2009 was truly another era for anime fans: Crunchyroll was in its infancy, Netflix was making as much money from DVDs as it was from streaming, and The melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was the show everyone was talking about. This light novel adaptation about an ordinary high school student and the eccentric (and perhaps omnipotent) life-changing girl would end up catapulting Kyoto Animation to the forefront of the industry and changing the anime world forever.
Installments into the franchise have continued to be released periodically over the years, but it is undeniable that the fiery popularity of Haruhi died to an embers. It’s still an amazing show and there are plenty of reasons it’s always worth checking out, whether it’s for a nostalgic replay or as an anime history lesson.
ten Kyon’s deviousness makes him a lovable lead actor
All shows live and die on their main character, and nowhere is this more true than in Haruhi. The male protagonists of the romantic anime have an unfortunate tendency to be boring, but Kyon turns that around: his sarcastic commentary on the weirdness surrounding him means he gets all the funniest lines, while giving the show the right way. basis that it needs to really work.
He’s also a rare example of a male lead character from Tsundere, and it works perfectly: audiences are so close to Kyon, that watching him grow up to really care about Haruhi is even more satisfying.
9 The characters feel archetypal, but not artificial
Haruhi was one of the first popular anime to focus on a bunch of original characters in a school club, a phrase that is now so clichÃ© that the characters on the show are starting to look like parodies of themselves: there’s the calmest, the genki one, the rich girl, the list goes on …
This certainly applies to some extent to Haruhi, with Mikuru almost always being the unwitting pawn of Haruhi’s plans and Yuki the emotionless upright man; but good writing means that these character archetypes not only seem to interact with each other realistically, but are in fact subverted later in the series to great effect.
8 He perfectly mixes humor and drama
The series has plenty of comedic scenes and entire episodes that work like a sitcom, but it’s also not afraid to get serious, whether it’s with emotional romantic moments or dramatic situations where the whole world (literally) is. at stake. Haruhi’s difficult personality, in particular, can be played either as a laugh or as a serious problem.
Fortunately, however, the series never feels inconsistent, which can be a major issue with the anime. Good writing means the characters feel like real high school kids: laugh for a moment and feel as if the world ends with the next one.
seven The really excellent Dub still holds up
For fans who prefer dubbed anime, watching older shows can be a tedious task due to poor translations, below average dubbing, and low budget audio production. Fortunately, however, Haruhi is an anime classic that has a fantastic dub which means anyone can enjoy it.
Highlights include Crispin Freeman pulling off Kyon’s sarcastic grunts perfectly, Michelle Ruff managing to make Yuki charming without emotion, and (of course) Wendee Lee’s delightfully over-the-top role as Haruhi herself. It’s an anime where a lot of the fun comes from listening to the characters joking around with each other, so the right voice acting really makes all the difference.
6 It has an ending theme which is still one of the best
When it comes to anime, the opening themes tend to get the most love. After all, who has time to watch an ending theme when they’re busy moving on to the next episode? There are some exceptions though, and the viral dance sensation “Hare Hare Yukai” is one of them. Presented as a choreographed dance performed (reluctantly, in Kyon’s case) by the SOS Squad, there was a time when no anime convention was complete without a bunch of cosplayers casting out themselves.
For some older fans, it may be impossible to listen to the theme without a disturbing memory resurfacing. That being said, even they won’t be able to help but sing along.
5 it doesn’t take itself too seriously
With its mix of sci-fi characters all gathered in a high school setting, it’s no surprise that Haruhi Sometimes looks like a parody of the anime itself. However, one of the best things about it is that he feels aware that he’s taking all of these shots and creating something brand new.
After all, in the original broadcast order, it comes along with an episode that works brilliantly as a parody. In a “movie” directed by Haruhi herself, Mikuru plays a time traveler and Yuki plays an alien … and the result is ridiculously old-fashioned silliness.
4 Haruhi herself is a surprisingly complex character
One of the show’s biggest triumphs is that its central plot and romance work, due to the stubborn, energetic, and eccentric personality of its main heroine, Haruhi Suzumiya herself. She was even controversial in 2009, due to the fact that Kyoto Animation’s latest popular heroine, Nagisa from clandestine, had been gentle and gentle.
Haruhi was certainly not every viewer’s cup of tea, but it’s impossible to deny that she wrote with a complexity that showed how the enslaved, one-dimensional female characters were starting to resemble the anime: Haruhi could acting too confidently, but his acting out masks a deep loneliness and a desire to find his place in the world.
3 It sometimes seems genuinely experimental
Haruhi is so iconic now, that it can be easy to forget how unique and boundary-pushing it is, even today. The fact that it was broadcast in chronological order gives the impression that the audience has to solve a puzzle; it is becoming a phenomenon in itself, just like those the club is investigating.
That sense of experimentation would be taken to a whole new level in season two’s Endless Eight arc, which simply repeats the same scenes over and over again for eight entire episodes. Fans hated him back then, but is now remembered as one of the boldest creative decisions in the anime, never.
2 Excellent character designs are always iconic
Haruhi represents an incredible leap forward in Kyoto Animation, from the hyper-moe and droopy-eyed character design style of works like clandestine and Air to which they were associated with the more proportioned and rounded designs which made their art one of the most loved in the industry.
The designs of the individual characters are also excellent, appearing unique while still being surprisingly realistic for an anime, and with great little details, like Haruhi’s yellow hair ribbon and the SOS squad armband, which have become iconic.
1 The episode “A day in the rain”
Arguably one of the best episodes of this anime (and the anime as a whole) is called “A Day in the Rain.” It’s a calm, contemplative episode on a rainy day at the club where pretty much nothing is happening.
That this episode works so well is a testament to the quality of the writing and the characters. This show doesn’t need wacky humor or a plot on supernatural abilities to keep it going. It also works well when it’s just the SOS squad doing errands and killing time. In a way, this fits perfectly with the main theme of the series: Haruhi might never realize his own powers, but that’s okay. She already has everything she needs.
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