The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi
Rating: [ 10/10 ]
As expected of the anime crowned the Fav anime series of 2006 @ anime-source.com . It is without a doubt a fantastic series. Indeed, one must not judge a book by its cover and dismiss Suzumiya Haruhi no yuutsu as a mere Lolita-school-life comedy and nothing more. Of all anime I have ever watched, this has the most unique plot and most unique (and outstanding) character.
And thus begins the legendary Haruhi-ism.
Who said sci-fi genres must always have big-guns, spaceships and big robots? Of all anime I have ever watched, this is definitely the only one to have profound discussions of Philosophy and Science Theories in a simple and seemingly typical school life environment. Not to forget the subtle romance and hilarious comedy aspects.
This has got to be the most original series, be it in terms of concept or story line, ever. The way the story progress was rather unexpected for me, as I certainly didn’t expect sci-fi elements in this seemingly normal school environment. I had fun watching the series and I’ll have to say there is no boring moment, with every scene delivered excellently at the right dose: no overkill, redundant stuff or underdeveloped situations.
Why take life so seriously and lead life in such a boring manner when life itself is already so mundane? That is the message I get when watching SHnY, which I consider a refreshing outlook at life, in how Haruhi attempts to make an otherwise mundane school life interesting; or rather, an unorthodox perspective. Why unorthodox? Because while there are so many slice-of-life anime out there with their own concepts of expressing the theme of living life differently/interestingly, none are as unique or memorable as SHnY. Another notable factor about SHnY is how it maintains a certain air of innocence and fun throughout the series.
Then there’s also the part about Haruhi being hailed as “God”. True, there are lots of anime with the concept of “high-school protagonist with special powers”, but SHnY certainly has taken that idea to a whole new level. In addition, while many find the idea of messing up the chronological idea annoying and confusing, I personally liked the idea. I presume they are trying to make some sort of reference to the Time traveling concept, which is rather innovative. (Especially in the Light Novel series, which complicates the matter by introducing alternate time lines and dimensions/worlds)
The main focus is obviously on Haruhi and Kyon, so not much emphasis is placed on the side cast (namely Koizumi, Mikuru and Nagato, who are in fact rather generic archetypes in anime). And it certainly was a great achievement in fleshing out the personality of Haruhi, who is crafted as being enthusiastic, hyper and bossy (tyrant) without being considered annoying. Throw in the sarcastic narration by Kyon as he comments on Haruhi’s antics —- WIN! The gags between Haruhi’s overzealous actions and Kyon’s exasperated expressions are priceless. Indeed, the scenes are perfected by their seiyuu, with Hirano Aya bringing out Haruhi’s hyper active voice and energetic personality paired with Sugita Tomokazu voicing out Kyon’s sarcastic narration very well. To me, Haruhi has got to be most eccentric and the same time, most lovable character ever.
Animation is fluid and its quality (and effort put in by the production crew) is evident in the little actions and gestures by Haruhi, the occasional shocked reactions by Kyon, as well as the actions by some of the other characters. Most importantly, they manage to capture Haruhi’s expressions very vividly: from her sparkling face to her sulking, to the annoyed face and so on. The again, this is KyoAni we’re talking about: of course the art quality is fantastic!
The music is splendid and the OP and ED are among my list of favorite anime themes. The background music used is also very suitable, giving the series a very cheerful, light and lively atmosphere. There’s also the two insert clips played by Haruhi during their school concert, which showcase Hirano Aya’s talent not just as a seiyuu, but also as a singer. (Though that has pretty much been shown already, in the OP/ED.) Of course, one must not forget the epic dance routine in the ED.
This one’s a winner in every way. The way the series ends is also very memorable.
If possible, I highly recommend reading the Light Novel series along with watching the anime. (there are some aspects which aren’t in the anime, while some scenes are shown in the anime, but not in the novel.)
Personal Overall Rating: an overwhelming 100%+++