Posted by psgels on 28 March 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


So… I watched it. I originally dropped the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya after four episodes, back when it aired in the spring-season of 2006, simply because I had to drop a few series to prevent myself from watching too many series. The biggest reason why it took me so long to pick it up again is simply because the fanbase back then was incredibly annoying. Everyone seemed to talk about how awesome this series was, but the most praises I read were not about how well it was written, or the amount of creativity that was put into it, but about how moe the different female characters were. It really feels like every single squeal of Mikuru has been intensively discussed. I don’t know about others, but I’m not that keen on watching a series that’s based on a few moe-actions.

After finally watching this series, I must say that this series definitely is more than just moe, moe and moe. It’s been based on a series of light-novels, and it shows in the dialogue. Especially Kyon and Itsuki like to ramble on and with their respective sarcasm and philosophical analysis, and both are really well-written and keep you interested throughout the lesser interesting parts of this series, but I’ll get to that later.

Another flawless area of this series is of course the animation itself. It’s clear that Kyoani had a big budget for this series, and they used it pretty nicely to convey the subtle movements of the characters, the detailed backgrounds to portray the overall lives of the characters and the very impressive CG-scenes that pop up once in a while.

Well, now, regarding the lesser points of this series: there are basically two major flaws in this series. This anime basically consists of two parts. The first seven episodes (if I recall correctly, the original series aired in random order) are basically the story-arc, and show how Kyon gradually gets to know all the mysteries around Haruhi Suzumiya. This part is actually pretty good! The story continues to get pushed forward, and especially the second half of this story-arc delivers with a subtle, yet ominous atmosphere. The characters continuously develop and change, and it doesn’t have any chance to get boring. Heck, it wasn’t even focused on moe at all.

But yeah, the second arc is much less interesting. It’s basically a collection of random fillers that I guess were meant to flesh out the concept, but things rather failed here. It’s here where the character-development grinds to a halt and this series becomes mostly boring. This arc again consists out of seven episodes, and only during one of them I didn’t catch myself edging for ALT-F4, which ironically was the most down-to-earth episode of the bunch.

Which brings me to the second flaw of this series: Haruhi Suzumiya herself. Kyon, Itsuki and Yuki are actually pretty interesting characters, and I guess that Mikuru turned out much better than expected. Haruhi, however, got on my nerves every time she appeared. She also brought out the worst in other characters, because especially Mikuru can’t stop squealing when Haruhi is up to one of her plans again.

I’m not sure whether I’m the only one with this, but the moments I actually enjoyed most were the “quiet moments” of this series. Moments where nothing happened, and the characters were just killing time. I couldn’t care less about all of Haruhi’s adventures, and her need to meet up with strange things, and yet I liked seeing Kyon and Itsuki playing a random board-game; I liked how Yuki was alone in a room, while in the next room the local drama club was practicing. Heck, I even liked Kyon as he kept thinking about how hot Mikuru was. What I didn’t like was when Haruhi would jump into the club-room to announce her umpth idea.

Really, this turned out to be quite a good series, only with the “bad main character”-syndrome. When the second season arrives, I hope that the creators will continue to build upon what they’ve established now, and keep their focus as much away from Haruhi as possible.

37 Responses

  1. Avatar kanami says:

    I think you will be happy with the second season, since the book it will be based on seems to be The Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya – so yeah, not so much Haruhi in that one :p . Also, it leaves the filler-ish nature of the second part of the first series and goes back to plot and character development.

  2. Avatar Windspirit says:

    I was actually bored as hell in the first part, I didn’t feel the character developed at all (and I ain’t a sucker at all for character development) and just weren’t interested to random baseball, space battles and Phoenix Wright-like detective story.

    But I actually liked the second part, where the story starts to develop a little. I enjoyed the talks between Itsuki and Kyon and was quite attracted to the philosophical theories on Haruhi being God and what are her powers and the possible world-reset. (And God Knows that I LOVED Haruhi’s concert.)

    I was kind of disappointed at the end, because I felt that the story just “started”, and it needs moar. But yeah, KyoAni are hardcore fans of Key (they announced a Clannad sequel), so Haruhi II is probably nothing but a myth.

  3. Avatar RmX says:

    Well the fillers were in the novels too. And don’t tell me that the EPIC SPACE BATTLE and concert episodes weren’t awesome. =D

  4. Avatar Eonir says:

    I have to admit I also enjoyed this series, despite this whole moe-ism. My favourite part was that mysterious island…

    Come to think of it, MoSH is mere a ‘slightly moe’ series, when compared to Lucky Star(which is not that bad…when you set aside the moe). I know, since I survived all of the 26 eps.

  5. psgels psgels says:

    Windspirit: oh, I watched the episodes in their real order, and not in the order that they aired, so the first seven episodes basically are the ones that reveal all the major things about Haruhi.

    Oh, and I wouldn’t worry about the second season not coming. Lucky Star was so chockful of Haruhi-references, which were quite annoying but do suggest that Kyoani hasn’t forgotten this series at all.

    Oh, and I didn’t think too much of the concert and space-battle, by the way. They were nice enough to watch, but I wouldn’t consider them among the highlights of this series.

  6. Avatar IcyStorm says:

    I heard that in the light novels, Haruhi isn’t as an arrogant and annoying, and she gets better as the series progresses.

  7. Avatar nahrub says:

    i don’t think that they can keep their focus away from haruhi coz, duh, the title itself called suzumiya haruhi… something.

    still, the show’s a bit overrated imo. it’s good, but not that good.

  8. Avatar Venneh says:

    I watched in broadcast order, and I think you get a better experience that way (actual order is just… eh. Also, I have an issue with the fact that half the series is technically one episode).

    But yeah. It’s a good series, but it’s not the be-all end-all of anime like everyone was making it out to be.

  9. Avatar marmot says:

    Yeah it did really feel like only half the series was worth watching. I think one of the problems was the episode order, it just seemed to be trying too hard to be clever but suddenly inserting a random baseball episode (a perfectly enjoyable if pointless episode) when important plot details are being revealed was irritating. While they shouldn’t necessarily have made it chronological, episode 14 made it seem like they lived happily ever after in love when we know this isn’t the case, if they had simply stuck episode 9 last in airing then it would deserve a lot more hype.

  10. Avatar marmot says:

    *THE hype
    it doesn’t need any more of that.
    though the really big gender bender movement for it is hilarious.

  11. Avatar Windspirit says:

    Yeah. Just as Jason says, when the fans are starting to entertain themselves, you feel that it’s getting derailed. And we’re starting to really, REALLY need some MOAR. But… yeah, Haruhi II is a myth, it’s just a tool to advertise KyoAnimu projects.

  12. Avatar alida says:

    “Haruhi, however, got on my nerves every time she appeared. She also brought out the worst in other characters, because especially Mikuru can’t stop squealing when Haruhi is up to one of her plans again.”

    Yes, finally – someone agrees with me. I absolutely DESPISE the concept of how the world basically revolves around that arrogant brat. Seriously, I couldn’t care less if the world exploded after anyone angers her. I would rather let the world perish than worship that, err, person.

    Actually, Kyon is annoying too. Seriously, he can’t stand up for himself at all. Just don’t go to the stupid club room if you don’t want to, Kyon!

  13. Avatar kanami says:

    Just in case, in my comment I was talking about the chronological order, not the airing order.

  14. Avatar Papilo says:

    Yuo are not alone when comes to runaway from excessive moe-stuff, to me a good story are greater than a cute appealing character design forcing you to hug and squish and moeeee. =/

    So, I just watch one episode of MoHS and i can’t see myself watching Lucky Star. I know that a anime moeness isn’t enough to deny a good story, but I need something to separate water from wine. When the wine ends we start to drink watered wine. ^^

    That said, I guess I need to try again MoHS. =)

  15. Avatar GBShaw says:

    The main story-arc of the second season will most likely be the adaptation of ‘The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi’ which is Nagato-centric.

  16. Avatar yoshi927 says:

    I disagree on some points of the review, but I agree that it’s quite overrated. Still, it’s a fun show. I’m a diehard Phoenix Wright player, so that island joke really clicked with me.

  17. Avatar Wyrdwad says:

    It’s a shame you watched the series in chronological order (and even more of a shame that that’s how it was packaged on the DVDs!), as it really loses a lot of its charm that way. Take, for example, the baseball episode. In broadcast order, this was episode four… and because it came so early in the series, it was one of the GREATEST EPISODES EVER… the characters were constantly discussing “the event” that transpired, and very intentionally refraining from giving away what this event actually WAS… only that it was something incredibly significant that had a HUGE impact on EVERYTHING.

    Basically, the “second half of the series” SHOULD have been interspersed with the “first half,” as that’s how it aired, and that’s what makes all the filler episodes interesting: they exist partially for character development, but they also partially exist to sort of “hype up” the main plot, and make you more and more intrigued to find out what actually happened.

    Needless to say, the event itself – Melancholy V – was the final episode in broadcast order. And while I actually really, REALLY like the final episode in chronological order (it’s probably my favorite in the series!), I think the actual end of the main plot makes for a better finale.

    Also, I thought Haruhi was a really interesting and well-developed character. I liked her a lot, in fact. The flaws in her personality that you point out are really a pretty major part of her charm. But, to each his own, I suppose!

    Either way, I’m glad you (mostly) liked the show. It really is a pretty excellent anime.

    -Tom

  18. Avatar alida says:

    Seriously, Tom, – if they had that much of a tactic, why did they not NAME THE EPISODES IN THAT ORDER INSTEAD!!?

  19. Avatar Gottis says:

    I must say I could never finish the series. Not because of the quirky order or anything, but the MOE. D= I hate that, really, really hate that, and even if redhaired boob girl got more development later, she scared me off enough in the first episode (which really is what episode in the anime?) to kill my interest for the anime.
    (Then of course, with my double standards, had it been a boy, I most definitely would have stuck around, because CUTE~! …Shounen-ai/yaoi fangirl, can you tell? >_> )

  20. Avatar Archer says:

    overall i loved this series,of course the story was not perfect maybe a few flaws here and there but the characters were the main thing i liked about this anime even if some were representing various stereotypes
    Kyon was great,i found him very interesting from the first episode with his sarcastic nature and the his voice actor is one of my favorites ( some characters of his i like : Gintoki from Gintama,Mayama from Honey and clover…)
    back to Haruhi this anime is a combination of different genres of anime but i think it does a great job in almost each one of them,i especially enjoyed the more slice of life oriented episodes,the more quiet episodes but i cannot deny that i like almost each of this series episodes and i even watched this anime twice in the course of a year (i rarely do that even if the anime is a short one) so even if not everyone thinks it is that great and people think it is overrated (everything is overrated and underrated in the end :) ) i still will be waiting for the second season that will be eventually released :D

  21. Avatar FireChick says:

    Hello. I know this is a bit off-topic but I think you should check out this anime here. It’s downloadable in 4 different languages (including Japanese).

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-03-28/megumi-anime-about-girl-abducted-by-n-korea-posted

    It’s about a girl named Yokota Megumi who was kidnapped by North Koreans in 1977 (true story). The quality may be low but I think you might like it.

  22. Avatar Wyrdwad says:

    alida: Well, if you watch the show in its original broadcast form, the next episode previews show that the “randomized” order was obviously VERY intentional, as the dialogue generally consists of Haruhi and Kyon arguing over what the next episode number is (with Kyon using the broadcast order, and Haruhi using the chronological order). All the more reason to wonder why the show got reordered for the DVD releases… I suspect a blunder on Bandai’s part.

    All I know is, having watched the show in broadcast order originally, that was VERY, VERY OBVIOUSLY the intended order. I have zero doubt in my mind about that. And anyone who didn’t watch the show in broadcast order was honestly missing out.

    -Tom

  23. Avatar Wyrdwad says:

    Oh, and to answer your question directly… the episode names were left in chronological order as PART of this “tactic.” The way the show was originally structured, you could easily use the episode names and the next-episode previews to figure out what the chronological order was SUPPOSED to be… but that’s not how it was presented.

    No, it was definitely very intentional.

    -Tom

  24. Avatar CherylHew says:

    If Suzumiya Haruhi stops being like a *CENSORED* I’ll watch Season 2 =/ Seriously the one only thing that made me stop watching was how I LOATHED Haruhi’s character. Seeing her on screen made me seeth so much I couldn’t go past episode 5. And then the fandom made it even worse =_=

  25. Avatar Pegah says:

    I agree that the series should be watched in the order it was aired, because i can see how incredibly boring it would be to watch it any other way. if all the interesting stuff was taken care of in the first half and the filler type episodes marathoned towards the end, i would have stopped watching too. this way it captured your attention throughout the whole series.

  26. Avatar ryvrdrgn14 says:

    I really do enjoy the series a lot and I’m looking forward to a second season if there is one. Looking at the larger picture, everything does go well together.

    Like Kyon, you enjoyed the quiet parts which was like a break from Haruhi’s antics. I guess you did relate to the setup of the characters in some way. ^_^

    I pursued the series in the following order:

    1) Watched broadcast order. I didn’t know it was in the wrong order at first so I did get confused.
    2) Wikipedia’d and watched in chronological order. Ah! Much better! That’s how it went.
    3) Read the novels. Lotsa stories and details there that really helped flesh things out.
    4) Watched the series in chronological order again. Much, much better. ^_^
    5) Listened to the Character Image songs and Drama CDs. Lotsa references and insights in the lyrics after you’ve done all of the above ^_^;

    Anyway, it’s not the only show that I like, but it does set itself apart after absorbing most of the available material. Right now, I’d have to put it right beside my classic favorite, Urusei Yatsura. ^_^

  27. Avatar alida says:

    Tom – I never claimed that they weren’t intentionally done, which, as you said above, obviously was. I’m just asking why they never packaged in that order (seriously, who cares about the previews in DVDs – do they even have previews?) – if, as you also claimed before, gave the series a little bit more “sugar and spice?”

  28. Avatar kal says:

    Its strange to hate a character for being annoying/arrogant/any-negative-traits. Its not wrong to hate a real person for that, but a character is like that because she/he need to be. If Haruhi became more mild, then the story won’t happened.

    Anyway, she just genki.

  29. Avatar Sam K says:

    I agree with you about the scenes in the clubroom, where they were just sitting around relaxing and getting on with the grind of the summer/winter. I adored the scene with Nagato sitting reading as there was some speech learning class on. I don’t know why, but they seemed really nostalgic and alluring. I hope to hell the next series keeps some of this as it will be a real shame to lose the feeling they give off.

    However, heres the bombshell, I liked Haruhi. I think the show needed something like her, arrogant, and even annoying. She gradually changed but having the contrast between her loud, irritating moments allows the quaint moments to be all the more rewarding.

    Anxiously awaiting the next installment, though, terrified it will be a disaster.

  30. Avatar fred says:

    Nice job failing to mention any of the metaphors & deeper meanings in the show…
    Not to mention the fantastic cinematography.

  31. Avatar Kimi-chwan^^ says:

    Your summary of Haruhi no Yuutsu is great! I also liked Kyon, Itsuki, and Yuki, but they weren’t enough to make me love the anime like I thought I would. Even without Haruhi’s presence, I disliked Mikuru. However, like you, I felt that the biggest reason for me hating the series was the fact that I can’t stand that controlling bitch, Haruhi Suzumiya! Here are the top four reasons I disliked her:
    1. She’s NOT a genius like the fans made her out to be (she acts especially impulsive in the computer game episode). She gets good grades and has an above average level of intelligence, but she’s not spectacularly intelligent by anime standards.
    2. NEVER at any point in the series does she redeem the hateful demeanor we are forced to endure for 13 or so episodes. She’s a flat character! She never undergoes any NOTICABLE growth in maturity, her “visit to the baseball game” experience was thought-provoking, but is only mentioned once and is never discussed or even contemplated again in the series, and she never does ANYTHING of any merit when interesting stuff happens (Yuki does most of the legwork).
    3. I have a couple friends that were sexually abused in their childhood and therefore, I found her repeated molestations of Mikuru incredibly tasteless and VERY hard to watch. What Haruhi does to Mikuru is NOT something a lovable tsundere would do, that’s something a convicted sex offender would do.
    4. She’s a cliché stock character! The excessively hyperactive and determined stock character has been done before and has been done a lot better (Luffy [One Piece], Tomo Takino [Azumanga Daioh], etc.).
    Why do people like Haruhi so much?! Note: I have not yet read the manga, so I am only criticizing the ANIME version of Haruhi Suzumiya. Overall, the seiyuus were good for the most part, the art of the series was pretty good, and the idea of the series is interesting, but I felt that Haruhi’s over-the-top tsundere personality and her freaking annoying cult following ruined the entire series for me. In short, the anime Haruhi no Yuutsu had potential, but turned out to be disappointing. :(

  32. Avatar DP says:

    The reason why people are over-hyped is since they have already read the novels. The first part is interesting, but what I don’t get is why you all say Haruhi hasn’t any char development. She has. Why don’t you watch ep 9 and find out.

    Or maybe, read the translated Light Novels at Baka-Tsuki. I’ll see you revise your statement, kimi-chwan.

  33. Avatar asddass says:

    I fail to understand how the “filler episodes” weren’t awesome. I mean the space fight? The rock song?

    But I guess that happens when you hate a character so much you need to ignore everything else. I actually have no problem witht hat.

    The only thing I find ridiculous is calling her a flat character, because she definitely is more complex and original than most character’s I’ve ever seen. And if you fail to see that, then maybe you should watch it again or, maybe, think about it a little.

    Clichè character? Don’t make me laugh. I’m assuming you skipped all the scenes where her actual view of the world was discussed between Kyon and Koizumi or even Haruhi herself.

    If you see nothing more than “Lol hyperactive girl molesting moe girl”, then you should perhaps go back to true moe shows. Do you even understand WHY she does that stuff?

    Of course, I’m speaking as a Haruhi fan, but don’t think I’m blinded by cute appearances and funny scenes. I know that she’s a horribly flawed character pretty well. In fact, that’s why I like her.

  34. Avatar yea wtf says:

    “Yes, finally – someone agrees with me. I absolutely DESPISE the concept of how the world basically revolves around that arrogant brat. Seriously, I couldn’t care less if the world exploded after anyone angers her. I would rather let the world perish than worship that, err, person. ”

    EXACTLY. Finally someone agrees with me. Haruhi is oh so special. Great. I didn’t find developement in character very compelling or interesting, and the problem is that it was hardly there. Haruhi is such a conceited protagonist, as fun loving and random as she is, she never really interested me. I’d rather watch FLCL for “random anime.”

  35. Avatar yea wtf says:

    “Yes, finally – someone agrees with me. I absolutely DESPISE the concept of how the world basically revolves around that arrogant brat. Seriously, I couldn’t care less if the world exploded after anyone angers her. I would rather let the world perish than worship that, err, person. ”

    EXACTLY. Finally someone agrees with me. Haruhi is oh so special. Great. I didn’t find developement in character very compelling or interesting, and the problem is that it was hardly there. Haruhi is such a conceited protagonist, as fun loving and random as she is, she never really interested me. I’d rather watch FLCL for “random anime.”

  36. Avatar meikyuu says:

    I agree with some of the comments above me. I like Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu, but sometimes Haruhi annoys the crap out of me with her arrogance, I don’t always understand why so many people like her, she’s not that likeable, and I feel bad for poor Mikuru. :|

  37. Avatar esdee says:

    yes, i think haruhi is a bit annoying and i thought she was funny and adorable at the first place– but it turned out that a title character can be a villain. oh well…

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