Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) Review

With all 28 episodes out of the way, it’s time for a full series review before I move onto Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu (The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya), which I will also be reviewing.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve gone through all 28 episodes already. Time sure flies when it comes to anime, and just like that the bulk of Haruhi is done with! This was my second watch through of Haruhi, the first would have been about 5 years ago, in broadcast order, dubbed. This time I watched in chronological order, and subbed.

So how was Haruhi this time around?

haruhi and kyon

Individual Episodes

I’ll put all of my individual episode posts first and foremost.
These contain my thoughts on an episodic basis.

The episode number is the actual episode number, and the number in brackets is the post number. Because I watched in chronological order, the two never actually match up.

kyon and koizumi beach clothes

Supernatural Slice of Life

This is a genre we’ve seen before – the supernatural slice of life genre. It’s actually quite common. xxxHOLiC is one example, but there are many more, like Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de. The point is that it’s a slice of life with a twist, like many are, and in this case, the twist is supernatural in nature.

Haruhi and her god-like existence, bending the world around her to her will. It’s a very seemingly innocent and fun concept, a bored high school girl being all-powerful. Add to that the existence of an alien, time traveler, and esper, and you’ve got one amazing setup for some wacky and fun episodes of anime.

I think the daily life of a club full of supernaturals (minus one) is amazing. And the anime really delivers, with some seriously interesting and thought-provoking moments. Time travel in particular is excellent, definitely one of the best applications of the medium.

So when it comes to the supernatural element, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu knocks it out of the park – with one exception…

haruhi suzumiya's message

Endless Eight

The Endless Eight, possibly the most infamous aspect of the anime. Eight straight episodes of which 6 are the same thing.

This was the second time I watched through the Endless Eight, and I have to say, going into it I thought it was going to be fun. There was some nostalgia there, and so I had hoped to go into the Endless Eight with better expectations – look for more differences between the episodes and things like this. The problem is, there really aren’t any differences between the episodes.

Technically, the characters wear different clothing, and the dialogue changes here and there. But the Endless Eight is without a doubt too monotonous. I tried to “have fun looking for differences”, but the anime doesn’t give you much to work with. And so, my stance on the Endless Eight is essentially what it was when I first saw it, many years ago.

The concept itself is very intriguing. To have a time loop that consumes a very large portion of the anime and pushes the idea that the characters are repeating the same two weeks over and over is awesome. But the execution just wasn’t good enough. Remember, this is EIGHT EPISODES. That’s 2/3 of a FULL anime season, all devoted to showing us the exact same content, over and over. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to wait a full week just to see the same episode, for 8 straight weeks. Probably wouldn’t feel that great.

My personal suggestion is that they should have broken up the episodes more, having each episode focus on different activities that happened throughout the two week summer period in the anime. For example, one episode gives us 10 minutes of swimming and the festival, and very briefly shows us the rest. The next briefly shows us the swimming and festival and then gives us 10 minutes of bug catching and working part time. And so on.

Alternatively, you just create more differences between episodes. Not just outfits, but actual tangible differences that make things more fresh. Different interactions in the two week period, for example, with the major scenes staying the same.

I’d say the potential of the Endless Eight exceeds the downside of having to sit through it, if only because it’s so unique and interesting that an anime actually went through with airing the same episode 8 times. You have to give them credit for that, at least.

Characters

I won’t spend too much time on this part, but the characters are the lifeblood of a slice of life anime, so I should at least write something about it.

Haruhi in particular is a very interesting character, because while she herself is a very consistent character, my impressions of her changed throughout the entire anime. She’s energetic, she’s selfish, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to create entertaining situations.

Starting out I was completely on board with Haruhi. She’s fun, and exciting. You don’t know what she’s going to do next. But as the series progresses, I started to feel more disenfranchised with her. Watching the anime through Kyon’s perspective plays a large role in this, but also just watching Haruhi step all over the people around her without second thought takes a toll.

I think Haruhi is a great character though. As the god-like figure in this anime, it makes a lot of sense for her to have a very entitled and un-empathetic side. If anything, I think it’s very interesting how such a consistent character managed to change my opinion of her so much throughout the series, without having changed herself.

As for the rest of the cast, well they’re all amazing in their own ways. Kyon, Asahina, Yuki, and Itsuki are all very unique and fun characters. By the end of it all you really feel like you can predict what they’re thinking, or how they’ll act. The anime is quite the journey, and I absolutely love getting to know a cast of characters this well.

Story vs. Slice of Life

I noticed two specific types of episode. The first was story episodes, in which a storyline is established and carried on throughout several episodes. Endless Eight is one example, but also the creation of the SOS Brigade’s movie and the island mystery, are examples of this.

The other type of episode is the traditional self-contained slice of life episodes. Something happens, the episode wraps up, and the next episode is something completely different.

Personally, I preferred the slice of life episodes. We still had overarching developments and fun supernatural occurrences, but the episodes also ended in closure. While I enjoyed the movie arc for example, it also felt like it dragged on a bit too long. Endless Eight of course also felt like it dragged on for too long. So while I like that the anime tries to balance these storylines and self-contained slice of life, I do think that it excelled more at the self-contained slife of life episodes.

Broadcast vs. Chronological Order

The first time I watched Haruhi, it was in broadcast order. It was so long ago that I admit I hardly remember anything from it.

But I have to say that watching the anime in chronological order was the best decision I could have made. The anime is such a pleasure to watch in this order, that lines up with the in-anime timeline. There’s no bizarre jumps, and the anime feels like it flows perfectly.

Considering the second season didn’t also commit to a broken-up order, I feel like it just makes more sense to watch everything in chronological order, as opposed to watching the last episode in the timeline (episode 9) and then essentially forgetting about it by the time episode 28 rolls around. Sometimes jumping around can make sense, like with Baccano!, but with this anime, I feel like chronological order just works.

Plus I’d like to say that I really liked the anime ending on episode 9, which is not only a great ending to the anime, but also a great segway into The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

Rating

I’m glad I went back and re-watched through all 28 episodes of Haruhi. It’s a very interesting anime that definitely deserves the title of a classic anime. Even today it looks amazing and holds up without any issue.

I’m going to give Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu a 8 / 10.

It’s a great anime, and I’d say its one that you can’t go wrong with. If you want to watch a school anime, or slice of life, it’s absolutely worth a watch. While there are better slice of life anime out there, Haruhi is still iconic and worth experiencing, and you probably won’t regret it either!

Plus, I have to respect the anime for going on a limb and trying new things. Even if the broadcast order and Endless Eight both fall flat, I appreciate when anime take risks like this, because someone has to do it, and these days it seems like no one is.

And that’s it for Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu.
Next up is Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu!

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

3 thoughts on “Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) Review

  1. The Endless Eight episodes certainly were audacious, but I agree that it winds up being something of a slog to get through all 8. I think the idea would have worked if they had done it in 4 episodes instead of 8 though. Have the first episode play out like normal, have the characters realize they’re in a loop and fail to break out of it in the second episode, have the third episode play out like the second with only minor differences so the audience starts to experience a feeling of tension around how long the loop will last and then have the characters succeed in breaking out of the loop in the fourth episode. I think that would have given the audience just enough of the experience of feeling trapped in the loop with the characters that the arc would have been memorable, but without giving them time to get frustrated and bored with the whole concept.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu (The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya) Review – Umai Yomu Anime Blog

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