My Melancholy of Watching Haruhi Suzumiya

post from old blog

After hearing about this show, its “haruhi-isms” and reading it’s synopsis, I decided to pick up Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)  It seemed like it had an interesting, unique plot.  And Haruhi seemed like an interesting main character.  I read somewhere about the broadcast order differing from the actual story order, which peaked my interest even more…something different from the boring norm?  Of course I’d want to see it.

haruhi3One of the worst things one could do going into an anime is having expectations.  And thats what I had.  Expectations.  I expected great characters, unique story, and a deeper plot than regular animes.  I didn’t quite catch that slice-of-life label this anime came with.  I also didn’t quite watch the anime in the order I intended to (I intended to watch in the broadcast order…ended up watching the first few in chronological order, went on to watch in broadcast order, accidentally watched two episodes from S2, finished up whatever was left of S1)

I understand the writer’s choice for making the anime the way it was, but I would’ve enjoyed it more if it wasn’t a slice-of life.  I just personally felt that the world and story didn’t suit this sort of story telling but that’s just really my opinion.

I don’t believe there are any spoilers…but I’d still watch the anime first. 

My main issue is with the characters.  In this anime, we have our standard tropes- an energetic girl that leads the group, a sweet, soft, moe-moe character, the quiet intelligent one, and the nice-guy who stands in the back smiling.  But the thing is these characters never go beyond their tropes.  They are stuck to the trope they are assigned to.  Not only that there is a lack of character development.  Apparently there’s “character” development if you watch in the broadcast order, I watched some of it in that order and zilch.  None.  No character development.

haruhi2

I love her character design

Let’s talk about Haruhi’s character.  I found her painful to watch.  I have a pretty high tolerance of characters with poor morals but Haruhi was just agonizing to watch.  She was aggressive, mean, and exploited the members of her club.  She has zero consideration for others.  She is supposed to be eccentric, energetic, and fun, but I found her rude, pushy, and disprespectful.  My personal belief is that characters with poor morals don’t make poor characters, however poor characters don’t receive character development.  And here, Haruhi doesn’t learn or develop from her faults or her character. She doesn’t learn anything.

Neither does any of the other characters receive development either.  They remain the same and don’t change at all.  And I hate that.  I love watching characters develop, watching them evolve into something newer or better.

Now after punching Haruhi’s character in the face I want to add that her character isn’t entirely bad.  While she lacks development, she is somewhat complex and 3 dimensional (maybe more than 3 dimensions haha) character with a backstory that justifies her insistent belief in espers, time travelers and aliens.  The characters are very true to themselves and don’t do anything out of character.  I enjoyed Kyon’s sarcastic commentary.

I think my issue is that I felt that this kind of world and story would fit better in an anime that isn’t a slice-of-life.  I personally felt that these kinds of worlds need world developing and plot-advancing, but a slice-of-life just doesn’t do that.  But I like that Kyoto Animation tried to be creative.  This takes Haruhi’s character and turns it into an anime: crazy, all over the place, jumping from one thing to the next in a blink of an eye. But I wasn’t able to hang on.

My review has only taken the anime by face value, and I’m aware of that.

yeah, Haruhi, I don't really get it either.

yeah, Haruhi, I don’t really get why people like you either

Now given that I’ve pretty much trashed the anime I can’t bring myself to say that I hated it. It held onto me long enough for me to go back and finish it and I did enjoy it.  Maybe I didn’t watch it well enough, but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else did.  Slice-of-lifes don’t go very high up on my lists anyways.  They just don’t have the same amount of depth as other animes.  The anime had its funny moments given that I wasn’t pissed at Haruhi for exploiting Mikuru or Kyon.  Some moments were sweet and had me smiling (episode 6 and the Live Alive episode).

The art is clean and fluid.  I loved the attention to little details like the tables and chairs in the classroom moving just slightly in all photos of Haruhi’s various hair styles and Kyon’s interaction with a lady with a camera in the auditorium (Episode 11) and I’m a little obsessive about the song in the first opening:

bouken desho desho? hontou ga uso ni kawaru sekai de~

My final verdict?  I wish I had enjoyed this anime more.  It had a lot of potential.  From a different perspective, I love how they took Haruhi’s crazy ideas and made a crazy anime instead of a conventional one.  I just wish that there was actual plot…but that’s just me.  I liked the anime enough to consider picking up season 2 …  (I already accidentally watched two episodes of the Endless Eight Arc…) but ended up deciding against it.

Despite all my criticism (I avoided using the word bashing) of this show, you’d be surprised that I’m going to say that I actually liked it…enough to finish it.  That may sound bad, but I have to like a show enough to finish it.  Certain episodes felt like a complete waste of my time.  To be honest the only episodes I actually liked was Episode 6 and Live Alive (maybe because there’s an inkling of plot/character development in them)

haruhi6

Mi-Mi-Miracle Miku-run-run (once you get this stuck in your head it’s never coming out.

Thanks for reading my review on Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, I hope you enjoyed it 🙂

What anime do you think I should review next?

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