涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱/The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

[Screenshot]This is perhaps one of the more self-contained screwball comedy animes I’ve seen. It’s a lot less in-jokey than Excel Saga or FLCL, although a lot of homages and shout-outs are there for the astute viewer. The plot’s unreal enough that too many details would be a spoiler, but we can start with the important detail that the broadcast order does not follow the in-story chronology. This is worked into the story in odd lacunae, primarily references both overt and veiled to events from the end of the first narrative arc. The anachronism is thoughtfully constructed, so even the omissions work well in the story and it builds up to something akin to a conclusion.

Yes, I’m being coy about details, because it’s a strange show, and some of the joy in in figuring out the details of its oddness. Two things worth mentioning, though. First, the “first” episode is extremely atypical, so don’t judge the show by it, although it does set the scene. Second, I can’t let this pass without commenting on the kind of unnerving sexual antics in the show. Pretty much every time Asahina and Suzumiya were in the same scene, I knew something extremely unsettling was going to happen. To the show’s credit, it never goes too far, although it dances on the line a couple times, making you wonder if you’re a bad person for laughing (this may be an unintentional cross-cultural effect, since the ways the Japanese are weird about sex are kinda different than the ways Americans are weird about sex).

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia, Anime News Network, AniDB.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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