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.