Friday, June 25, 2010

Review: The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

I literally just got home from the movie, so I better start blogging it up while its all fresh in my head.

Okay so plot wise, we're looking at what seems to be another romp through North High, with the SOS Brigade planning their Christmas party. Haruhi fans feel right at home as soon as Kyon begins his sarcastic barrage with Ms. Suzumiya. Just when our narrator thinks he's going to be dragged into another outlandish scenario courtesy of the brigade chief, something strange occurs. Kyon arrives at school the following day noticing that the seat behind him is vacant. As he asks his classmates around him where Haruhi is, they reply "Haruhi who?" The tension only escalates as the student who is occupying the seat behind Kyon is none other than, Asakura Ryouko. The film only gets stranger from there. Soon parts of season one and two tie into the story and we begin to unravel the mystery behind the literal disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

This is where the film delivers it's biggest drawback: the references. In order to enjoy this movie in its entirety, and appreciate the madness that Kyon is going through, the audience must be familiar with the source material (be it the light novels or anime). There's no way that you could show a Haruhi neophyte this film and expect him/her to have a great time with the movie. They'd be just as lost as Kyon! Characters constantly reference past (or future) events, and a great handful of the jokes are only laughable if their knowledge of the film extends to previous story arcs.

Despite that major flaw, the film looks gorgeous. The backdrops look almost photographic, and the movement of the characters are fluid. There is some use of CG here and there, but it's well integrated into the film that it doesn't detract from the overall experience. The voice acting is done by the original cast, and sound superb in their roles. The performance of Yuki Nagato's voice actress, Minori Chihara , was simply sublime in this film and needs to be recognized. Without giving anything away, just know that Yuki truly shines in this movie and basically steals the spotlight off Mikuru and Haruhi.

So what's the final verdict? The film is a great supplemental story for existing Haruhi fans to rave over. Past story arcs are weaved in, and new ones are alluded to by the time the credits roll. If you enjoyed both seasons of Haruhi Suzumiya, then by all means you must watch this film! And to the individuals who have yet to experience "Haruhism", get cracking on both season 1 and season 2 of this series because this movie will only make you as confused as a guy who has to put up with an alien, esper, and time traveler.

4 DKT's and 1 sniffle out of 5.

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