Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya (An Anime in Review)

As most of you probably all ready know, I am a huge anime geek! When I manage to grab hold of some freetime, you will usually find me in front of my computer soaking in whatever piece of Japanese animation I can find on YouTube. Alot of it is really quite invovling, with characters constantly developing and changing depending on what kind of weird situations the writers feel like throwing them in this week. Brothers turn against brothers, wars rage out over fantasy landscapes, all that good stuff. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is perhaps the stupidest anime series I have ever watched, but not in a bad way. This is one of those shows that is so stupid and upsurd that you can't help but wonder "what were these guys on?" Again, not neccesairly a bad thing. Infact, with the right mindset, it can be a very good thing!

Let me first start out by saying that this series has a very uneven feel. It can often feel like two different shows mixed into one, each episode switching between tones so quickly that it will no doubt leave some viewers with a case of whiplash. About two-thirds of the series is complete and total junk food, throwing you into one weird (and often hysterical) situation after another. The other third is an often confusing sci-fi/drama where the very fate of the universe revovles around the happiness of one high-school student. Although there were times when I had no idea what was going on, I never found myself bored. Most of the thanks goes towards the show's main character Haruhi, who manages to pull the entire mess together through sheer force of personality. The rest of the cast isn't bad either, consisting of your usual array of delightful anime sterotypes (cute clueless girl, quiet shy girl, smart-ass guy, just plain smart guy, ect). The show is fun, even though the entire thing is really a sugar filled train wreck.

Actually... did I fail to mention that the creators purposely released the episodes out of order to confuse people? One odd thing about this show, is that if you watch it in its orginal order, the timeline is all messed up. You'll be watching one episode that is set at the begginning of the school year, then it'll jump ahead and start an episode that is midway through the school year. To further your confusion, they always feel its necessary to show flashbacks to episodes that you haven't even gotten to yet. Of course, you won't have this issue if you watch the episodes in their correct chronological order.. but first you'll have to figure out what order that is. Which means you'll end up watching the series out of order anyways (unless you cheat and look up the proper order online). *shakes head* It's a really trippy fun ride, I'll give it that.

The ending theme of the show as performed by a bunch of cos-playing nerds. I love them all!

The continuing episode quality could have been better. There were a couple stories that felt rather rehased and uninspired, and after watching several episodes of pure zippy insanity, they tend to stick out. None of the episodes were truly bad, but there is a definite quality difference between them. For instance, Episode 1 was a real knock-out homerun episode. Funny from start to finish. Then the next episode after that is just midly entertaining. Then there's another fantastic episode followed by an average one and such and so forth. This is a general flaw in most televised shows, but it is particularly apparent here.

Against my better judgement, I couldn't help but like this show. It's funny, insane, and unusually difficult to follow. Is it worth the ride? Yes and no. "Yes" if you love surreal humor, "no" if you don't feel like taking the risk of possibly rotting your brain.

Rating: B-

This intro really doesn't express how weird this show is.

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