I found the first season of Haruhi decent, but definitely not as great as everyone made it out to be. I’m not entirely sure why, since I don’t remember it that well anymore. But last week, I finally got around to watching the second season. The endless eight arc is less painful if you can go straight to the next episode. Even ignoring the endless eight, I didn’t find the second season all that great. After the endless eight it was just four more episodes of Haruhi bossing everyone around.
I think this may be part of the reason I disliked the first sesason- the main characters just annoy me. Haruhi is a popular character for some reason, but I personally think she is a complete jerk. Kyon is a good match for her, on the opposite end of the spectrum – instead of bossing everyone around, he’s completely apathetic and doesn’t care about anything. Sure, his monologues are amusing but his complete lack of any willpower whatsoever puts him below even the generic harem lead in my estimation. Asahina is nothing but a moeblob, and Koizumi talks too much. Nagato is fine – probably because she doesn’t say anything.
Anyways, I finally got around to watching the movie today. And it was amazing! I could hardly believe it was from the same show. Basically it is a coming of age story for Kyon and, to a lesser extent, Nagato. Finally Haruhi begins to wear off on Kyon and he becomes motivated enough to actually do something on his own – search for Haruhi after she disappears. He is a much less annoying character after this movie. Nagato begins to develop emotionally as well, and Kyon has his moment of awesome when he attempts to blackmail the Integrated Data Entity. (Kyon is wrong though – glasses are better, but he can’t be perfect, can he?)
The time travelling was quite well done in this series as well. I especially liked how a third Kyon came from the future as well, although now I have to hope they make another movie. I was actually expecting them to do this earlier, when the adult Asahina fell asleep on the bench just like the younger one did. I fully expected grandmas Asahina to come walking out of the forest, but was sadly disappointed.
Overall, this movie did a great job in addressing some of the flaws in the original series – namely lack of growth in the characters. Make sure you are caught up on the TV series before watching it though – some things would have passed by me completely if I hadn’t just watched the second season, and I’m sure I still missed things. When Asakura (the blue-haired girl) showed up, I wasn’t sure who she was and had to look it up. But man, she was awesome, especially at the end! Now I have to rewatch the first season just to see her try to kill Kyon again. It must not have been as great as this time though or I would have remembered it.
- Plot / Script – 9 / 10 – Good pacing, actually develops the feeling of horror that something is wrong with the world. Also good use of time travel. (although, is there a bad use?)
- Characters – 10 / 10 – They are all much more interesting than they were in the TV series (well, except Asahina).
- Production – 10 / 10 – Amazing visuals from KyoAni. Bonus points for girls in snow.
- Overall – A
Voice Actor of the Show Award – Tomokazu Sugita for his role as Kyon. He is a master at sounding cynical.
How it would be Worse Better under Director Draggle – To nitpick, it could have used some more buildup for Asakura’s attack. It kind of came out of nowhere – I guess she is Nagato’s stalker?
Recommendations – The Girl who Leapt Through Time