Speed on the Beat Talks The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Today, I went on iTunes as I do now (Team iPhone and such) and saw that one of my favorite anime was available to purchase with the movie dropping soon via Funimation. It was kind of steep, but I tend to try and support the official releases. Plus, it’s also available for streaming via Funimation’s site, which’ll be linked later.

So, with that in mind, let’s talk about it. Now, it really came as a surprise to me. I tend to not really go for “slice of life” anime, since they seem to be mostly the same. I loved Angel Beats, but I wasn’t clamoring for many slice-of-life series like that. Besides, when I was younger, the whole School Days/”Nice Boat” debacle kind of ruined the genre for me for a while.

However, after going through series such as Welcome to the NHK and the aforementioned Angel Beats, I decided to give the genre another try. I kept hearing things about Haruhi online and from other reviewers, so I decided to check it out. The series is to the “slice of life” genre what Gurren Lagann is to the mecha genre. Tropes are thrown out at a breakneck pace, trampled on, manipulated, and twisted to serve a purpose. Both series are irreverent in their approach to their respective genres and both take viewers on an emotionally-charged ride full of high ups and pretty depressing downs. Plus, memes out the you-know-what.

Haruhi Suzumiya is based on a light novel series which revolves around a group of seemingly normal high school students (above). Told through the unreliable narrative lens of “Kyon,” a young man who once believed in aliens, time-travelers, and espers, the series eventually reveals that everyone in the group pictured above is either a time-traveler, an alien, an esper, or (quite possibly) an unaware-of-her-powers goddess. The others work for secret agencies that are designed to keep this goddess in line–or use her to aid their own causes. The goddess in question, Haruhi, has the ability to alter time, space, probability and everything in the world. Why? So she won’t be bored.

That’s right. This series revolves around a goddess manipulating the world to please her whims. Sounds ridiculous and confusing, I know, but stay with me. What makes this series work isn’t its reliance on cheap thrills, fan-service, or over-the-top insanity. That’s all there, but the writing and character development make this series one to watch.

You actually begin to feel for these characters and care about what happens to them, even if it’s just something along the lines of “will Haruhi and her friends finally win that baseball game” (spoiler?) or will Kyon finally confess his feelings. The series deals a lot with the human condition, mainly questions of happiness, desires, and our fascination with “what ifs?” It’s a pretty dense series for it to be so bright and colorful, hence my Gurren Lagann comparison.

Before I start rambling and end up altering the universe to keep me happy from the sheer amount of mind-blowingly craziness in this series, I’ll leave you all with this.

Watch it. Now. As mentioned, it’s been re-licensed by FUNimation, so you don’t need to rely on YouTube versions of it. Plus, the alternative series is also available (maybe I’ll speak on that at some point). Regardless, it’s worth it…even if iTunes charges about $60 for the entire series (at three bucks an episode). So, to whet your whistles, I’ll link the first episode here for you.

Speed on the Beat

Whatever you need to know about me, you can find out on speedonthebeat.com. Dad of two, cat dad (of two), mental health advocate, Team Support Dope Music in All Its Forms.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s