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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Volume 3: Limited Edition
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Volume 3: Limited Edition
Bandai // Unrated // September 25, 2007
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted October 10, 2007 | E-mail the Author
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
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The Show:

When The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya appeared in Japan in 2006 it struck the anime nation with a resounding thunderclap. It didn't take long for Haruhi-mania to knock otaku here in America upside the head and for some time fans have been infatuated with this perky little show. Heck, at this year's Anime Boston I found myself attempting to maneuver around a throng of impromptu dancers doing their best to do the Haruhi dance. Quite the sight, I assure you.

If you have not had the opportunity to check out The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya or have never even heard of it, then you're missing out on one of the most endearingly addictive shows to come along in recent years. It's quite as simple as that. This is a show that absolutely everyone should move towards the top of their "anime to see" list.

Produced by Kyoto Animation and released by Bandai Entertainment a total of fourteen episodes make up this fantastic series. The previous volumes introduced all of the characters and presented the bizarre plot that makes up this eclectic and wonderful show. In the middle of it all is a high school kid named Kyon who shuffles through the mediocrity of life with much of a spark; that is at least, until he meets Haruhi. This girl was different.; very different. Her introduction to the class consisted of a quest for aliens, time travelers, and espers. As they get to know each other they form a club called the SOS Brigade and find other members to cause mass hysteria with. The oddest thing of all was the realizations that Haruhi is actually a deity of some variety and the world is make believe. Talk about a turn of events.

The last time around Kyon finds himself in a bit of a pickle as an alien entity attempts to lure him in for a kill. She wanted to see what would happen to the universe if Kyon died and could not be with Haruhi. Luckily for our unfortunate star Nagato arrives just in time to save his life and restore order. After that event Kyon is brought by the Esper Itsuki to see an alternate reality where Haruhi's boredom, or discarded imaginations, begin to break down. It shows the inevitable destruction of the universe and towards the end of the volume Kyon and Haruhi actually visit it together. However, after a kiss many things in the show took a slight skew and the main character's relationship seems to change.

The third installment offers three episodes (though you'll get more out of your buck if you get the special edition) with one being standalone and the others telling a two-part story. The first episode here involves the SOS Brigade's first case in the quest for something peculiar. Boredom has racked the Brigade and needless to say when Haruhi is bored you'd better watch out. Shortly after the episode begins the crew is asked to search for a girl's missing boyfriend. This adventure leads them to an alternate space of sorts as they attempt to find the Computer Research Society's President (you remember, he's the guy that Haruhi "borrowed" SOS Brigade's computer from). Before long things go south and I'm sure you can imagine the insanity that ensues.

The remaining two episodes feature the SOS Brigade going away during the summer and taking a trip to an island villa. I know the "summer trip" is a standard among most anime but The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya handles it in a manner with which only it can. Before long mysterious things start to happen and someone is murdered. This leaves a case unsolved and naturally Haruhi just HAS to get to the bottom of everything. The episode is a little like an anime version of Scooby Doo with some elements of Case Closed tossed in for good measure. It does feel a little drawn out at times but there are moments in between where is comedy gold.

Once again The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya hits the ball out of the park. The three episodes here are highly entertaining and though they may not be as sharp as the previous ones they are a cut above the rest. In between the serious moments The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiyais a whimsical and charming show. The cast has great personality, the writing is fantastic, and the sense of humor is well-realized. Few shows click as well as this one and it's easy to see why otaku everywhere are singing praises.

The DVD:

Video:

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio. I have to tip my hat to Bandai Entertainment because the transfer for this show is absolutely brilliant. I suppose it helps that Kyoto Animation went the extra mile to provide a quality production but it's nice to see Bandai giving the series proper treatment. Everything in this show from the design, animation, and presentation absolutely pops. The colors are vibrant beyond reproach, the picture is quite sharp, and there are virtually no digital flaws. On a few rare occasions some grain did appear but these instances were certainly few and far between.

Audio:

With English and Japanese 2.0 stereo tracks and English 5.1, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya's first volume has most all of the bases covered. Part of me wishes that a Japanese 5.1 selection was available but I suppose beggars can't be choosey. Both dubs offer remarkably quality with the voice talent though I felt the Japanese language surpassed the English ever so slightly. Technically speaking the 2.0 tracks offer a fine sounding stereo presentation and they sound roughly like you'd expect them to. The 5.1 brings a more impressive channel mixture to the table with some fine use of the rear channels for sound effects but ultimately the directionality is not as diverse as one would hope. Overall the quality here is quite good and I didn't encounter any flaws.

Extras:

Once again The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya receives a fantastic Limited Edition release with some nice bonus features and pack-ins. On the main disc you'll find some more Neko-Man Galleries, TV Previews, as well as trailers for other Bandai releases. Like always there are a few extra videos included on the DVD that are worth taking a look at; especially if you're a fan of the show.

Up first are three more episodes of the live-action ASOS Brigade. These inclusions are more promotional than anything else but they do showcase the love that the folks at Bandai have for this series. There is such an energy in every scene that is unmet by other shows; that holds true for the US release video which is also included on this DVD. And finally there are two "Making of" videos that involve promotional content surrounding the show and some of the SOS Brigade members.

Packed into this Limited Edition version are a pencil board, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya pillowcase (!), iron-on transfer, CD with some music, AND second DVD. Honestly, the attention to detail and desire to make fans happy impresses me almost as much as the extra material here. The bonus DVD included with this release offers episodes 6 through 10 in the order with which they are broadcasted in Japan. There is nothing else on the DVD and the only options available are to remove the subtitles. Still, it's nice to see them the way Japanese audiences were intended to considering we do not have the whole series yet.

Final Thoughts:

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is an amazing show. Bandai has gone above and beyond the call of duty bringing the series to fans with a good deal of attentiveness and love. There are so many reasons that this show is a success but probably the best thing to say about it is that it is endearing. You'll love the characters, the world, and the concept from the moment you lay eyes on it and once that happens you're never going to forget. No matter what your tastes in anime are The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is for you. It's an addictive little slice of animated heaven that is the epitome of a good time. Highly Recommended


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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