One cold Christmas day, Kyon heads over to school and the SOS Brigade's holiday celebration, only to realize that Haruhi Suzumiya seems to have disappeared. Moreover, no one even remembers her or the SOS Brigade; Mikuru Asahina knows nothing and is now afraid of him, and Itsuki Koizumi has also gone missing. The Literature Club, formed only by an uncharacteristically shy Yuki Nagato, now occupies the old SOS club room.
Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu is based on the fourth light novel of the acclaimed Haruhi series and is set after the events of the anime series. Not uncultured in the supernatural, Kyon will have to deal with his whole life turned upside down like a bad joke, and maybe it's better that way.
To say that the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for fans of the show would be an understatement. The first season hit the anime world like a storm, and huge numbers of people immediately swore their devotion to Haruhi and the SOS Brigade. The second season though, sorely tested the patience of many fans with the lesson in tedium known as "Endless Eight", and many were left wondering where it all went wrong. The ups and downs of the franchise are well documented and commented upon, and while Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (2009) had some great moments, the lacklustre
storyline left many diehard fans dejected and despairing that the promise of the first series had seemingly fizzled out.
Well, it seems someone was listening.
Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu begins on 16th December, a month after the cultural festival in the first series, and all is seemingly peaceful. It's not long though, before reality gets put through the wringer, and it's up to Kyon to fix everything.
The thing that most surprised me about this movie is how closely it tries to follow the light novel of the same name. Granted there are a few liberties here and there, but nothing near the number used in both TV series. The benefit of this is that the story has a solid base to begin with, especially as the plot is mainly based around Kyon's thoughts and actions.
The movie begins at a farily placid pace with nothing untoward or suspicious occuring, but one of the problems with the story is that it never really shakes off the languidity of the first 20 or so minutes. While the story itself is actually very good, there are occasions where there is a marked lack of urgency about the plot, and it's these occurences that upset the flow of the movie.
There are some plusses though. The fact that much of the movie is based around Kyon's motivations makes it a more interesting piece than the majority of TV episodes, as he is now the engine by which drives the plot rather than a reactionary element. Another big plus are Kyon's numerous monolgoues which reinforce the direction of the story, but also offer some insight into his character, especially towards the end of the movie.
The design is exactly what one would expect from the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise and follows that of both TV series, but it's when things go to hell that KyoAni really begin to flex some of their creative muscles. The alterations in the character's appearances and actions are extremely well managed, and the characters are generally more expressive here than they are in either series. The animation is crisp and smooth for the majority of the movie, however there are the oddfew blips here and there with character actions (nothing that's really worth worrying about though).
The music used throughout the movie is actually very good, even though the majority of Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu lacks any thematic pieces. The main theme, "Yasashi Boukyaku", is sung by Chihara Minori, and while the song has echoes of regret and oppurtunities lost, these sentiments are made more powerful by the lack of any musical accompaniment. The rest of the music is choreographed well with the on screen action, and some of the tracks chosen are inspired in their usage.
The one thing that hasn't really changed at all is the cast, and while many of the seiyuu definitely earn their pay with this movie, the two stand out performances are from Sugita Tomkazu (Kyon), and Chihara Minori (Yuki), both of whom give a new perspective on their respective characters.
Which neatly leads me on to the characters themselves.
One of the things that has always been a bit lacking with the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise is that there hasn't really been much focus on specific characters with a view to developing them. Thankfully, this movie begins to address that issue. Unlike the two TV series, both of which adopt a more reactionary approach to the growth of a character, the movie is more direct in terms of Kyon's development, and the difference this makes is rather surprising. While some may find Kyon's monologues to be no different to those in the series, it should be noted that the content of his comments gradually changes overthe course fo the movie, and the culmination of this development bodes well for future releases.
In all honesty, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. The tight storyline, together with the more focused character development, means that the plot is more flowing than in either of the TV series' (although admittedly the time jumps from one episodeto the next play a part in that too). In truth, this movie is everything the second season should have been, and it goes some way to tying up certain loose ends from both series.
One thing that many people don't seem to see though, is the very clear influence of a certain long running British sci-fi series about a time traveller who sometimes calls himself "John Smith" and there were occasions in this movie where I kept expecting to see a TARDIS.
As with any popular title though, there will undoubtedly be those who will be inclined to hate this movie because it's part of the Suzumiya Haruhi series. The majority of viewers however, may find that they enjoy the movie in a way that isn't possible with a 13 episode series.
Hopefully, movies like this will be the way forward for the franchise, as the last thing anyone needs is more Endless Eight.
Assuming that a standard episode is about 20 minutes long, many would ask, “Couldn’t they just have taken out some “Endless Eight” episodes and add this movie into the 2009 Haruhi season?” However, with The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya being 2 hours and 40 minutes, it would not be possible to fit it into a 14 episode season without condensing the majority of the plot and the monologues of Kyon.
First and foremost, this movie is indeed a sequel to both of the previous two seasons of Haruhi. Watching this movie without seeing both seasons is not suggested. For those who have seen both seasons, I
suggest first taking time to remember some plot details and characters. First of all, who is Ryoko Asakura? If you remember from season one of Haruhi you would know that she is yet another alien in the same ranks as Nagato Yuki. In (chronologically) episode 4 of the first season of Haruhi she tries to kill Kyon by stabbing him. Second you should refresh your memories on the first episode of the second season of Haruhi, “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody”, which is when Kyon goes back in time to help Haruhi draw lines on school grounds but then gets trapped in the past.
Since the plot summary isn’t too well done on the website, I’ll give a brief go. The plot starts on December 16. In about a week, Christmas will hit, so the SOS Brigade decides to have a Christmas party in which Haruhi will make a hotpot for all the members to enjoy. On the morning of December 18, Kyon goes to school to find the strangest thing: Haruhi has gone missing and there are no aliens, espers, or time travelers anymore. As bizarre events keep occurring one after the other, he finds that he is the only person who still knows who Haruhi is. As Kyon loses all hope, he goes to the club room and finds, in one of the books, a bookmark with Nagato Yuki’s hand writing. Striving to figure out its mysterious message, Kyon goes out and tries to find the key to changing the world back to how it used to be.
The plot is exceptional, with a huge plot twist in the middle. The monologues are very well done, including a really epic monologue near the end of the movie. The amount of thought put into the entirety of the plot is also well done; just by reading the plot summary will automatically suck you in. You will be on the edge of your seat the whole time trying to figure out the reasons for these bizarre events. There are some epic moments that really bring out your emotions. You will, at least one, feel tingles down your spine; for me it happened like 10-20 times. The plot is just that well put together that your body can’t help but to let you feel it epicness. Time travel is AMAZINGLY done in this movie. Your mind will be blown by the end of this movie because of time travel. One point in argument is that there are loose ends to the movie. This, of course, is part of the story because it will tie in with the seventh light novel of Haruhi (This movie being the fourth), so the movie automatically is open to a sequel, which of course is a really good thing.
The art is amazing, just as good, if not better, than the TV series. There is a fair share of flashy lights and warping colors when time travel or alien sequences occur. The art is wonderfully beautiful at Kyon’s monologue near the end; trust me when you see it you’ll know. The music is of course amazing, the OP is Bouken Desho Desho, sung by Hirano Aya (Haruhi) and is the OP to Haruhi season one, and the ED is Yasashii Boukyaku sung by Minori Chihara (Yuki) which is peaceful sad melody. The overall OST is amazing and I would definitely get it since it combines sad music with upbeat music when Kyon makes a breakthrough in trying to solve the mysterious occurrence.
Characters are at their best in this movie. Kyon is the central character and makes the biggest change in this movie. He comes to an ultimate realization of everything he was living for: Does he like the life with aliens, espers, and time travelers? Nagato Yuki would be another major character because her life, not as a humanoid interface, but as a human grows. She gains a little bit of emotions and is able to realize her true feelings. Even in the end, Kyon realizes that he has never been thankful everything that Nagato has done for him and ultimately saves her. Even minor characters play a big role, for example Taniguchi, who is ultimately the one who saves Kyon from absolute despair. Haruhi in the distorted world is just a normal person, but without her help, Kyon would not have been saved. The characters are amazingly done and you will love the way they are all presented.
Overall, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a plot filled, plot twisting, emotional giving, character changing, enjoyment giving, plot loving, mind blowing, time traveling, time distorting, epic bringing, ultimate awesomeness, wonderfully put together, amazingly amazing story. There is only one scene in the movie that is particularly different from the light novel; this would be when Kyon and Asahina encounter Nagato at the school early in the morning (you'll know when), the movie has the scene take place outside the school gates, where in the novel it takes place inside the clubroom; however, I would say putting that particular scene outside was a good call. Fans and haters alike will not be able to deny that this movie is amazing and will love every moment of it. As I said many times before, Kyon’s monologue near the end is wonderfully epic and you will love every moment of it with a passion. Your two hours and forty minutes will not be in vain in any manner, shape, or form. The DVD will come out in 8 to 11 months and you WILL rewatch it because it is just THAT good, I wouldn’t be surprised if I watch it two to three more times. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a wonderful experience and might be the best anime this 2010 year.
I posted this review in a blog, so please feel free to leave a comment.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about the show where the esper, the alien, the time traveler, and the normal highschool student all gathered together to entertain that certain ecstatic girl. However, as time passed by, it ended up being one of my favourite guilty pleasures. How could I forget the super fun misadventures of the SOS Brigade? Kyon’s snarky attitude? Haruhi’s one of a kind personality? And, most of all, Mikuru’s tea?
The series, though arguably mediocre, had some very fun moments. So where does this movie, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, stand?
Story/Presentation: I’m going to skip over the synopsis, since you can already read
one with a button away. Due to the hype behind this film, it’s practically common knowledge that this movie has a complete different tone compared to the hyperactive series. It starts off like any other episode from the show, and then slowly transitions into a more solemn tone. Sure, it isn’t dark as something Gen Urobuchi would write, but in contrast to the series, it’s quite the difference. The use of tone is used well, and it helps make the movie feel a lot more believable than the show (assuming you have a suspension of disbelief).
Though the tone was one of the film’s highpoints, I can’t help but feel that it makes it a tad, just a tad, disjointed from the series. People expecting more misadventures from the original show will be sorely disappointed in this movie’s change for a serious plot.
The pacing also deserves mention. The beginning of the film is very slow and deliberate, and though many people may criticize it for being boring, I found it to be good writing. Sure, it may seem a bit dragging at times, and it really doesn’t pick up until a big plot twist ¼ of the movie in, but that’s the writer’s intention. It’s supposed to give the viewer the sense of the dull normal world Kyon’s facing after Haruhi’s disappearance, this being reality.
In terms of the story itself, it turns out to be quite the intricate tale, at least compared to the series. Many plot twists come along the way, and for the most part, the film remains unpredictable. Time travel also has a big role, and it really made me think, which is something I can’t say for the show.
However, my favourite part about the story is how it uses past events from the series, as many subplots and character motivations come back and play their role here. When it comes down to it, the writing here has moments of absolute brilliance.
Its connection to the series can be, to some, a downfall, as this isn’t a standalone. To watch this, the viewer must have knowledge of the first two seasons. Another flaw of this film is its association to the source material. It leaves a few plot threads dangling and a few unanswered questions by the ending (I will refrain from spoilers), and until we get more of the series animated, these plot threads will remain unanswered (unless you consult said source material).
Characters: I loved the eccentric cast from the series. Sure, they mostly followed typical stereotypes, but they did so in a refreshing matter that made them memorable. If there’s one thing that bugged me about the series, it is the lack of characterization. Though one shouldn’t expect much of such from a slice of life show, it was shame that most of the characters weren’t given much depth on their own and in their relationships. In addition, they never really felt like real people.
This is yet another highlight of the movie. Kyon is our point of view in this movie, and after Haruhi disappears, all his motivations and interactions with other characters are completely believable. The best part of his characterization comes to play when he starts to question whether he prefers the supernatural world he always complained about or the normal life he wanted from the beginning. His decision regarding that aspect says a lot about his character.
Another character I’d like to mention is Yuki Nagato. We’ve all known her as the monotone emotionless alien/robot, and now we see her as a quite shy bookworm. How she got that way comes from her motivations from the previous season, and her actions in this movie really strengthens our view of her as a character. Did she really feel nothing throughout all the events of the original show? Is she really the emotionless drone we all thought she was?
Surprisingly, Haruhi herself, despite being part of the driving force, doesn’t get as much screen time as one might expect. That’s not to say she was used poorly, and on that note, all the side characters were used well and they each held their respective purpose in the movie strongly.
Art/Animation: Ah, Kyoto Animation. Feast your eyes, ladies and gentlemen, for this movie is a visual ecstasy when it comes to Japanese animation. The visual quality for the original series was already top notch, so just imagine Kyoto Ani squishing that entire budget on a 2 hour and 40 minute movie. I don’t think I need to say much more than that this film, from a visual standpoint, is absolutely stunning. The colours are vibrant and the animation is smooth.
Speaking of the colours, they compliment the movie very well. In the beginning, the colours are bright to show the spunky life of the SOS Brigade, and when the movie transitions in tone, the colours become subtly darker to really drive home the dullness of an ordinary life. This is just a subtle but noticeable change, and that’s what I love about it.
Music/Voice Acting: This has got to be one of my favourite soundtracks in anime of all time. Each track compliments the movie extremely well and every single one of them is fantastically orchestrated. There is a lot of range in atmosphere in the soundtrack, from upbeat to suspenseful to solemn. It goes without saying the soundtrack is excellent and is used masterfully well.
As far as the English Dub goes, I really have no complaints. It is the same cast as the original series, and so if you had no issues there, then you shouldn’t have any here. Each actor continues to compliment his or her respective role well. As far as standouts go, they would have to be Crispin Freeman as Kyon and Michelle Ruff as Yuki Nagato.
Crispin brings something new to the table as Kyon, going beyond the usual snarky attitude he usually has. Michelle Ruff wasn’t necessarily impressive in the original series (though in her defense, her character didn’t really call for anything special), and when it came to portraying the new side of Yuki Nagoto, she really delivers. She doesn’t go crazy and change her voice drastically. Instead, she subtly adds an indescribable… meekness to her performance.
So yeah. The music and the dub are both fantastic.
Final comments: This movie will give fans of the original series the fangasm they were wishing for, and even those who didn’t like the series might find something to enjoy here. Does this make the original series worth watching? In many ways, yes, it does. It’s a well-written movie with a great use of tone, amazing presentation, and masterful production values. It goes without saying that The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya gets a high recommendation from me.
That’s all for my review, folks! Feedback would be greatly appreciated, whether it be praise or criticism.
First off i would like to start this review by saying that I found this movie very enjoyable. It was good just like the original series but possessed a different tone and threw in different elements that helped me see what was going on in the world a little deeper.
I found the plot very interesting because they show you how the characters react to the events of Haruhi's disappearance(specifically Kyon). Within the original two seasons of the show Kyon is always complaining about all the ridiculous things that Haruhi gets him and the rest of the S.O.S Brigade into. But after she disappears and
he is in a world that he has no problems to complain about, he freaks out and investigates how he could change it back. They also go and show great development on Yuki when she has more emotions. Overall i found the plot pretty well driven and had a slightly slow pace, with an ending that doesn't really end. But i never found myself asking what happens next, it was a pretty satisfying show from beginning to end.
I have always liked the art style that was used for this series and the animation was very good. It was easily better than average with lots of great moments. I personally never found a moment where the animation was poor or even average, it was some of the best i have ever seen.
Even though i found Kyon and Yuki to be kind of generic and dull in the original series, i think they really stepped up in this movie. They both had very strong development. Kyon was able to go through an arc where he saw his life without the S.O.S Brigade and found that it wasnt hell for him he was actually having fun. Also for Yuki you actually got to see some emotion come out of her and see what she would act like if she were human. And lets not forget Haruhi that's all i have to say on her she is just a character that is great entertainment and really quite unique in my opinion. But now there were some generic characters like Itsuki and the classic moe character Mikuru so i gave this category an eight.
Remember this is my opinion. I really enjoyed watching this movie, even though it was almost three hours, it flew by. I found the plot interesting and I really loved how we were able to see a side of this series that had a little more drama and character development.
With an average from all the other categories i give this a nine out of ten and a recommend anyone to watch this film when you have completed the original series, it is a MUST WATCH! Thank you for everyone who took the time to read my review and have a good day
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