Reviews: Haruhi Suzumiya

Enjoyable, but could be much better.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is not an amazing masterpiece, but it's not an awful piece of garbage, either. The series has its strong points: the humour is plentiful and genuinely funny, Haruhi is one of the most unique anime characters in a long time (she can't be summed up with a single word or short phrase like "tsundere" or "childhood friend"), and the Sci-Fi plots tend to be intriguing, if a tad complicated & confusing.

However, the series has quite a few flaws, more so than its (once) mass popularity would indicate. The series is full of shameless otaku pandering, with Mikuru Asahina being by far the worst example, as she's not much more than an excuse to sell slutty bunnygirl suit-wearing PVC figures. She serves little purpose in the narrative besides providing the obligatory moe. Speaking of the bunnygirl suits, they're part of the series rather irritating fanservice - fanservice is a staple of modern anime, I know, but that doesn't change the fact that it bothered me. The series as a whole places more focus on the slice of life mundanity than the Sci-Fi drama, which, considering all the slice of life anime/manga out there, is more than a little disappointing.

Most of the characters are static and unchanging. Nagato is easily the most interesting and well-developed character over the course of series (befitting as a Rei Ayanami rip-off), going from silent & stoic to...well, still silent & stoic, but with a slightly-bigger emotional range mostly made up of kindness. This is best shown in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, the dramatic high point of the series. Haruhi is unique & original, as mentioned above, but she gets pushed to the background as the series goes on. Koizumi is mostly useless except to spout exposition a few times. Kyon is the only truly likable character in the entire series for me.

There are many different adaptations of the series across the board, each with their own strengths and faults. The Gaku Tsugano manga is mediocre and should be avoided. The Kyo Ani anime is where the series got its massive popularity and is mostly a good adaptation, excluding the tedious Endless Eight. The light novels are the source material, and they're written with the quality you'd expect from a light novel, i.e., breezy & informal with no pretensions to literary. Overall score: 7/10.

I got into this series late, but I like it.

I got into this series only this April. I saw it here and there before, but I have only a few vague memories of it. Anyway, I guess it's like how a hipster is, only that I didn't like it till long after it was cool! (Bad joke, I know.)

What hooked me was that it was about a girl with god-like powers, but who didn't know she had them. It led me to reading more and more about this series till I found ways to view it myself. I've since bought some of the e-books of the novels, the e-books of all the manga, and the e-books of all the spin-off manga Nagato Yuki-chan.

Probably my favorite character is Yuki Nagato. She's fairly interesting as a humanoid interface created by the data integration thought entity (DITE). The other 2 humanoid interfaces we meet are quite sociable, but Yuki is almost autistic-like (Japanese sources have described her as being 自閉症気味 jiheisyou-gimi "having a touch of autism"). As an autistic person myself, who throughout virtually all of grade school received extensive social training, I think this kind of character is cool.

She has difficulty expressing herself, which can lead to her feelings building up until they explode outward. I've had this problem throughout all my life. In addition, she could be quite literal (or perhaps making a joke out of her literal tendencies), like in the Remote Island Syndrome scene where she wouldn't open the door. As a kid I had problems with this, but once I've become more self-aware I might make my literalness into a joke. We also sometimes see her make stereotyped, repetitive behaviors like in Sigh when we see her spin the wand around and around. I'd do the same sorts of things.

Anyway, I also liked the big movie and would like to see how some of the future stories would be when animated.

Perhaps most bothersome to me was the Mikuru abuse.

Skip the anime, read the novels

This review will assume that the reader is just getting into the series, and hasn't decided which version to try.

Haruhi Suzumiya is another example of an excellent series marred by a mediocre adaptation. The characters suffer immense Flanderization compared to the novel, and our Ensemble Darkhorse, Tsuruya, is removed from the series whenever possible, while The Scrappy, Kyon's annoying sister, is shoehorned into places where she has no bearing on the plot. Character Development is stunted, and nuances such as the implications of Kyon being an Unreliable Narrator are downplayed. It is advisable to read the novels and listen to the first season's soundtrack.

Season 1: Wasted potential

Haruhi Suzumiya was definitely an interesting series that was fun to watch. However, it wasted much of its potential.

The storyline is like a drunkard who forgot where he lives and can't find his way home. The first half is strong and interesting, and seems to set up great things for the second half. However, when we get there, it seems like what was built up to that point is forgotten in favor of a more slice-of-life tone

Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against slice of life. It's actually the setting of the first half anyway (in which more interesting things occur). But when you build up something that's intriguing/interesting/mysterious/makes me want to find out what happens, shifting the focus to slice-of-life alone makes me feel like the time spent setting up something much bigger is wasted. It's like the writers forgot what they had even written about to begin with.

In short: I got trolled. Haruhi is made out to be something of a god, but it's never explained in any way. Yuki, Itsuki, and Mikuru all have origins/characterization worth exploring, but aren't. They allude to the possibility of a romance between Kyon and any of the three heroines manifesting, but none does.

Haruhi herself is easily the most interesting and unique character in the series—in fact, one of the more unique characters I've ever seen. However, I couldn't find her likable in any way. She's pushy, always used to getting her way, and doesn't care about the opinions of others as long as their view is inconvenient to her in any way. Her distinct personality is a breeding ground for many possible aesops to be had: you can't always get what you want, the opinions of others are important too, you shouldn't treat other people like objects, etc. But no: None of these opportunities are taken advantage of. All we get is Kyon's commentary/observation about her unpleasant personality traits.

Also, these characters had lots of room to grow and develop into something better, but didn't. Kyon could've made good on his promise early on to protect Mikuru from Haruhi's eccentricity and stopped being a huge pushover—Haruhi's slave—but he doesn't. Haruhi could've learned lessons like what I said above, but didn't. Yuki could've developed more human emotions, but didn't.

AND, last episode did nothing.

(Big sigh)

This could've been near perfection, instead, it makes the viewer feel uncomfortable.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is an enigmatic anime. There are many things to love about it, but in a few small places it almost seems to intentionally drive the viewer to hating it.

Haruhi is unusual in that its protagonist (unreliable narrator Kyon) and main character (hyperactive sociopathic antagonist Haruhi) are different characters, with Haruhi's slapstick sociopathy providing much of the show's comedy. They are joined by the stoic yet loveable Rei Ayanami Expy Yuki, effeminate new transfer student Itsuki, and the huge ball of unfortunate implications that is Mikuru Asahina.

This is where my problem with Haruhi comes in. Mikuru, despite supposedly being 18, is sexualised in an altogether inappropriate manner, a fact which is compounded by the constant molestation jokes which are made involving her and Haruhi. These factors are completely at odds with the rest of the series tonally, and wind up being nothing but offputting to the viewer.

This is a great shame, as otherwise the series is outstanding in many ways. The writing is witty, the stories inventively take mundane situations and put Urban Fantasy twists on them, the soundtrack is varied and enjoyable, the animation is wonderfully expressive, and the Japanese dub contains some of the finest voice acting I have ever heard. The only other thing one can criticise Haruhi for is the confusing episode order, which one ultimately has to look up to ensure they are watching it chronologically. (Also, just skip episodes 2 through 7 of the Endless Eight arc. They add nothing.)

The movie 'The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya' is highly worthy of note, focusing primarily on character development for Kyon and Yuki. Over the course of just under 3 hours, it tells a story reminiscent of It's a Wonderful Life, with the quality of the animation, the wit of the narration, and the fantastic use of music all ramped Up to Eleven in comparison to the already high standards of the TV series. My only issue was that it relied too heavily on continuity from the TV series to be accessible to newcomers. Even if you hated the TV series, give it a try, if you're open minded there's a good chance you'll love it.

Overrated, Overdone, and Surprisingly Sad.

Mostly, my opinion of Haruhi Suzumiya is due to Hype Backlash. I've seen plenty of other series that handle and accomplish Genre Busting much better and leave you more satisfied, so it really fell short for me there.

It's a unique premise, but the characters have all been seen and done before (at least at first - there's some mild Character Development that's lacking from other shows), so if you're looking for something with insanely unique characters and interesting backstories, look somewhere else. The animation is detailed, the atmosphere is nice and some scenes genuinely leave me in awe - but I think the character designs are hideous and tend to take away from that. Thatlast part is subjective and just my opinion, though - the shojo-ey art style certainly isn't for everybody, but there's something about their designs that just grinds my gears. I still haven't really gotten used to it, either.

Next up: Mikuru. To me, she's the most annoying character ever created and hearing her speak in both the Japanese/English dub makes me want to insert pens into my ears. I don't really mind her personality I guess, it's the whining and crying and that damn voice that pisses me off so much that at first it was all the reason I needed to drop the show. I didn't, though.

What I did get from the show, was depressed. Am I the only one who thinks that a girl feeling so lonely in this world that she may or may have somehow turned herself into a Reality Warper just to give her life some meaning to be absolutely depressing? I actually can't more more than two or three episodes of this show at a time without feeling extremely morose. Seriously, it's been around months since I've started watching it and I still haven't finished (it probably has more to do with Mikuru, though). Perhaps it's because I can relate to Haruhi of all people, which is odd for me. Either way, the only thing that keeps me coming back to it is how depressing it is, oddly enough.

I hear Itsuki gets some development in the novels...there also seem to be more interesting arcs there. I'd like to read them, but I'm not really sure if I want to subject myself to this horrendously overrated series in written words.

Good, funny, but could be more.

Haruhi Suzumiya has likable, funny characters with their own unique personalities and quirks. This is most definitely the series's biggest strength, as they are most definitely endearing to the audience. The two principal "main" characters, Kyon and Haruhi, gradually recieve a generous amount of character development. The problem is that some of the other characters tend to be left in the dust.

A good example is Mikuru. Through her future self, we learn who she will become, but we are not able to observe her actually developing in real time. In the majority of the show's episodes, she seems to exist simply to get molested by Haruhi again and be a rather creepy sex object for Kyon.

The series has an intriuging premise. Haruhi being a Reality Warper and a borderline god has a lot of potential for storylines. When it is used, the plot tends to take a slightly more Sci-fi styled direction. I will say that I preferred this direction for the plot. The six part "Melancholy" arc heavily utilises this element of the plot to great effect, with interesting concepts and effective drama. However, I feel that this is normally underutilised In favour of admitedlly funny slice of life fare.

The first season is overall good. After the opening six parter though, the sci-fi and dramatic elements seem to fizzle out. This is disapointing but the rest of the season is still good. Unfortunately the second season, after a great premiere episode, is half made up of one episode reanimated over and over. And the rest of the season still does not feel up to the quality of season 1. Overall, a large disapointment.

And then, the film. Disappearance contains pretty much everything I expected the series to be. A large amount of characters have a reduced role, but the plot is dramatic, emotional and has the sci-fi bent that I feel the series should have leaned further towards. There is some wasted potential here. The series cannot seem to decide what it wants to be.

Overall, after 1 good season, 1 disapointing one and the film, the good balances out the bad. I would reccomend this show as a whole, despite it's flaws. Just don't bother watching all of Endless eight.

WHAT? Episode 1 review

So, i just see this thing in Lucky Star and I watch it. And I am confused. It isn't anything bad but I just feel wierded out. So, firstly the intro has Coolhand Mc Stoneface's brother talking about something about christmas. Then we get an intro to the strangest woman alive. So our 'protagonist' gets a normal conversation out of her while the camera has a seizure and then a whole lot of Absolutely Nothing™ happens, and he wins the prize of pride. Yeah, make that a saying. Then they start a club with a zombie and then Haruhi sexually harasses some girl. Then more Absolutely Nothing™ happens and then we get more camera seizures while they pick a name, which is just Nonsense™ while Mrs. Who-gives-a-care still has no idea about anything. Absolutely Nothing™ returns and then the madness ends. Now I'm going to watch my ramen.

The Series That Was Almost Perfect.

Don't get me wrong, I love this series. I love the characters, the plot, the art, and of course, the amazing soundtrack. However, I can see why people would dislike it. Fans usually look for a specific genre or aura about a show. Haruhi had the potential to be three different series. If they took away the whole, "Haruhi is God" Plot, it would be a decent Slice of Life series. Change the character interaction, and focus more on the fact that Haruhi is a supernatural being, you'd have an amazing Sci-Fi series. Focus more on Haruhi and Kyon's relationship, add a few more female characters, you'd have a potential Harem series. However, they don't. This series is best described as something that was 5º off perfect. Any of the above would push this series in the right way.

Tanigawa didn't anticipate the massive fan, and hate base this show and series would have, so no wonder it is subject to lots and lots of Fan Dumb. But the people that hate the show because Haruhi is a jerk is what really pisses me off. Yes, she's crazy, with enough energy and hard-headedness to piss off Tomo, but she gets better. By book five, she has developed into energetic, but truly cares about her friends and will do anything to protect them. Of course, Kyoto Animation decided not to adapt Rampage, which also makes me upset.

So, in short, the series is best if you don't mind being thrown for a loop. I would definitely recommend reading the books first however. IT HELPS.

Good, but not without flaws

I can honestly say that I am a massive fan of the Haruhi Suzumiya series. And... according to a few nega-reviews, I guess that makes me a pretentious person who believes Everyone Is Jesus In Purgatory.

Except no- I can see why people hate on this series. The way fans go on about it, you'd think it was the deepest, most heart-stopping, wonderful genre-busting awesome thing that ever existed. But while I certainly think it's one of the best Animes out there, you gotta remember that to us westerners, Anime is subject to Sturgeons Law. So it makes it- really good compared to the morass of turd underneath it, but not necessarily perfection.

This is what I think the series does right: Haruhi, for one. She is- and let's not put this lightly- a Villain Protagonist who develops into a Jerk With A Heart Of Gold. And the character development, for the most part, is handled really well. Haruhi is everything society shuns in a nutshell combined with an energy that belies an extremely depressed girl. I honestly think that she's a really well-drawn character.

Kyon is also a fantastic character, and this ultimately draws from the fact that he's the narrator. The way how he offers what could be completely-wrong interpretations of events really adds to the ambiguity of the series and makes for a great plethora of fan theories. It's also fair to point out that although Kyon claims to be 'normal', his narrations show that clearly, on some level, he operates in an odd way. This makes Kyon as interesting to analyse as our 'main character' Haruhi.

Yuki is also done incredibly well- she may be a simple Robot Girl, but the way that she subtly changes throughout the series is a really brilliant example of how Humanity Ensues can be played subtly, before finally a freakin' movie can be made about it.

I also like Koizumi, but for different reasons- his utter falseness sprinkled with occasional truth makes him... untrustworthy, yet a loyal teammate. I also like to subscribe to his theory that Mikuru is acting... why?

Because all that's wrong with the series can be summarised with Mikuru- she is an annoying, cacophonous, and ridiculously useless character. Her older self is more forgivable, but Mikuru embodies the series' mistakes- gratuitous fanservice and a poor interpretation of what fans want from the series.

Filling, but Light

The light novel version of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a mixed bag. Both Haruhi and Kyon are colorful characters, creating a dynamic which is amusing to see. However, the other three members: an extremely unemotionally girl, a passive girl that is constantly abused by Haruhi, and a boy that does nothing but smile—is a little too flat for my taste. Some more proactive characters would be nice.

Also, there seem to be some issues in translation. For example, sometimes I can't figure out who is speaking due to the absence of dialogue tags at times, and the references to American songs is a blatant attempt to dodge copyright issues. At least Kyon makes up for it with his clever commentary.

The first book was filling, but it was a little shallow.

So if you're a fan of the anime adaption or like a laid-back plot with slice-of-life, you may like this. Otherwise, go read a fantasy series. This is a little too post-modernism and genre-dependent for even a hardcore bookworm like me.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

It's pretty good - just ignore the Fan Dumb.

Ok, so you've seen the two or three nega-reviews below this (or are going to have seen, whatever). Maybe you're wondering, if these noted critics think it so bad, why does it have so many fans? And the simple answer is, because it's good.

It's not good to everybody though, obviously, otherwise the people below wouldn't have negareviewed it. I'm not going to suggest that they just didn't get it, or that True Art Is Incomprehensible. I agree though with many others that Fan Dumb has absolutely ruined people's expectations - it's not the second coming of Christ, it's just a pretty good anime. So ignore the Fan Dumb. I came into it hearing, basically, "This anime is nice", and that was about it - the rest hooks itself.

Everybody's complaining about the Anachronic Order. They say that it's horribly confusing. That's the point. And if you don't like it that way, just watch it in Chronological order (everybody is right about that bloody homemade movie though).

But the true reason to watch Haruhi, in my opinion, is the Genre Busting. Is this a shoujo romance, a shonen action show, a mystery thing, or some slice-of-life? It's all and neither. It's a story, a story that treats viewers like people, not morons; a story that is only meaningless if you only take it at face value. A story about a baseball game? Well, it must only about a baseball game! Never mind Character Development in the actions and reactions of people, what they ask, what they think. Subverted Tropes abound, the animation is pretty damn high quality, and one of the most Deadpan Snarker narrators ever to grace the tiny tiny screen (I don't think I even remember an anime with a single consistent narrator).

So if you're looking for the same thing you've seen before a thousand bloody times in whatever bloody genres you've already seen and know off by heart, go ahead. Look elsewhere. But if you're looking for a unique story that's not afraid to be serious or just to be hilarious whenever appropriate, if you're looking for something that isn't just shoe-horned into the thousand genres of anime, if you're looking for a story that treats you like you know how to use your brain, try the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Just don't expect the single greatest work of fiction ever, and you should be fine.

Season 2 (yeah)

The first and last episodes are fine. It's like the first season, but with new plot. There may or may not be some Art Shift if you look from close enough. If you hate Suzumiya Haruhi, you will hate it too, if you liked it, you will like it too. There is nothing else to tell about it.

Now let's get to the interesting part: Endless Eight
It is a frequently heard opinion, that Endless Eight was just "trolling", or Kyo Ani wanted to screw with the fans, or they did it only for the money.
From the fans' side, you can hear the defense, that it has a significant artistic purpose, as it is significant to sympathize with Yuki's boredom.

I believe that all of the above is wrong. First of all, watching the same thing for a few hours is hardly similar to getting trapped in the same weeks for hundreds of years. The former is "somehow boring", the latter is "insanity-inducting".
On Kyo Ani's part, I'm sure that they didn't expect to have a normal reception, so the only reasonable explanation is that they were Doing It For The Art.

To understand Endless Eight's significance, imagine an alternate second season without it. It would have a Disappearance arc, maybe even a Snow Mountain Syndrome. Surely, would be fine. Probably it would be good. Maybe, it would be great. But ultimately, it would be just another season for just another anime show, that some people like and some people hate. No matter what it would show, it could be described with the first paragraph of this review, and the Internet would also be a dozen memes shorter.
But this way, we have the most boring series ever. And paradoxically, this attribute is what makes it unique, and interesting.

While watching it, I was laughing. Mostly at myself, as in "Oh my God, I can't believe I'm still watching this crap", but I also laughed at the characters (I Laav you), and sometimes at genuine jokes like Kyon's random Evangelion Shout Out that was only in a single episode. At the endings, I was excited, then melancholic, and at the final ending, relieved. I doubt that any other plotline could have given me that much laughing, excitement, melancholy, and relief, so even if technically it didn't have enough new content, I would say, it was worth my time.

One of the greatest animes ever.

I was introduced to Haruhi Suzumiya via this wiki. After seeing it on so many pages, I just had to know what this show was and why it was so popular, so divisive, and so omnipresent. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I ordered the DV Ds and dived right in.

I was completely and utterly blown away in every possible sense of the phrase.

Where to start? This series could have been another lame Rom Com with less-than-average art, but that's not the case. The animation is beautiful and richly detailed, and it's obvious that the animators really, truly cared about their work. The characters are not your typical High school anime characters, one archetype for each of them. They are complicated and often inscrutable, and even the minor characters have depth and shade that is the envy of many other shows. Even with the various character faults of the SOS Brigade, I wouldn't have it any other way.

No genre! It transcends genre and makes something completely unique, switching between action, thriller, romantic comedy, mystery, and many others at the drop of a hat. Even in the most heartbreaking moments of the show, it never forgets the surreal humor that makes the show so wonderful and so completely unlike anything else. It's truly the mark of genius to take so many anime cliches and tropes and make them into something wholly unique like this.

Haruhi Suzumiya: I don't care what you think about her. I. Love. Her. It's my opinion, yes, but this is a personal review. Yes, she was a jerk at the beginning. Yes, she has done some bad things and she had a tendency to be uncaring about other people. SHE GETS BETTER. Character development, people. Deep down, she is a caring and kindhearted girl who would do anything for her friends. Vivacious, full of life, drop-dead gorgeous, smart, athletic... What's not to like? Everyone's been an asshole at some point or another. But we've all grown past it, as does Haruhi. So stop hating on her. Stop all the bullshit. She is a truly one-of-a-kind girl who brings happiness, both to the characters and to the audience.

But I digress: I can't describe it well enough here. My words just don't do it justice. Don't believe the haters, don't listen to any of their whining. This anime is a light that shines like the sun in a world of tedium and mediocrity.

Just my opinion, though!

("Season" 1) Groan.

Suzumiya Haruhi is, in short, the most frustrating show I have ever encountered. My opinion of this show flip-flops between Fridge Brilliance and just plain impenetrable whenever I think about it. I'm reminded by this wiki of its above-average animation quality, the relatable Deadpan Snarker narrator, use of SQL as Magical Incantation, tasteful Shout Outs and especially the aversion of Viewer Friendly Interface.

That's everything nice I can think to say about it.

Everything else about this show make its positive qualities hard to remember. The anime is a contender for the most viewer-unfriendly show on the planet. Much of the presentation appears to serve to confuse the viewers and ask questions that don't need to be asked. The biggest problem with the anime is the Anachronic Order. Major characters have a tendency to appear and disappear without any explanation until they're formally introduced. The viewer is expected to figure out the proper order of the series' events without any help. Thankfully, the DVD release corrects the order somewhat, but the So Bad Its Horrible student film episode is still shown first (meaning it can be passed over without consequence). Using "Stylistic Suck" as a sampler for what's to come is not a good way to introduce what is supposed to be an excellent plot with unique characters to potential fans.

I'm almost through with the word limit and I haven't even covered the issue of the Fan Dumb yet. The titular character is for no good reason heralded as a god by her fans. No evidence is presented by anyone to support the claim (at least by Merriam-Webster's definitions), other than that she unconsciously modifies the reality around her. By her own admission, she is not "perfect" by any means. She seems to fit the trappings of a witch better.

If you're wondering why everyone sings this show's praises, use extreme caution when approaching it. Having a very open mind is requisite. Your intelligence will be assaulted, your sensibilities offended and your innocence torn asunder. Hype Aversion is your best friend.

Beyond that, another nice thing I can say is that it has been very helpful in helping me write out my list of Pet Peeve Tropes.

Two cups of attempted humor, one cup of epic, one cup of sci-fi, two Slices-of-Life, a dash of romance. Mix well.

"...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.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya First Season Review

The important thing is to remember when watching is the context of the anime industry. Based upon premise and art alone, you'd categorize it as another, boy meets girl, meets quirky peripheral characters, meets misadventure, meets love show. However, where there might have been another Love Hina clone, we have a much more complex show with complex characters, a male lead with actual personality, a female lead who isn't purely tsundere or moe (These elements exist, but they are downplayed), and an interesting continuity. Keep in mind that this is in a "school setting" show. Not a post-modern-sci-fi-psychological-thriller. Melancholy really broke a lot of stereotypes for the "high school" show. I think that was the purpose of the bizarre pilot episode. It wasn't weird for its own sake, but for emphasizing that this was not just another romance-comedy-harem. For people who knew what to expect, I can see how it might be ridiculous, but at the time of broadcast it might have been appropriate.

Go and watch some harem shows, and you'll realize how awful they are. It'll remind you how different and refreshing watching Haruhi for the first time was. Haruhi rocked my world. I was living in a blissful bubble of "Mahou Sensei Negima", drowning in a sea of "Kanon". I thought it was great. Then Haruhi came along and changed things. My eyes were opened. Yes, the female characters were "moe" and "kawaii", but they also meant something. They weren't just puppy-eyed succubi existing only for their faceless male leads to fawn over. There's fanservice, but it's all tongue in cheek. The male lead is a "normal guy", but he's anything but. He has an astonishing knowledge of psychology, philosophy and pop culture for a high school student. The male lead is actually important for a change.

In addition, the comedy shines when compared to the standard harem fare. It's not all "OMG HE FELL INTO HER BOOBS AND GOT A NOSEBLEED!". Types of humour were played with that had so far been untouched by the romance-comedy genre.

I think hype has ruined things for many. Maybe when you're comparing it to the "deeper" and "darker", shows, it doesn't stack up in terms of plot or drama, but The Melancholy was not supposed to be a "deep" and "dark" show. For a lighthearted show, it does a great job.

Haruhi at a Glance

This review covers the anime and light novels. Light spoilers.

Suzumiya Haruhi is probably one of the most hyped series in a long time. Basically a slice of life show combined with hints of romance, some great laughs, and weird situations. The first problem a lot of people have with the show, including myself, was watching the "first" episode and being completely turned off. The first episode is a student made movie produced by Haruhi and her friends. Trying to watch this totally threw me off and I didn't pick Haruhi up until a year later.

After watching it in the correct order and not broadcast order, I ended up really liking the series. The narrator, Kyon, provides many laughs from his deadpan snarking and overall treatment of the other characters. It's so much a character driven series. That's not to say there is no plot, if you go to the WMG page you can see how deep and perhaps confusing the plot may get. However, if you like character driven pieces, than you should like this. It's not the whole show, but it adds to it.

The problem most people have with the series is Haruhi. To some viewers and readers she comes off as an egotistical demon from hell. However as the series goes on she gets many moments of heartwarming. Even I cringed at watching her and almost stopped watching, but if you keep watching she sort of redeems herself. In the light novels her character development is even more noticeable and she becomes much more likable.

While I can't say this series lives up to all its hype, it certainly is a great work. It may take some time to get into, but that's almost anything these days. There will be parts you personally find boring and parts you don't like, but of course others will love those parts. That's just how things are in this world. Nothing is perfect, and it's wrong to try and hold Haruhi to a standard above others, even with all the hype.

I personally enjoyed the novels more than the anime, but the anime is definitely not lacking. If you give Haruhi a chance, you'll most likely become interested enough to watch the rest of the series. A nice thing about the series is there's very little hand waving, most of the time it comes off as an extremely well thought out series.

I recommend trying it, at least 2 or 3 episodes. After that you will love it or hate it.

Over rated, but still not bad.

This is easily one of the most polarizing shows out there, and for good reason. Numerous people have declared it "the best show ever!", and numerous other people say it sucks when it doesn't live up to the hype. I can kind of see where both groups are coming from.

  • Plot: Genki Girl / Jerkass may or may not be a Reality Warper. Everyone tries to keep her happy so she won't destroy the universe.
  • Content: Some Playboy Bunny style Fan Service and some Double Entendre.

  • The good:
    • High quality animation.
    • A more-or-less unique story.
    • Plots are generally entertaining.
    • Very good at using tropes in unorthodox manners.
    • Kyon is a very effective narrator, and his snarking is one of the best parts of the show.

  • The bad
    • Anachronic Order. Several of the early episodes make little sense unless you already know the rest of the story. Besides that, even if you do understand what's going on, there are all sorts of little references and shout episodes that haven't happened yet. Putting the character's homemade movie first is probably the worst, as you don't even get any character development from it. The title character doesn't even appear until the last few minutes. (IMO, it's also one of the funnier episodes. I made crappy movies in high school, and they portrayed the result quite accurately.) I suggest looking up the chronological order and watching them that way. It makes everything clearer.
    • Fan Dumb. The biggest problem by far. The main reason people tend not to like this show is because the fans built it up to the point it can't possibly live up to their praise. Do your best to forget everything you know about the show before you actually watch it, or you'll be disappointed.

  • Overall: It's quite a good show, although I'm far from calling it the best show ever. It's still entertaining if you can look past all the hype surrounding it. And again: watch the episodes chronologically. If you can do those things, you can still get plenty of enjoyment out of this show.

Slow, Boring, and Needlessly Incomprehensible

Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu seems to pride itself on being ridiculously convoluted to the point of insanity. For example, the episodes were originally broadcasted out of order intentionally, meaning the creators had consciously decided it would be effective to tell a story that wouldn't make any damn sense. The initial episode is meant to be a video production by the eponymous Haruhi and her friends, unfortunately however this does not make for a good introduction to the characters. It does allude to the (already thinly veiled) twist involving the real nature of some of the characters, but this is especially pointless when we don't even know it's a secret yet.

Haruhi, one of the main characters, is God. This isn't explored to a satisfactory degree, and it's never really established if she actually is until the very end of the broadcast order, which chronologically is meant to take place only a few episodes in. Confusion!

For some other reason, three of the other main characters are respectively psychic, a time traveller, and a robot from outer space. Each has their own reasons for being there, all involving a strange infatuation with Haruhi. At certain points the characters wonder if they're only there because Haruhi subconsciously wanted them to, but this isn't explored to a degree the viewer would find of interest and no conclusion is drawn whatsoever as to whether or not that is the case, instead discussed by thousands of fans of the show who expect a deeper plot than the shallow puddle the creators have actually created. I expected for there to be some kind of epic story going on, what with all these colourful backgrounds behind so many of the main characters, but the plots to each episode are so meaningless it hurts. Join a time traveller, robot, and GOD OF CREATION as they attempt to win a game of baseball! Or beat some classmates in a computer game! Well, things do get "interesting" in the loosest possible definition possible for two small sections of two separate episodes, which are entertaining and well done, but a show with such assuredly unique characters really ought to have more.

In short, there are far more interesting experiences than watching this, although given the massive amount of fans this series has I may be in the minority. I recommend you watch a few episodes despite my personal dislike of it and see for yourself.

Love or Hate It...

Haruhi Suzumiya is an unique series.

Having saw it without any previous knowledge, the marketing made me believe that it was a highschool echi-romcom. Oh, how wrong I was. The first three episodes looked like one, but then...

Haruhi Suzumiya is the best Anime I have watched in my whole life. Haruhi Suzumiya is also the worst Anime I have watched in my whole life.

The first season constantly swap between Incredibly Funny and Incredibly Boring. Some moments are brilliant, and I found myself laughing like I never had done in years, but some others episodes made left the TV, go to eat cookies, and then go back to see if something interesting happened. Heck, I even fell sleeps 3 times while watching the series. But then again, I also fell of my seat of laughter two times in the series.

After finishing the anime I started reading the books. Thet added mystery, psychological, complex science-fiction and Character Development plus the comedy and fantasy that had before, making an unique and Wonderful mix, IMO. It was so good for me, that I took again Literature and Drawing studies, activities I had left after believing that everything was cliché and boring.

Now, a balance:

  • Clever mixing of genres, clichés and stereotypes, reconstructing them into an interesting story.
  • Wonderful narration, really reflecting the way that a cynical teenager thinks.
  • Great development that takes characters that looked uninteresting to complex beings.
  • Gorgeous animation and great use of colour in the Anime.
  • Full of mathematical, philosophical and psychological references.
  • Illustrations on the books vary between great and mediocre
  • Humour will be great for some people, meh for other and offensive for others.
  • Music can be either very annoying or great for dancing, depending on your tastes.

A Positive Review of Haruhi Suzumiya, Season 1

I'm surprised at the amount of negative reviews. I would like to offer a counterpoint, but I will have to be concise:

(spoiler warnings for people that care)


Hype Backlash

Hype Aversion

Fan Dumb



Yes I understand. YMMV is strongly in effect here. But for me, Haruhi is my favourite tv show.

For example: the pilot episode

Yes, many people disliked this episode for many reasons, but is episode this an onion.

The first layer is that it sucks. Cue hate.

The second layer is Stylistic Suck and Main.SoBadItsGood. It's a painfully accurate depiction of a student film with no budget, plot, script, acting ability, direction, and many, many other things. The narrator points out how terrible the film is, yet, the director, the title character who is only dramatically shown in the end, disagrees.

The third layer is realising the trope density of this single episode. In one 22-minute episode, it is able to embody every trope that is wrong about anime. Watch the episode. Try to count them. The narrator himself lampshades a lot of them.

The fourth layer is the weirdness. Despite its realism of what a bad student film would be like, there are several inconsistencies, several things that are off that would suggest one more deeper level.

The fifth layer is meta. Certain details that are presented as fiction in-universe are literal truth.

The sixth layer is chronological. While this is the first episode aired, it is in truth, the 12th chronologically.

What other people consider negative qualities, I consider them reasons to love Haruhi. Above all, Haruhi is a thinking anime series, abandoning Genius Bonus into Viewers are Geniuses. Yes, it is in Anachronic Order, but brimming with Fridge Brilliance. It's a unique and effective method to develop plot and characters and generate suspense. It requires you to keep track of the timeline yourself and pay attention to every single subtle detail to notice the weirdness and the references to events that didn't happen yet in our viewing. It is Genre Busting and Troperiffic to such a degree that it achieves Trope Overdosed despite 14 22-minute episodes. Intimacy with Anime Tropes is required; this anime does not insult your intelligence.

Uniqueness isn't always good, Season 1

Suzumiya Haruhi is a very clever show that's bursting with originality. However I didn't like it, it's not a bad show, its well made, extremely well animated, its voice acting was superb, the characters mostly deep and thought out, I just didn't like it. I didn't understand the shout outs, no fault of the show, but if a substantial part of the humor relies on having seen other things, cough, then if you haven't seen them, you're left scratching your head. My main beef with the show is simple, I didn't find it funny, yes there were some amusing bits, Yuki is awesome, and Mikuru and Haruhi scenes were...well horrible but amusing, its just that I didn't get enough laughs out of it, there were funny parts, but out of all the shows I've seen its pretty dull. And Kyon delivers overrated snark!