Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, The

Tagged: Film

Japanese animated film (2010); original title Suzumiya Haruhi no Shōshitsu. Based on the Light Novel by Nagaru Tanigawa. Kyoto Animation. Directed by Tatsuya Ishihara and Yasuhiro Takemoto. Written by Fumihiko Shimo. Voice cast includes Minori Chihara, Yūko Gotō, Aya Hirano, Daisuke Ono and Tomokazu Sugita. 162 minutes. Colour.

A sequel to the popular Television series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006-2009), set later in the same year. High-schooler Haruhi (Hirano) unknowingly has the power to change reality when discontented: consequently interested parties surround her, trying to keep her happy: Alien Android Yuki (Chihara), Esper Itsuki (Ono) and time-traveller Mikuri (see Time Travel). They are members of the SOS Brigade, a school club Haruhi created, whose only other member is Kyon (Sugita), her (normal) classmate and the viewpoint character.

On 18 December, Kyon goes to school to discover there is no Haruhi and that no one has heard of her (nor Itsuki), while neither Mikuri or Yuhi know him, and are normal humans now. He eventually learns Haruhi went to a different high school, as did Itsuki. He convinces her the world has been changed – partially by mentioning an event three years ago of which no one else would know, but mainly because Haruhi finds it more interesting to believe him. Their investigations reveal that the source of the problem is Yuhi.

Prolonged exposure to humans – which included getting stuck in a Time Loop for nearly 600 years – led to the accumulation of errors in Yuhi's programming – or, as Kyon puts it, "feelings". She extracted Haruhi's powers and reconstructed the world, making everyone – including herself – normal humans, with different roads taken (see Alternate History). But she left Kyon the option of restoring the previous version if he so wished (hence his Memory being untouched). Despite all his protestations in the past, he has to accept he prefers a world with aliens, espers, time-travellers – and Haruhi dragging him hither and thither on mad escapades – to the sedate present. The old reality is eventually restored: though not before more time-travel, with future Kyon rescuing present Kyon after he has been stabbed. All ends happily, with Kyon threatening to use Haruhi to mess with the universe if Yuhi's alien boss tries to punish her.

Despite being a little over-long, this is an entertaining film, though familiarity with Melancholy is required. It is calmer and more reflective than the television series, having less Humour but providing character development for Kyon, Yuhi and Haruhi. [SP]

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