Title: The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya ☆ Nyoron! Churuya-san Part 1.
Published by: Madman Entertainment (Australia and New Zealand)
Based on: The Melencholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Anime/Manga/Novel series.
Audio: English and Japanese Dubs
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (16:9)
Runtime: 69 minutes
Classification: This title is rated PG for mild sexual references and animated violence.
Blurb: “This series takes on the mini-episode format and attempts to parody the characters and settings of the hit anime series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Whilst there is no overarching storyline to the series, it does make you chuckle at parts and is followed by the same voice acting cast as the previous Haruhi series, however the parodic design might not be to everyones tastes.”
Special Thanks: Special thanks goes to the Madman Entertainment team for providing me with a review copy of this title.
With Madman releasing both seasons 1 and 2 of the Haruhi seasons, it was without a doubt that Madman would also be releasing this minuture compilation of short parodic episodes, profiling many quirky adventures of the SOS Brigade and other characters from the series. This title was released yesterday with a number of other titles I shall be reviewing over the Good Friday/Easter/Anzac Day LOOOOOOOONG Weekend (Because they seem to have shifted Easter Monday to Tuesday).
These episodes are usually <5 minutes in length and generally have one short story, or many even smaller stories in them. As I did with my Black Butler review, I thought I would do a quick “Post a very short sentence long review on this status for this blog” and I was able to get one response…. being “Oh dear god… This level of “what the hell am I watching” is …unmatched.” . So…. now that you have an endorsement on the WTF portion of the series, read on for my review of this long titled parody series!
The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya
In these animated short episodes, based on the comical spin-off manga, the characters are presented as cute little versions of themselves and focus on each of their unique quirks. Haruhi is even more outrageous with her twisted understanding of Valentine’s Day and Haloween, Mikuru is just as clueless as ever and Yuki is an ero-game addict.
These comical shorts were originally a fan drawn 4-panel parody manga and due it its underground success, chosen to be animated. Follow the whimsical adventures of Churuya-san (based on the character Tsuruya-san) on her quest for her favorite food… smoked cheese.
Well there you have it folks, your two-in-one series pack that come on the one DVD. The Haruhi-chan series takes up a majority of the time on the disc, with 13 episodes whilst the Churuya-san series only had six and in my opinion, are much shorter in length. Both of these series were originally released on youtube and were later made into enhanced quality DVD editions, however this set does feature english dubs from the Original English voice-cast. Whilst there is no storyline of note…. at all, I would like to take the time to do a review of the comedic value and somewhat review the storylines of both series individually.
What is Nagato was into cosplay and ero games? What if Mikuru felt her position in the group was in jeopardy? What if Asakura tried to resurrect herself and failed….? This series is much more true to the original series, and does make reference to several events that took place in Season 1, often resulting in plot rewrites that continue characters such as Asakura throughout the episodes. Each of the episodes are individual episodes and besides one or two incidents, have no affect on any other episode before or after it. For those who are expecting comedy, I won’t say that I chuckled a lot, I am not sure if it is jokes lost in translation or it wasn’t meant to be laugh out loud funny, but there wasnt much comedy in the series at all. However instead, this series focused on the quirky nature of the new and improved (??) characters which I found made me grin more than anything. Some of the stories were bland, but other ones, especially involving Asakura getting used to her new infant lifestyle and Nagato trying to control her life were definately the highlights.
Taking over the main character role from Kyon is Churuya-san. For those who have not seen the many Nyoron! 4komas out there on the internet…. open a new tab (Leave this one open kindly *Smile*), go to google and search them up. Essentially they feature Churuya wanting or doing something, that results in her not getting it (Such as her previous smoked cheese) or some sort of simulated misfortune (Such as dying in a fire drill). The storylines are a lot more simplistic however the comedy is quite present, mainly from what I felt was comedy through repetition, with the number of times Nyoron was said during the 10 minute and 30 second period that this series takes place. The only other characters of worthwhile note are once again Asakura who retains her Haruhi-chan baby look and this time holds a strong crush on Kyon, and Kyon himself who is much more serious then in the anime. It is enjoyable, however does not really lend itself to more than one watch like Haruhi-chan.
In Haruhi-chan, the design of the characters are generally comically designed characters of the anime characters and are less detailed. However, they do seem to work well bringing forth some of the comedic aspects of the series and gives the series a less serious tone. For Churuya-san, the design remains respective of that which might be found in more simplistic drawings, therefore making it less detailed then Haruhi-chan and more like work that was drawn, alongside the SOS brigade characters looking quite odd. For the environment designs in Haruhi-chan, the environment and locales remain respective of those in the anime series althrough as with the character designs, a bit less detailed for comic effect. However in Churuya-san, the environment designs are mostly the (to me) dreaded white space, which gives the impression of the events taking place in a frame on a 4koma. Honestly, I would consider it up to you if you like the design or not of this series…. I thought it was okay overall, and did portray the comedy genre well, however considering the design quality of the other two seasons, it is a hard thing to shake off.
Opening Theme: Ima made no arasuji by SOS Brigade
I am not really sure what to think of this opening. As would be expected, the song is face-paced with random lyrics irrespective of the animation being shown…. but it is rather catchy I will admit. The animation is average, with mostly scenes from the series itself, but the ending animation with the characters running across the screen is quite good.
Ending Theme: Atogaki You na Mono by SOS Brigade
Surprisingly not shown at all during the Play All part of the DVD, however it is shown in the extras menu. A sickly cheery song one would expect in an overly cheery musical, however the animation, whilst showing off parts of the episodes, are much better than what was done in the opening, and seeing the characters being impaled by the credits at one point made me chuckle….
I am primarily going to talk about the music in Haruhi-chan, as there really isnt any noteworthy music at all in Churuya-san. In Haruhi-chan, the music is of a similar standard to the anime series, utilizing a nice number of differently paced tracks, and whilst not present in all scenes, is appropriately used.
I have a half-written The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season One review that I will have up in the next few days that will better outline my thoughts on the voice actors and actresses of this series [I will add a link HERE when it is up], however I can say that all the original voice actors were present in this series with their respective characters, and do a fairly good job at portraying their characters new found habits. Crispin Freeman does a great Kyon full stop, whilst Wendee Lee does a good job of Haruhi, however Michelle Ruff, famous for her work voicing Etna in the Disgaea series does the best role of Yuki Nagato, simply for showing she can sing pretty damn well.
In terms of extra content, there is nothing really special, however what is included is of a standard I would expect of any anime DVD. The content includes:
- Clean Opening and Ending Themes
- TV Commercial Spot #1 – In Japanese and rather random.
- Retail Promo Video in Japanese
- Trailers for Summer Wars, Haruhi Collection 2, FLCL Collection Blu-ray (Review coming soon!), Nana Collection 1
Personally, I would leave it up to the individual on whether they would want to purchase this product. It is rather cheap in comparison to most anime series nowadays and if you are looking for a few short bursts of comedy, then this might be the thing for you. However if you are interested in only a top-notch storyline and killer design quality, then look elsewhere. I thought it was a good attempt at making the Haruhi franchise funny, however fell short several times on becoming a top notch series.
Character Development: Uhhh…..
OP/ED Themes: B
Voice Acting: A
Personal Opinion: B-
Final Score: B-