Type: TV Series
Episode Count: 28
Genre: Slice Of Life / Sci-Fi
Vintage: 2006 / 2009
Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 20 Jul 2011
A new batch of episodes fill in some of the gaps from the original airing‘s chronology. This time, the series is presented chronologically.
Told from the point of view of Kyon, an ordinary high school student, he recalls how his life changes when he meets a girl named Haruhi Suzumiya. Haruhi is constantly bored, and ordinary people don’t interest her. She wants to meet aliens, espers, and time travellers, and search for strange happenings. Though Haruhi isolates herself from the rest of the students, Kyon decides to suggest to her that since none of the clubs she had joined were sources of the unusual (she had joined every single club in school at one point or another), she should make her own club. With that, Haruhi volunteers Kyon, and the two set out and form the SOS Brigade, with the goal of meeting aliens, espers, and time travellers, while searching for unusual happenings. The only problem is that they have no members other than themselves. So begins Haruhi’s quest to recruit more people to join the SOS Brigade…
Assessing the second round of Haruhi is a little bit of a challenge, as the new episodes do not exist in a vacuum. It’s not a second “season”, but a re-airing of the original episodes (this time chronologically instead of non-linearly) with new ones added to fill in some of the gaps in the original (chronological) storyline.
Chronologically, the series is just as enjoyable as the first time around, though with a different flow and pacing. Without the unique challenge of having to put all of the pieces together, the flow is more like that of a traditional school-based series. Though, of course, Haruhi is anything but traditional. Science fiction based in a familiar everyday setting always makes for a good story in my experience.
There is one very famous (or perhaps infamous, depending on who you ask) story arc in the batch of new episodes. I won’t go into detail here so as to avoid spoilers, but I will say that it involves being stuck in a time-loop, and it is presented in such a way that it breaks the fourth wall to a certain degree. In the fan circles I am a part of, this particular story arc practically defined the 2009 iteration of Haruhi. Folks either liked it, or they did not, and those that didn’t made it clear in no uncertain terms. Personally, I enjoyed it; it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. On future rewatches, some of the wonder may be lost, as having seen it I now know how it resolves, but it is definitely a one of a kind story arc.
While the original 2006 airing of Haruhi ends with a riveting climax, when following the chronology, the story ends on a very subdued note. It’s not better or worse that way, but in a way it’s welcome, as the last few episodes allow the viewer to wind down and not have to worry so much about “how it will all end”.
For those wishing for the full Haruhi experience, the 2009 broadcast order is the way to go. It will require some DVD shuffling and a notepad, but is well worth it.
Update 03 Dec 2012: I’ve decided to include the full chronological order of episodes here, in case you may have found this page through a search engine looking for the actual order in which to watch them. Be aware that reading this order contains what might be considered a spoiler if you are one of the few who have not heard of the story arc mentioned in the review above. Click through the page cut or read on to see the episode order.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya 2009
01 — S1 E01 The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya I
02 — S1 E02 The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya II
03 — S1 E03 The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya III
04 — S1 E04 The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya IV
05 — S1 E05 The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya V
06 — S1 E06 The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya VI
07 — S1 E07 The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya
08 — S2 E01 Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody
09 — S1 E08 Mysterique Sign
10 — S1 E09 Lone Island Syndrome I
11 — S1 E10 Lone Island Syndrome II
12 — S2 E02 Endless Eight I
13 — S2 E03 Endless Eight II
14 — S2 E04 Endless Eight III
15 — S2 E05 Endless Eight IV
16 — S2 E06 Endless Eight V
17 — S2 E07 Endless Eight VI
18 — S2 E08 Endless Eight VII
19 — S2 E09 Endless Eight VIII
20 — S2 E10 The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya I
21 — S2 E11 The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya II
22 — S2 E12 The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya III
23 — S2 E13 The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya IV
24 — S2 E14 The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya V
25 — S1 E00 Mikuru Asahina’s Adventure – Episode 00
26 — S1 E12 Live A Live
27 — S1 E13 The Day of Sagittarius
28 — S1 E14 Someday in the Rain