Wednesday, December 16, 2020

REVIEW: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya: The Movie (anime movie)

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is SFF. I checked out my copy via the library.

This review contains slight spoilers.


If you haven't seen The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, stop reading this review and go watch that instead. Even just reading this review will ruin things about the original series for you, and it's difficult-to-impossible to follow along with this movie if you haven't seen the original series or aren't otherwise aware of the basics of this franchise.

Now that you've been warned, on to the synopsis. Haruhi has decided that everyone in the SOS Brigade will be celebrating Christmas together, cooking and eating an illegal hotpot meal in the club room, wearing costumes, etc. Kyon, as usual, is less than enthusiastic but doesn't even try to change Haruhi's mind, because he knows better - once she has an idea in her head, she's going to make it happen. And of course everyone else in the club just wants Haruhi to stay happy so that she doesn't accidentally remake or end the world with the godlike powers she doesn't even realize she has.

Then one morning Kyon wakes up as usual and goes to school as usual, only to find that a lot of people suddenly have colds. Even Haruhi seems to be affected, or so Kyon assumes, until he learns that Haruhi's seat now belongs to Asakura, the being who once tried to kill him. No one seems to remember who Haruhi is at all, and everyone who used to be unusual in some way is now normal or just plain gone. What happened? Who was responsible? Can Kyon get his old world back, and does he even want that?

Like I said, this movie was aimed at those familiar with the franchise, and it references prior events a lot. I think it was all events from the first season, but I'm honestly not sure - it's been about 8 years since I last watched The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and I've forgotten quite a bit. I never watched the second season and doubt I ever will, considering what I've heard about the "endless eight." The movie usually contained just enough info to remind me of the characters and scenes I'd forgotten, but there were also things I thought might be references to past events that I couldn't recall at all, so maybe those were part of season 2.

Kyon spent a lot of this movie separated from the SOS Brigade group that he was used to, which meant that a lot of the series' more annoying aspects were reduced. I didn't have to put up with quite so much wimpiness from Mikuru, and although Yuki changed in ways that put her in the shy girly-girl role in Mikuru's stead, she thankfully wasn't as annoying about it. Kyon, as usual, was oblivious to a lot of things, but didn't wallow in vague apathy and annoyance as much, although he was still prone to internal monologuing. It was actually kind of nice to see some of the series' regular characters outside their usual set relationships. Koizumi, for example, was able to talk a little more freely about his feelings for Haruhi, feelings I think also existed in the original series but which were even more unrequited considering Haruhi's focus on Kyon.

But if you watched the original series and were bugged by the confusing or weird aspects, that may still be an issue here. There is a good deal of twisty time travel involved, as well as one sequence (which I'm pretty sure just happened in Kyon's head) in which Kyon literally talked himself through his own emotions and thoughts.

Also, not everyone is going to be on board with how long this movie is. Two hours and forty-three minutes, a runtime that made me do a double-take.

If you're a fan of the franchise, this is worth checking out. It's gorgeous and has a decent story (although I was able to guess who was responsible for all the changes, if not their motive). Kyon was still annoyingly oblivious about some things, but I liked that he was forced to admit that he wasn't quite as irked and apathetic about everything Haruhi dragged him into as he liked to act. I don't plan on picking this up for my collection, which is bursting at the seams in any case, but it was definitely worth getting from the library.


Lots and lots, although none of them were things I was particularly interested in watching: videos on location hunting, cutting, dubbing, and editing, and a couple different screenings, teasers, trailers, TV spots, a commercial for the DVD/BD release, and more. This release was a bit unusual in that it was a combination Blu-ray/DVD set in which the DVD had more content than the Blu-ray. Normally it's the Blu-ray that has the extras while they're left off the DVD, but in this case it was the reverse. I wish more combo releases were like that, if the extras can't be included in both formats. I actually only got a Blu-ray player because I was tired of all the movie/TV series extras I couldn't access because they weren't included on the DVD.

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