Critic’s Log - Earthdate: February 14, 2014. Review #81: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
Today is Valentine’s Day, and if someone you care about disappears. What would you do? You may or may not get the answer from The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.
It is the middle of December, andSOS Brigade chief Haruhi Suzumiya announces that the Brigade is going to hold a Christmas party in their clubroom, with Japanese hotpot for dinner. The brigade members Kyon, Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina and Itsuki Koizumi start preparing everything for the party, such as costumes and decorations. But a couple of days later, something happens and the rest is classified information.
To be technical, this is (of course) a Kyoto Animation production and seeing how Haruhi Suzumiya was such a hit, and lots of people liked their other titles such as Clannad and K-On! It is no wonder why Kyoto Animation is getting the positive response. I have yet to see Clannad and K-On!.. Don’t ask me why I haven’t seen them yet, I am trying. Back on topic, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is without a doubt Kyoto Animation’s greatest production to date. Even though it’s obvious that Anime films have higher budgets than Television anime, it still is undoubtedly Kyoto Animation’s greatest feat so far. I will say that the animation does look awkward at times but I still think it is Kyoto Animation's best animation production despite this.
The music by Satoru Kousaki is a huge stepup… There is some cues of nostalgia in some parts, but the soundtrack is mostly very different in this film. There is classical and orchestral music in this movie and it fits the scale of the film and it is very effective considering the things that happens in the movie, which is again...classified information. The soundtrack blends in with the movie extremely well and It is worth listening to outside of the movie.
When it comes to voice acting, The Japanese cast is excellent. Tomokazu Sugita is still the same old memorable voice of Kyon, Yuko Gato plays Mikuru Asahina just as usual as before, Daisuke Ono is still great as Koizumi, and Aya Hirano is still great as Haruhi despite the amount of screentime she gets in the film. If there is a huge step-up in performance, it is Minori Chihara as Yuki. Why? because there is something about Yuki you would have to see for yourself and if you already saw the film, you know what I’m talking about. The extras do their job well. As for the English dub, Crispin Freeman is terrific as Kyon in this film. Stephanie Sheh is still pretty good as Ms. Asahina, Johnny Yong Bosch is still alright as Koizumi, and like Chihara-san… Michelle Ruff gets a huge step-up as well and she nails Yuki in this film. The extras in the dub do their job well too. Natsuko Kuwatani and Bridget Hoffman deserve extra props for making Asakura memorable in the film. The Japanese cast and English Dub cast are both pretty damn good.
If there is something that is a huge strength in the movie is that there’s enough room for character development and the time used is done well. Kyon’s situation is believable and it pays off. Mikuru Asahina is kind of her usual self, but not in a bad way. Haruhi does not get heavy amount of screentime and it fits because of the title. Koizumi is alright in the movie. The one that does get heavy amount of attention is Yuki. Yuki is probably one of the most interesting characters in the movie and that’s saying a lot considering she was mostly emotionless in the TV series. The time is well spent on character development and it does pay off in the end. The characters do give off the thought-provoking moments, this especially leads to Kyon who ends up having the most development and screentime in the entire film. This is fitting since he’s been narrating throughout the main TV series and even though the title is about Haruhi Suzumiya. Kyon seems to be treated as a main character more than Haruhi. Kyon truly shines in this film. The characters are great in the film and they develop much better than the TV series.
This leads to the plot, which I may as well say it one last time, that is classified information. With a film such as The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Why would I tell you what I thought of the plot. Well, without giving any classified information away, I can honestly warn you on one thing. the pacing in the film may discourage you at first glance but I can assure you that it fits with the atmosphere of the entire film. The TV series was bursting with fun and giggles and it was worth binge-viewing. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a completely different ball-game. The fun and giggles from the show is not present and what the film will give you is a more disorienting serious take on the franchise. For something like the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise, this is not out of place since the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise is a bit unorthodox to begin with. To my surprise, it takes the Haruhi Suzumiya to a low and manages to pull it off. The TV series was well-paced, but the film can be slow at times… and it works! I say this because… think of the title. Haruhi Suzumiya as a TV series was mostly fun. What makes the film’s direction smart is that it is a great contrast to the TV series. Both aesthetically and in direction. Say what you will, but this movie is a terrific follow-up to the TV series after fun, whacky episodes and of course the infamous Endless Eight story arc. If there is one thing you may want to consider, it is to watch The entire TV series before tackling this film. It would help greatly with your experience with this movie. This is not a film to be overlooked if you are an anime fan. You will have to be patient on this one because this film is a must-see for Haruhi fans.
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya was available by Bandai Entertainment. Since they went under, chances are… This movie is out of print. One can hope it gets rescued someday.
With all that said, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is an outstanding film with terrific animation even though it is awkward at some areas, great character development, a great soundtrack. and a complex story that despite some predictability, it keeps the viewer on guard.
I give The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya a 9.9 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT!
Feel free to leave a comment, and join the club!
I believe everyone regardless of race, religion, gender, and orientation has a purpose in life, the answer may not come right away but it will probably be there. At least that is what I believe. There may be challenges ahead but don't give up. Thank you for your time and have a great day.