Who’d have thought I’d go all “rabu-rabu” over an anime that has no mouthwateringly super-kawaii bishounen? But I did and I totally *heart* The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya!
While the first episode seemed like I was dropped somewhere in the middle of the storyline, it did help reinforce the major plot device that Haruhi Suzumiya is the one calling the shots in everything. The first episode was so absurd that it became funny and you really just have to love a loli-girl with huge breasts in a bunny outfit (it’s so MOE) and a deadpan leading man. I initially thought Mikuru Asahina and Itsuki Koizumi were the leading characters but by the time episode 2 came rolling in, I quickly became attached to Kyon’s indifferent, slightly cynical attitude which is the polar opposite of Haruhi’s fervert belief in aliens, espers and time travellers.
Kyon, who serves as the series’ narrator, had just given up his childhood dreams of meeting aliens, time travellers, and espers when he meets Haruhi on the first day of High School. She believes in everything he used to love but instead of thinking of her as a kindred spirit, he finds her weird and eccentric. A chain of events was triggered when Kyon casually commented that Haruhi’s changing hairstyles must be an alien countermeasure and from then on, conversations with Haruhi became a daily ritual. Later on, it was Kyon’s comment about creating your own inventions that gave Haruhi the idea of forming her own club to prevent boredom. Thus, the Save Our world by overloading it with fun Suzumiya Haruhi brigade (SOS Brigade) was born.
While the club motto of the S.O.S is to seek out aliens, espers, time travellers and other strange and mysterious phenomenon, under Haruhi’s leadership, she was able to coerce the very same type of people she was looking for to join her club!
While Kyon was the first recruit (although it was plainly extortion according to him), there are later joined by people Haruhi handpicked. Yuki Nagato, a purple haired, megane-type bibliophile was the next recruit. Haruhi commandeered the Literature Club’s room after finding out that Yuki was the only member. Yuki became a permanent fixture in the classroom after she agreed to let the SOS use the room. But little did Haruhi and Kyon know that Yuki Nagato is in fact an artificial human–an alien sent to observe Haruhi’s power to recreate the world.
In comes Mikuru Asahani, a living, breathing loli-bombshell who has huge breasts (Haruhi was very effective in illustrating that). Although it looked more like kidnapping, Mikuru later quit the calligraphy club to join the SOS. Haruhi often uses Mikuru as the mascot for SOS and would even take advantage of her club member’s attractiveness to boys by using her as bait (re: the computer club) or as the main attraction in the film. But despite her damsel in distress and MOE aura, Mikuru is in fact a time traveller sent to study Haruhi whom they call a “time warp”.
Itsuki Koizumi was the last recruit, being the “mysterious new student” Haruhi wished for. He is constantly smiling and aways speaks in a formal and polite manner. Itsuki was sent by the “Agency” or the “Organization” to observe and protect Haruhi and the rest of humanity. He nonchalantly complies with all of Haruhi’s plans to keep her emotionally stable, as he does not want Haruhi to use her powers destructively. Because of his willingness to cooperate with Haruhi, he was named Vice Commander of the SOS Brigade.
With Haruhi firmly in control, the SOS brigade now go through various activities and events to amuse their commander. In the words of Itsuki when he spoke of why there are a lot of people interested in Haruhi, he described her, “We would call a being with these powers ‘God’.” In fact, it is explained that she potentially has the ability to destroy the current world and create a new one from scratch if she becomes too bored with the current world. The other members of the SOS Brigade know this and try to accommodate her whims if possible.
Kyon, who has ceased to believe in aliens, espers, time travellers and sliders now finds himself in the same club with them and despite being a normal human being, he seems to be the only key to maintaining Haruhi’s balance and happy state of mind.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the anime since it was such a fresh break from depressing or love-love anime. While I’m not too keen on the sequencing of the episodes it did help serve a purpose of conveying how mishmash Haruhi’s world is. I particularly enjoyed Haruhi-Kyon moments and the romance is there if you squint hard enough but the last episode gave me enough of a boost to eagerly anticipate the next season coming this fall 2007. Hooray for Haruhi-ism! She’s a god!