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[The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya]
AKA: 涼宮ハルヒの消失 (Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu)
Genre: Teenage Sci-Fi/Drama
Length: Movie, 164 minute minutes
Distributor: Currently licensed by Bandai Visual
Content Rating:
Related Series: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (both series)
Also Recommended: Season One, and the bearable bits of Season Two. And whatever Sci-Fi title with strong characters you happen to like.
Notes: The Wikipedia article about this one notes that Minori Chihara, Yuki's VA, won an award at the Fifth Annual Seiyu Awards in 2011 for her performance of the closing song, Yasashii Bokyaku (Tender Oblivion). The song is simply wonderful. Plaintive, evocative, steeped in mystery, it sums up Yuki's character precisely, and it's the kind of song Yuki WOULD sing, if she sang songs.
Rating: Five StarsFive StarsFive StarsFive StarsFive Stars

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

Synopsis

Kyon awakens one day to find that many of his friends at school no longer seem to know him, and what's even more shocking, no one seems to have heard of Haruhi. Can he find the clues to lead him back to the world he knows?


Review

"Why did they make you so melancholy?"
-Kyon, ruminating on Yuki's creators

Good science fiction isn't just about putting people in outrageous situations; it's about how they cope with the situations, what they learn about themselves and others in the process, and whether they grow (or not) from the experience. All the anime titles I love-The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Noein, Simoun-are like that.

A large part of my reservations about the other Haruhi incarnations-First Season somewhat, Second Season much more, and the Endless Eight episodes of Second Season most of all-is that the creators of the show were often so enamored of their own cleverness in creating the outrageous situations that they seemed to have forgotten to put much of a human drama in there. I am VERY pleased to note that this installment of the series has redressed all my grievances, and more.

But before I get to that, I'd like to praise a few other things. The art is beautiful. The character designs haven't greatly changed, but they're all crisply done, and the colors are vibrant. Music is exceptional too; besides the welcome return of the First Season opening song, the show has a piano score featuring "Gymnopedia" as a mood-setter, and it was actually a perfect choice for this less-comical, more-reflective story.

While Koizumi's part here is relatively small (though he does make an interesting confession), Kyon and the girls get lots of screen time, and Yuki most of all-in fact, she's really the star of this one. When first faced with the Outrageous Situation (see synopsis), Kyon naturally seeks her out. This Yuki seems very timid and at first she also says she doesn't know him, then concedes she met him once, but we know right away that she's hiding something. He's with her in the clubroom (which is still the Literary Club in this world) when he discovers the first clue to lead him back to his own world, though in some ways the one he's in isn't so different-the people who were "Good Crazy" in his own world are so here; but unfortunately, the "Bad Crazy" ones are as well.

I have just a few minor complaints about this one, my major one being that I think I missed how one gets to the ending it has from the events immediately preceding the ending. Kyon seems a bit overly egocentric too, though I'm not sure if that is blinding him to something important about Yuki, or whether he's just pretending not to notice it. But I ended up loving Yuki more than ever, and I'm even feeling a little warmer toward Mikuru, though I can't say she's really won my heart-either one of her.

A darker, more thoughtful adventure, and yet one that at bottom is about the yearnings of the human heart, and heartily recommended. Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: There's a bit of shocking violence toward the end, but otherwise nothing objectionable. The show does assume some familiarity with the characters and their previous adventures, so better for fans. The plot gets pretty convoluted too, and therefore likely to bore and confuse younger viewers, so I recommend this to my usual Older Teens and Up.



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (1/1)
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya © 2009 Nagaru Tanigawa ・Noizi Ito / SOS団
 
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