Tuesday, December 19, 2000

Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya review

The first season of "Haruhi Suzumiya" is guaranteed to cheer you up with cute sexual innuendos, scientific mumbo-jumbo and a symbolic religious message hidden underneath the fan service.

The show is based on an oddball story, focusing on a high school boy named Kyon, who meets an unusual high school girl named Haruhi Suzumiya. The girl is a strange firebrand, who is more interested in aliens, espers (psychics) and time travelers than in actual humans. Somehow, Kyon strikes up an unusual friendship with this girl.

However, Kyon never planned on getting involved with starting up Haruhi's own club, the S.O.S. Brigade. The club's mission is to spread happiness around the world, through all the fetishes that anime geeks would love. Aliens. Psychics. And an adorable time traveler girl with big breasts. The show pretty much covers all of Kyon's experiences with Haruhi, the bossy dominatrix who may have mysterious powers of her own.

Although it is hard to discuss this series without revealing some major spoilers, the show is a major hit with college anime clubs in America for many reasons. The first episode is a big home movie spoof, where the high school characters try to act like Haruhi's favorite anime characters in an embarassing film project loaded with weird jokes. The ending credit sequence features the funniest and most infamous anime dance, performed by Haruhi and the other members of the S.O.S. Brigade. And the philosophical members of the S.O.S. Brigade always treat Haruhi like she's a supernatural being who has the willpower to change humanity as we know it.

Religious pundits will no doubt scoff at this off-kilter combination of sexual tension and philosophical dialogue. However, they will no doubt remember this series for all the jokes that seem to come out of nowhere. This is one of the few series that packs all the goofy anime-style fetishes that fans will love. You know, like girls in bunny suits, speedy fights with alien girls and philosophical jokes about the meaning of life. Even the broadcast of the show presented the episodes in an unconventional manner, like a anime-style version of "Pulp Fiction."

The show was also a milestone series which featured many new story-telling styles for an animated film. The narrative is told completely from the first-person perspective of Kyon. The first episode presents the animation from the lens of a shaky, indie-style camera. The tone of the series can switch drastically from light comedy to an apocalyptic thriller sequence. Unlike most anime shows with romantic comedy, "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" features some frightening scenes in the fifth episode, with blood and gore.

The gutsy cinematography effects and genre bending stories all contribute to make this one of the most unusual anime series ever made. Although plenty of other romantic comedies delivered similar conservative themes of love and codependency, "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" was the only one that flooded the love story with the best gut-busting pop culture references. And anime has only gotten better because of it.


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