Suzumiya Haruhi: The most underrated or overrated anime series, depending on who you ask. One thing’s for sure: this series is a crazy ride that won’t leave you indifferent.
In A Nutshell
Kyon is a serious, down-to-earth high school student who just wants to live his normal life just like everyone else. However, he can’t seem to do so after he meets Haruhi Suzumiya, a girl from his class who keeps dragging him around in all her eccentricities. Haurhi is full of life and joy, but she’s bored of reality and had a particular interested in the the supernatural: aliens, time travelers and espers, among other things. Kyon encourages her to start a school club, and so the SOS Brigade, a club specialized in the supernatural, is born. Soon after, Yuki Nago, a quiet and shy bookworm, and Mikuru Asahina, the cutest, most innocent girl you’ve ever seen, join the club. The story follows the crazy adventures of this strange group as they’re all dragged into whatever Haruhi is interested in at the time.
Meet the Characters
Kyon is a serious, intelligent, apathetic person. Even if he does not particularly enjoy being in the club, he’s often the only one to catch little details to know when something’s off. He feels somewhat responsible for Haruhi’s eccentricities and he’s also often the one to call her out when she’s overstepping boundaries, generally with Asahina. Kyon works as an outsider point of view to the story and the one we should feel identified with.
Haruhi is the founder of the SOS Brigade. She dedicates her life to finding supernatural evidence to make reality more interesting. Because of this, she’s seen as an eccentric, asocial person who takes no interest in ‘ordinary’ human beings. She’s very energetic about the things she loves, but can get very irritated and melancholic when things don’t work out her way. She also has a tendency to be very stubborn, pushing others to fit her interests and blaming them for her mistakes.
Yuki is a member of the SOS Brigade. She is a very quiet, introverted and seemingly emotionless girl who spends all the time in the club reading on a chair. She barely ever speaks, preferring to just nod or do hand gestures when she’s forced to communicate. Behind her quiet exterior there’s a hidden personality and goal that Kyon will start discovering later on.
Asahina is yet another member of the SOS Brigade. Due to her moe personality and cute looks, she is often harassed and exploited by Haruhi as eye candy in her missions. She’s very shy and innocent and has trouble speaking her mind. Other than that, she’s a very nice girl who spends pretty much all her time in the club brewing tea. Just like Nagato, there are things that Asahina is hiding that Kyon needs to figure out.
There’s a final member who gets introduced later in the story. Also, some crucial information on these characters has been avoided for spoiler-y reasons.
A Brief History of Suzumiya Haruhi: the When, Where and How
Ever since, the series has become a classic for anime fans, having turned many scenes and quotes into memes and song parodies. The song “God Knows” has also become one of the most watched anime songs on Youtube.
Why It’s Awesome
First things first: it’s reeeeeally hard to talk about the things that make Suzumiya Haruhi great without spoiling a big part of the plot and its twists. Many of the series virtues rely on the story’s ability to surprise its viewers and play with their expectations.
Staying away from spoiler territory, Suzumiya Haruhi takes an ensemble of stereotypical characters that we have all seen before in anime and uses them as a parody at first, and then as a stepping stone to create compelling, humane characters. It’s easy to get fooled by the key visuals, synopsis and genres of the show, but this is a series that fools you from the beginning and where nothing is what it seems. Its characters are the biggest example of this.
The story is not only sustained by crazy plot twists and mind fucks, though. At the end of the day, Suzumiya Haruhi is a story about growing up, coming of age and whether you’re OK with settling for routine or if you’re daring to take a step further and find something else instead.
Being produced by the always praised Kyoto Animation, the series has great art style and animation. While the first season was made ten years ago and might not seem so surprising anymore, TheDisappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is one of the most beautifully animated movies to come out in that year, and it features beautiful scenery and an outstanding OST. The movie is a whole experience by itself, so watching the series just to get there is totally worth it!