The story takes place in winter. Haruhi has a big plan for Christmas party. She, being very pushy, gets every member of the SOS Brigade ready for the grand party. Several days later, Kyon wakes up and goes to school as per usual only to find out that Haruhi has disappeared. Nobody in his class remembers Haruhi. “What? You don’t know Haruhi?”—- “Koizumi, where is he?”—- “Is… Is that you Nagato Yuki?”
If you read ‘The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Review’ you’ll know how much I dislike the series. Regardless, that didn’t deter me from watching this sequel movie. I planned to finish every sequel of the franchise even before I watched the series, and I’m glad I planned it that way.
It should be noted that if you are aren’t familiar with this franchise, you should not watch this movie as there is little to no visual flashback. The only flashbacks shown are monologues of Kyon throughout the movie so, those of you who have not watched the series will not understand the story and the characters fully. You’ll also be unable to tell the difference between the old world in the series and the altered world in the movie. I highly recommmend that you watch the series first in order to enjoy this movie to the fullest.
To be honest I didn’t really understand the story when I first watch it. Because of that, I didn’t enjoy it, especially the ending. It got worse during my second runthrough because I watched it in sub. Subtitles aren’t really my thing when it comes a to slow progressing story. However, when I watched it for the third time, it changed my whole perspective of this show. I like it a lot!
The movie is nothing like the series. While the story in the series does not provide closure , the movie does. Some would argue about the slow story progress especially at the beginning. To me, it doesn’t actually feel that long because I was bombarded with twists in the story plot, which I find very thrilling. The long exposition is actually very necessary as It makes you experience Kyon’s suffering. You follow his every thought and every action. You feel how he feels. It’s like you are him for the two days time period of the anime.
What caught my eye and dropped my jaw to the ground was the climax scene. For those who have watched the show, you’ll know that I’m talking about; the early morning on the 18th of December. Since my review is always spoiler free (or at least only contain minor spoilers) I can’t talk about the scene much. All I can say is that the scene is very intense. Most of the questions and curiousities devoleped from the very start are thrown to your face all at once. But, to my disappointment, there are several things that did not get any explanation unless they plan to make a sequel to this movie (which they are). Another thing is that right after the impactful and intense climax scene, the atmosphere swiftly shifted into a very relaxed atmosphere which is the ending. I don’t particularly like the drastic change of atmosphere but I didn’t really care because the ride was awesome enough for me.
The highlight of this show is obviously the character development. Seriously, the character developments are excellent! Unsurprisingly the main character Kyon, has the biggest development. As we know from the series, he is just a normal highschool boy who happens to be in abnormal situations. He also hates Haruhi for being such a bitc…, I mean bizarre and downright pushy all the time. But after Haruhi ‘disappears’ he realizes that he loves and misses his moments with Haruhi and the SOS brigade members. Honestly, I felt like I had the same feeling as Kyon as I was watching this. I mean, I hate Haruhi for the same reason as Kyon does and if I were ever in his shoes, I believe I would whine and complain a lot just like Kyon. But when I finished watching the movie, I felt like all the moments of ‘The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’ were nostalgic. Yes, there were many bad and dull moments but they are all happy memories now. It’s like school basically. The feeling when you graduate from school, get it?
I always pay more attention to Nagato Yuki. She is my favourite character in the series so it’s natural for me to pay more attention to her. They manage to make her character more compelling than she already is. After Haruhi ‘disappears’ Yuki turns out to be an introverted shy highschool girl who loves to read books. Being an introvert, shy and facially expressive is an anomaly for a character like her and I find it very interesting. It makes me want to know more about her and thankfully, I did. Although they didn’t explain everything about her, I’m pretty satisfied with what I know about her so far. She is undoubtedly my favourite character in the series and the movie. I believe she will still be my favourite character in the sequel project (if it happens).
The next character I’m going to talk about is Haruhi. I can’t believe how adorable she is! I definitely hate her in the series but in the movie, she is the complete opposite or at least she’s likable (only because she doesn’t have the chance to be pushy and all. Her negative traits are still there but they aren’t too obvious). As for Mikuru, she has a large significance and purpose to the story. Koizumi on the other hand doesn’t have much impact on the overall story.
I don’t usually talk about animation in anime. Unless it’s exceptionally great or exceptionally crap, I won’t be talking about it. Needless to say, the animation of this movie is magnificent. The colours are vivid and the character design is very detailed. Every single person has a face including passers-by. The art is simply beautiful. The choice of music too is very nice. I mean, they played the opening song of the first season of the series for the movie. It gives some nostalgic feelings to me even though I don’t really like the series.
Now, it’s time for the dub and the sub. For those who have read my blog, you know I’m not a big fan of subs. I generally like the dub better. So, yeah I like this movie in dub better. Even so, there is one thing I would like to mention. The Japanese voice of Mikuru is less annoying than the English voice. That surprised me because I watched the series only in dub. I didn’t know anything about the sub but I always thought the Japanese voice of Mikuru was more annoying or at least as annoying as the English voice. But in this case, I guess I was wrong.
So, you all know now that I love this show very much. I never thought I would though, considering the crappy series. The science fiction is very well done even though there are still questions left unanswered. The characters are interestingly developed and they developed Yuki too which is a plus for me. The animation is solid and the music fits perfectly with the tone and atmosphere especially the happy and relaxed ones.
For the final verdict, I should give this anime a 5 out of 5 stars. However, because I didn’t enjoy it during my first and second watch, I’ll lower the score to higher 4 star. I recommend this movie to just about anyone who has watched ‘The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’. Even if you hate the series (as I did), I promise you’ll love this movie.