Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, commonly referred to as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya or simply Haruhi Suzumiya, was the 2006 project of Kyoto Animation. The story of Haruhi Suzumiya is based on the light novel written by Nagaru Tanigawa. The one cour, 14 episode anime is considered as one of Kyoto Animation’s best works and remains to be one of the most iconic anime in recent times.
The series follows the high school student Kyon who meets a fellow student Haruhi Suzumiya, a young girl who finds their school to be lacking in anything that could trigger some amount of interest. With her lack of interest in any existing school club, Haruhi decides to form her own. She then sets up the SOS Brigade which was formed to look into things that do catch Haruhi’s interest – things such as aliens, espers, and time travelers. With the formation of the club, the club’s president Haruhi recruits Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina, Itsuki Koizumi, and of course, Kyon to be the first members of the club. This begins the story of the SOS Brigade and of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is simply put, one crazy ride. One of the immediately memorable things about the anime is how Haruhi Suzumiya has two viewing orders – the broadcast order and the chronological order. The series, being focused on the quirky leader of the SOS Brigade, Haruhi Suzumiya, took the liberty to carry over her quirkiness to all aspects of the series including the airing order of episodes. What is interesting about this trait of the series is that both viewing orders make sense in their own right. While viewing things in the chronological order would obviously make sense, the broadcast order offers an experience that really enhances the oddity (it’s a great kind of oddity) of the series and its characters.
The main cast of Haruhi Suzumiya is also one of the best aspects of the series. Each character adds a new dimension to the group. Haruhi, the titular character, is often the catalyst for most if not all of the adventures and activities of the SOS Brigade. Her interest in the supernatural often results in the group having to go along with one of Haruhi’s trips or projects. Yuki Nagato carries the role of the quiet and mysterious character in the group. Oftentimes, Yuki is absorbed in one of her books despite being in the presence of the entire group. Mikuru Asahina is the group’s pretty girl and airhead. She is often the target and victim of Haruhi’s whims serving as the poster girl of the club and its projects. Itsuki Koizumi is an interesting character who seems to know more than he lets on. Most of the time, he goes along with Haruhi’s demands with a smile despite their clear absurdity. Kyon is the glue that keeps the group together serving as the normal guy among the sea of oddities.
The dynamic of the SOS Brigade is a highlight of Haruhi Suzumiya. Their antics always result in some level of hilarity. The way the group interact is very natural. Rather than being predictable per se, the interactions between the characters are better described as being expected given their traits. The effect is that viewers feel as if they are part of the group rather than simply watching them from the sidelines. Kyon’s character really helps create a connection between the viewer and the group serving as the bridge between normal and abnormal. His perspectives serve as an anchor that allows the viewers to feel one with the group making their dynamic even more enjoyable.
Overall, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya earned its spot among Kyoto Animation’s masterpieces. The series managed to highlight the quirk of its characters in every aspect of the anime.