The Disappearance Of Haruhi Suzumiya (Suzumiya Haruhi no sh˘shitsu) Reviews
Overall it's an okay anime movie, but you have to watch the series first. The movie is really long but if you're a fan of Haruhi you can probably handle it.
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya begins on the bitter morning of December 16th and ends December 24th atop a building, overlooking a beautiful midnight cityscape. Haruhi is as usual up to her antics and is intent on creating a memorable, nabe themed, Christmas party. Two days later, as Kyon again awakes to the familiarity of a cold, unwelcoming morning, he soon realizes changes have taken place to the world around him both inside and out of North High. Persons whom yesterday spoke to Kyon of tomorrow's plans no longer posses any lasting recollection of their desires. Instead it is that their entire existence has met some distressing, unaware, alteration and it is only Kyon himself who remains unaffected.
Later, while in class, Kyon discovers his classmates are absent minded of any Haruhi-her existence is unknown to them, she is as if an apparition of Kyon's potentially ill-fated mind. Having rushed out of the classroom with unnatural haste, Kyon begins his search for Haruhi and believes she is the cause to this hysteria. He is soon to realize an even greater change in those he held closest as it appears Koizumi, too, has since disappeared, Mikuru lacks any real recognition of him, Nagato is no longer an alien but instead that of an ordinary school-girl, and Asakura has mysterious returned from the dead.
In the once SOS Brigade clubroom, where a shy Nagato sits reading a book, Kyon uncovers a clue inside one of the club's books marked upon its bookmark. The clue-left by the original Nagato before such changes occurred-tells Kyon he must uncover and gather "keys" to "run a program" in which could return the world to its original normality.
Kyon later learns from his classmate, Taniguchi, that Haruhi is attending a different school entirely. As Kyon arrives at the other school he awaits outside its gate with impatience, hope. It is not until he sees the long hair of Haruhi, her once forgotten saddened countenance and Koizumi too, that his disposition is met with a certain cowardly front. His legs locked, Kyon begs himself to move forward, eventually confronting the two outright. Both Haruhi and Koizumi are puzzled by Kyon's demeanor and agree that neither has met with him yet in their separate lives. As Kyon reveals himself as "John Smith"-an alias he used while helping a younger Haruhi when he first traveled back in time-Haruhi is first intrigued and then later convinced at a coffee shop of Kyon's tale.
Kyon, together with the help of Haruhi and Koizumi manage to recollect both Nagato and Mikuru to reform the SOS Birgade. While the five are gathered in their old clubroom the computer there mysteriously turns on and a program appears on screen, prompting Kyon if he wishes to remain here, in a world of simplicity, normality, or return to his unusual, more often disastrous one.
Although admirable of the life finds himself in, Kyon pushes the button with the hope of returning to his former. Instead, he is sent back three years before where he is given a reverse serum and is told, if he wishes to return to his former life he is to inject the culprit moments after he or she changes the world on December 18th. He is then sent back to the future, his present, on the very day to complete this objective.
A Visual Delicacy:
The combination of Tatsuya Ishihara and Yasuhiro Takemoto as the film's directors is a marvelous one. Despite the film's potentially arduous run-time of two hours and forty minutes, their direction is so that the viewer is never quite taken by any sense of boredom. The pacing is excellent. Each perspective, gesture, presented character expression or placement is implemented expertly and with a certain undeniable love for the franchise and its characters.
The animation here is too sublime as its direction. Kyoto Animation put an apparent effort into the quality of each sequence. Time and again Japanese animation has proven its worth over the majority of tiring American animation studios. Even here, with what could be considered almost simplistic in regard to what is happening on screen, is too done so to a higher degree of perfection when compared to even the better of animated American productions.
By way of its intricate, developed plot, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya consists of more than a pretty face alone. It as well blends romantic concepts and science fiction. What is more is that the story and its characters here are explained thoroughly enough for one perhaps unfamiliar to the popular franchise. This is done so in a fashion not daunting to the reoccurring fan. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya explores itself almost consciously and because it is so self-aware, not a single moment here is left as boring, trite matter, but is instead as superb entertainment.
Every moment matters in Disappearance, even the quirky, more jovial pieces of dialogue and wit in which the series is renowned for. All these share an equal place of high immediacy and importance with the more macabre situations Kyon confronts.
One Sentence Summary:
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a long, albeit well-paced feature film featuring direction almost as beautiful as its visuals, an intricate series of time travel, intellect, and story.
The Main thing about this movie is not how the characters are great, How the world is set up, or anything. It's about how well they executed the whole entire storyline. Everything in the movie is pure brilliance, and this is on my #2 spot on my favorite movies ever made (right behind inception)
Even though I haven't seen the show that this film is based off (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), I still could almost follow the entire story as I was paying attention to the plot intricacies and twists and I did some background research on the characters and the synopsis of the show beforehand, so it's not an absolute requirement to watch the Anime series as I absolutely loved how interesting this film was and I felt connected with the characters; I especially felt the anxiety and confusion that Kyon felt throughout the course of the narrative.
I highly recommend this film for people who love time travel, alternate realities, parallel world-esque plots. You will really dig this film, just as long as you read up on the basic premise of the show, this movie and the characters that inhabit it as it will help you appreciate and understand it more.
I am such an idiot. Why did I watch this before seeing the anime series that preceded it; the film does not spend a large number of time establishing its characters and relies on knowledge of the series in order to gain some sort of understanding. I actually had to pause for about 5-6 minutes, just so I could catch myself up with who these characters up online, and after a skim through, I had gained a better grip on them, but still wasn't enough for me to gain that sense of comprehension that I wanted. Nevertheless, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya was an entertaining ride, with a complex and at times too convoluted story that manages to utilise its characters effectively, keeping me in thought on where and how all of its fantastical and science-fiction elements would come together.
The film allows the audiences to look past its complicated plot-devices, because it actually spends very little time on the gears and functions of the devices themselves, instead it reaches for something deeper, exploring more on the emotions of its characters, and how the sudden changes affect them at a personal level. Along with it, the characters depicted here are incredibly charming, full of imagination and most importantly, fun. These are characters that we could easily get lost in their personalities, not caring if all they do is mumble nonsense.
The film's ending may not be perfect, but I can see it growing on me the more I let it linger in my mind, understanding that it must be seen as a personal journey, rather than the large life-changing event that it actually is.
The visuals in this film were more like an upgrade of what could commonly be seen in an anime series, but it holds up on its own, allowing a sense of depth through its added detail, but ensuring it does not distract from the intimate and personal story it tells. My commendation and adoration for this film also stretches out to its musical elements, which is composed of a mixture of both original and non-original tracks, connected together with a tender and warm tone that touches us from the inside.
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a wonderful film that I would not doubt revisit in the future, which then I would have more knowledge of the characters and their history together. Damn, it has been a while since a film adaptation or follow-up of an anime has impressed me.