Haruhi Suzumiya just wants to makes friends with an alien. It’s a simple request. Well, she thinks so anyway. Her high school classmates are less than thrilled, however. And when one particularly sarcastic student named Kyon gives her the idea to create a special club, some very strange things start happening…
Initially there really isn’t too much violence. Until a crazy girl shows up with a knife. No limbs are hacked off, but one character cuts her hand badly and is kinda stabbed through multiple times. Although the blood isn’t focused on too much, it’s very much there and isn’t easy to ignore. Although it only happens in one episode, it’s enough to immediately bunk this series up to a YA.
Not much in this department besides the usual fare of da-ns, sh-ts, and a rare “illegitimate-son” word. And there is one half bleeped out f-bomb. It’s quick, but very much there.
This is probably the worst aspect of this show. We’re spared any outright nudity, but we do get a lot of inappropriate comments, jokes and a few situations. One character, in particular, is very well endowed. She is chosen for the club exclusively for this reason and nearly one hundred percent of all fanservice is because of her. We also get at least one scene of Haruhi disrobing in front of everyone (down to underwear only though), at least one walk-in with another girl changing and more than a few instances of Haruhi physically… harassing another girl. Although nothing rises above a tame PG13 rating, it’s certainly not for kids either.
One character implies, on more than one occasion, that Haruhi is some form of god. Theories like this circulate in this series, but none are proven and ultimately any theories in this show are simply speculation by the characters as they try to make sense of their world.
Back in 2006 (when the first 14 episodes were released), this series was a huge hit and it continues to be a go-to for serious anime fans. And for good reason. Slice of life shows are a dime a dozen in the anime community, but before this show was released, none had the benefit of a wise cracking narrator/main hero, a cast of stereotypical teens that aren’t nearly as stereotypical as they pretend to be and a heroine that is both horribly frustrating and painfully understandable. For with all of Haruhi’s personality quarks, such as ignoring common decency and social etiquette, she’s really just a girl who wants to believe in things very badly and yet can never fully bring herself to do so. She wishes for aliens, time travels and exciting adventures to exist. Yet she is also well aware that they do not. This inner conflict creates an ever changing, complex and dangerous world. Surprisingly, the humor is not sacrificed at all and the aspects of the show that remain grounded in reality, or what people perceive to be reality, continue. Pulling off slice of life or science fiction genres can be a pain all on their own, but this series was one of the first to prove it can be done at the same time with spectacular results.
That being said, this series also contains a decent amount of inappropriate content, so it’s not for everyone. Not to mention the fact that the science fiction within is rather intensive at times. And Haruhi’s extreme nature isn’t always easy to forgive, even with Kyon hilarious commentary strung throughout. Even so, if you can take the content, this anime is a must see for anime fans. Just be prepared for a lot of brain bending in the future of this show as characters continue to grow mentally and the status quo begins to spiral out of control.
Personal Rating: Young adult
Episodes: 28 (this review counts the episodes released in 2006 and 2009)
Languages: Dub and sub
Official rating: PG14
Genre(s): Action, supernatural, science fiction, slice of life
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll