|It's not more or less than we expect, but still great||2 out of 3 users found this review helpful.|
Even though I haven’t read the light novels upon which the series and this movie are based on I’ve got to say that the world and characters of the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise are my favorites alongside Evangelion, they’re wonderfully developed, ingenious and open to interpretation. This movie, while not without flaws, is no exception.
Disappearance is based on the fourth novel in the series of the same name and it involves a lot of what we’re already used to see in the series, there’s time travel, some action, paranormal mystery and so on; but the true focus here is the characters, that’s what the franchise is all about. In a lot of ways this is just a very long tv episode, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The story is not awfully original or unexpected but it plays with our perceptions of time and space quite a bit more than it was done in the series and it’s also enjoyable enough that the two and a half hour running time is barely felt once the story picks up, the real problem is that it takes its sweet time setting everything up which drags the story a bit and makes the first few minutes rather boring. There are also some plotholes, confusions and inconsistencies but they’re rather expected with any story that deals heavily with time travel so they’re forgivable.
There’s a lot of great moments in the film that stand side-by-side with the bests of the series, some character interactions are enhanced and there’s a lot more focus on secondary characters, which is really great for every fan of theirs, especially Nagato Yuki fans such as myself because we get to see a side of her that is rarely (if ever) shown; this is a film that’s rich in characterization. All of these moments are made better by the performances of the voice actors, who bring their best and add a lot of emotional depth to the characters and situations.
That’s not to say everything is great though, some parts of the film are overly melodramatic and not only is there an overuse of slow motion but whenever it is used it lasts way too long, which causes it to lose any dramatic impact it could have, becoming just tiresome. These few problems bring down an otherwise great story.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a fantastic looking show, boasting some of the best animation of any modern anime series. This is the reason I was rather disappointed with Disappearance’s animation, not because it’s bad, quite the contrary, it’s pretty good, but because it does not improve much from the show which is something one would expect from a movie; it does have some added depth and some nice looking effects but that’s about all, it’s still great looking but it left me with the feeling that it could’ve looked much, much better.
This is a movie with a lot of flaws but in the end it is still Haruhi and it still gives us what we want and expect from it: great characters in absurd situations that are just fun to watch, that’s what makes it a great film, beyond all the faults it still delivers a good experience. It’s not innovative and it doesn’t take the series into new directions but it doesn’t need to, its aim is just to give us more of what we want: the world of Haruhi Suzumiya and it does a great job at that.