December is a great month- bundling up from snowfall, holidays for all, and festive products for sale. Unfortunately, most things centric to December lose their appropriateness the moment that clock strikes midnight and it is January of the next year. Want to know what doesn’t have an expiration date for wintery brilliance? Anime.
There are two things I know people understand for certain- there is no introduction needed for why The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is practically made to be celebrated in December (thanks to the annual slam dunk by Rock), and perhaps to a lesser extent that the AniTAY review of the spin-off series born from the film (excellently written by Messy) was the entire reason I discovered AniTAY in the first place.
Maybe that’s why when the end of November approached, I had the idea to see if anyone else at AniTAY had something brewing on the stove Haruhi related. Sure enough, I had a few folks who expressed interest in writing for the occasion. This month, we’re going to give a couple of articles here and there with our thoughts on not only the film, but the series as a whole.
This isn’t meant to be an overall opinion for everyone who writes on here (I’m well aware that the series/film isn’t adored by all) but rather an outlet for creative ideas relating to it. I apologize in advance to any who might be irked by such a notion, as that isn’t my intentions.
There is so much to dissect and appreciate in Haruhi that I am more than certain someone will write about- be it the excellent direction, animation techniques ahead of their time, or just how well it amplifies the source material. Sure, the comedy and wild plot have given legs to the lasting legacy of the series, but it isn’t like it got to the acclaim by chance. Kyoto Animation put such care into making the adventures Kyon endures with his extraordinary classmates look smooth and appealing that an annual viewing in 2016 looks just as remarkable as when it was viewed in 2010.
However, I was always drawn to a particular element that could be so easily overlooked- the music. Ever since I was a kid, movie soundtracks would be played dozen of times until the CDs were unreadable. My brother would quiz me on what exact moments a track would play in a film we might be obsessed with that summer, even if I had no way of knowing such details without dedicated viewings. Even later in my homestand, there would be familial debates over which OSTs set the mood for inspired writing with.
Sure it was there in the main series, but there were far greater moments throughout The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya that could be recalled in a heartbeat (however much of that is due to the smaller sample size than the series is up for debate). There are good odds that those breathtaking moments had some stellar music backing them, really hitting things home. Think back on any key moment in media, be it anime or not, and think to what captured you again. There was probably a light hum to a familiar bit of a song that was selected. I’m not exaggerating when I say that as the entirety of The Disappearance kept me stunned, track after track felt perfect for the moments. A prime example is the track below, capturing the rapid sinking realization for Kyon that the world that he knew is gone.
The scene alone is fine on its own- Kyon is knocking around desks, shouting at classmates and sprinting through hallways trying to find people he knew or indications that it might just be a crazy day at school. The visuals are so frantic that the point is delivered, but there is a knife to the stomach in how well this generates unease. His small questions are crushing in failure and the stumbling feels so heavy that desperation sets in for the audience. It is a beautiful emotional trip that manages to work in pivotal scenes and carry a sense of urgency in what might otherwise be normal conversations not only in early moments such as that but also towards the third act. Rewatching it back in September left me comparing it to something I had been given a similar impression on, but the ticket couldn’t quite get punched at the time.
Digging through my bottomless backlog of classical CDs one afternoon, I heard a composition that turned my head quickly. Randomly on a “Greatest Hits” CD, I heard an overture all too familiar to me. Perhaps it would be more fitting to say the same overture had inspiration from a clever place and I was merely discovering it. The main overture of The Disappearance sounds remarkably similar to the Erik Satie classic, Gymnopédies, 1 Lent et douloureux. I’m aware it might be a bit of a stretch, but the track I heard it on, composed by Louis Frémaux, was a dead ringer. Surely someone with great care to their work had to work something in so elaborate, right? At that moment, I had to find out who was responsible for the music (as much as I love OSTs and music, I admit I’m awful at remembering who makes it). The results? A long laughing fit with a “Of course!” on the tailend.
Satoru Kōsaki. Composer for the Haruhi series...and of course Monogatari.
Without crossing over into the wild world of Monogatari, it only builds the tremendous respect for Kōsaki to see a series so well known for the amazing music (and my go to choice to listen to while writing!) being done by the same person who played melodies to the adventures of the SOS Brigade. Maybe it is really good luck or decision making, but it isn’t particularly shocking to find his hand in the mix for two of the biggest franchises of the last decade. All of the little things he does with capturing a scene in the best way audibly leaves you only ready for more.
Love Haruhi or have something on your chest about the series? Now is the time to share! Join in the fun by tagging your article with “Haruhi Month”. Feel free to write your own pieces and impressions about whatever anime related too, as we are always looking to hear great thoughts on all things anime, manga, etc. Much like anything else on here all you need to do is tag your articles on Kinja with “AniTAY” -it might even get shared!