Reviewby Michelle Yu, Feb 25th 2011
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
DVD - Second Season
Haruhi continues her search for exciting ways to keep her world from being boring. Unfortunately, for Kyon and the rest of the SOS Brigade, they are forced to go along for the ride.
On the night of the Tanabata Star Festival, Kyon is transported back in time by Mikuru Asahina to what may be the source of what led Haruhi to search for aliens, time travelers, and espers. In the last two weeks of summer vacation, Haruhi leads the brigade on a dizzying list of summer time activities, eventually culminating in the brigade experiencing what they think is deja vu but they're actually re-living the same two weeks of summer over and over again.
On the seventh day of the seventh month each year, the Japanese celebrate the Tanabata Star Festival— which originated from another festival known as “The Festival to Plead for Skills.” Historically, people have wished for greater aptitude at things like sewing and handwriting. In modern times though, people have taken to wishing for all manner of things both serious and in jest. This is how the second season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya begins.
Soon after the start of the first episode, it quickly becomes apparent that the viewer will need to have watched the first season of this series in order to both understand the different roles played by the different characters and appreciate this second installment of episodes. In the first episode alone, there is a lot of in-series terminology, spoilers for the previous season and not much (if any) reintroduction of the characters. Not to mention, the first episode is also based on what could essentially be counted as a passing comment by one of the characters from the previous season in relation to one of our main protagonists— Haruhi and her strange behavior patterns plus her desire for something out of the ordinary. Having watched the first season myself, this first episode was an enjoyable albeit quick look at how it all may have begun for this series' namesake.
As one can now imagine, season two of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya starts off hitting the ground running, almost sprinting in some parts. However just like any intense burst of energy fueled by a caffeine-laden drink, it is sure to wear off and cause immense sluggishness. This refers to what is known as the “Endless Eight” arc. This starts with Haruhi taking control of the summer holidays and dragging her friends —the SOS Brigade— around doing all manner of activities in the name of fun. But after seemingly endless days of group activities, our narrator and other main protagonist Kyon begins to feel a sense of déjà vu, which is revealed to be more than just a hangover.
This means the dialogue, scenes and even certain shots start to begin being recycled over and over. The observant viewer will notice subtle, presumably intentional differences here and there, but it truly does feel endless and it begins from the second episode. By the fifth and final episode of this first disc, it remains unresolved. Due to this, it is too early to tell whether this is lazy writing or pure genius on the part of the writers. By the end of the first disc, it feels as though the viewer is left wanting to see the resolution, despite how masochistic it is for the viewers to be willingly put through what is literally a repetitive set of episodes.
We at ANN.au received an editorial copy of the first disc of this collection containing five episodes, no extra material and only in the English dub. My experience with the first season of this series had been in the Japanese-with-English-sub version. Having tried the dub, it could be said that the English voices are passable, but even in a generous mood this would be with the exception of the token “moe” character Mikuru who sounds more high-pitched and squeaky rather than cute.
Also to the disappointment of long-time fans and dancing cosplayers, there is no new para-para-esque dance in either the opening or closing sequences. The new opening and closing theme songs “Super Driver” and “Tomare!” clearly signal that it is a new season for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but it should be an enjoyable one for those who enjoyed the first season. Just be prepared to grind through the repetitive parts.
© 2007 LES FILMS ACTION / ELLIPSANIME PRODUCTIONS / PLAY PRODUCTION. All rights reserved.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B
Animation : B+
Art : B+
Music : B
+ Entertaining and interesting with a lot of attention to detail
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