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Greetings and Happy Holidays! Railgunfan75 here with a special set of posts for this holiday season- anime movie reviews! To conclude 2015, I have decided to feature some anime movies on this blog. Between now and DEC 31, I will be discussing whether certain anime films will be worth your time in 2016. Every once in a while a movie does come along which not only captures what makes a series but takes that magic, turns it on it’s head, and is a great compliment to the original series. Add in a holiday setting with a somewhat classic idea behind the plot and you have a classic film and a must watch if your are a fan of anime. The movie is the subject of this review- The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya,
Christmas time approaches and Haruhi and the members of the SOS Brigade are preparing to hold a grand holiday party. Haruhi has grand plans for the party and is on the top of her game of driving our main protagonist Kyon nuts. One day, Kyon wakes up and discovers that world has changed. Haruhi is nowhere to be found, the SOS Brigade doesn’t exist and it’s members are ordinary people. Also no one remembers Haruhi or the SOS Brigade. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya follows the story of Kyon as he tries to return to his world. Along the way, Kyon the discovers that the world in which he wanted to escape is the only world that he wants to live in.
This movie is really an interesting movie to explore. Many films based off of anime series are very similar in tone to the series itself. The audience of such films typically know what to expect from such films. This film however shows the viewer a story which is vastly different in tone than the series itself. You do get some classic Haruhi moments in the film, but the overall tone of the film is really quite serious.
One aspect of the film where this change is most relevant is the characters. The entire SOS brigade is present in the film with some members being included more in the film than others. Despite her name being in the film, Haruhi isn’t in most of the film. Instead we get a story centered around Kyon and Yuki Nagato and this really works. Both of these characters undergo tremendous character development throughout this film.
Kyon goes through a pretty shocking experience and his reaction to this experience is quite surprising considering his commentary during both the series and the early moments of the film. It would be understandable for Kyon to be thrilled with being in a world without Haruhi. Instead he desperately searched for both her and the other members of the SOS Brigade. This reaction even surprises Kyon. I really enjoyed this approach to the character. This not only adds additional dramatic elements to the film but it allows for the growth of the character. He comes to appreciate what he has around him and starts to enjoy things a bit. His counter viewpoint was always nice in the series, but it is nice to see Kyon open and enjoy what is happening around him. Let’s be honest most of us would enjoy the antics as they are going on around us. One final note concerning the character is that as per usual Kyon’s narration is spot on. The narration is really the center of his character development and without that, it would just fall flat.
With Yuki, you get to see a version of the character who is the exact opposite of the character in the series. This is not as jarring as you may think. In fact it is a bit refreshing to see such a drastic change in the character as this. This change is a good however, as both versions of Nagato are likeable in their own way. The old stoic version of Nagato is enjoyable because this lack of emotion lends itself to the humor of the series quite well. The new version of Nagato has a charm of her own and adds an additional emotional weight to the series. Not only does this make Kyon’s decision more difficult but this also makes the audience second guess which world is better. In some way it is sad when the decision is made to reset things simply because of her character in the new world. This was a great choice because it provided us with a new perspective on this character.
The plot is another strong aspect of the film. Not only is the premise of the film excellent, but the pacing of the film is spot on. It is a hard task to keep an audience engrossed in a film with a run time of over 2 1/2 hours but this film does it brilliantly. I always forget about the length of the film when I watch it. There are plenty of points where the story does reference the series with is great for those who have watched the series and a bit confusing for those who haven’t. The target audience is the fans of the series though so you’ll likely check this out only if you have seen the series previously. Regardless, the story is just a great story to watch. The movie is written in such a way where it is very easy for the characters involved in this story especially Kyon. There is also an a nice touch at the beginning of the film where you are reminded of what Kyon deals with on a daily basis. This is a great addition to the plot as it adds a lot of weight to Kyon’s experiences. The films ends on a nice note with the impact of the film’s event explored a bit. I enjoyed this as well because it allows you to see how the events have changed the characters. This is something that is not done in every film and I wish I would see more often.
As one would would expect from a film, the visuals and soundtrack are just amazing. This film does have a few years under it’s belt but still looks amazing by today’s standards. Also the soundtrack does a great job of adding to the rather somber tone of the film.
Overall, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is an excellent film. The film tells a compelling story, gives it’s characters a lot of interesting character development, and is quite thought provoking. Maximum enjoyment of the film does require viewing the series beforehand but this requirement doesn’t hurt the movie in any way. This movie receives a ranking of GOLD with a recommendation to buy. This movie is certainly worth your time as it has a lot to offer. It is my hope that you will take the time to check out this film.
This concludes my review of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. My next review in this series will be Sword Art Online: Extra Edition. So until next time this is Railgunfan75 signing off!