Posted by psgels on 20 December 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




I wouldn’t call myself a fan of Haruhi; I liked the TV-series, but I didn’t consider it to be THAT good. The main story was very good, but only few of the random stories didn’t bore me. Having said that though, Haruhi’s Disappearance is by far the best thing I’ve seen from the franchise.

For starters, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single anime movie that was longer than this one and I have to praise Kyoani for actually giving its story the time that it deserves. This way, it really was able to portray the characters as realistic as it did in the TV-series. The movie is slow, but very down to earth because of this and the plot flows as smooth as water. The story of the movie is also a great mystery story, starting off really slowly but delivering a ton of interesting turns during the second half.

The best part of the movie however was the cast of characters. This movie gives a ton of insight and new developments on Kyon and Yuki, and all of the other characters also receive a lot of new depth. The story does a lot of interesting things with them, and they’re used quite creatively. When everything finally comes together, it really feels like something special. The character whose development I liked the least was Haruhi, though. To delve into why would be a bit too much of a spoiler, but let’s just say that it’s a bit too theatrical.

Now, there are two things that this movie lacks, yet what I really liked in the TV-series, however. They’re mostly technical things, but I did miss them a lot here. The first is the acting: while still good, it’s not as solid as it was in the TV-series. Kyon is still witty, but at the same time his dialogue isn’t as sharp and lively as it once was, and characters tend to overact a bit during the dramatic parts.

Also, the animation is significantly different from how it was in the TV-series. On one hand, this went on a positive note, as the creators put a lot of money and attention on the inbetween frames. The animation is incredibly smooth, and there are plenty of parts in which the animation is as smooth as possible, and the animation is a lot freer and diverse than it was in the TV-series. The animation style here feels like a combination of Clannad and K-On, but at the same time I miss the restraint of the animation of the first half of the first season: the type that consistently neither moves too much or too little, that really gave the characters the sensation of being alive, which was one of the reasons why I really liked the first half of the first season.

Those are mere details through, the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya has enough to like, even for the people who didn’t really like Haruhi in the first place. This movie does a lot of things right in terms of storytelling and characters, and it definitely was a great watch.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Great story, not as solid as the TV-series, but still wonderfully paced and told.
Characters: 9/10 – Excellent character development.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Very smooth and detailed.
Setting: 8/10 – Nicely plays around with events that happened in the past and the entire concept of this series.

Suggestions:
Tenchi Muyo In Love 2 – Tenchi Forever
Kara no Kyoukai – The Garden of Sinners – Paradox Spiral
Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo

31 Responses

  1. Avatar Puran says:

    Funny how you’re not a fan, but you’re nitpicking the movie like a haruhi crazed fanboy :D

    Still, I’m glad we can agree, the movie has plenty to like.

  2. Avatar Kim says:

    I am looking forward to seeing this but it doesn’t look like there are subs yet. Oh well! :)

  3. Avatar Puran says:

    There are subs out by Mazui (the new one is a BD rip)

  4. Avatar Frost says:

    I watched this back when there was a crappy cam version going around… At first I thought “No way in hell am I watching something with this horrible quality”, but the movie is so well done I was hooked within 2 minutes

    So yeah Im pretty much in the same boat… Not a fan at all, enjoyed the 1st season, didnt like the 2nd, but loved this movie

  5. Avatar Kim says:

    @Puran Thanks! :)

  6. Avatar hoiut says:

    Can anyone tell me why Haruhi is so hyped? Why is there a cult following? A girl who’s supposed to be God? It’s not even a cute/funny trick like in Angel Beats or TWGOK.

    I’m asking honestly. With a premise so incredibly ridiculous to the point of being offensive (if the viewer happens to have a religion besides Haruihism), I can’t see the appeal and would really like to know.

  7. Avatar Puran says:

    hoiut, no.

  8. Avatar mks says:

    I felt the same way with you psgels that the animation at the first season was way better probably because it was virtually Yamamoto Yutaka’s show. Black Rock Shooter wasn’t as good as I hoped though.

    @hoiut
    everyone would have liked to discuss the topic if it was 4 years ago…

  9. Avatar fool says:

    @mks

    I think you give Yamamoto Yutaka a little too much credit for Haruhi. I’m pretty sure he mostly just did Hare Hare Yukai (which was/is still a big deal).

    The actual director has always been Tatsuya Ishihara, and animation has always been overseen by Shoko Ikeda.

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=6430

  10. Avatar Scruffy says:

    @hoiut. To say that Haruhi is about a girl who is God is a bit unkind to the premise. At one point the Kouzumi tells Kyon thats what the espers think Harhui is, but he’s such a slimy character and not trustworthy. Later he says he doesnt think she’s God.

    I think the closest story to what Haruhi is about and how the different groups want to use her is the the Philip K Dick story ‘The Lathe of Heaven’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lathe_of_Heaven).

    Anyway, the person who displays more ‘Godlike’ powers in this film is actually Yuki not Haruhi

  11. psgels psgels says:

    Hoiut: forget the religion. That’s just fans overreacting. The main thing I liked abot the first season of Haruhi was how well it was made. Esppecially the plot related episodes are realyl well written and animated. There’ve been plenty of shows with stupid premises that turned out to be surprisingly good after that, and this is an example of that.

  12. Avatar mks says:

    @fool
    Well, it was little too much to say that he was a virtual directer. I know those directors covered most of animations and scripts. but what I liked about the show was a production.

    Yutaka Yamamoto was an Anime Production director of the show and he wasn’t only in charge of that ED but also other unique productions like Amateur camera view at the fist episode and that concert scene etc.

  13. Avatar Scruffy says:

    @meow: I’m not sure you can say that Ryoko Asahina has her pre-transformation memories back after all she had ceased to exist for some time.

  14. Avatar Diasen says:

    @meow about the last part
    [spoiler]When yuki stole Haruhi’s powers, she transformed herself to normal. But she didn’t do anything about Asahina.

  15. Avatar 0leefy says:

    (sorry i’m interrupting the discussion…)This was a very well made movie in my opinion, and gave off a nice bittersweet feel :D

  16. Avatar m says:

    Kyon probably seems less snarky, because the movie was less condensed than the series. The series is more like a Sugita joke reel by comparison.

  17. Avatar meow says:

    I got the impression that the movie had a far more serious tone than the first series and Sugita had to play a far more serious Kyon to match. He’s truly worried, disturbed, emotional, etc and his sarcastic comments aren’t so much tsukomis to Haruhi’s usual antics as they are more serious concerns. Actually, this whole movie was full of Serious Kyon. I can’t recall any intentional comedy moments.

  18. Avatar meow says:

    I wish I could edit comments. ^^; In my comments above, please replace Asahina with Asakura. -.-;; Was talking about Ryoko, not Mikuru.

  19. Avatar meow says:

    Actually, could an admin delete my comment no.16?
    It’s too spoilerful. I would hate for someone who hadn’t seen the movie to pop in here looking for impressions to have one of the best scenes get spoiled. Sorry to anyone out there like that who read it. mOm

  20. Avatar meow says:

    ?! psgels, I think you wiped out the wrong comment. ^^; Look for the @Diasen one.

  21. Avatar Scruffy says:

    I have to admit that I’m a Haruhi fan (I’ve watched the endless eight episodes .. THREE TIMES) and expected to like this film, and it DEFINITLY lived up to my expectations.

    The star in this movie is undoubtly Yuki Nagito. The way the animators managed to portray her emotions even though both pre/post transformation Yuki are very reserved characters was nothing but amazing. The highlight of this to me is the scene where Kyon hands Yuki the Literature Club enrolement form.

    Overall I’d say that Dissapearance has definitly made up for Season 2 of Haruhi.

  22. Avatar John Smith says:

    I love Asakura. Cute like Mikuru. Data processing powers like Nagato and even crazier than Haruhi. Asakura is the perfect girl.

  23. psgels psgels says:

    meow: ack! apologies. I looked at the wrong place.

  24. Avatar meow says:

    NP, psgels. Sorry to trouble you to clear up my mess haha.

    @John Smith
    I take it you’re into yandere. The type who smile the sweetest when they’ve got your blood all over them? XD I reckon she could come back anytime though. (SPOILER: In the novels, a rival to the Data Overmind that Nagato and Asakura appears so maybe the Data Overmind may choose to redeploy Asakura to help deal with this new threat.)

  25. Avatar Watcherzero says:

    The quality was what got me, 2hr 40m of such fluid animation and incredibly detailed backdrops (some are more intricate than regular series backdrops and only appear for 2 seconds onscreen!)

    The emotion grabbed me as well, you really thought Kyon was justifiably going crazy which arguably few would do to such an extreme when placed in his position. Yuki was amazing, Haruhi was good but appeared too little. The esper got minimal screentime though everytime he did I wished he wasnt there, very annoyingly smug.

    The back to the future scene of spying on yourself spying on someone else has been done before several times but im racking my brains to remember which series.

    As to the appeal of Haruhi? I would say its the emotional tension, its slice of life and there is a love triangle there but it doesnt play it out for comedic effect unlike most series, but also the way that its such a well written universe and timeline with events from one point of time making more sense when you see other events. Theres also this hidden war going on of sides fighting for the influence of something important without the general public being aware, and Kyon caught in the middle of it.

    The final thought to add (and not having read the books) is this film kinda supports the conspiracy theory that Kyon is actually god and not Haruhi. It was him who went to bed annoyed at the SOS situation and wishing his favourite girl would suffer less from Haruhi, and it was him who put it all right again.

  26. Avatar Frost says:

    Just watched the HD version Mazui has out… WOW! This rivals the Fate/Stay Night movie for best looking anime ever… The animation is SOOO fluid

    I hope a few years from now, this kind of quality will be present in normal TV series, not just movies, its just gorgeous

    But other than that, I love time travel stuff, so how could I not love this? Id love it if they kept doing movies like this instead of just 13 episode series

  27. Avatar Fusereactor says:

    I watched the low-def rip awhile back and thought the movie was pretty good, nothing special. Watching it in 1080 was a completely different experience, the animation and attention to detail borders on absurd.

    In the last scene with Kyon and Nagato, I can’t believe how realistic the city background looked, with trains and cars and lights and buildings all lighting up and generally behaving like a real city would.

    Another scene was where Yuki and Kyon were walking alongside the road and cars were flashing by. The way the lights reflected around their bodies was just insane. I know nothing about how anime is drawn but it just blows my mind that people are able to hand draw (with computer effects) these type of scenes.

    That said, while I like the movie because it’s Haruhi, I hope KyoAni decides to make another season.

  28. Avatar AidanAK47 says:

    @Scruffy
    You watched the endless eight episodes three times?! Are you mad?! Seriously I didn’t even watch through all of them once. I read the novels so I knew it didn’t need 8 episodes. So I just watched the first and last episode.
    Anyway I can say this movie has made up for endless eight. However has it made up for four years of neglect, dicking around, disappointment and anticipation? Not even close. Get your asses working on another season Kyoani. We know you have more than enough source material for one. Then I can say they have made up for it.

    While I am not as big a fan as I used to be this movie has restored some of my old love for the show. In that regard it’s an overwhelming success.

    Now if I had my full metal panic sequel then this would be a Christmas for the ages.

  29. Avatar jho says:

    this was an amazing movie! one of my favorite anime movies, but you definitely have to have watched the series to fully appreciate this.

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