I recently rewatched the complete Haruhi Suzumiya cartoon series (including season one, two and movie); we’ve all heard the obnoxious debate about how to view the first season in particular- broadcast vs chronological vs DVD order…
It’s kind of funny that the first thing you see after selecting ep 00 on the season one vol.1 DVD is this:
God forbid one simply sit down and watch Haruhi Suzumiya, no- you have to do your homework first.
I have no idea what these “Haruhi’s/Kyon’s order” extras are; they sure as hell aren’t on my DVD’s extras menu.
My advice is to watch the episodes in whatever damned order you want.
Put the episode numbers into a tumble drier and pick them out one at a time if you have to.
Highlights of season one and two include:
- “The Boredom of-”
Kind of ironic that “boredom” happens to be the title of one of my favourite episodes. What starts out as a harmless (pointless) episode turns serious when the SOS team begin losing their baseball game, I love the moment the 3 paranormal club members realise it’s about to hit the fan.
Some say that besides “The Melancholy of-” arc, most of the (season one) episodes are little more than filler; well, when filler is made this entertaining, who cares?
- “The Melancholy of-” part 4
The alien duel. Enough said.
- “The Sigh of-” part 4
Kyon almost unleashes the fury on Haruhi. The tense atmosphere of this scene is great.
- “The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina Episode 00”
A gutsy move it was, making this not only the first episode broadcast on TV but also the first episode on season one’s vol.1 DVD too.
The lake-tossing, fireworks and “keep running past the screen” parts always make me laugh.
- Season one’s OP and ED.
I feel bad whenever I’m forced to skip these, because I know I’m skipping something good.
Lowlights of season one and two include:
- Season two’s minor yet noticeable shift in character appearance.
Haruhi and Mikuru suffer the worst of this, they seem to take on a more “K-On!” aesthetic about them, and anything that reminds me of “K-On!” is a bad thing.
The season one Haruhi had this cheeky, slightly obnoxious- yet arrestingly charming grin; the season two Haruhi seems to have fused the centre of her lips together.
- “Remote Island Syndrome” part 2
The SOS group dicks around, having fun in part 1, then solve a “murder” mystery in part 2. For obvious reasons- it’s okay the first time, but viewing part 2 multiple times is horribly dull. Arguably the worst episode of the TV show.
- This should be obvious:
One (of many) things that’s rather annoying about the E8- is the fact that the episodes aren’t given any unique identifiers; it’s never “E8 part 3” or anything, they’re all titled the same. I’ll break them down as best I can:
E8#1= is pretty much “Remote Island syndrome” part 1, minus the “murder”, so yeah- it’s unarguably the worst episode of the whole show.
E8#2= is very glare-y. This episode glares at you. It hates you.
E8#3= Yuki seems to look less distraught than she did in #2…
E8#4= This episode is a good tease. Haruhi seems to do part 4’s rather well. There are scattered images of clouds added throughout the episode, as if to suggest maybe- just maybe…
E8#5= Nope. On the plus side however- Kyon makes an Evangelion reference and Koizumi wears swim-trunks, sadly making this the best of the E8 saga.
E8#6= I swear, every time Koizumi begins his explanation of the time loop- want to break something.
E8#7= Remember that rubbish red and blue/green 3D effect you used to get printed in old dinosaur magazines? Me neither.
E8#8= I suppose what should have been a great feeling of relief and joy as a viewer actually came out as more of an – “Oh… it’s over.”
You are not a “true” nor “dedicated” man/woman/Haruhi fan by watching the E8 from start to finish, you’re just a human being who spent three hours of your life watching the same cartoon episode eight times.
Not counting extra features- the E8 make up 60% of season two’s DVD contents.
The joke is on me for buying the damn thing.
- “The Sigh of-” part 5
After Kyon almost pounded Haruhi the previous episode- this one surely had to end the arc with a bang, right?
We get talking cats, transforming birds, more eye projectiles, then- um- the end.
Why did this stuff have to feel so shoehorned and rushed?
What a flat climax to season two.
- “Live Alive”’s concert
That lip sinking gives me nightmares.
No, I didn’t misspell “syncing”.
If you plan to watch the movie, you needn’t see the entirety of the two seasons. To prepare for “The Disappearance of”- you should at least see:
- The 6-part “Melancholy” arc.
- “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody”.
Events from these episodes are referenced / mentioned in the movie, so optional preparation would include:
- Two or three E8 episodes. Pick your poison.
- “The Boredom of-”
- “Mystérique Sign”.
- “The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina” OR The 5-part “Sigh” arc.
- “Remote Island Syndrome”
Lowlight of “The Disappearance of-”:
I was a good boy and avoided spoilers and general discussion about the movie, and waited patiently for the official release of the film to the UK public…
I had no idea Ryoko Asakura would reappear in the movie, but I take one look at the back casing and all my patience and effort is thrown out of the window.
Thanks for spoiling the biggest adrenaline moment of the feature, Manga Entertainment (credited for “package design”). You bunch of twats.
Highlight of “The Disappearance of-”:
It’s like a fan-fiction done well… so it’s nothing like a fan-fiction.
Despite the many ups and downs of the two TV seasons, I suppose they ultimately did a good job of getting me emotionally invested in all the characters, because for what is essentially two and a half hours of yakking- the film never feels too long or like it’s dragging.
Shame about that ending, though.
The (in)famous Hare Hare Yukai dance is available as a DVD extra… on the season two DVDs.
At the time of typing- the R2 DVDs of season two and the movie are widely available. A cursory glance at Amazon and eBay suggest that season one is harder to come by however, be it new or used.
Never fear though- the complete season one box set can be bought here:
I used to think the complete Haruhi Suzumiya cartoon experience was “great”, but following this rewatch- my opinion of it has dropped slightly.
Still, it is good.
Just not £350 good.