Okay, so this film wasn’t on my list of films to review, but I’m on a review bent right now and quite frankly it’s one of my favorite anime films of all time. So I pretty much just said “Ah what the hell, I’ll write it.”
Taking place after the end of “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya,” Disappearance picks up during the winter. The SOS Brigade is preparing to throw a christmas party in the club room with Haruhi’s hot pot cooking. One morning, king of snark Kyon wakes up to find that Haruhi is missing, and no one remembers meeting him or her.
I have to admit, I went into this film a little blind. I had only watched three episodes of the television series before I jumped into this film. Which was kind of backwards since having knowledge from the television series enriches the experience of the movie. However, the movie is still understandable and moving despite not having the required knowledge and it motivated me to complete the series. It’s an emotional tale, one filled to the brim with humanity, and at the end it asks you a very simple question: If you had to choose between a normal life and an extraordinary one, which would you choose?
Story Spoiler Section
This movie pretty much floored me. I love serious films, I love beautiful films, and this movie was both. A human Nagato was the cutest thing ever and watching Kyon practically fall to pieces without Haruhi was interesting to watch. And sorry KyonxMikuru and KyonxNagato fans, this film pretty much sums it up: Kyon is in love with Haruhi, and so am I so I approve.
I’ll be honest though, I felt bad for Nagato and Koizumi. Nagato did all of it for Kyon and she learned what it felt like to be human, even if she doesn’t necessarily remember it. She gave Kyon a normal life free of Haruhi’s madness and constant abuse. And Koizumi was free to fall in love with Haruhi because he was out of Kyon’s shadow since Haruhi was far more interested in the average man than the esper, even when they were all just normal people. And then Kyon undid all of that because he loved Haruhi and Haruhi made his life interesting. Despite all his moaning and groaning for a normal life, he didn’t really want that because it was boring. I felt bad for those affected, but at the same time I was rooting for Kyon as he finally manned up.
Kyoto Animation normally doesn’t have the flashiest art style, but Disappearance is an exception to that. The artwork is absolutely breathtaking at times and the animation is so fluid yet subtle that it adds life to the characters and world. Everything has this sort of glow to it as well. I don’t think I saw a single thing to dislike about it honestly.
Unlike the television series, the soundtrack of the movie isn’t all over the place. The score is now a lot more orchestral and sweeping. There’s emotion behind everything and it really sets it apart and establishes that the tone of this film is completely opposite of the TV series. The track above, Ready, plays during a very crucial scene in the film and it gives me chills every single time, not just because the music is great, but also because it heralds the coming of the greatest Crispin Freeman monologue of all time.
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is an astounding film, one of that both Haruhi fand and non-anime viewers can all enjoy, though to different extents. Of course, you’re gonna have to set aside a heft chunk of time to enjoy this film because it’s approximately two hours and forty three minutes long, the second longest anime film ever produced, which makes it even more astounding that they were able to maintain this level of visual fidelity throughout without sacrifices. This movie will always stick with me, not only because I was really embarassed when my father walked in on a close-up shot of Mikuru’s knockers, but also because I viewed it at a time when I was struggling with life and I needed something to wake me up. So if you have the spare time, I highly recommend you view this film.
As of right now, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya has gone the way of the dodo and is out of print. I don’t doubt that Funimation will pick up the license once their Melancholy sets are on shelves, but right now you either pay gray market prices or find a stream of it. This is what happens when a distributor(Bandai) completely pulls out of the market and takes some great licenses with them.