After sitting on this series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya for quite some time, I watched it in a single stretch and here is my take of one of the most hyped series in 2006. Is this anime really that good, even better than my pick for the best anime in 2006, Kiba The TV Animation? Or will it bombed out just like the overrated Wolf Rain? Everything will be revealed in my review below.
Our protagonist Kyon, an ordinary high-school student who wished for a normal school life, faces the terror of his life as he was dragged into the life of the school queer Haruhi Suzumiya and become the co-founder of the SOS Brigade, a club that aims to investigate anything mysterious (to Suzumiya’s standard). The club then was joined by a bumbling time-traveller, a devious esper and a silent alien (muahahaha what is this) whose carry the same mission of observing Suzumiya for their own reasons.
The story itself is not exactly spectacular and somewhat thin, but the series makes up for it with funny scenes filled with the antics of Suzumiya as she is restrained by the powerless Kyon. As I watched the anime using the correct sequence instead of the TV airing sequence, the story ended up about half-way of the title run, and switching to Galaxy Angel-style storytelling mode in the latter part of the show. IMO, the best parts of this series comes when the show ditches the story and went freestyle. Although unlike Galaxy Angel, you can’t just pick an episode and start watching because you will miss some important parts of the series.
In other words, the series is only great for its non-story parts. This is shown by the fact that the best episode in this series is where Asahina Mikuru was filmed in a mahou-shoujo episode for the school festival. That episode is so good, on par with the Jigoku Shoujo episode I have mentioned earlier. And it does not feature Suzumiya in it.
There are times when I feel that the overall character design of this series is more similar to ones seen in H-games and hentai animations than traditional ones such Jigoku Shoujo, Naruto or Tantei Gakuen Q. Of course it is not as blatant as Hani Hani Operation Sanctuary. Anyway, the design is not bad nor spectacular, and no, Suzumiya’s design is not earth-shattering like a lot of people wants you to believe.
This is where this series really shines. While Kyon’s voice acting is just about average, the voices of Suzumiya, Asahina and Yuki Nagato are excellent, especially for Asahina. Kyon’s case is regrettable because he is the best character in the series, plot-wise for me. The voice actor simply failed to convince in the numerous monologue parts that Kyon uses extensively in the show.
Only the ED theme is good while the OP is average and the OST is almost non-existent.
The animation is fluid even in fast-paced scenes, and the magical battles has spectacular special effects on it. Some 3D CGI fails though. As about the directing, there is nothing bad to say about, and I looks quite hard for bad points too.
7 out of 10. While not as bad as Wolf’s Rain, this anime did not really warrant that hype I have heard about this anime last year. Kiba the TV Animation is still my choice for Best Anime in 2006. And this series did not really attained the height of my favourite comedy anime of all time, Azumanga Daioh. The same can be said of Haruhi Suzumiya when compared to Ayumu Kasuga.