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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya


Starring (voice): Sayaka Aoki, Minori Chihara and Yuko Goto
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 07 November 2011

It’s a month since the cultural festival and December is upon the SOS Brigade, a group of school kids who investigate matters of time travel and aliens. All preparations for the up and coming festivities seem to be going well until Kyon wakes one day to discover that most of the members of the SOS Brigade have disappeared, while the remainder have no memory of recent events, worst still, Ryoko Asakura has returned. Realising that something is very wrong Kyon, finds a clue in a book, left by the alien version of Yuki imploring him to gather together the missing ‘keys’...

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (2010 - 2 hr, 35 min, 12 sec) is a feature film version of the popular anime show, directed by Tatsuya Ishihara and Yasuhiro Takemoto, from a Fumihiko Shimo screenplay.

It follows on directly from the close of the show's second season, which is a big hint not to try and watch this film as a standalone as it presumes a great deal of fore knowledge of both characters and background information.

As far as quality is concerned, the movie remains visually as patchy as the original television show with background and character details oscillating between highly detailed and barely passable in quality, although there is an increase in quality compared to the original anime.

What might put some people off is the pace of the film, at just over two and a half hours; it’s surprising just how thin the plot is.

Kyon wakes in a different reality, he gets the pieces together to get back to his own world, albeit three years in the past. He gets a chance to decide whether to stay in his own world or the alternative and, of course, chooses his own reality.

There is a lot of the film which feels overly slow, there are even a few moments when I thought the film had stopped. Now fans of the show are not going to give a fig about pace as they will be spending time with characters they know well, but I feel that it will turn off the casual viewer.

The film is on the first disc of the two DVD set. The picture is clean and sharp, even if the detail is variable. Audio option are either a decent English 5.1 or a better Japanese 5,1 track, with subtitles. The main bulk of the extras reside on the second disc.

Location Hunting “Kounan Hospital” (9 min, 50 sec), has the crew in a real hospital taking reference shots, Behind the Scenes: BMG Recording at Victor Studio, Australia (15 min 50 sec) takes a peek behind the recording of the film's music. Stage Greetings at Tokyo: Shinjuku Wald 9, Ikebukuro Cinema Sunshine (1 hr, 03 min, 45 sec) has the cast appear at the premier of the film's first showing, answering questions from the audience

Stage Greetings at Kyoto: Kyoto Cinema (16 min, 37 sec) and guess what, the gang are doing the same gig in a different city. Neither of the two greeting session are supposed to be deep intellectual examinations of the film, rather they are light hearted occasions for the vocal artists to meet their fans. Behind the Scenes: Cutting, Dubbing and Video Editing (29 min, 12 sec) takes a look at one of the processes needed in creating the film.

Disc two wraps with the Theme Song “Yasashii Boukyaku PV Making (25 min, 56 sec), which has everything you could want to know about the creation of the video for the film’s title song. Oddly enough having gone to all the trouble of showing you how it is made, it fails to show you the final promo. The last scrapings of the barrel come in with Theatrical Trailer (1 min, 01 sec), a couple of Teasers (2 min, 21 sec), Commercials (33 sec) and TV Spots (3 min, 03 sec). There’s nothing really deep and revealing in this lot, but it’s nice to see an anime with a decent set of extras.

The pace of the film will be problematic for the casual viewer, as will the amount of presumed knowledge; however for those that have seen the original anime show this is a languid, but thoughtful story.


Charles Packer

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