Much to everyone’s surprise, Haruhi reappeared suddenly in the summer of 2009. Much to everyone’s surprise, one particular chapter was extended eight times its length and earned the ire of pretty much everyone. Much to everyone’s surprise, the thing that everyone thought they’d finally see would finally happen, even if it was half a year later in a movie theatre.
To be honest, I think the thing I am most mad about regarding Endless Eight is that it pretty much poisoned the Haruhi well and has made it impossible to convince some people to be interested in Disappearance. And that’s terrible, because Disappearance is the best part of the entire series.
Even having read Disappearance about a year before and even watching the awful eyecancer version of the movie, it was still fantastic. And I imagine I’ll be glued to it when I watch it again in glorious 1080p.
The thing about Disappearance is that it’s so different from whatever came before it. I mean, an obvious cause is Haruhi’s absence, what with her being the pivot that the other characters hover around. But it really feels like it’s in a different genre. Beyond the first arc of the anime, there really aren’t any other huge moments like the ones that are delivered in the movie. And I’d say that’s because, beyond the first arc, there wasn’t really any reason to until now.
And so, unlike most of the short stories we’ve seen, Disappearance takes the hugest leaps in terms of character development and the general direction of the entire series since it started. I mean, there’s a reason why the only volumes of the light novel that are sitting on my shelf right now are Melancholy and Disappearance. This is really the first indication that there’s something more to this series than random SOS-dan shenanigans.
The movie isn’t quite as fun as you might expect, but it is pretty enthralling like a good mystery should be. But most importantly, it assured me that my tastes weren’t entirely questionable. I was right the first time: Haruhi was something special.