ec2-23-20-244-97.compute-1.amazonaws.com | ToothyWiki | RecentChanges | Login | Webcomic The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi is an anime from the summer of 2006, which has become very popular in Japan (it's based on a best-selling "light novel" series) and is getting a lot of attention in Western circles too. The reason for this rapidly accumulating cult following is probably the combination of the animation quality (it's generally outstanding, in the OP and ED as you might expect, but also in a lot of the scenes), and the storyline balancing elements of parody, comedy, mystery and moe?.
However, the focus of most of this rabid attention is the eponymous Suzumiya Haruhi. She's captured a lot of public attention with her demented and direct approach to life and what she wants. What she wants seems to be aliens, espers, time travellers and such; normal human beings hold no interest whatsoever to her. The story follows her and the brigade she rounds up to hunt for these people, and where that hunt leads them.
It's notable that the episodes aren't in chronological order. This is a deliberate choice on the part of the creators. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of this, but it does allow things like episode 4, which would be basically a filler episode if placed in its proper chronological sequence, to play more of a role than just that, by showing some things that the viewer watching them in broadcast order hasn't been told yet.
Also notable is that the narrator character, Kyon, is refreshingly non-clueless. He's fairly competent and has a good line in sarcastic comments; it's just that Suzumiya Haruhi would put just about anyone out of their depth. It's pleasing that the focus of it all is on Haruhi herself rather than the narrator; things are just told from his point of view as he watches the insanity unfold around him.
Extremely brief and hopefully spoiler?-free summaries of the first few episodes follow:
Episode 1 is a prologue-style preview in which it's fun to try to figure out what's going on. It's rather clever in many ways, but it might not give the most accurate impression of the rest of the series. If you're going to watch the whole series, do be sure to watch this one. (And then watch it again after episode 5, to get everything in an entirely new light!) But if you're not sure if you want to watch the series at all, I suggest you start with...
Episode 2, which is the chronological start of the story. The first ten minutes of this give you a basic introduction to Suzumiya Haruhi. I'd recommend this to anyone.
Episode 3 continues the madness from ep 2, but takes a more serious/mysterious turn later, with a good cliffhanger. Not as good as ep 2, in my opinion, but some entertaining examples of Haruhi's craziness. Good for fans of HighSchoolHijinks?.
Episode 4 utterly disdains to resolve the cliffhanger of ep 3, instead jumping to a totally different chronological point for a random episode about what happens when Haruhi gets bored. However, the things discussed include several things that the preceding episodes have not shown, and so for all its madcap silliness there's quite a bit of mystery being introduced too. However, it was distinctly random and not really to my taste.
Episode 5 concludes the introductions by resolving ep 3's cliffhanger and showing a rather different side to some of the characters. Another great one.
Episode 6 is the first of a two-part story. It can feel a bit like just setup for the second half, but it is a lot of fun.
Episode 7, naturally, declines to continue the two-parter started in #6, instead diving to another point in time...
The reason for reifying this page (other than drawing people's attention to this intriguing series) is in order to draw people's attention to the scary things some fans of it will do: http://www.pori.co.uk/?p=184