The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2009)

Alt title: Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (2009)

TV (28 eps)
3.765 out of 5 from 22,290 votes
Rank #2,459

The eccentric Suzumiya Haruhi wants nothing more than to meet aliens, time travelers and espers… but she’ll have to settle for the everyday Kyon instead! Along with the mysterious Itsuki and the vacant Mikuru, the duo forms the SOS Brigade – a club whose mission is to discover the mysteries of the world. Armed with a razor sharp wit and a skill for manipulation, Haruhi will stop at nothing to have fun at all costs, even at the expense of Mikuru’s dignity!

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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is 2 seasons x 14 episodes of a high-school, slice-of-life comedy anime, with supernatural aspects, based on the novel series written by Nagaru Tanigawa (illustrated by Noizi Itou), which I’ve read. This is one of the most well-known and popular anime in Japan, many other anime have references to this. But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine, this is also one of the most controversial anime, though not in the way you might think. The first season of this anime was released in 2006 and the second was released in 2009, but included the first season as it aired. Technically, the second season is just 14 episodes, but it will appear as 28 episodes as it includes the first season. This is why this review covers both, since I watched the both together as it was in the second season. Animation For an anime of which half is made in 2006 and the other half made in 2009, the animation seems more appropriate for the latter. I.e. the quality of the animation is rather good and is actually fairly constant between the two parts. Both of the seasons look as if they were made in 2009, though this might have been the case if the first season was redone/remastered for airing alongside the second season. I watched it all in 720p. The quality is clear and the backgrounds are detailed, it really does look like a relatively recent anime. Funny considering that some anime which came after the first season and referenced it didn’t look as good. That said, the animation for dialogue and speech is basic at best, the lip-sync is horribly off, no matter which language it’s watched in. Especially in the song scene in episode 26 more on this later. The style is surprisingly unique in some regards, but has a distinct recognisable style. The characters are very distinct, despite Nagato and Koizumi looking a bit more generic. This is due to the fact that this anime was animated by Kyoto studios, the same studio that made Clannad, Kanon and Air with specific distinctive styles and they also made the anime K-On and Lucky Star, both of which had distinctive styles. If I’m honest, I can see the style of this anime being a mix of the well-known styles of the former group and a gopod dash of the latter, mixing together to make something quite unique. Certain characters tend more to one style over the other, Kyon’s sister seems more like a character from Clannad and Mikuru seems more like a K-On/Lucky Star character, funny since her VA also voiced a character from K-On. And the usual section on fan-service/pervy BS. What little there is, I’ll let slide since it was also present in the original novels. And you’ll be thankful (if you also don’t like ecchi) that this stuff is not so prominent. Despite Mikuru supposedly being well endowed, this isn’t apparent for the most part while she wears her regular school uniform or maid uniform attire. Similar with Haruhi, who you’d be surprised to find has a more ‘adult-like’ body. Both of them look the roughly the same wearing bunny suits, but only attention is drawn to Mikuru, mainly by Haruhi. Kyon also notifies the viewers that Haruhi is indeed an attractive girl, but his disinterest is due to her personality. Nice to know that Kyon isn’t such a shallow man and his attraction to Mikuru is due to her pleasant personality. Sound Quick bit off topic: While I read the books for this series, I was listening to a custom playlist of chilled-out instrumental music from the Super Sonico anime’s OST (it was a playlist designed to help me get to sleep, hence the lack of pop/rock). Over time I ended up associating that music with Haruhi Suzumiya, more than I did for its own anime. I couldn’t imagine the Haruhi anime would have any other music than that. Fortunately a long time passed after finishing those novels and I listened to the playlist whilst reading other novels and the effect isn’t as pronounced nowadays. A good mix and most importantly, the tunes seem to portray the right mood and seem much attuned to the ongoing animation shown in those sequences. The intro sounds like Haruhi's personality in song form. A good bit of sound design and we haven’t even got to the main anime yet. The soundtrack in the main anime itself varies a bit, but if I’m honest it wasn’t too memorable. It does have a mix of genres and tries to use them where appropriate. Oh and there’s even a possible reference to K-On, as there’s an all-girls rock band playing during the school festival episode. But what was surprising, was that the song wasn’t in Japanese in the English version… This anime is available in both English, Japanese and even French! The animation let’s down all of the voicing here, regardless of language. The movement of the mouth matches neither audio, it’s just opening and closing in the same shape. Both audio are interesting, we’ve got some great voice actors from the Japanese side, Dasiuke Ono as Koizumi and Minori Chihara, one of my favourite Japanese VAs as Yuki Nagato. We even have the interesting Minoru Shiraishi as Taniguchi, this guy… The entirety of this anime is referenced by Lucky Star where these Daisuke Ono, Minori Chihara star as themselves as well as characters like Haruhi and Nagato making cameo appearances. It’s similar for the English VAs, Johnny Yong Bosch and Wendee Lee voice Daisuke Ono and Aya Hirano respectively, as well as Wendee Lee obviously voicing Konata. Unfortunately for all the concentrated talent shown by the Japanese VAs, I found that the English was better in that anime, despite the perfect role of Minoru Shiraishi voicing a character with the same name as him and going all out for some comedic outro songs. Same goes for Tony Regal, the corresponding English VA. This anime is good in either language (since they don’t make much of a difference) and I was very impressed by Crispin Freeman’s voice as Kyon. I feel like this is his best role yet. It helps that the same studio made these anime, probably explains why these two anime are so well intertwined. Of course Haruhi Suzumiya is voiced by none other than Wendee Lee, known for roles including Bulma in Dragonball, Konata Izumi/Haruhi Suzumiya in Lucky Star, Hatsuho Kazami in Please Teacher, Inko/Sumire Kano in Toradora and Miho Karasuma in Witch Hunter Robin. Kyon is voiced by Crispin Freeman, who has voiced Jeremiah Gottwald in Code Geass, Holland Novak in Eureka Seven, Kirei Kotomine in the Fate series, Togusa in Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C, Tomokazu Sugita/cameo Kyon in Lucky Star, Joseph Carpenter in Read or Die and Amon in Witch Hunter Robin. Itsuki Koizumi is voiced by none other than Johnny Yong Bosch, famed for the role of Lelouche Lamperouge in Code Geass, having also voiced Renton Thurston in Eureka Seven, Ryuunosuke Uryuu in Fate Zero, Michael Garrett in Gun X Sword, Daisuke Ono in Lucky Star, Yu Narukami in Persona 4 Animation, Brock in Pokemon Origin, Rossiu Adai in Gurren Lagann, Yuusaku Kitamura in Toradora and Haruto Sakaki in Witch Hunter Robin. Mikuru Asahina had the recognisable voice of Stephanie Sheh, she voiced Kaguya Sumeragi/Anya Alstreim in Code Geass, Mikuru Katsuhara in Eden of the East, Eureka in Eureka Seven, Illyasviel von Einzbern in the Fate series, Yui Hirasawa in K-On (watched fairly recently), Akira Kogami/Hikaru Sakuraba in Lucky Star, Yui in Sword Art Online and Kinon Bachika in Gurren Lagann. Yuuki Nagato was clearly voiced by Michelle Ruff, having voiced Euphemia Li Britannia in Code Geass, Martha Mackenzie/Aoi Tohsaka in Fate Zero, Bevel in Gargantia, Carmen 99 in Gun X Sword, Tsukasa Hiiragi/Minami Iwasaki/Minori Chihara/cameo Yuki in Lucky Star, Koishi Herikawa in Please Teacher, Yoko Littner in Gurren Lagann and Yurika Doujima in Witch Hunter Robin. Of course the side character of Taniguchi was voiced by Sam Regal, who of course voiced Minoru Shiraishi and has also voiced Shirou Emiya in Fate Stay Night. Tsuruya/Kyon’s sister is voiced by Kari Wahlgren, Ryouko Asakura is voiced by Bridget Hoffman, Kunikida is voiced by Brianne Siddall and Computer Research Society President is voiced by Dave Wittenberg. Characters Of course, the titular Haruhi Suzumiya might be considered to be the main character. Haruhi is an eccentric and wild high-school girl. As Kyon has mentioned, she is quite attractive and perhaps the perfect girl, she is so smart that she aces her exams and is so athletic that she excels at any sports or athletics she tried. But then the important bit: her personality is not something most folks would be willing to put up with. Her quirkiness resulted in her never turning a guy down, when they asked her out. But the relationships never lasted very long as she quickly grew bored of them, the shortest relationship lasted minutes and the longest a few weeks. Haruhi is an individual who finds the regular world boring and would love it if weird things happened and wants to meet the likes of aliens, espers and time-travellers. Yet, she is actually thinks very realistically, she knows (or thinks) such things can’t exist. She is a very bossy individual and likes to order others around, she’d like to think that the world revolves around her. As such, she tends to treat other people very badly, especially Mikuru, who she constantly abuses. But the real main character here is the guy who sits in front of her in class: Kyon (no second name given). Of all of the various quirky characters, Kyon is the only ordinary person and the one who values reason and logic above all else. He asks the questions that should be asked and in essence, I think this character was written to represent the reader (in the novels). That said, he does have his own personality and he is eventually persuaded to believe things he normally wouldn’t believe. He’s a bit cynical and not very enthusiastic. He wants to do what he can to keep things normal and to keep his friends from getting hurt, he wants to avoid bad things. According to the other characters, this ordinary nobody guy, is somehow one of the most important characters of all. Is the voice of reason valued that much? The first of the strange characters to appear, is Yuki Nagato, a petite girl with short purple hair and glasses. She falls into the quiet and serious stereotype. She’s always found in the clubroom reading books (that’s all she does, probably a bibliophile) and does not display emotions, speaking in a monotone voice. And what is crazy is that she claims to be… something akin to an alien. A ‘humanoid interface serving under the data entity overmind,’ here on this planet to merely observe and report data on the mysterious individual known as Haruhi Suzumiya. She rarely has any input of her own unless asked and only wears her school uniform unless otherwise instructed by the likes of Haruhi. Despite all this, she acts shy and is rather protective of the group. Kyon manages to help her integrate into the group better and she’s often pulling crazy behind-the-scene stunts to stop disasters from occurring. The second of the strange characters to appear is the beautiful and cute Mikuru Asahina. Quick disclaimer, it seems from this anime is if she is a junior to Kyon and Haruhi in the year below. Considering that they meet her in their first year of high school (they can’t have high school juniors!), this is nonsense. Mikuru is a senior to Kyon and Haruhi. She has a cheery and kind personality, she’s the sort of person who wouldn’t hurt a fly or be too assertive on anybody. Rather, she’s the opposite. She’s weak-willed and shy, which makes her the prime candidate for abuse. Haruhi often dresses her up in uncomfortable and arguably inappropriate cosplay. Stuff like a maid costume, a skimpy bunny suit and even a waitress costume. Haruhi is also trying to force her to be the ‘moe’ character of this anime, even instructing her to trip and spill tea over Kyon. Due to how attractive she looks and apparently having huge breasts (though she barely looks different to Haruhi when they wore skimpy bunny suits), she’s something akin to the school idol, complete with guys being jealous of Kyon for getting to hang out with her so much in the typical BS anime fashion. So what’s so weird about her, she seems like the most normal of them all right? Yeah she pretty much is a normal human being… except she claims to be a time-traveller from the future. She won’t tell Kyon or the others anything, since she is under orders not to. Instead, she’ll use the word classified. What’s even weirder, is that there’s an older version of Mikuru apparently from further in the future. She is a more mature and taller individual and unlkike her younger self, she is more calm and in control. It goes without saying that she is even hotter than her teenage self. Finally we have Itsuki Koizumi. This character takes quite a while to appear in the story and is that sort of attractive, in-control guy who is always smiling and calm. One can’t imagine him ever getting angry or upset, and he’s no different when he tells jokes, leading to quite a few misunderstandings by Kyon. He thinks it’s best to let Haruhi do what she wants, so he’s always on hand and complying to her demands with a smile. He’s almost like a ‘yes-man’. What special about him? Koizumi claims to be an esper (being with supernatural powers), but apparently his powers only work in certain places, at certain times, during certain conditions. Yeah… even Kyon caught onto how convenient and unrealistic this sounds. Onto the less important characters. Kyon’s little sister, who goes by the name of… ‘Kyon’s little sister.’ That’s right, this somewhat common side character doesn’t even get a name (it was the same in the novels). She’s the typical little sister character, at times she’s annoying and at other times she’s cute. She appears to be an elementary schooler who likes cats. She also gets along well with Haruhi, funny since Haruhi tells Kyon to be more like his little sister. She’s also capable of being very annoying. Just regular little sister material. Speaking of the cat… it’s shown in the intro (and outro) of every episode of this anime, yet he’s only in the last few episodes… kinda nonsense that, but it makes sense given the his appreance in the plotline If this anime were to show more of the plot, then we’d see more of the cat. Tsuruya is the very quirky and jolly rich girl. She’s got that annoying tone of voice and she laughs at most things that Haruhi and the guys do. She’s that overly positive sort, who you can’t imagine ever getting upset and she’ll happily go along with what Haruhi says. Honestly, I’m surprised they aren’t best friends. She’s like a more energetic and slightly loud and annoying version of Koizumi, except without all the esper weirdness and reasons for submitting to Haruhi. Kyon’s two other friends from class, i.e. his ‘normal’ group of friends are Kunikida and Taniguchi. Honestly, Kunikida is a very shallow and dead character. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t get very many lines or much screen time. What I can tell is that he’s just a normal guy who is a bit on the sensible side of things. If Koizumi were quiet and didn’t do much, then he’d be a lot more like Kunikida. The other character is the typical jerk best friend. Taniguchi seems to always be perving over chicks and is always pointing out to Kyon that he’s a lucky bastard to hang out with so many cute girls (just 3?), heck he’s jealous of Kyon and upset that Kyon isn’t ‘sharing.’ Yeah, the pervy dumb guy, that’s Taniguchi. Story So The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina has a shoddy plot to go along with the abysmal sound design and terrible camerawork and visuals (which look like they were filmed by a kid with a cheap aged camcorder). The story is full of plot-holes and constantly changes tact, so many things happen for no good reason, it’s like a child up with the story, even the narrator has no clue what’s going on. I feel sorry for the guy for trying to inject sense and reason into such a mess… Oh wait, wrong review… Ahem, firstly I will mention that season 2 of this anime is both seasons of 14 episodes combined. Which is why many folks will watch both of them together. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya seems to be your average slice-of-life, high-school comedy and in many respects it is just that. But in reality, there’s an underlying plot full of unexplained mystery and strange occurrences. One of the great things about this story, is the narration by Kyon who is essentially voicing the viewers concerns as to what is happening here, as well as being a character himself. This remains the same from the books, but there’s something else the anime tried to do in order to ‘represent’ the books well. Of course, much like the books the biggest issue with the overall plot is that it never ends and many important things are never explained or remain a mystery. So don’t expect this anime to be conclusive. The first controversy: the order of the episodes aired in season one. Why would they even consider this? The novels were for the most part, multiple tales or events in each book, with exceptions for a few of the books. Each tale is akin to a different arc of epiodes in an anime, but beyond the first introductory tale, the order is non-chronological. Of course, in the books each tale would be completed before moving onto the next one which could be set before or even long afterwards. The anime tried to do this by airing the episodes in a non-linear order for season 1. Except it deviates from the book since the first tale spans multiple episodes and they are jumbled up more here. Movies and other anime have done this, and some of them have done it well (including these books). But here, it doesn’t do the anime any favours. The creators of the anime figured this out, so when they re-aired the first season along with season 2, they aired the episodes in perfect chronological order. None of that shuffling of the arc like the novels, which was done well IMO. If you want to know what the order is, I recommend this page, which explains everything. This order thing is minor compared to the next thing, considering other anime have had a non-chronological order, yet almost no other anime have done the following. The second controversy: The Endless Eight. Usually, the books are more detailed with longer depictions of the same plot. And of course more stories. No doubt this anime wouldn’t be able to depict every single arc from the books, but surely it would make an effort. While anime have been known for adding the small thing or a single episode here or there… no anime has essentially rerun the same episode almost 8 times! The book only depicted the equivalent to the last episode in this repeat. A lot of fans were upset, not only because of being expected to watch essentially the same episode several times, but also because this took up 8 episodes out of a 14 episode season! That’s more than half the episodes! Think of the other stuff they could have shown had they just limited the arc to just a couple of episodes, if not just the one. No excuses, this wasn’t creative and the gamble failed. It’s such a shame. 5 of the other episodes were taken up by the arc preceding the school festival in season 1, fleshing that out but honestly taking a bit too long with it. No wonder the 2nd season didn’t do as well as the 1st, which managed to depict many more arcs in the same length. Conclusion This anime is a much loved and popular comedy anime, rightfully so since it does the comedy well and the incomplete story isn’t so bad with the unique and fun cast of characters. But some gambles and bad decisions let this anime down. I’d recommend this for fans of high-school comedy and those who like slice of life. But I’d also ask for cynics to give this a try, the wonderful narration by Kyon seems to voice many valid concerns of the viewers. Me personally… it was okay, but I wasn’t expecting much since I’ve read the books already and knew of the flaws beforehand. There is a sequel movie, based upon a later arc in the books. But of course, had season 2 been done better, it might have been in the anime already, even if it took a few episodes. Family-friendliness Rating: 3/5 (lower is better) Overall Rating: 7.5/10 (higher is better)


Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a good series for eleven episodes and then turns into utter garbage. And by that I mean that your hope that it will go back to being good gets reawakened occasionally only to be crushed more and more thoroughly until you end up hating everything and everyone connected to the show. Words cannot describe how painful the last seventeen frickin' episodes of the series are. I mean, really, it gets the viewer's hopes up with cool supernatural/scifi stuff, a mysterious plot that may actually have a reason for being so ridiculous, and then... it goes into a repetitive (and I mean this literally, for seven episodes) cycle of crappy fluff. All hints of awesome are ignored. This show pretends to be interesting, and then turns into the single most generic school life bunch of crap centered around an unlikable superwoman who everyone listens to for some reason and can do no wrong. Except drug and sexually abuse her "friends", which for some reason people let slide. Because it's funny, you know. Except it isn't even made particularly funny. If Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was truly funny instead of cheap ripoffs of famous jokes from various media executed badly, all would be forgiven. Everything from possibly the most famous video game humor scene of the early 90s, the "scene behind the wall" gag from Monkey Island, to yet another Groundhog Day for seven episodes (yes, longer than the actual movie from which this was ripped off), and don't get me started on how many different anime bits were stolen. Oh, and that movie within a movie thing? Fifty years ago called, they want their joke back. Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya doesn't even pretend to follow up on the actual plot hinted at in the beginning. The first episodes were great. People are beginning to unravel what is actually happening, the male lead is absolutely fantastic with his apathetic attitude when surrounded by crazy, and it shapes up to be a wonderful premise. Those eleven episodes are a perfect setup for something that has any long term plot. But all plot is thrown away, the setup is ignored (one character has ESP, never used again, one is a time traveller, never used again), and retroactively, most of the first eleven episodes are actually irrelevant. Never has a show done such an exceptional job of ruining everything good about itself. Writing (Story and Characters): I cannot believe something could be this terrible. There is something worse about starting good and ruining things than being bad from the start. Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya does such a fantastic job of removing all the great impression the first episodes give until at the end I was all but frothing from my mouth in want to tear apart the staff. Someone dropped the ball, and in an unforgivable way. If I'd want another mediocre school life story with an unlikable lead, then I'd probably stab myself in the face. When a show starts by saying "but this show is special", and then follows up by laughing in the face of the viewer, people may get annoyed. One of those people is yours truly. What started as an excellent storyline just went and got ignored, in favor of boring ripoffs that are supposed to be edgy if this show would have been made in 2000. Needless to say, this crap ages badly. Especially when other shows do a far better execution and follow up on the plot all the way through (Angel Beats! for instance). If only they'd make episodes 12-18 into 2 episodes, and then make the show actually go somewhere, then I'd be happy even if it was rather crappy. The writing is a practice in going nowhere once the first eleven episodes end. Character development does not exist in Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, except for a tiny hint that maybe it did a little for one or two out of the entire cast. And it isn't that the characters are that great. One (the title character) is completely unlikeable, the male lead is basically Araragi from Bakemonogatari only bored, and the other characters don't actually have a personality. This is supposedly a balanced cast, but that would require imagining that they are more than one dimension scribbles. This is a show that has an actual plot for less then half of it, and the characters suck. The humor is supposed to make up for it, but it isn't really funny. All in all, the writing of Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is incredibly bad. If the show would have had the Groundhog Day bit condensed into two episodes, and would have ended it in 13 episodes, I'd be singing its praises. But seventeen episodes of complete trash can ruin whatever good impressions the first eleven gave. Art (Animation and Sound): OK, the artwork is professionally done. There are moments of greatness. There are a whole lot of issues as well. Still, it won't rock your world unless you haven't watched anything made since. This show could have used a higher budget, but in the end, the artwork executes what needs to be done. While the animation is usually fine, my main issue is the amount of still frames in the show. Most of the time it is hidden well (looking at one character during dialogue, etc), but it repeats itself too much to be an actual issue. There are some good things about it. While the character designs are generic, all of the characters are distinct and easily recognizable. Some of the backgrounds are absolutely fantastic. Still, while above average, the animation isn't great. Credit where it's due: the male lead has excellent voice acting. Sharply emotive without any need to go over the top except when for comedic purposes. Fantastic. The rest of the cast does not stand out in that way, and the soundtrack is quite average. Still, well above average in the audio department only for the fact that the character who talks most is voiced magnificently. What can I say? People praise the artwork in Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya a lot, and I don't understand why. It is above average, sure. But that isn't saying much. There is nothing exceptional, and very little in the way of actual art... so you can be sure it will age horribly. It really hasn't aged well in the six years since. Overall: I'm being cruel. Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya does not deserve the harsh criticism I give it. But it started it. It started out clever, ended up terrible. People say that there is supposedly intellectual stuff here, but there isn't. The characters are stupid, the story is stupid (except the first 11 episodes), and I haven't been as disappointed in something since my ex took the cat.


First off I should preface this review by stating that The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is one of my outlier amines.  What I mean by this is I generally avoid the comedy-school slice of life genre and stick with other types of anime.  But at the recommendation of a female friend of mine who has excellent taste in anime I picked up the first season.  It was great!  Clean animation and good music mixed with interesting characters and a mysterious story where you have no idea what will happen next.  Unfortunately the second season doesn't deliver as well as the first based mostly around poor direction. STORY In terms of storyline you will need the Wikipedia episode guide to understand where each episode fits in the grand scheme.  Some take place before stories with character development some after, isn't that awesome! (sarcasm)  The stories themselves are up to Melancholy standards with subtle character moments mixed with hilarious scenes and more questions than you can shake a stick at.  So why did I give it a 6?  Two Words: Endless Eight.  The powers-that-be who create this anime decided it was an awesome idea to repeat a nice episode another seven times with them stuck in a time loop.  Each episode following the first one is the same repeated seven times with different clothes and subtle changes to scenes and dialogue.  They actually wasted the money to reproduce seven semi-identical episodes.  I suggest using the double speed to get through it but even with that it's a chore.  The small differences don't help with this fact.  Last I remembered Haruhi isn't an ecchi game so seeing them in different clothes doesn't make up for the sheer boredom it induces.  At the most this "arc" should have been four episodes not eight, and that's being generous. But why this bothers me more is that the people who originally watched this on TV had to put up with this crap for two months!  Now I am no diehard when it comes to this series but if FMA had repeated the brothers on the island as kids episode (Episode 28) for two months I would have been furious, especially after all the interesting stuff with Hughes and their teacher.  Because the first episode BEFORE this arc has Kyon actually dealing with some of the mysteries behind Haruhi's powers.  After the Endless BS arc we are treated to the making of the S.O.S Brigade movie (Episode 0) which actually explains some of the randomness of that episode, or as close to explaining anything Haruhi does! ANIMATION Overall the animation is great for this series again.  They changed Haruhi's face a little bit to make it cuter or something who knows.  Other then that the animation is well drawn with nice details.  When things get crazy the animation also does a nice job.  I especially like the way it showed Kyon seeing the Time Loop at the end of the Endless BS episodes. SOUND What makes this such a great anime is the great Voice Acting.  I really enjoy the dub and it's just as good as the previous series.  The music in the series is generally pretty subtle. Unlike other amines, like Welcome to the N.H.K, it doesn't have a habit of dominating the scene which is nice, but you still know it's there.  One piece that sticks in my head is the train ride during the Sigh of Haruhi storyline. It just really fit the mood of them riding the train and their expressions.  The series has a new opening and ending and for those of you who have mastered the dance they no longer have that as an ending theme.  Personally I preferred the old Opening and Ending to these. CHARACTERS This is what makes this series awesome.  Just as before we have the usual suspects that make up the S.O.S. Brigade.  We have some really nice subtle and not subtle character moments.  Yuki gets a few really great moments and my favorite character Itsuki gets a chance to pull out his theories on Kyon. Taniguchi, Kunikida, and Tsuruya make appearances but are mostly one-dimensional. OVERALL If you liked the first season it is still worth seeing this.  Even with its shortfalls Melancholy is still an enjoyable anime to watch.  Just keep your fast forward handy for the Endless Eight Arc.

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