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View Full Version : The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya


mr_bungle700
06-11-2007, 05:13 AM
It's Parish approved! It's also coming out on DVD in the U.S. right now so, you know, now would be a good time to pick it up if you like anime type things. It isn't my personal favorite Kyoto Animation (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/company.php?id=235)-produced series, but it's entertaining and extremely well made and has the kind of broad appeal that can make a series a huge hit (which it already is, actually).

The only odd thing about the DVD release is that the episodes are being put out in chronological order, which is not how they were broadcast on TV. In fact, of the 14 episodes, the only one that was shown on TV in it's actual place chronologically was episode 12 (also known as "the one with the concert"). The order of the episodes on the DVDs is not something the American distributors have any control over, so they shouldn't be faulted for it, but it's still kind of weird. I can't imagine seeing the series for the first time in the "correct" order, especially considering that the climax of the story technically comes at episode 6.

However! It's a good show regardless, and there's been news of a sub-only, broadcast order version of the series being included as a bonus feature on later discs anyway, so it's not that big a deal.

So the moral of the story is to get this show. You'll probably like it! At the very least, get it so that you can see the frightfully excellent Tsuruya, who was the inspiration (however loosely) for our beloved Churuya.

Psyael
06-11-2007, 06:00 AM
I... I guess. Parish also bought a PS3 and every game on Virtual Console, but I don't think those actions are "approved" either.

However, as much as I'd like to see his opining on something still relevant in anime fan-dumb (it'd be bigger than the FF7 slam) it honestly doesn't matter since this series is about as review-proof as anime gets. You either love it to death or you don't, and I can't think of the last time that industry released a work like that since FLCL.

For the record, I've thought it was never worth all the attention.

Makkara
06-11-2007, 06:04 AM
It is indeed quite excellent. I'm not quite sure if this or Lucky Star is my favorite KyoAni production, but the latter is just a bunch of girls hanging out and having random conversations. If you like things like drama or action or an actual story to go with your comedy, Haruhi is definitely the way to go. And the production values are through the roof. The rock band performance Parish mentioned is face-meltingly magnificent, but there are other great scenes as well.

R^2
06-11-2007, 06:50 AM
If you like things like drama or action or an actual story to go with your comedy,

Actually I rather liked Azumanga Daioh.

mr_bungle700
06-11-2007, 07:02 AM
That's because Azumanga Daioh was awesome. Lucky Star is good too, it's just...different. It's very much a mood series, designed to incite pleasant feelings rather than uproarious laughter. It does get the laughs sometimes though, and when it does they tend to be big, bending-over-in-my-chair-and-clutching-my-sides laughs.

I... I guess. Parish also bought a PS3 and every game on Virtual Console, but I don't think those actions are "approved" either.

However, as much as I'd like to see his opining on something still relevant in anime fan-dumb (it'd be bigger than the FF7 slam) it honestly doesn't matter since this series is about as review-proof as anime gets. You either love it to death or you don't, and I can't think of the last time that industry released a work like that since FLCL.

For the record, I've thought it was never worth all the attention.

I was mostly being silly with the "Parish approved" thing, but from what he's said about it so far it does seem like he enjoyed it. And why not? It's actually a pretty solid series, in my opinion. Is it a 10 out of 10 or an A+ or whatever? No. But objectively, taken independently from the fanbase (as I believe all forms of media should be), it has a lot going for it. As I said, it's both entertaining and technically impressive. It also takes some rather big risks that pay off well, and yet still refuses to take itself seriously.

tungwene
06-11-2007, 07:49 AM
The only odd thing about the DVD release is that the episodes are being put out in chronological order, which is not how they were broadcast on TV. In fact, of the 14 episodes, the only one that was shown on TV in it's actual place chronologically was episode 12 (also known as "the one with the concert"). The order of the episodes on the DVDs is not something the American distributors have any control over, so they shouldn't be faulted for it, but it's still kind of weird. I can't imagine seeing the series for the first time in the "correct" order, especially considering that the climax of the story technically comes at episode 6.I'm too lazy to find the link but there's an explanation on the official website for why they had to do it that way. For some reason when the show was released on DVD in Japan they released it in chronological order and the US distributor's contract wouldn't allow them to change around the order of the episodes on the US DVD release. They are releasing $60+ special edition version that in addition to the regular DVD contain an extra DVD that has the episodes in broadcast order with subtitles only. Seems a little excessive when I could, you know, wait until I've obtained the whole series and what the episodes in any damn order I please.

Excitemike
06-11-2007, 08:20 AM
Man, you guys are not selling me on this. What is it about and why should care what order it's in?

Kishi
06-11-2007, 09:37 AM
Same here. The character designs are totally abhorrent saccharine moe bullshit, and from what little I've seen, all the so-called "satire" just comes across as the same old over-the-top pandering, just with a little self-deprecating humor sprinkled on top.

As for Lucky Star: Fuck any show that has a female character that has long blue hair that hangs past her knees, is eighteen years old but coincidentally hasn't physically aged since the sixth grade, and oh, of course, just loves playing ero games in her free time.

poetfox
06-11-2007, 09:38 AM
Because when you watch it in broadcast order, it follows that curve thing they show you in school about rising action and falling action and all that crap. If you watch it in chronological order, it sort of fizzles out after the climax in episode 6. There's also more mystery involved in figuring out what exactly is going on, which I consider a benefit. At least that's how I see it.
I just watched the whole damn thing this weekend, and it blew me away. Then I showed it to my boyfriend and, oddly enough, he loved it too. Which was weird, as I didn't expect him to. Anyway, it's definately worth watching. DEFINATELY.

gamin
06-11-2007, 09:40 AM
Man, you guys are not selling me on this. What is it about and why should care what order it's in?

To be honest you shouldn't worry about the ordering. From watching the fansubs in the weird order they were broadcast I didn't really care for it too much at first, and then watched them chonologically. Big difference. Chronological makes sense, even if it does more or less climax at episode 6. The only reason I can think of that they broadcast the show the way they did was because Haruhi Suzumiya was already a big hit as a novel series and manga, so they decided to screw with fans' expectations and give them something a little new.

First 6 episodes are excellently paced, and pretty amusing in that it's at once a parody and a tribute to otaku culture. Lots of little references to anime and the subculture. But even without noticing that stuff, it's an interesting story about a girl who might be god and the main character who is at once scared and fascinated by her.

After the first 6 episodes it lulls for a bit, then picks up towards the end for the school festival.

djSyndrome
06-11-2007, 09:47 AM
This shit is apparently due in at my house around tomorrow, but not by my hand. I plan on being far away when it's played. Like, say, Botswana.

Protip: inquire into your future spouses Netflix renting patterns before you tie the knot.

poetfox
06-11-2007, 10:03 AM
To be honest you shouldn't worry about the ordering. From watching the fansubs in the weird order they were broadcast I didn't really care for it too much at first, and then watched them chonologically. Big difference. Chronological makes sense, even if it does more or less climax at episode 6. The only reason I can think of that they broadcast the show the way they did was because Haruhi Suzumiya was already a big hit as a novel series and manga, so they decided to screw with fans' expectations and give them something a little new.

First 6 episodes are excellently paced, and pretty amusing in that it's at once a parody and a tribute to otaku culture. Lots of little references to anime and the subculture. But even without noticing that stuff, it's an interesting story about a girl who might be god and the main character who is at once scared and fascinated by her.

After the first 6 episodes it lulls for a bit, then picks up towards the end for the school festival.

See, I guess it's just me. I went into the series knowing nothing besides it having a dance and being related to those nyro~n comics somehow. And the screwed-up timeline made me more interested, even from the very beginning. I had no idea what was going on in the first episode, but it made me laugh. So I had to keep watching. Same with the jump to episode 7. There's a character I remember seeing in the first episode, but otherwise I don't know who he is... and all kinds of crazy things are going on... and I guess what Nagato said is true? And it just kept going like that, with me trying to guess what I missed. And then I enjoyed watching it a second time, to pick up on the little things I only would have noticed if I'd watched them in Chronologcial order.

Makkara
06-11-2007, 10:11 AM
As for Lucky Star: Fuck any show that has a female character that has long blue hair that hangs past her knees, is eighteen years old but coincidentally hasn't physically aged since the sixth grade, and oh, of course, just loves playing ero games in her free time.

The thing about that is, what you're describing bears only the most passing, superficial similarity to the actual show. I mean, technically it's true, but it couldn't be further removed from what the show is actually about. Actually, I got pretty much the same image from the opening: exploitative, lolicon-pandering fanservice show. But then the first episode started with a five minute discussion of food. The opening and the show are completely mismatched.

Sure, there are a couple of jokes about how it's improper for a seventeen-year-old to play ero games, but you never see it happen. When you see her slacking off, she'll be playing an MMORPG, reading manga or watching anime. All characters, including middle aged men, look like sixth graders. It's just the style of the show. And the unrealistic hair is par for the course when it comes to anime. I think you might be reading too much into it.

Kishi
06-11-2007, 10:15 AM
The only other show I've seen with hair that ridiculous is Eiken (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiken).

Makkara
06-11-2007, 10:24 AM
Are (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailor_Moon) you (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenchi_Muyo%21) sure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Girl_Utena) about (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saber Marionette J) that? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Characters_in_Magic_Knight_Rayearth)

SDMX
06-11-2007, 01:08 PM
Wow, way to really nail it in there, Makkuro. That's a post after mah own heart, right thar.

Seriously though, Haruhi is a great show and I really can't tell you why. It's pretty much the same with any fan of the show. You watch enough episodes of it, and all of a sudden the nameless pathogen that the show is secretly a vector of takes hold of your brain and you're a hopeless zealot of the Haruhi Cult (who refer to themselves as part of the fictional SOS-dan). It's like the spreading of the T-Virus except instead of zombies eating your brains, you get people like Bungle-kun.

And really folks, isn't Bungle-kun better than a flesh-eating zombie?

Also: Churuya (http://akiba.geocities.jp/el77w906/nyoronyolo.html).

Healy
06-11-2007, 01:22 PM
Same here. The character designs are totally abhorrent saccharine moe bullshit, and from what little I've seen, all the so-called "satire" just comes across as the same old over-the-top pandering, just with a little self-deprecating humor sprinkled on top.


Well, if you're not so sold on the series, why not check out the novels it's based on? 'Cause I found a translation of them a while back. You can google the translation pretty easily, last I checked.

tungwene
06-11-2007, 01:44 PM
Seriously though, Haruhi is a great show and I really can't tell you why. It's pretty much the same with any fan of the show. You watch enough episodes of it, and all of a sudden the nameless pathogen that the show is secretly a vector of takes hold of your brain and you're a hopeless zealot of the Haruhi Cult (who refer to themselves as part of the fictional SOS-dan). It's like the spreading of the T-Virus except instead of zombies eating your brains, you get people like Bungle-kun.I was absolutely sold by the end of the first episode even before having any idea what the show was going to be like. Hearing Kyon narrate their movie in a tone of voice that sounds like was bored out of his mind: "Sorry to disappoint you folks but no more filming was made during this scene where one of the female characters was stripping. Yes, I share your pain," "Yeah, you just saw one of our cast holding up cue cards appear in the last frame. Yes, this movie sucks," "This scene makes no sense. Just ignore that and use your imagination to explain why these two characters are fighting."

So many movies (ex: Advent Children) would've been so much better had they had a Kyon narrating it for them.

And if I can't convince people to watch this series maybe Wright and Edgeworth can.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v227/Tungwene/HaruhiandPW.gif

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v227/Tungwene/itsukiedgeworth.gif

poetfox
06-11-2007, 01:47 PM
Those gifs would have come in handy the other day when I was trying to explain the reference to my boyfriend, who hasn't played any of the Phoenix Wright games and was wondering why I was so excited.

Makkara
06-11-2007, 01:56 PM
Well, if you're not so sold on the series, why not check out the novels it's based on? 'Cause I found a translation of them a while back. You can google the translation pretty easily, last I checked.

The one I found kind of sucked though. It was pretty much a direct translation from Japanese to English, and we all know how well those work. Besides, even competently translated, I doubt the books would be worthwhile, as they don't have the show's excellent animation. Or Phoenix Wright references.

mr_bungle700
06-11-2007, 06:45 PM
And really folks, isn't Bungle-kun better than a flesh-eating zombie?

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

Anyway, I was supposed to try and sell you guys on this show? I just wanted to talk about it! As SDMX said, it's kind of a challenge to explain the appeal (beyond "moe bullshit"), and telling you what the story is really about involves massive spoilers that can ruin the experience for a lot of people. Part of the fun is having no idea what is going on until everything sorts itself out. Of course, watching the show in chronological order kind of destroys the mystery, but some people, like gamin, like the show better that way anyway.

As for the moe thing, I dunno. I just don't care. All I ever want is quality storytelling, and you can't tell whether or not Melancholy has a good story based on the character designs. Besides, have you seen the show in motion? It's beautiful. This applies to Kyoto Animation's last production as well, the Kanon remake. I hated the character designs for that show...until I saw them move. Don't underestimate Kyoto Animation until you've seen what they can do.

Whatever. I didn't start this thread to get all defensive about a show that I'm not even particularly in love with. I just think that those of you who haven't already seen the show should give it a shot. It has actually earned the success it has enjoyed.

Eusis
06-11-2007, 07:21 PM
I checked out the first two episodes, then got the DVD when it came out after being surprised at how it's being praised, even by people who don't normally care for anime or grew disenchanted with it.

I like what I've seen so far, and also think the dub's pretty good. Mikuru and Yuki are too damn quiet though, and I'm convinced Crispin Freeman's in at least half the anime I've watched and the games I've played in the last few years.

Psyael
06-11-2007, 08:21 PM
[ Bitter cynicism ]

Ah, I knew I had a likemind around here somewhere.

mr_bungle700
06-12-2007, 06:05 AM
Feh, you people and your cynicism. You shouldn't be so grumpy all the time! It's bad for your health.

Parish
06-12-2007, 09:23 AM
Yeah, you guys are gonna end up constipated and die from peritonitis or something. I mean, I detest the hell out of 99.3% of all anime, but I still occasionally let myself like things that aren't directed by Miyazaki or Kon. Haruhi is one of those things. It falls somewhere between Genshiken and Welcome to the NHK in its worldview, which is admittedly an awkward place to be, but I think it pulls it off well. And yeah, some of its character designs are cynical, but I sort of admire any show that can simultaneously ridicule its fanbase and profit from those same craven urges it mocks. (Admittedly, it ain't got nothing on this NHK body pillow (http://heiseidemocracy.com/2007/06/11/bishoujo-goods-news-nhk-ni-youkoso-nakahara-misaki-hug-pillow-coming-from-cospa/).)

Makkara
06-12-2007, 09:50 AM
Man, Welcome to the NHK-themed pornography is so missing the point. The best comparison I can think of would be if Alcoholics Anonymous released their own line of hard liquor. Absolut AA does have a certain ring to it, though, don't you think?

Speaking of NHK, my copy of volume three was waiting on my doorstep when I got home from work today: yay!

R^2
06-12-2007, 11:02 AM
E. Jeremy Parish, telling people to be less cynical? Goodness gracious me, what is the world coming to?

Parish
06-12-2007, 11:04 AM
The best comparison I can think of would be if Alcoholics Anonymous released their own line of hard liquor.
Yes. I made that exact same metaphor as I ranted about its stupidity on AIM when I first discovered that link.

tungwene
06-12-2007, 02:00 PM
Man, Welcome to the NHK-themed pornography is so missing the point. The best comparison I can think of would be if Alcoholics Anonymous released their own line of hard liquor. Absolut AA does have a certain ring to it, though, don't you think?The analogy that came to my mind was when everyone thought the second season of Genshiken had been scrapped in favor of the Kujibiki Unbalance anime but this works too.

Squall
06-12-2007, 06:19 PM
The totally predictable ending of the series was so dissapointing to me.
If Kon ended up being the one with the powers of god, it might have gone down as one of my favorites. As it is, it was just another forgettable series with some creative twists thrown in to maks the fact it's not much different than everything else in the genre.

That said, it was still fun that one time.

tungwene
06-12-2007, 10:50 PM
The totally predictable ending of the series was so dissapointing to me.
If Kon ended up being the one with the powers of god, it might have gone down as one of my favorites. As it is, it was just another forgettable series with some creative twists thrown in to maks the fact it's not much different than everything else in the genre.

That said, it was still fun that one time.Hey, don't fret. There's still the potential for a second season. The anime only covers half of the content in the books. I haven't read them myself because I don't want any spoilers.

chocogaz
06-13-2007, 08:45 AM
I really, really liked the show. And I'm actually of the opposite opinion than Squall. I thought that if Kyon DID have them, the series would have not been as nearly as neat, otherwise the dynamic between him and the other charcters would haven't been as good.

JCDenton
12-19-2007, 12:00 AM
Ok, LTTP Impressions/Opinions

Showing the episodes out of chronological order would have been cool if the story was created with that in mind, but instead it clumsily revealed the premise to the viewer, then wasted time having Kyon reach the same conclusion. The episodes not devoted to the arc felt out of place and somewhat irrelevant, though they were not without their moments.

The series could have been great if it was half as long, but I guess using only the best bits to make a satisfying, cohesive series would require reworking the whole thing.

I know it is a parody, but girls changing was used for humor way too much.

Still, it was endearing despite its best efforts. Or maybe what I'm trying to say is that I liked it in spite of myself. Doesn't deserve all of its success, but I never would have watched it without it being a big deal.

Most entertaining episode was The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina. And I don't care what anyone says, I loved Someday in the Rain.

Mightyblue
12-19-2007, 12:11 AM
Um, but it was. The show's impact is much greater if you watch them in the original order, and not the American reordered DVDs. The point of the show wasn't that Haruhi is God, essentially. The point was that Haruhi is human, despite being God, and the show doesn't really make any bones about it either.

I need to watch it over again before I say anything else, but I do have to say that if greatness lies upon a twist, then is it really great? The 'good' things about Haruhi are the character development and the interactions between the characters. Twain puts it better:Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

SDMX
12-19-2007, 12:14 AM
Hey, don't fret. There's still the potential for a second season.

Ding ding ding ding. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Melancholy_of_Haruhi_Suzumiya_%28anime%29#Seco nd_season)

JCDenton
12-19-2007, 09:46 AM
I need to watch it over again before I say anything else, but I do have to say that if greatness lies upon a twist, then is it really great? The 'good' things about Haruhi are the character development and the interactions between the characters.

I agree, but I still believe that the character development and the pacing suffered some in the broadcast order. This is not to say that it didn't add something to the show as well; putting the end of the arc at the very end worked great, as did having The Advantures of Mikuru Asahina at the beginning. But ending an episode right as Nagato was about to explain something, then having the baseball story (with a new major character we previously didn't know anything about) really didn't sit right.

Still, I'm not one to argue with Samuel Clemens, so maybe I'm just missing something.

tungwene
12-19-2007, 11:40 PM
Ding ding ding ding. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Melancholy_of_Haruhi_Suzumiya_%28anime%29#Seco nd_season)The December 18 2nd season announcement was by far the oddest press release I have ever read.

poetfox
12-20-2007, 12:04 AM
But ending an episode right as Nagato was about to explain something, then having the baseball story (with a new major character we previously didn't know anything about) really didn't sit right.
Personally, I loved that, because it gave me a whole episode of trying to piece together what the baseball game episode was telling me about Nagato. She obviously had a secret, because she was about to tell it, and she was pulling off some sort of magic in the episode... what did that mean? And who is that guy? Wasn't he in the first episode? It built up the mystery for me, personally, because it WAS resolving the cliffhanger, in a way. I learned Nagato clearly has some sort of power. What she was about to say to Kyon was almost certainly about that. I just don't know exactly what. It also makes me go back and rethink the first episode, since this one contains a person only in it, thus far, and the questionable magic in the movie becomes more likely to be real magic as opposed to "well, that was weird" that I thought the first time around...
I can easily see how one would be displeased by it, though... I get mad when things withhold information from me needlessly, (see my pointlessly huge angry reaction to the original Cloverfield trailer not giving me a title for the film) but I dunno, I was really caught up in collecting the little tidbits created with the weird order when I was watching. It was good about giving you sort of... parallel information to what you were wanting, stuff that answers your questions in a sideways way... I might be over-thinking it, though.

Gredlen
12-20-2007, 12:17 AM
This topic reminded me that I need to get around to buying the last disc sometime. Am I the only sucker here shelling out for the limited edition versions?

Mightyblue
12-20-2007, 12:24 AM
The minute I get some more extra monies together, I'm picking up the DVDs. Dunno about the special editions though.