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Anime Review | The Melancholy and the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

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Before I start, I want to talk a bit with all of you who are following my articles (which I hope are a bit more than just Q and my mom. Nah, I’m kidding, my mom would never read this kind of thing.)
I’ve been really busy lately, and I haven’t had enough time to spend on writing. Not the enough time I’d like to have, at least. So, I want to kind of compromise myself with all of you. I’ll try (and believe me, I will) to get at least one article done and up on the site every Friday. At least one.
If I have the time to get another article done in the middle of the week, I’ll let you know. You can follow me on Twitter if you want to keep up with my updates.
Although this article was supposed to be up on Friday, I had it finished today, so I thought I’d just upload it. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Without further ado, let’s get on with what matters to us:

 

Hello to you all my fellow anime fans and followers of this blog! Please, bear with me, because this article is going to be long and a bit confusing. Just like this series, actually…

If you’ve been following my articles, then probably you already know how my “reviews” are; they’re not reviews at all. If I have to label them, they would be a kind of review-personal thoughts-analysis-thingy… Yeah, that.

So, if you liked the kind of format and structure my article about 5 centimeters per second had, then you’d surely feel comfortable here. Otherwise, I suggest you to skip it and go do something else.

Also, I don’t think it’s really necessary to state this at this point, but please expect mayor spoilers. Therefore, if you haven’t watched the series and you don’t want to spoil yourself, you may want to read this before doing so.

I don’t think of this as a spoiler. It’s true that I tell almost the entire story here, but one thing is to read about it and another is actually watching it. And those are, at least for me, two completely different things. I see no trouble in reading this without knowing what this series is about and also enjoy watching it afterwards.

Nevertheless, we all have different points of view about it, so please have that in mind.

Let’s not waste any more time and get started here:

 

The Melancholy and the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

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Life is dull, plain and simple; that’s the sour truth little Haruhi had to confront every day of her whole life. There was a time when her world shone bright, and she thought she was special, but soon after she discovered she wasn’t really different from everybody else.

If everybody’s special, that would mean no one is. We are all just ordinary creatures, living in a simple and mundane world, experiencing a previously-shaped and structured reality. We’re just pretending to be special, that’s all.

That was the inevitable truth for her.

Regardless of it, she kept hoping to experience something out of the ordinary, something magic, odd, weird and strange, for at least once in her life. She hoped and dreamt for it for such a long time that one day, somehow, it became real. Maybe because some kind of joke this vast universe, that we know nothing about, felt like playing on her.

Her thoughts, feelings and ideas took shape and form in her real world. The creations from her mind were becoming tangible in front of her own eyes.

Her world suddenly stopped being simple, dull and plain, and became unique and special, just as she always wanted.

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Nevertheless, she was oblivious to the magic happening around her. She couldn’t see this new world that was revealing itself before her.

That was for the better actually, because as we stated, her thoughts became reality in her world, and therefore everybody else’s world. If she would happen to want, say, a third world war to become true, then they’d all be doomed. So, the fact that she wasn’t able to recognize her tremendous godlike power was, actually, something good.

Because of this, she needed some kind of guidance. A huge power carry a huge responsibility, so she needed to be controlled. That responsibility fell upon the hands of three particular people. Three people that were “born” from Haruhi’s deepest thoughts. She hoped for aliens, time travellers and people with magic powers to be real, therefore an alien, a time traveller, and an esper* were the best candidates to be manifested in this world and to enter in her life.

All of them were created by Haruhi’s power, therefore they were the chosen ones to keep an eye on her. There was one more person involved in this, though, and perhaps the most important one: Kyon, your average high-schooler with nothing special about him.

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From left to right: Itsuki, Yuki, Mikuru, Haruhi, Kyon.

 

How come such a normal guy like him ends up involved in such an everything-but-normal situation like that? Well, maybe, and just maybe, Haruhi always hoped for all those special, weird, odd and illogical things to be real, but perhaps she hoped to find a bit of all that in someone else. Someone who was part of that normal world she hated so much.

Maybe, and just maybe, that is why the most important person to her is neither an alien, a time traveller, nor someone with magic powers; that person happens to be someone normal that accepts the abnormality around her and doesn’t question its nature.

Maybe, and just maybe, Kyon entered her world, her reality, her life, and became the one to guide her and protect her from herself.

Maybe, and just maybe.

*: The term esper usually refers to an individual capable of telepathy or other similar paranormal abilities.

 

Hence, let me welcome you all to this wonderful universe, which title happens to do reference to the main thing about it: The odd, hyperactive, bizarre, willful, un-mannered and extremely cute Haruhi Suzumiya.

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The first season is really the whole series, as the second one doesn’t add anything substantial to the plot, or the story, whatsoever. It only helps us to understand this universe a little better.

The characters of this series are one of the strongest ones I’ve ever seen. Not in a literal way, of course. What I mean is that they are true to their personalities almost the entire time.

Although they certainly experience a growth in their personalities, Yuki never stops being Yuki, Kyon never stops being Kyon and, of course, Haruhi NEVER stops being Haruhi. I personally believe that Character-Driven stories are the best ones, and maybe that’s why I love this series so much.

Their development is rather slow, but solid, and getting to know them is arguably the best thing in this series. You can’t have a good story without good characters, but you actually can have good characters without a good story. Fortunately, this series has both of them. I may even say that they’re more than good.

Let’s dig in a little about the characters, shall we?

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Nagato Yuki: She’s an alien with tremendous powers. There’s nothing more to say about her, except that she was “sent to earth” to keep an eye on Haruhi. She doesn’t have human emotions, and the writers knew how to make it look really believable. Actually, the fact that she has no emotions at all is what unchains the events of the movie, where she takes a lot more protagonism than before, and actually becomes a fully fleshed out character.

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Asahina Mikuru: A time traveller. She, and her organization, wants to protect haruhi, and the entire world for that matter, from herself. So, she was sent back in time to befriend her and, with the help of the others, keep an eye on her.

Despite of that, her personality doesn’t match what you would expect a time traveller to be. She is really innocent and doesn’t seem to have a strong personality, which makes her the perfect toy for haruhi to play, and perhaps that’s why she was chosen to fulfil this job. Also, she is so cute it has to be illegal.

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Koizumi Itsuki: A normal-looking guy who is, in reality, a member of an organization devoted to protect the world from the anomalies caused by Haruhi’s powers which include, but not limited to, closed spaces and giants made of… Energy? That destroy almost everything. Oh, and he also is an esper. Yeah… That.

Besides all that, he always has a calmed and warm expression on his face while almost always knowing exactly what to do. A pretty cool guy if you ask me.

And, of course, the most important ones:

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Kyon: Your normal-looking and average high-school boy. He has nothing special about him, and that ends up being the most special thing about him. He’s probably the most special character in the whole series. I’m using the word special pretty often, I know. It’s because it’s… Special.

Suzumiya Haruhi: A girl, who happens to be something similar to a god. I mean, she has godlike powers, but she is oblivious to them, thankfully. She is an escapist; always trying to live in her imaginary world (which turns out to be quite real).

 

The whole series is marvellous, but I believe they serve more as an introduction to the movie than anything else, which is practically 7 episodes long.

Don’t get me wrong, the series is really great, exciting and funny and it even has some action-packaged moments inside it.

But the movie is where things get real.

So, after all this talking about the movie… What the hell happens in the movie?

Well…

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Kyon’s life has changed, and he has a hard time getting used to it. But he likes it. It may not be an easy life, but is a lot warmer than it was before. He enjoys the stress his new friends make him go through. He hates, and at the same time loves, all the illogical and stupid things Haruhi makes him go through.

His “changed” life starts feeling normal, in a good way.

But one day, everything changes. Again…

It’s a cold winter morning; Haruhi had made plans for the Christmas party and, with the help of everybody else, she is going to materialize them. Kyon gets to school to discover that, apparently, a “flu” has been affecting many of his classmates since the past week, and most of them had skipped classes because of it. He feels awkward about this, because until the very last day he was at the soccer field with his classmates talking about their Christmas plans, and about how Kyon’s bad luck had him being the main star in Haruhi’s marvellous plans, the same ones that always bring troubles to him.

Now, everybody’s sick. He doesn’t seem to remember this epidemic attack, and neither their friends seem to understand what he’s so puzzled about.

To make things worse, Ryouko, a blue haired girl that tried to kill him a long time ago, who disappeared after one of Yuki’s magic tricks, is back. As soon as he sees her, he freaks the hell out. Shouting and asking questions no one could understand, he just makes a fool out of himself.

His classmates didn’t know what the hell he was blabbering about, and he ends up understanding that he’s the only one who is out of place. To make things even worse, nobody seems to remember Haruhi either, and Itsuki and his entire classroom had simply vanished. At this point, Kyon’s about to collapse.

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He soon discovers that his world has completely changed, and not in a way he would’ve expected. Everything and everyone has become normal, the way it was probably always supposed to be.

He ends up with only two possibilities:

He must uncover the mysteries of all this, and try to get back to his original world.

Or

Just accept his new reality and try to live in this normal world he always wanted to be in.

But we all know that deep inside he can’t accept the existence of a world where Haruhi doesn’t exist, and he is aware of this.

“People that shouldn’t be here, is, and people who should be here, isn’t. If I haven’t gone nuts, then the entire world has.”

Kyon mumbles this sentence as a prologue to what would be almost two and a half hours of what an excellent script can do in an animated film.

After a while, we discover that this whole reality… Change… Thingy… Is made by someone in particular.

This particular being thinks that feelings and emotions are irrational, and therefore, they must be an error in her thought process. So, in order to prevent herself from functioning illogically, she reverts everything to its normal version, or at least a stable version of it, to make sure that something like that never happens.

That being is our kind-hearted alien, Yuki.

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Yuki as a real girl trying to beat her shyness to ask Kyon if  he’d like to join her club. God damn she is cute

 

She creates a world where everything our characters accepted as reality, stops being so. She creates an ordinary world.

Everything returns to normal and life can keep going on like nothing happened. That would be the end of all of their troubles, wouldn’t it?

Well, the fact that Kyon is apparently the only one who remembers what is supposed to be normal is the only flaw in this theory. He is eager to bring back everything to how it used to be, and he then embarks to discover the truth.

Why Kyon’s the only one who doesn’t change? Well, that’s because Yuki wanted him to make the decision. Yuki wanted him to choose between which reality was better. He was the one who had to choose in which world he wanted to live in. And so he did.

I’m not going to spoil the end of this movie, but is one of the best goddamn things I’ve ever seen. This is a clear example on how efficient a good script can be in a story. And, considering this anime is based on a light novel, that was practically a given.

The thing I liked the most about this movie is how they wrap up everything together while not doing it at all. You really feel that they explain everything without really explaining any of it.

If you have gone through the review-personal thoughts-analysis-thingy I did about 5 centimeters per second a couple of weeks ago, then you already know how I like simple things that end up being nothing but simple, and this series fits that description perfectly.

I also want to highlight the ambience of the series, and mainly the movie. It is gorgeous.

For example, I found simply perfect the fact that they used Gymnopédie, composed by Erik Satie, to make the ambience for some scenes in the movie.

DisappearanceOfHaruhiSuzumiyaEnd

Gymnopédie is quite a special composition, because is made on “modal” harmonies. It’s a different way of structuring music, at least different than what we are used to hear in today’s music. I love to hear this kind of classical piano pieces, and it’s really charming to find them on a film like this.

There are only a few series that can portray such a good atmosphere with such simplicity for their scenes like this one does.

I believe the true motive of this series is to explain that the Truth is only the Truth because we choose to believe so. There’s no truth, there’s no reality, and it only becomes so because we believe so.

If someday our entire world changes, could it be we had been living in a dream all this time? Could we just accept this new “truth” that has been imposed to us so abruptly? Or would we rather try the best we can to get back to what we once believed was the one and only Truth? What if only dreams are real, and reality is merely a dream?

Even so, is it really bad living in lie? Or at least, what we believe is a lie… After all, a lie to us could be an undeniable truth to someone else, and vice versa…

And in the end, we can’t help to choose happiness over everything else, can we? What’s better? An undeniable truth that makes us unhappy, or an apparent lie that makes us happy?

There’s a lot to think about this, don’t you believe? That’s what I really love about this series, it makes you wonder. It really makes you wonder.

 

P.D.: If you enjoyed the series, you can try to read the Light Novels or the Manga. There are currently 10 volumes of the LN (don’t know about the manga). I happen to own almost all of those volumes, and have read almost the same amount.

There is a lot more to discover of this puzzling universe, and I’m really glad I still have a long way ahead to actually finish reading about it.

I would highly recommend all of you to look for them.

 

And, as always, thanks for reading.

“Chronology” (PC) – Video + Review!

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1 Comment

  1. I loved season one and the movie. Endless Eight however killed my interest in the series.

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