|Last updated September 20, 2006.|
Acting under the presumption that it is better to be late than entirely remiss, I hereby sound off regarding the new hot show of this new season: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Haruhi is completely nuts, but you will love her. A lot.
The first episode was kinda slow, and I wasn't really sure what to make of it. You can't really judge the show by this first episode, though, because nearly all of it was content from Haruhi's terrible student film. Why Haruhi is directing a student film, I have no idea, because the second episode didn't refer to it at all, and only set up the background introductory material about the (real) show's four main leads. And it is a BAD student film, with shaky camera work, bad color and lighting, terrible special effects, and Godawful writing. It also appears every scene was shot in one take, so it does have that going for it.
However, it is unwise to judge The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on that first episode. You have to watch at least the second episode to get a feel for the real show, and to get to know the characters. And it is a GREAT second episode—just about perfect. Watch it in awe. Then you should go back and rewatch the first episode, and marvel at Haruhi's pure genius. PURE GENIUS, says I.
Haruhi herself is a driven 10th grade high school student with no patience for normal people. She's beautiful and highly skilled at seemingly everything she sets her mind to (with the exception of film making, I suppose), but her grating personality and utter lack of tact makes it hard for other people to befriend her—not that Haruhi gives a damn.
Apparently by accident, tall and lanky Kyon (who seems to me like he could be the spiritual successor of Hiroyuki from the original To Heart anime) manages to become her only sort-of friend, which is good enough in Haruhi's opinion. You can tell Haruhi likes Kyon because she nearly kills him while telling him about her great new idea.
This great new idea of her involves Shanghaing Kyon and two other schoolmates, forcing them to quit their after-school clubs so they can become her cronies. Pure genius, says I.
Haruhi herself is the best part of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, although Kyon's alternatingly droll and frantic voice-overs do add tremendously to the comedy.
The second episode of The Melancholdy of Haruhi Suzumiya was also notable in that it tried to explain moe. I cannot claim that this is the first time an anime series has tried to define the significance of moe—in fact, ufotable's Dokkoida?! devoted a whole episode to it years ago, kinda. But those of y'all in the vanguard of the anime bloggering front have surely noticed how frequently moe has been defined and discussed and argued over in the past year or so. There's even a long-ass entry in Wikipedia, for crying out loud. Within this context, I found Haruhi's definition to be among the most succinct and direct. Pure genius, says I.
I should also point out that the dance sequence from the ED is all kinds of awesome.
Oh, I could also tell you about how awesome episode three is, but if you haven't seen the first two yet, trust me, you're not yet ready.
Haruhi won't let me spotlight any other shows, so there's no telling when the next real update will be.
But just so you know, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya continues to be amazing.
School Rumble 2nd Term is consistently excellent despite the fact that Yakumo is perfect. (Normally I would expect perfect characters to really drag down a show, but Yakumo continues to be very likeable despite having zero faults.)
And Fate/Stay Night is okay enough to watch, but I probably would have quit already if it wasn't TYPE-MOON, to tell you the truth.
There's a new sheriff in town, and her name is Suzumiya Haruhi.
Episode 12 of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu raises the bar for what consitutes a good episode 'round these parts.
Kyoto Animation really struts their stuff this episode, but it was the simplest thing that really made the episode stand out for me:
You have to see it in context to know what I mean, and amazingly enough it's not because of Yuki playing guitar in a witch hat.
Like I said, Episode 12 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya has raised the bar. I, for one, feel eminently unqualified to speak further on its behalf. I'm here to worship, not to proselytize.
I really should have done this earlier, but I hereby nominate both bunny-suit Haruhi and witch-hat Yuki for the category of Best Character Design, 2006.