No Case Too Small: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The case in question is Remote Island Syndrome
Part 1 and 2

narutaki I was a reluctant The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya watcher a bit after the hype had subsided slightly. These two episodes are what made me like the show enough to remember it fondly. These episodes contain classic murder mystery tropes as well as a bit of character growth on the part of Haruhi.

hisuicon It is interesting to look back on the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya if for nothing else to remember what a phenomenon the show was when it came out in 2006. It seemed like Haruhi was everywhere then. You could not go to an anime convention and not see someone doing the Hare Hare Yukai dance all day and it dominated the discussion of anime in general. While Haruhi Suzumiya has hardly disappeared from the otaku consciousness its presence was greatly diminished by the infamous Endless Eight. So it is nice to look back on the mystery in one of the more iconic episodes of the series and recapture a bit of the magic of the first season.

narutaki The gang travel to a mysterious island which they were invited to by a one of Kozumi’s acquaintances. Once there, a storm rolls in cutting them off from the mainland. And there is a locked room murder. Sound familiar? Whether through unlucky circumstance or the wishes of Haruhi for just such an occurrence, they must solve the case.

hisuicon Itsuki and Kyon start the episode being a bit worried that the island they are to is going to be a major problem with an adventure craving unknowing goddess like Haruhi. Since she seems to be in the mood for a mystery a small private island would be the classic place for a closed-circle murder mystery to take place. Sure enough while everything seems to go well eventually a storm conveniently rolls in and the worst case scenario occurs.

Continue reading

Anime 101

There was a formspring question a while back about what anime you would show a class, we liked it so we expanded it into a little post. Imagine you are a professor. You have students who have anime studies as a major. What titles should they be familiar with in their first year that introduces them to the major? Lists like this are never really complete especially when working in some sort of restriction like our 10 TV series and 5 movies but there is only so much time in a semester. It also becomes more difficult as the years go by and more and more shows are produced. But you can still attempt a good foundation. It is important to note that not all of these titles are necessarily the best representations of their genre. Titles were often picked because it helped show the full range of what anime has to offer more than being the pinnacle. The shows here are meant to show what anime can produce in order to help the student decide where they want to focus their studies. So here’s what we thought of, what would be on your list?

Continue reading

Ode to Broken Things

If your anything like me you have found yourself dissecting your choices in entertainment and what they mean about you. I occasionally sit back and wonder why I truly enjoy the things I truly enjoy. During these examinations I have come to one major conclusion. The artists and works I usually like the most are usually very flawed. I loved Kinoko Nasu, Rumiko Takahashi, and Yoshiyuki Tomino but they are all idiosyncratic artists with highly imperfect works under their belt. This realization lead me to another even more shocking revelation.  All the most influential works in a genre are not the masterworks but flawed works. All the shows that define radical shifts are often riddled with major flaws but are inspiring despite that fact.

Flawed works are sometimes the most special of all; they are chance taking stories that don’t quite have all the details worked out. When breaking new ground it is no surprise when one gets lost along the way. This can occur in many different facets from having the amount of episodes suddenly shortened due to low-ratings or lulls in the middle of the story as they try to stretch or even extraneous characters taking up too much time. But these are also stories that surprise you with their decisions and that’s a most powerful and memorable reaction.

Continue reading