THIS is what it's all about. This right here. This anime, this is why I got into this stuff in the first place. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is everything that's right with the medium. Just to prepare you, for the next few paragraphs I am going to give this series the most wonderful and sloppy, typed oral sex I can possibly bestow through a written review such as this. As with a few other shows I've reviewed in the past, Haruhi is best if you go into it blind without any knowledge of what is to come. Just know ahead of time thatIt is as close to perfection as any comedy I've ever seen has ever come close to attaining. Watch it.
If you still need to be convinced of this show's transcendence please, let me convince you now. Let me convince you with a FIST TO THE FACE!!! Or if you are a woman, let me convince you with a nice, sensual, baby-oil-filled massage. During the POUNDING or the body slathering I would also tell you the following: Haruhi Suzumiya is one of the all time great leading ladies. She's cute, outgoing, smart, athletic, and completely fucking nuts. Imagine the craziest girl you've ever know... An ex or some totally bonkers chick you used to work with (you know, the one who would make up an excuse for being late to work because she got into a traffic accident while writing obscene messages backwards on her windshield with lipstick so that the guy in front of her could read it which caused him to slam on his breaks and her to smash into his trunk at 75 MPH and cause her to then shit her pants and have to go home to change them)... Then take away all the parts of her that really scare the ever living shit out of you and make you want to strangle her, add a fun personality and a pretty smile, brains, athleticism and... You know what, she's nothing like that crazy bitch from work or any of my exes. Fuck that analogy. Haruhi is awesome. All around awesome. She's a little hyper and strange, but far from in a bad way... Honestly, I don't know where I was going with that before.
So anyway, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is all about Haruhi and her quest to meet interesting people. Interesting people from space, the future, or with ESPer powers. To this end she enlists/kidnaps fellow students at her school and pretty much forces them to join her SOS Brigade (that "SOS" stands for something in Japanese, but it's not really all that important and I am just WAY too damn lazy to look that shit up right now). Unbeknownst to Haruhi though, pretty much every member of the SOS Brigade is made up of aliens, time travelers, and ESPers... Well, except for Kyon (the guy whose narratives guide us through each episode). Kyon (we never find out his real name -- "Kyon" being his nickname that his sister gave him which stuck) is as normal as they come. Well, at least we think he is. The rest of the members of the SOS Brigade (the alien, the future girl and the ESPer boy) all believe that his existence, and his friendship with Haruhi, are the catalysts for all the funky stuff that's going on.
Kyon though is just a laid back kid. He's cool and all, but its his reactions and comments and thoughts about everything that Haruhi does that really drive this show. His sarcasm is so much fun to listen to. Just watch the first episode to see how something that by itself would be giggle-worthy becomes comedy genius when we get Kyon's commentary. The opening half hour is all just a mini movie that the SOS Brigade puts together for the school's culture festival. It's bad. Terrible in fact. It's like watching an animated, extended version of the "worst movie ever made" sketch in that one Benny Hill episode. Nobody can act, the plot's a mess, the special effects are hardly special, and the editing is atrocious. I could see a much lesser director emphasizing these bad aspects of this "film" and totally running the comedy into the ground in such a way that watching it would become painful. But director Hiroshi Yamamoto made it so that the movie actually looked like it was put together by an ADHD high schooler, and it's tone is not over the top, but silly-goofy. The adding of Kyon's barbs and ponderings about the action on the screen are what elevate this thing from "eh, that was okay" to "BRILLIANT."
But, as stated before, TMoHS is much more than just Kyon and Haruhi (and if I didn't state it before I said it just now) -- there's Yuki (the data alien/Ayanami Rei clone), Mikuru (the shy and large breasted time traveler), and Itsuki (the ESPER from "The Agency"). All of them are fun in their own way and none of them grate on your nerves. You know how there's always one character in an ensemble cast whom you'd like all the others to tie his head up in a plastic bag, beat his skull in with an aluminum bat, and leave in the desert all alone, buried up to his neck in the sand? Well there's none of those kind of figures here. Honestly, they could have made an entire show out of any of this crew and I think it would have been fun... Though I'm glad they did combine them all like this for maximum humor potency. Beautiful.
The last thing I want to talk about here is the order in which to watch TMoHS. There's the "broadcast order," and the "wrong order." Let this be a note to whoever eventually gets the license to this show for release in America... Release it in the broadcast order.
The difference between the wrong and broadcast orders is this: the b.o. is not in chronological arrangement. It starts off with the previously mentioned home movie that the SOS Brigade makes for the school's culture fest (which would in fact be episode number 11). Then it jumps to episodes one and two (chronologically), and then 7, 3, 9, 8, etc. It's not hard at all to follow what's going on this way, and it's actually a lot more fun to see things out of their correct timeline. But what's best about the broadcast order is that the final episode feels like an ending, even though it's really only episode 6 chronologically. The final temporal sequenced episode is actually quite quiet and nothing of importance really happens in it. Not that any episodes of this show are bad or even close to being boring, but the chronological ending is not the best way to initially view this show. Once you do see the whole thing though, feel free to mix it all up and watch it any way you feel like it. Far be it from me to dictate how you live your life. Now SIT UP STRAIGHT and PUT SOME GODDAMN PANTS ON, son!
Listen, hu-mans, if all the people in the future were like that bosomy Mikuru chick Robot Pedro would never have left to come back to the past to try and kill the Rossman. Trust me, even robots get robo-boners sometimes.
I guess the law of averages would eventually lead to something like this... I actually ended up liking something that the Rossman made me watch. No, it wasn't the greatest thing since the Chippendale's opened up a few blocks away, but it was a fun show with a cast of characters that didn't make me want to blow up my (or the Rossman's) television.
Eh, not much to say about it beyond that.