The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Vol. 01|
Writen by Tectonic
Posted on June 26, 2007 at 10:35:24 pm
If you haven’t heard of The
Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, you either don’t like anime or have been
living under a rock. Not to make you
feel bad, but the show really is everywhere. And finally it’s in the United
Re-dubbed and re-released in DVD quality, if you’re a big Haruhi fan
you’re not going to want to miss out on these discs.
The Haruhi Dance
For those not entirely familiar with the Haruhi legacy, it
follows the exploits of one Haruhi Suzumiya who, in an attempt to battle the
doldrums of high school life, seeks out adventure only seen in mangas and
comics. While pressuring her newly
acquired club underlings to help her look for and ‘hang out with’ aliens,
ESPers, and time travelers, she is unbeknownst to the fact that she already has an alien, an ESPer, and a time
traveler in her club. Either way, with
the cute Mikuru, stoic Yuki, poignant Itsuki, and especially the realist Kyon,
her life has become far more interesting.
Moe from manual to manifestation
Based off the novel series of the same name, this show won
instant fame due to its cast of incredibly unique twists and satires on manga
cliché. If this is your first time
watching the show, keep that in mind as you sit through episode 00 – the whole
anime is subtly making fun of every other anime. Unlike some shows like Excel Saga or the more recent Combat
Butler Hayate, the show refuses to merely be a satire and succeeds
tremendously as a character piece. Even
side characters like Taniguchi and Tsuruya have had feverishly devoted fans
since the show’s Japan
Another great thing about Haruhi, is that Kyoto Animation didn’t skimp out on the better artwork. All the characters, while not moving as
dramatically as in Full Metal Panic, are very life-like and … shall I say …
“moe”. Mikuru and Haruhi are animated
very naturally. All the characters are;
it’s very easy to imagine sitting down to coffee with Itsuki or Kyon because
they truly appear to be rather normal people – we even get to see how Kyon
styles his hair in one episode.
Inside and out - this show is beautiful.
The backdrops are also very skillfully meshed with the
characters. Unlike other shows that reuse
the same shots over and over, the fact that most of the show is dialogue-based
wasn’t used as an excuse to be lazy with camera work. Particularly the club room seems to be shot
from nearly every angle, even upward and downward shots. Quick cuts during long strings of dialogue
keep the show more visually interesting, and while the use of a fisheye lens is
a little overused, it does add some much needed spice every now and then. The art team knew 80% of the time they’d be
drawing a typical high school drama, and they tried their best to make it as
different from the others as possible.
I’d say they succeeded.
If you listen carefully to how each character talks in
English as opposed to how they talk in Japanese, it really seems like the
re-dubbing team tried to find people that could reproduce each character’s original
voice exactly. While the males of Melancholy seem more Americanized, all
the girls’ voices sound identical to their Japanese originals.
Blackmail 101 Get the hell out of her way, Kyon!
This may be a good thing for some, but overall I find it to
be a detractor. I don’t know what it is
about the Japanese language; perhaps it’s the morphemes or maybe it’s something
about the culture that lends itself to high-pitched female voices. Whatever it is, it doesn’t translate into the
English language all that well. Mikuru
and Yuki both sound like carbon copies of their original Japanese dubs, but
sound silly delivering lines in English.
Furthermore the need to be so high pitched detracts from the voice
actors’ ability to … well … voice act.
The Bottom Line
While the re-dub isn’t as great as hoped, it might help you
get your non-true-believer friends to watch the show with you. Either way, the DVD quality video and six
channel audio is a must to enjoy this very beautiful, very original show.