You all had to know this would happen eventually. After watching me get pissed at various kinds of fans, you must have figured eventually I’d start singling them out for the slaughter. So, while these posts will only happen every once in a while, this is a series called Fanboy Genocide dedicated to groups with opinions that have significantly pissed me off on forums and chats, and hopefully correcting their ways.
So, I’ve pretty much got no more bitching to do about people who hate Haruhi and Luzky Star because they all fall into a couple of groups. The first is a group of those who should never have watched the shows in the first place and only ended up doing so thanks to the rampant popularity. The second group is trolls. However, one commonly expressed notion from people who loved Haruhi as a whole is a complaint that the first episode is stupid, boring, poorly made, pointless, etc. Well congratulations, enough of you have bitched about it and now I have to kill you all. (no, not literally.)
The part about it that bothers me the most is that these people DO like the rest of the series. Haruhi as a whole is a good amount of quite blatant parody. One of the show’s stong points is molding together all these cliche plots and putting a twist on them to seem like the show itself is realistic and believable in contrast to it’s own unbelievable elements. It’s most evident in the characters: an alien, an esper, and a time traveler – classics of sci-fi stories and moe anime alike. There is the silent girl and the clumsy girl and the tsundere – and even the yaoi-bait and loli. It takes on the ever-popular mystery genres, epic space-battles, philosophical, sci-fi, good ol’ school comedy – there’s a little bit of it all in the mix. Half of the fun in Haruhi is just how it puts it’s own twist on everything relating to anime culture.
So then we have the first episode, a blatant parody of the magical girl genre with a sci-fi overtone and some rom-com stylings. Haruhi’s movie brilliant rips on all sorts of anime cliche, with Kyon to really pour salt into the wound with his crushing monologue. I felt like I was watching every silly anime I’d ever seen thrown together and cranked up to eleven. The episode even does the great job of introducing us to different characteristics of all the characters before we’ve even met them. Yuki is stoic throughout, Koizumi has to move constantly and use his hands to talk, Mikuru constantly looks like she’s having a heart attack, and we get to hear Kyon’s hilarious monologue against it all. This just gets more fun when we rewatch it knowing all of the characters and see all the things we know and love about them.
But way more than all of that, the episode is directed and animated so incredibly well that I would have loved to see a show just made of these silly films. I could almost call the episode a masterpiece. Characters accidentally show up on screen holding the cue cards for others and we watch Mikuru’s eyes as she blatantly reads off of them. When Yuki, the villain, is supposed to disappear, we see her just walking infinitely down the road. The camera pans up to the sky CONSTANTLY. Someone gets injured when they try to use firecrackres for special effect. The camera abruptly cuts for Mikuru’s undressing session. When Yuki’s cat accidentally talks, she hits it on the head and just says ‘that was ventriloquism’. After the bad guys are knocked into the water we still see them. The special effects are ass-drawn thunderbolts from Microsoft Paint. The camera even goes in and out of focus during action scenes. Even the voice actors manage to play a chracter who can’t act. EVERY SINGLE THING that could POSSIBLY be done wrong in the making of a short film goes wrong to the point that you have to remind yourself – this is anime! The effort put into perfectly replicating how a shitty live action movie would look is astounding and makes for one of the most constantly hilarious and impressive episodes of anime ever. It just gets better and better the more you watch it, too.
If you didn’t like the first episode of haruhi, you must have either missed the joke, misunderstood the show, or have no fucking idea what good animation is (I still can’t believe some people thought this episode was poorly animated. Did they only see the obviously joke laser beams and miss all of the ungodly fluidity?!) It’s easily one of the greatest first episodes of anime ever and certainly among the most memorable.