I personally love the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and a surprising amount people could either agree or disagree with me on the contrary. The name might leave you wandering as to what kind of show this might be. You might think that this is another slice of life in a school setting but you’d leave out some crutial details. The show is a mixture of many different genres including Science Fiction and Mystery. It’s the kind of concept that might bore some and leave others asking for more. I’ll define it as “Haruhi’s crazy and otherworldly adventures” for now.
We start off with Kyon, who as a kid believed that aliens, espers, time-travelers and evil organizations existed. Now in high school, he has stopped being interested in such trivial things. They can’t possibly exist, right?
As luck would have it, Harushi Suzumiya just so happens to be in his class. She’s odd, energetic, and guess what, she still believes that the supernatural does exist……….somewhere. What seem like generally accepted facts to most don’t apply to her and she’s also thick-headed to add, no one can convince her.
Unluckily for Kyon, she gets the brilliant idea to make her own club from him. Haruhi starts (cough) recruiting new members for the club while he is left to deal with all the mess. After getting enough members, Haruhi establishes the ‘SOS Brigade’ right on the spot. Everyone in the room don’t have the slightest idea as to the club’s activities or anything else as for that matter. What the hell has he done? The club’s name is laughable and are they supposed to help old grannies walk around with chopsticks….walking sticks or something?
The story is actually very entertaining and the execution is solid, you never would have thought that they could turn it into such an enjoyable experience. An event or occurrence pops up every few episodes and the SOS Brigade are always involved. The club members essentially have to put up with Haruhi’s endless annoyances and bizarre interests. She will seem like a huge asshole at the start of the show but watch on. Basically, Kyon has to get out of his way to stop her doing something extreme.
As much as a chore she might seem for Kyon and everyone on the team, they just can’t help it cause she’s a god after all. What do I mean by GOD? Well, I meant someone possessing the ability to make miracles happen, change the properties of any object without ever blinking and resetting the universe. Shivers! Seriously, she can do twenty backflips…….No, I’m joking. The series has a lot of workarounds because of this, like some saying that it was Kyon’s unconscious mind behind it all due to his desire for aliens, time-travelers, and espers to actually exist.
“With any great power, comes great responsibility” is what I would like to say in this case (without quoting every spider man movie in existence).
If you’re thinking the club just messes around keeping Haruhi from destroying the world, half of what you think is true, they keep an eye on Haruhi but the story is surprisingly complicated and well written in my opinion. There is a fair number of scientific theories explored, topped off with an ever looming sense of unpredictability. Alien Crickets? A magic baseball bat? Humanoid ultra-dimensional beings? Oh, oh, A Sonic Death Ray!? No Death Ray? Not fair!
The gang go on a vacation to a remote island, screen a movie for the cultural festival, play against the computer club in a video game they made. And what else? Ah, and they experience summer break over 15,000 times. Not bad right?
You’re not left in the dark to figure it out yourself though. The characters come up with their own theories of why Haruhi has so much power in her hands, and why the universe mysteriously obeys her every thought. It’s very interesting stuff to a science geek, bound to click your eyes in place on the screen. Looking for hard science fiction? Don’t pass this one off. By the way, black holes are over used IMO.
To be honest, me and Haruhi have a love or hate kind of relationship. I absolutely hate her for being a total jerk at times. She is a huge pain for everyone in their little group, especially Kyon. It’s like she has been oblivious to social norms all her life and don’t get me started on how annoying she can be at times. I’ve watched this several times with a friend and she despised Haruhi, ironically, she said this show was shit. Can’t blame her.
Look at the positives, there’s Kyon on our side. Kyon was the most memorable character by a long run. The fact is, Kyon acts like he doesn’t want anything to do with what Haruhi has planned and possibly doesn’t care much about anything, he has a calm way of handling things and generally cares about Haruhi even if he only realizes it later on. He is the only one who can say “No,” to Haruhi, and shows compassion towards her no matter how mistaken she is. It’s similar to when you end liking something you thought was going to be a waste of time. For example, me and chocolate donuts, who would’ve figured?
What if……….What if……… you found out that humans are not the only ones in the universe? What if you found that time travel is possible? What if you found out everything centers around Haruhi’s desires? The entire thing is presented from Kyon’s perspective, so we usually hear his criticism on all the craziness that’s going on. His voice acting is very respectable also, which brings some good old humor to the fights, strange happenings, and downright crazy situations that he’s often gets dragged into. Kyon just wants his normal high school life back. He’s suddenly involved in some mind boggling stuff just because he met Haruhi.
Aside from Kyon, Haruhi and Yuki, the other characters don’t really change as the plot progresses. They don’t give us any insight into their thoughts, we’re left watching empty shells coupled with set-defined personality traits. This is one of the reasons why I won’t recommend it most people, it will get very boring if you’re not interested or paying attention.
On my first watch, I was pleasantly surprised after watching episode 1. I thought this one would go down the drain but I was wrong. Right off the bat Kyon’s sense of humor and Haruhi’s charismatic personality were the main selling points. You’ll be hard pressed to put any one of the two in a particular character archetype or find similarities with other anime characters. And maybe that’s the reason why it is one of my personal favorites. If anyone asks me what exactly makes this show special, it would be the characters and the story that make this shine, and this show is certainly weird after all.
If you’re going to give this a chance, start with season 2. The second season is a re-airing of the first seasons with extra episodes presented in chronicle order whereas the first season was in a non-chronological format.
Sorry for the long wait for just one review guys. I was on a family vacation for three days and the internet there was sloppy. Now that my schedule is in order, I’m thinking of posting my impressions of some popular airing shows so stay tuned for that. As always, thanks for reading my reviews. I know they’re not perfect but still, thanks. See you again!