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SnickerdoodleNinja's The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi Tv Review

The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi

The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi tv Review

Haruhi Suzumiya is a beautiful first year high school student who is smart, athletic, and won't turn down any guy who asks her out. The problem is that she isn't interested in anyone or anything who isn't an alien, time traveler, slider, or ESPer - as such no guy has lasted for more than a week with her.

When she realizes that none of the clubs at school cater to her highly eccentric tastes, she drafts her classmate, Kyon (the narrator and voice of reason) and forms the "Suzumiya Haruhi's Save our World by Overloading it with Fun" Brigade (the S.O.S. Brigade for short). Nobody quite knows what the club does other than to satisfy the whims of Haruhi, but it is becoming evident that there is more to Haruhi than it seems, and that there may be more truth to her delusional beliefs than reason would leave most to believe.

Story & Characters

Long before the start of High School, young Kyon had given up on the idea of aliens and UFOs, but soon finds all of his ideas of reality compromised after Haruhi, a beautiful and eccentric classmate of his, drags him into helping her create the SOS Brigade- a school club determined to find espers, aliens, time travelers-basically, anything out of the ordinary. Now, with a club of four other members who aren’t quite what they seem, Kyon struggles to figure out the strange occurrences revolving around Haruhi while maintaining his sanity, satisfying Haruhi’s outrageous demands, and deciphering his own role in the madness all at the same time.

Truth be told, Melancholy (as the series will from now on be referred to) has a very fun and interesting premise. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t seem to know where it wants to go-it advertises itself as a comedy, yet also tries to have a decent story, only to fall flat on its face. For a comedy, Melancholy has tons of potential, yet all too often lacks originality and usually settles for providing comedy through making a large-bosomed, shy young girl wear ridiculous and often showy outfits. For something story-based, Melancholy lacks sufficient character development and bonds. While it is neat to see how some of the brigade members become attached to Kyon, it’s truly disappointing that most of the characters do not grow or depend on each other as they easily could have. Another issue with the story is that it seems to think it is philosophical. However, to say that the series is philosophical would imply that it is thought-provoking, which applies to all of about five minutes of the show as Haruhi explains the reason for her eccentricity and another character discusses the anthropic principle. Everything else is merely science fiction-almost like an anime version of a bad 80s sci-fi film that takes itself too seriously. As a whole, Melancholy’s story and humor is crushed by the weight of its own ambition and half-baked development of both areas.

The characters are easily the best and worst things about Melancholy’s story. Of the five main characters, two are plain stereotypes, one is original but frustratingly unchanging, and two are fascinating. For one, you have Itsuki, a mysterious transfer student whose only real personality trait seems to be being mysterious. In fact, his sole role in the story seems to be that of a convenient plot device who spouts off knowledge about the strange occurrences surrounding Haruhi. Conversely, the cute and well-endowed Mikuru’s role is merely to be a sexy yet shy group mascot that can’t stand up for herself. Granted, it’s made clear in the series that these two are supposed to be stereotypes, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re not very interesting. Haruhi, original and quirky as she is, never seems to grow up from her bossy, self-centered nature despite being the titular character. While she does get some depth, as she reveals her reasons for her eccentricity and appears to get jealous of other girls near Kyon, she doesn’t seem to get much love from the people creating the show. This finally brings me to the interesting characters, Yuki and Kyon. While Yuki somewhat falls into the category of a stereotypical “silent girl who seems to have no emotions,” her lack of speech actually makes her few lines that much more revealing. It’s extremely interesting to watch as she slowly shows her concern for Kyon as well as her competitive nature. However, interesting as Yuki is, she’s nothing compared to Kyon, the dry-humored conscience of the SOS Brigade. Kyon, though hard to put into words, is the most gripping aspect of Melancholy, narrating the events of the series while revealing his quirky personality beneath his normal appearance. Without Kyon to tie them together, the other characters would all fall apart.

Before I end this long story section and assign a rating, it’s important to mention the confusing episode order of Melancholy and its pacing. In chronological order, the episodes of Melancholy consist of six story episodes followed by eight filler ones. This order makes for horrendous pacing, as the series reaches its obvious climax half-way through only to give you eight random episodes afterwards. However, when Melancholy was first aired on television, it was aired in nonlinear order, which opens a whole ‘nother can of worms. In this order, characters appear in fillers before officially introduced in the story, not to mention that one moment you’ll be in spring and next you’ll be in the previous winter. To those who haven’t seen the show before, it will probably seem as if they missed an episode, when that is most likely not the case. Of course, there are benefits to this order, one of which is better pacing. The other benefit is that the last story episode seems to better wrap-up everything when at the end of the season, as you can better piece together what Haruhi means to each character-Kyon in particular- and enjoy the climax without eight goofy episodes afterwards.

Rating: 3

Art

For all its story shortcomings, Melancholy has fantastic art. Noizi Ito’s distinct art style is consistent and detailed, so you never have to worry about those odd moments when artwork takes a sudden dive in quality. Colors are not very vibrant and backgrounds are not particularly eye-catching, but the artwork perfectly captures the feel of ordinary life in every episode-which is somewhat ironic, considering that the premise of Melancholy seems to be searching for something out of the ordinary.

Rather than the backgrounds, the characters are center-stage in terms of artwork. Every character’s facial expressions are distinct and, well, expressive. Every emotion that crosses Kyon’s face is accurately conveyed by the art, while every other character also has their own unique expressions.

Rating: 8

Sound

Both the opening and ending of Melancholy are fun, but unremarkable. While the lyrics accurately portray Haruhi’s overall outlook on life, neither track is particularly exciting to listen to. The ending does give one the urge to dance, but that’s more due to the choreographed dance performed by the characters than the music itself.

While background music is usually either inexistent or beyond notice and the series songs are so-so, Melancholy’s voice acting is a step above average, with both languages performing admirably. Haruhi’s Japanese voice actress is a bit more suited to Haruhi’s hyper and loud speech than her English one, but neither version is something to scoff at. Itsuki, Yuki, and Mikuru all have decent, fitting voices in both languages, but it is once again Kyon’s voice acting that is the most remarkable. While his Japanese voice fits, Crispin Freeman perfectly captures both his quirks and normalcy. And no, I’m not just saying that because Crispin Freeman has a voice that sounds like it should belong to a Greek god and I’m a huge fan of his. He really does pull of Kyon’s dry humor and personality without a hitch.

Rating: 6

Presentation

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is an original show with an original premise and painfully unoriginal humor, despite the fact that it presents itself as a comedy. Considering that the series revolves around the supernatural, the sky was the limit in terms of originality and possibility. Actually, not even the sky was the limit-provided the creators had the originality, anything was possible for Kyon and his friends-which just makes it that much more depressing that the series settles for fan-service humor and filler episodes such as the typical baseball outing without providing enough of a twist to make them memorable. That said, there are a few episodes that really shine-namely the Star Trek style gaming battle and the character-made movie detailing the adventures of a battle waitress from outer space. Had the developers put as much effort into all the episodes as they did those two, Melancholy would be a top-notch anime. Unfortunately, they didn’t, and instead Melancholy is a so-so anime that could have been so much more.

Despite the fact that the pacing, story, and humor were poorly executed for the most part, Melancholy does have some redeeming features that make it worth watching, particularly the normal and at the same time bizarre Kyon. The episodes, despite their flaws, are still interesting to watch and might be worthwhile for those looking for a neat anime, but all should be forewarned: after considering what Melancholy is and what it could have been, you might just find that you feel a bit melancholy yourself.

Rating: 3

Final Verdict

4.33 (below average)

Reviewed by SnickerdoodleNinja, Jul 31, 2011

Comments

  1. CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Jul 31, 2011

    While I enjoyed Haruhi far more than I enjoyed Lucky Star, I ran into the same problems that you did. I originally watched the subbed version of this and was aw-stuck and confused all at the same time and while I felt that the DVD release was loads better, it just was not nearly as good as it could of been or as it's hyped out to be.

    Haruhi is probably one of the worst characters I've seen in an anime in a long time and still remains to be. While her character certainly had a great deal of potential behind it, the fact that she constantly abuses Mikuru only leads to the fact that, bluntly speaking, Haruhi is a self-centered jerk. Granted, after watching the entire series it makes a bit more sense why, but she treats everyone around her like dirt. The whole time I was watching this series, I kept trying to figure out one very major question. "Why should I care about what this character does or what happens to her?"

    I would of much rather preferred a focal story around Kyon and Yuki and the story that was behind her. Honestly speaking, that was my favorite part of the TV show. Without either of those characters, the show would of been a huge flop. I've been meaning to watch the extended 22 episode anime and comedy spin-off, but I just don't know if I can bring myself to do so.

    You did a wonderful job with the review, Snicker, and well covered the entire story while not exposing any spoilers. Great work! Crispin ftw as well!

  2. AmuGirlFan Aug 01, 2011

    WTF?! A 4 really? REALLY?! This anime is a 8 no matter what anybody says.

  3. evelluchia Aug 01, 2011

    i enjoied this series mainly because it was pretty fun to watch but i did find it pretty random and hard to follow till it started to get into the story then it got more interisting

  4. z827 Aug 01, 2011

    *salutes*

    Now you have incurred the wrath of fanboys and girls of the supposed GOD in all corners of the realm.

    But... *shrugs* Truth be told , every single word is as true as the day itself.
    The problematic shifts of the plotline and various other issues really knocked it out of the ring.
    I have to agree with Cyan that she bullies Mikuru a little too much so - rather than being self-centered I think she's just dense and oblivious to those around her.

    I pretty much found myself dragging through the season after five or ten episodes ( I forgot... ) and the only thing I remember from the entire Anime was Haruhi doing a jump kick on... Kyon was it?
    Alas , this review holds so much truth that I doubt even fanboys and girls can do anything to counter it XD

    *scratches head* Well , time for me to post another review I suppose.

  5. BlackBahamut Aug 01, 2011

    I mostly agree with the review as well.
    That the episodes were aired in a "confusing" order might be what made it intresting for many people though, after all, you saw Yuki using her abilities before the watcher even knew anything about her *lol*

    As for the group, only in the "second season" Yuki, Itsuki and Mikuru reveal to Kyon that their groups all have different plans concerning Haruhi, which is the reason that they only work "together" on the outside and generally distrusting each other; felt like adding it in terms of group development *lol*

    The rest is just as you said, and I can

  6. angelxxuan Aug 01, 2011

    another excellent review doodle. and I have to seriously agree with you, I have seen this anime and I have to state it's one of those anime that, even though the plot seriously, pretty much, for a better word, fails, the artwork is quite outstanding, everywhere else, might as well slap the remote on slow FF to speed some through the plot just to finish it and not dull your senses sort of thing.

    from the point of the other person that posted z, yes, yes she did. for those that didn't enjoy it much, we're going to agree happily with her :D

  7. fallenkaze Aug 08, 2011

    As much as I loved the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, I COMPLETELY agree with you..........somehow.
    The characters are for the most part stereotypes(which I think they were meant to be, or the character designer is really bad at there job) and the story never really goes anywhere, especially if you watched it in the "Kyon order"

    Nice review though, I liked how you did'nt spoil anything at all keep up the good work Snicker!

  8. kevin10133 Sep 28, 2011

    i loved the first season of this but i have to agree 100% with everything said, also its freakishly over rated! i cant stress that enough to people... people please is there a freaken reason to make a religion out of this.....

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