The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya has been a bit of a phenomenon in Japan and has managed to pick up a cult following in both Japan and the States. Based on the original light novel, TMHS tells the story of (from the point of fellow classmate Kyon) high school student Haruhi Suzumiya and the adventures of her Save our world by Overloading it with fun Suzumiya Haruhi’s Brigade (the S.O.S. Brigade for short). In essence:
Kyon is an ordinary freshman high school student who only recently given up his fantasies of espers, time travelers, aliens etc. as he left middle school. When he chooses to speak to one eccentric girl by the name of Haruhi Suzumiya, he unwittingly sets off a chain of events which drag him into surreal situations; he is drawn further into a world eerily like the fantasies he had just managed to outgrow, with Haruhi Suzumiya at its center.
Searching for a group that interests her, Haruhi joins and quits every club in school finding only dissatisfaction. Kyon makes a snide remark about her actions and accidentally provides Haruhi the inspiration to create a club of her own. To help start the club, Haruhi forcefully drafts Kyon, who only stays in the club to protect (or try to protect) other helpless victims of Haruhi’s “voluntary arrests”. As the story progresses, Kyon finds that each of these supposedly “helpless victims” has a specific reason to be there.
Except for Kyon, the students in the club are secret agents of various organizations who are sent to observe Haruhi. They gradually explain that Haruhi has superhuman control over every aspect of the universe – an ability which she is unaware of. Whenever Haruhi becomes bored or otherwise dissatisfied with reality, she unconsciously creates a new universe – one more to her liking – and attempts to switch over. This leads to the destruction of the current universe. To prevent this, the members of Haruhi’s club spend their time trying to keep their god-like leader entertained, hold her powers in check, and maintain the illusion of a normal life.
Although a typical school environment anime, the eccentric antics of Haruhi add a nice dose of fun and humour to a plot that is already stretching reality as far as it can go. The dour and pragmatic Kyon proves to be the perfect foil for this group of misfits antics and the shows pace is nice and fast and furious. To spice things up just a little more and heighten the wackiness, the television release schedule purposefully mixed up the order of shows, meaning you watch the show out of chronological order. Yet this is handled so well, youll almost never feel lost in it. The animation quality is not bad, with fairly few, if any shortcuts taken. The sound acting is also pretty spot on, with Kyons voice actor probably standing out the most.
Honestly, I enjoyed the short show (only 14 episodes in total) but I honestly cant understand why it has such a huge following. Its good, its funny, but it isnt anything outstanding or new as far as I’m concerned. Still, it does have quite a few laughs, is easy to get into and is generally a really enjoyable show. Oh, and it has a really decent ending for a change, something thats often amiss in anime shows!