The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Review
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a dear franchise to me because it is the one series that opened up my then narrow horizons to the vast and wonderful sub genre that was moe, good moe. The first season in this franchise is hailed as the poster boy for bringing a new wave or generation of fans to the fandom. In other words The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a classic. The second season was met with mixed reactions though, as some loyal fans felt disappointed with the ‘gimmick’ of the now infamous ‘endless eight’ arc. So how does the highly anticipated sequel to the second season hold up?
The story starts on the 16th of December of the first year of high school and everything is normal, well atleast by TMoH standards. Kyon is still a lazy, cynical, sarcastic high school kid that needs to be woken up by his little sister every morning. Koizumi, Nagato and the rest of the SOS Brigade are all upto their normal endavours and Haruhi is in the festive spirit getting ready for a SOS Brigade Christmas party that ofcourse everyone is forced to attend. All is well for Kyon and his jovial friends.
However things drastically change on the 18th when no one in the school except Kyon can even remember that a very eccentric girl named Haruhi Suzumiya was in their school. To top it off, Mikuru has no recollection of ever meeting Kyon, Yuki reverts back to wearing spectacles and now displays emotions like a real girl (which is rather tantalising to see), Class 1-9 completely disappears with Koizumi and Asakura is alive again!. Kyon is now faced with a decision whether to keep things as they are or try to find a way to bring back the one girl that caused his life to become a living nightmare…according to him that is.
It is important to note that this is a direct sequel to the second season of Haruhi Suzumiya so any fans that did not watch the second season will not get as much out of it as those who did, better yet any fan that sat through the entirety of endless eight will absolutely marvel at the execution of the story telling in this movie. Every line is deliberate, every single frame of movement has a purpose and every single shade of lighting illuminates or highlights a specific plot point relevant to its visual presentation.
The driving force behind The Haruhi Suzumiya franchise has always been its characters and this movie ups the ante to the max, the viewer is placed in the shoes of Kyon as he desperately tries to figure out what is going on and how to ‘fix’ the situation he has found himself in. Can he even fix it, who caused it, does he need to fix it even? all these questions are presented to the viewer through the now staple and trademark internal monologues of Kyon. The biggest surprise in this movie is Yuki Nagatos character, the entire story is centered on her and not Haruhi per say and this brings fresh life to the series, moe Nagato truly is a sight to behold.
The animation in this film has set the bar extremely high, there are various points in the movie where the frame rate is so high it almost looks like it was rendered in 3D CG. Even unimportant scenes like Kyon and Taniguchi in gym class playing soccer are animated so smoothly that it looks odd, anime never looks this smooth. Opening doors in anime has never looked so amazing.
I would be lying to you if I didnt say one of the main reasons I was looking forward to the Home Video release of Disappearance was the English voice acting. Crispin Freeman is undoubtedly one of the best in the business and this movie may have tested him to his limits. Nearly 3/4 of the movie is a Kyon monologue, he gets excited, angry, shocked, cries, desperate, confused, aroused, sarcastic etc etc and Crispin pulls it all off exceptionally. I was also excited to listen to Stephanie Sheh, Wendee Lee, Johnny Young Bosh, Michelle Ruff, Sam Regal and otaku favourite Kari Wahlgren all reprise their roles as their respective characters. The amazing quality of this dub can NOT be overemphasized, Bang Zoom did an amazing job once again, it will be a very long while before they can top this.
That said, the Japanese Seiyuu come in full force as well, everyones favourite Aya Hirano brings her energy and charisma to Haruhis’ character and you can never expect a horrible performance from Tomokazu Sugita or Daisuke Ono. KyoAni favourite Minoru Shiraishi also makes an appearance as can be expected so fans have all that to look forward to.
This release has a second disc specifically meant for extras. In case you thought you read wrong I will rephrase that statement. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya has 2 (two) separate discs, one of which is solely meant for special features. One of the highlights for me was the behind the scenes recording of the movies soundtrack which was actually done in Australia by the EMINENCE Orchestra, pretty neat huh?
There aren’t any. Okay maybe the length, Ive heard people complain about the length of the movie. But too much of amazing is not necessarily a bad thing is it?
I have seen a lot of anime in my day and not many of them have moved me on so many levels as this movie does. Everytime I watch it I discover something new, loyal fans are rewarded in terms that can only be described as extreme fanservice and even critics of the franchise can atleast appreciate the time and effort that went into crafting this masterpiece of a story.
Final Verdict: BUY IT!!!! This movie will easily make any anime fans Top 10 list and fans of the franchise will forever hold onto this as one of the best experiences of their lives, it certainly is for me atleast.
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is now available from Madman in both DVD and Blu Ray and can also be purchased digitally on PSN or iTunes.