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.