For the past few months, I’ve heard reports about how people who’ve watch the cam-rip of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya absolutely loved it. I didn’t pay too much attention to the details though since I didn’t want any of it spoiled, at least, that’s the reason I told myself. In reality, I might have been just a bit burnt out from the Endless Eight debacle and was pushing that out of my memory.
When I heard that they’d have a showing in LA, I was lukewarm about it, but what the hell, I gave it a shot and, buoyed by Shadowmage’s review of the movie on the Nihon Review, hoped that it would at least be passable.
Do you remember when you watched the first episode of the second season of Haruhi and all the positive goodwill you had about the franchise just kind of gushed out and gave you that pleasant buzz that made you feel warm and fuzzy? Well, watching the movie gives the same kind of feeling, except it felt even better than that!
Without going too much into a discussion of the movie (feel free to talk about it in the comments section though!) all I’d have to say is that the experience was an amazing one. Watching the ramifications of Haruhi’s disappearance was wonderful because the calm, sober atmosphere contrasted so much with the usual level of energy and excitement that we’ve come to associate with the Haruhi franchise. It just felt wrong, and in doing so, fit the scenario perfectly!
So yes, if you want a take on the movie, just read the review I linked to above. My only disagreement is that I thought it was worthy of a 9/10, but that just might be because the high the movie gave me resulted in a euphoria that’s lasted up until now and is still going strong. It made up for Endless Eight and then some and being able to experience it in the setting of a movie theater along with other anime fans who made the trek was fantastic!
So what else happened there?
Well, it was kind of cool that they gave us a free copy of the first volume of the manga. Beyond that, they had Wendee Lee (who voices Haruhi) and Crispin Freeman (who voices Kyon) show up to give a 1-2 minute blurb on how much voice acting meant to them and in being able to see the popularity of anime grow since they started their careers. Stephanie Sheh (Mikuru) was also there to sign movie posters.
The Haruhi girls (no idea who any of them were) also performed a song and dance routine right before the movie started. It’s not hard to guess at which of the songs came up. They also told some lame jokes that people laughed at out of politeness and only made me more impatient for the film to start.
At the very end, they had a drawing for some Crunchyroll subscriptions, and that concluded the night.
I call these “preludes” because I do want to hit on the music the way it was presented in the film as opposed to listening to the soundtrack on a standalone basis, which can affect my judgment of it depending on how strongly I can conjure images of the anime in question while listening to it.
Well, I did pay attention to the music while watching the movie, and afterward, I can recall about 6-7 tracks that made a good impression on me. Naturally, me knowing that Eminence Symphony Orchestra performed the music for the movie gave me hope that it would be amazing and as far as I can tell, Disappearance’s music is promising both within the context and as a standalone listen. The panicky track that plays as Kyon is trying to get a lay for the altered world carries the urgency that you’d expect. Another was the piece that plays when the SOS-dan is reunified once more since it does the “happy-end” theme really well.
The solo piano stuff was also a joy to listen to. Of course, Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies made its appearance, but there were also a few others that hit upon the minimalist feeling that Kousaki is known for composing (see his work on Bakemonogatari) but those somehow had the depth of emotions that worked with the context of the movie. I do hope it’ll translate over well once I give the soundtrack a closer listen.
Anyways, that was a long way to say that I have high hopes for Disappearance’s score to really jibe with me. I’ll be working on that for the next few days as well as cobble my Anime Expo schedule together so that I can figure out who I can meet when depending on what I happen to be doing. Finally, if you’re even remotely cautious about the Haruhi franchise post-Endless Eight and aren’t sure whether you want to give the movie a go or not, don’t be. It’s very much worth it in every way!