece flows flawlessly (damn, I said it again…) into each scene setting its tone, with various scenes with Kyon being particularly memorable examples. It is really a pleasure to listen to. The ending song “Yasashii Boukyaku”, finally, sung by Chihara Minori (Yuki), is a beautifully melancholic, sweet track that I’m sure most will find as unforgettable as I did, thanks to the way it so perfectly fits to the mood created by the movie.


CAST: 9.5/10
I’m afraid I’ll have to use again that word, “flawless”. After all, what would you expect from names like Sugita Tomokazu (Kyon), Hirano Aya (Haruhi) and Chihara Minori? Actually, even that’s not true. Hirano does her usual magic with the character she’s most strongly associated with, Chihara has the sturdy job of having to show emotions through an ice wall of inexpressiveness and pretended apathy and pulls it off magnificently, but Sugita managed to surpass my expectations: his performance here (his wide range of emotions and mixed feelings in the “alternate world”, his tougher tone in the Evangelion-like sequence I mentioned earlier and his more tender tone in the finale…) is simply out of this world. The rest of the cast, of course, doesn’t disappoint either, but being their characters reduced to little more than extras, with the exception of Asakura, whose voice actress (Kuwatani Natsuko) does her usual good job, they don’t have much room to “show off their skill” this time.



OVERALL: 9.7/10
If there’s one big defect this film has, is that its impact relies on the viewer already knowing the characters and setting. This is a review from someone who didn’t even dislike the infamous “Endless Eight” arc (come on, the idea was brilliant, it was just overdone…), so yeah, I’m probably biased. You need to have watched both seasons of “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”, and given the (undeserved) ill fame the second has this may be a problem, but if you loved the first, don’t let the infamous eight-episodes arc scare you, I definitely recommend watching it, if only to then enjoy this movie, which, with its involving plot and touching character exploration, I cannot call it but a masterpiece which fans of the characters are sure to love. If you didn’t like the series in the first place, this probably won’t change your mind; if you watched and liked the rest of the series, or even just the first season, then go ahead and dive in what has become one of my favourite anime movies of all time.

9/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.7/10 overall