The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya


Compared to the animation and the plot, the music seems to be inconsequential in watching an anime. I realized, however, how big a ‘little thing’ music is when I viewed the final scene of the final episode of the first season of Honey and Clover with the subtle playing of Waltz compared with the exact same scene but without the music in the first episode of the second season. I was moved to tears for most of the time whenever I heard the love ballad of Waltz playing as Takemoto finally discovered himself and what he was looking for. Somehow, without that love ballad, it simply became just another scene. That’s what I noticed with most good shows. They have great music. Honey and Clover isn’t excellent simply because it has an excellent plot and good animation – it also has very wonderful music. The combination of music from Suga Shikao, Suneo Hair and SPITZ often works for the enhancement of a scene, or a cascade of scenes. How Mayama forcefully and desperately took Rika to a cup of coffee in the rain just to show how much he loves her was certainly made better with the fast pace of Yoru wo Kakeru. (It was very fitting, too – the lyrics were a perfect fit with the scene.) To add another, more recent scene, take for example the call scene between Nomiya and Yamada near the midpoint of the third episode of H&C’s second season. Without the melancholic yet positive tone of Suga Shikao‘s Koko no Iru Koto, I doubt it would have pulled that scene off. The music that plaintively plays in the background simply reflects the sheer loneliness of two characters reaching for unrequited loves. Even now, thinking about it, it was (and still is) extremely jarring. (more…)

It took me at least a month after Haruhi has finished to watch ep5, but I’m glad somebody (Kurz, thanks) prodded me to do so after him asking me what I despise so much about Haruhi. I’m pretty glad I watched it as well, because it seems I’m pretty much going more lenient on her (I hope I’ll do the same with NHK ni Youkoso!). I guess right now, I like it quite a bit, but I still don’t think why people tout it as the best anime of all time. It’s pretty mediocre and unmoving compared to Honey and Clover, for example. I had teary-eyes as early as ep4 or ep5 in that series, whereas I simply liked the flow of the story in Haruhi. The story is just quite mediocre, really, and despite Honey and Clover not having easter eggs, another instance of a big-breasted Mikuru, excellent animation or technobabble, I’d say that it moved me infinitely more than Haruhi S. probably will. (more…)

Whenever you lie down in your bed, mean to sleep only for a short while, and get up some six hours later, it’s a sign that you’re so damn tired. For the record, I’ve only slept for some three hours yesterday and four hours two days ago and did a humongous requirement yesterday; that’s perhaps why the only thing I can post about is my take on FLAG‘s popularity. Anyway, having that much-needed rest, let’s jump back to anime, shall we?

***

I noticed that after the spring renaissance of anime (come on, they aired 50 series!), it was followed by a summer that was mediocre at best (in general). Honestly speaking, a lot of would put Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu on top of Tsuyokiss ~ CoolxSweet or Binbou Shimai Monogatari, among the two anime I’ve noticed to have been discussed and dissected often. Haruhi Suzumiya was simply a wave of popular opinion, excellent animation, character depth, and a new take on stereotypes that was well-received by many; its trump card, however, in my opinion, was its animation. The story wasn’t anything to dance about: it simply defaced common notion and turned it around on itself, which has been done already by some other anime as well (in a much better way, I may add). The animation, however, was among the best. KyoAni definitely outperformed itself, and Hirano Aya as Haruhi Suzumiya, if not for the extremely apt speaking voice, pwnt as Haruhi’s singing voice. I mean, come on – who seriously didn’t fall in love with either Bouken Desho Desho, Hare Hare Yukai, or God Knows? I mean I disliked the show, but I know good voices when I hear them. Hirano Aya goes beyond good for me, and she has been the one who has made the show tolerable to watch, at least for the first four episodes. Everytime Haruhi opens to Bouken Desho Desho, hate is tempered with love for that girl’s voice.

Then again, Haruhi’s the type of anime that only come once in a while; add to that greats like Black Lagoon, RAY the Animation, and Ouran High School Host Club, and you definitely have a successful season. It also helped that the choices of the spring season were myriad; and because the anime producers, etc. needed to compete with one another to grab a spot in the ratings that’s at least profitable, they also at least tried to produce quality work because of their competition.

Honestly, this time around, the only anime I see that’s really worth watching is Honey and Clover II. Those who saw the first season know how awesome this anime is, and it is one of them. Other than that, there’s probably Kemonozume (forbidden love is always majestic and FTW) but no headturners like spring, really.

Next time, I’m using OpenOffice or FireFox to write up my articles. It’s pretty hard in Opera when you have to type the tags still. Also, a big thank you very much to NoName. I realized how much I lacked sleep.

Despite my skepticism and criticism about this show, I only realized now that it has great potential to be intellectual fodder, or mindfood, that is. Somehow, I have a gut feeling that I'll probably like this show, but I also probably won't declare it to be the best of all time. I'm pretty thankful for some obnoxious Haruhiists and a few good ones, like Zappster and Lost(thank you, men, for sticking with me); I am slowly starting to see the show's merit and originality, though I still can't say much about its plot and definitely can't say anything about its comedy.

Think of this show as among the two masterpieces of Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying. The narrative chronology is shot to hell, however, both the Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying belong to the world's top 100 books of the 20th century. (I know, I'm a bookworm and Faulkner fanatic, but this will transmit a point, believe me.) Despite the difficulty accompanying the reading of these books (surely not the same difficulty figuring out Haruhi Suzumiya), the tactic of understanding more about these books is similar when trying to understand Haruhi Suzumiya: re-reading for these two books, and rewatching Haruhi Suzumiya.

However, there should be at least three viewings with the anime, which is what I'm doing right now so as to slowly accept the shortcomings of the characters and how seemingly cardboard they are for the first four episodes. But there's a general reason for why there should be at least three viewings of Haruhi Suzumiya as an anime. I even think people should wait for it to finish before watching it, but who am I to say so?

Well, on to the reasons why there should be at least three viewings.

(1) The first viewing should see Haruhi Suzumiya as an episodic anime, just as one reads a single chapter (of a character in The Sound and the Fury or As I Lay Dying). Absorb everything you can about that chapter, for the books, and for the anime, the episode. Do not try relating the episodes to the other episodes yet: this will probably only cause confusion for the most part. Take what you can, and then put it at the back of your mind, then proceed with the next episode. View each succeeding episode the same way, and with the end of it all, take a rest. This will be important for the second viewing of the show, or the second reading of the books.

(2) Read as the narrator or narrators direct you, or, for Haruhi Suzumiya, watch according to Kyon's narrative. The linking of events will start here, and more will be revealed about the narrator's (or author's) true nature as the story proceeds. This will be important in detecting the biases and the nuances of the story: with Faulkner's books it's the streams-of-consciousness found with the characters; with Haruhi Suzumiya it's the episode shuffling according to Kyon. More will also be revealed about the main character through the eyes of its narrators: for the Sound and the Fury a lot is said about Caddy Compson as well as the narrators themselves; for Haruhi Suzumiya a lot is said about Kyon and Haruhi herself.

(3) This is when you watch the show chronologically, or try reading the book in its chronological order. By then, the final pieces of the puzzle will have been solved, and your understanding with the novels or the series will be added to with insight and a better correlation with the events and the characters. By then, you'll know why they act like they act – and by then, despite the formidable challenge, you'd have figured most things out. Reward yourself.

I did this to understand The Sound and the Fury, and albeit with a lesser degree of mental calisthenics, this will also probably work with Haruhi Suzumiya. With the four episodes I've experimented on this, and they've worked pretty well – although a lot of the jigsaw puzzle is still apocryphal, my insight to this show has been added upon.

You see, even if I don't like this show THAT much I can still write well about it. 😉

I don't like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. There, I've said it. However, before going all-out on bashing me, kindly take note of why I think so. (Of course all perception is taste-based, but I just can't see all the hype about this series.)

First, no matter how hard I try to get the puns or whatnot, I never could laugh at this show; yet a lot of people have dubbed it a comedy. I don't know what REALLY makes it funny: is it Kyon's dry sarcasm, Haruhi's odious attitude, or Mikuru's easily-fondled big breasts? I didn't even laugh at all for the most part of the three episodes I've had seen, and the humor, whenever it seems to appear, seems too contrived for my own taste.

(Insert snide remark by Haruhiists here that would pertain to me 'not getting it.')

I get it, alright. In fact, even with rewatching the first two episodes, I get it that I don't find this show as funny.

Second, I don't find Haruhi's abuse of people or bitchiness anywhere near the level of pleasant. Perhaps a lot like this, but I'd just like to say I'm more of a person than a sadist. I don't see fun in abusing other people, particularly defenseless and weak types like Mikuru. If a lot of people find it funny, I guess it would be best for me to quote a good post that would also capture what I think people feel about these occurrences.

philip72: I feel like a rubbernecker at a train wreck, […] but I can't help but want to watch.

I don't want to watch Mikuru or any of the other leads get abused. I also can't see why people like Haruhi Suzumiya (the person) so much – I sincerely think she's nothing more than a deified bitch. Would you sincerely want to make friends with such a thoughtless person as her? Care to kill yourself instead?

(Insert snide remark by Haruhiists that would pertain to me 'not watching the entire thing to get it.')

I, for one, do not think I would need to watch all of Haruhi Suzumiya to know where this show is going towards. This is a comedy show that has gone wrong for me, and what's worse, the lead isn't anywhere near likable, IMO.

What I find well-made about the show, however, is its OP. I must have played Bouken Desho Desho for five straight hours while dancing to its tune, and I find that I love it terribly. The music concatenates the tone of the song that makes it good playing whenever one is feeling down. When one is feeling up, this only serves to heighten the happiness or joy felt.

Next, I find the animation unique, stylish, and elegant. My main point, however, is that plot for me is simply more important than the animation, and within the first three episodes, I couldn't even find much as a sign of it. It was all abuse or extortion by Haruhi, and some dry sarcasm of Kyon. I did not find any of those funny at all, but because I love romances, I'm going to plod on and perhaps see a little character development out of this Haruhi Suzumiya.

So, no – I don't find this show terrible just yet; in fact, I find it mildly amusing, yet far and away from other anime in terms of a great plot and depth. I do think the character interactions are slowly picking up, and I would rather see proper development of a romance between either Mikuru or Yuki for Kyon.

I can see people talking about the hints, and I've referred to other people more open to Haruhi S. than I am (Zapp, thanks) so in the end I hope I can find more merit with this series than disappointment that I have now. 🙂