"...Yes, unique....." - Yuki Nagato Suzumiya Haruhi is a unique series that defies the concept of genres. A satire today, a mystery tomorrow, a sci-fi this week, a romance the next. The story begins with a classic Defrosting Ice Queen scenario seen in Slice-of-Life school dramas. Instead of falling in love, said Ice Queen (known as the titular character, Haruhi) drags her Defroster into a series of ZANY HIJINKS after creating an SOS Brigade dedicated to finding ES Pers, aliens, and time travelers. Turns out that she's a Reality Warper and real ES Pers, aliens, and time travelers joined the brigade. The sci-fi backstory, although detailed and intriguing, is really only a template set for many, many expository monologues of which aren't relevant to the rest of the series. So a data lifeform fed off of Haruhi's SOS logo with hyperlinks. Interesting, but what was the point? My favorite part was the first six episodes (Haruhi order), building on the KEY storyline and incorporating real character depth. This series often tries too hard for humor. Most attempted humor is made of the usual Slice-of-Life Fanservice-y fare: nosebleeds, Male Gaze, Rape as Comedy, etc. This troper found their more subtle, satirical humor more funny but less prevalent. This can overlap with the overuse of only occasionally witty narration. No, Kyon, I don't want to hear you SPEAK during a VISUAL GAG! GOT IT?! As a result, humorous points consist of six yawns and one laugh. There are five main characters that all display overused anime character tropes, only one of which displays real character growth. (Haruhi's development happened within five minutes of episode one. Yuki's happens over time.) However, I DO enjoy the fact that the main characters are not trustful of each other, creating tension and the possible arising of hidden motives. The art style is average, as are the backgrounds, character design, and animation, possibly purposeful due to the "mundane" feeling of the Slice-of-Life aspect. Everything gets spit-shined during sci-fi sequences with colorful effects and fluid motion, making the Human Interface battle EPICALLY AWESOME. Overall, tried and true anime tropes are mixed to make an interesting, but not earth-shattering, anime to watch with good sci-fi plots and mediocre comedy.
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