The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi Episodes 1-5 (Broadcast Order): Remembering a Different Kyoto Animation

So I haven’t died or fallen off the face of the Earth in maintaining this blog, though the reason for my long absence and reduced posting this year has been related to death itself. So to pass some time, I went back and watched an old DVD copy of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi in the original broadcast order because that’s how I remember it best. The reason I picked this and not any of my other favorite series is because I’ve been catching up on The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki, and it’s already in the discussion of what Satelight’s 2nd best anime is since nothing will ever match White Album 2.

tdny05aThe first episode of the series was the film the club made for the school festival late in the show’s timeline. It’s just as terrible as I remember it, though looking back on it 9 years after I first saw the episode, I think Kyoani overused the moped entering the shot trope a little too often in this episode.

tmohs00aOr here where a guy gets into his car and starts to drive away as Yuki is trying to retreat for “reasons”

tmohs00bI think the best parts of this episode were the parts where Kyon as this film’s narrator was just talking shit about the film and when the plot got bored of itself and decided to just go full blown love-comedy cliche. There’s a final battle where you see awesome effects like this.

tmohs00cThen onto the main story for a little bit. Kyon gets introduced to Haruhi sitting directly in front of her in class and gets to hear the infamous self-introduction. After trying to make conversation with her for the first time, Taniguchi steps in and we get the chalk drawing story. That’s where something looked familiar.

tmohs01aCompare that to the 2nd episode of Nagato Yuki.

I would’ve got the whole image in, but that damn company that is less profitable than BBQ rub formulas insists on hard-subbing the shit out of everything they have.

That’s pretty good and at least means there’s some consistency over that lasted 9 years. Kyon ended up getting things started on his own beginning with talking about Haruhi’s hair, and down the rabbit hole he went.

tmohs01bThat led to Kyon suffering this concussive blow:

tmohs01cSo we can safely assume the rest of the franchise took place in Kyon’s CTE-riddled mind. Or not, since that’s kind of sad. Yuki and Mikuru get reintroduced and the club has a name by the end of the episode. Then it was on to episode 3 (or part 2 of the main story), where Haruhi decided the SOS-dan needed a new PC. So she heads to the Computer Club to work her idiotic form of magic:

tmohs02aFalse sexual harassment and rape threats to obtain goods. How hilarious, ugh. I knew I had purged that out of my memory for a reason, maybe this was a comedy trope in the mid-00s. The episode is filled with all sorts of fanservice, but it’s okay because Haruhi is behind it all. Then there’s also shots like this to really get the point of this episode across:

tmohs02bAfter 19 minutes of this we get the whole point of the episode which is Yuki’s big reveal at the end. I did enjoy the fact that Yuki poured Kyon cups of tea three times before they got on with that. This franchise sure likes repetition, I’ll tell you that.

The fourth episode took a break from the storyline and was a baseball episode which was a lot more boring than I remember. Since it was some months after the main storyline, this episode is really all over the place with references to stuff that would have already happened. That’s probably the biggest complaint anyone can have with regard to airing the episodes in this order. Anyway, Yuki proves to have the ultimate baseball mind in that she cheats to win, though the fate of the Earth was on the line.

Kyoani really liked these kind of shots at the time.
Kyoani really liked these kind of shots at the time.

So onto the last episode of the day and to the 3rd episode of the main story. It begins with more exposition that must have been fun as hell to write and produce, but means absolutely shit for the viewer because all that matters is that Yuki isn’t human and Haruhi has immense power that Kyon. Itsuki is introduced, then Kyon goes on a brief date with Mikuru.

tmohs04aIt’s really cute until Mikuru spills the beans about being a time-traveler then later talked to Itsuki whose group of espers treats Haruhi as a god. In between there was some time for Kadokawa to engage in some cross-promotion:

tmohs04bPersonally I think I liked it better when it was fake cross-promotion in the Mikuru bad movie than this blatant.

So in conclusion from this first set of episodes, I can only think of a couple of things that stand out so far. The whole broadcast order was set so that the series would end in a climax since 5 quick episodes then a bunch of pointless club doing activity episodes must not have worked back then. I think in the nine years since this series aired, that idea was proven wrong. Whole shows have been made that featured nothing happening other than high school club members doing activities with little drama. Some of them have actually been pretty good too.

The other thought is that this show does look a bit dated now. Kyoani’s shows look a lot more polished than this even if it did look good for the time. I also think with the amount of time they spend on detailed fanservice shots to kill some seconds that it is also a series that I don’t think they would make anymore. It just feels like it is made by someone completely different from this season’s Hibike! Euphonium or Hyouka.