Totoro-san

Explorations in Japanese Culture

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

2006; 2009; 2010

Number of Episodes: 14; 28 + Movie

Synopsis

On the first day of high school a beautiful girl named Haruhi Suzumiya introduces herself as having “no interest in ordinary humans”. She asks for any aliens, time travelers, sliders or espers to join her. Watching her weird behaviour is Kyon who sits in front of Haruhi and is the only person who talks to her. When Kyon comments about Haruhi’s joining every club in school and then quitting he unwittingly gives Haruhi an idea to start her own after school club. Thereafter Kyon and several others find themselves dragged, literally, into the Save our world by Overloading it with fun Suzumiya Haruhi’s Brigade (the S.O.S. Brigade for short). – Anime News Network

What I Love

I hate to start this out so blandly, but I really love just about everything when it comes to this anime! When I look at animes I really focus on characters and story, while there are many that I like for other stylistic reasons (FLCL), when it comes to Haruhi, the characters really jump out at me. Now, the main character of Haruhi Suzumiya may really turn some viewers off from this anime. She is pushy, loud and demands what she wants from other people. That is what I love about her though, she is not your typical female lead (though the show does have soft spoken female characters) and I find that she is endearing for that reason. The show essentially centers around everyone trying to please her and the consequences of not doing so. I am also drawn to the sci-fi elements of the show, a lot of animes have sci-fi in the form of space and robots, but Haruhi focuses more on time travel, espers, and androids. The show has some really great characters, and that to me is the big selling point. I fell in love with each one of them for a different reason (except Koizumi…he is a little more bland).

Favorite Character

With a show like Haruhi, it is really hard to pick a favorite character when I feel so strongly about so many of them. Overall though, I think I will have to go with Yuki Nagato. Nagato is the silent observer that has a lot more complexity to her. She is the one that sits in the corner watching all the craziness happen and really just does what is asked of her. She has a calm and patient demanour, never really getting that excited about much of anything. She enjoys reading and spends most of her time doing such when she has not been dragged in to the demands of Haruhi. She is a good character in the series, but she really begins to shine in the movie, which really led me to give her the top spot.

What You Should Know

When I was thinking on how to organize these posts, this section was created specifically for this anime! The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzamiya is based off of a light novel series in Japan, then a manga and then an anime. The first season was 14 episodes, and was aired in non-linear order in Japan in 2006. A second season was announced and was aired in 2008, which showed the original episodes in chronological order along with the new episodes mixed in to them. This is often referred to as the renewal of the series, bringing the episode count up to 28.

Many critique the “Endless 8” episodes of this renewal, because it is 8 straight episodes of an endless loop, when the plot is the same in each episode because the characters are stuck in an endless time loop. I however still enjoyed the episodes for their special charm as each one is unique in that it was re-animated differently for each episode with very very slight tweaks. This can be boring for some, so trust me, it is so if you want to just watch the first and last episode of this arc to keep moving. In 2010 a movie was released, which is a sequel to the renewal, called “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.” This is one of the best anime movies out there in my opinion, I can not say enough good things about it. BE WARNED!!! It is a SEQUEL, so watch it AFTER you FINISH THE SERIES!

I suggest you watch the renewal of the series, as to me it is the complete picture of the anime in chronological order. To me it is easier to keep up with it that way and I think that you will find the most enjoyment out of the series as a whole.

Where to Start

This is actually a simple one, since it is a basic 28 episode series I would suggest simply starting at episode 1. If you get confused on episode order, then I suggest referencing the Wiki Page episode list. I can not recommend this anime enough, and make sure that you watch the movie!!!

Any questions? Love this anime? Hate it? Favorite memories? Let me know in the comments!

One comment on “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

  1. Veronica
    October 13, 2011

    This series sounds interesting. Another to start on after Ouran!

    The only thing that confuses me is “The Endless 8” you referred to. You say it’s the same plot? It’s it shown in different prespectives? How would that work? Is it almost like “Groundhog Day”? I guess I’ll find out when I watch it!

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