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The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Haruhi

In the before time, when we just sat down and watched anime for the sake of watching anime, we didn't have the luxury of picking our teeth, patting our swollen bellies, and belching out a whimsical retort of criticism. We more or less accepted our serving of anime with much gratitude, and prayed that we'd be able to get the rest of the series in either the same format, the same translation, or at best; the entertainment store would stock those last precious few volumes of the DVDs.

Now, that the aisles are filled to bursting with anime, and everyone and their momma is streaming anime, it's a little more commonplace for us to offer our semi-professional otaku impressions on the latest anime series, or in this case, "adaptation." We're refined, and cultured. Stuffed with anime after anime, and beyond that, we have grown to be what some would call, connoisseurs. And, so, armed with this vast array of power, I will tackle a beloved anime institution.

If you are one of the few fans that have managed to come to terms with KyoAni for their silly "Endless Eight" fiasco, and you are quite finished thumping your chest on the internet—foolishly offering up your proclamation to never watch anything "Haruhi" again, and you've purposed in your heart to try this new spin-off series, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan, then let me be the first to warn you: it probably isn't going to be your jam.

Despite the fact that this new series has several key components in it that are seemingly sure-fire selling points for the fans; this new show is, to be honest, nothing of what you are probably prepared for. It isn't even close, and so, for those of you that are not Haruhi-Chan Die-Hards... let me kindly show you where the door is now, and spare both you and me the embarrassment of having to ask you to leave five minutes into this thing.

You Were Expecting, Maybe This?
If by some chance you decided to begin this new series, and have your dreams fulfilled with seeing a Yuki Nagato that resembled the one we all fell in love with from the "Disappearance" film, then I'm going to have to be that accursed messenger of doom, and disappoint you. She isn't even remotely going to be similar to that Nagato.

Gone is the mousy, quiet, meek, and shy girl that spoke barely above a whisper; and gone is anything that resembles her original personality.

If anything this new Nagato is like a bubble-headed air-headed clone gone wrong. While I watched the first episode, I kept asking myself, "Where's Yuki at?" What I saw on screen was a video game playing nerd that had a crush on a guy in her class. When did the cast of Haruhi find themselves in a poorly made version of a high school dramedy?

It wasn't so much of a shock to me, because I was already slightly prepared for this shift in direction based solely on the look and feel of the manga. Which is so terrible that I was tempted to burn my one and only copy of volume one.

You Got Stuck With This!
So I wasn't having any medals made for this show when I heard that it was going to be made. I just sat back and bitched at how I would refuse to accept any dubbed version to feature any regular VA from FUNimation to voice the characters.

Now, just so we're clear, I'm not going to say that I hate this series. I am a big huge fan of the franchise, and I will support Haruhi & Friends for as long as humanly possible; and as I write this review, I am preparing a companion video review which is calmer and more summarized. For the purposes of this article however, I'm going more in depth into the things that were a turn off for me, simply because I as a writer can express my feelings better in written format than I can in front of a camera telling them to you.

So, where was I?

Oh, yes. This version of Nagato aside, the animation of the series is right at home as a homage to the manga. I disliked the character designs of the manga, and if I've said it once, I'll say it a million times: "The manga looks like a fan drew it, and that it needs to be sold for a yen in the discounted doujin section."

There were times that the characters look so terrible that they might as well have been drawn by monkeys. I swear Kyon goes from looking like himself to Ryuji from Toradora! a half dozen times every single scene, and Yuki goes back and forth from marshmallow face with glasses to simply put... basic generic side character. How pitiful can this get?

For the most part, the personalities of the other characters are intact. Tsuruya has seemingly lost her fang somewhere, and Mikuru Asahina looks like she's cosplaying as Orihime from Bleach.

There are a lot of flaws in this show. Quite possibly, more flaws than perfection; even the official translation from FUNimation is bad. Grammatically and literally.

But, like most things in the universe of Haruhi Suzumiya, there is one constant shining beacon: Haruhi Suzumiya herself.

And by the time she made her appearance in episode two, I was already sweating buckets, and thanking God for the small miracles. Her showing up didn't come a moment too soon. In fact, her scenes, brief as they are, made the show much, much better. I was all but prepared to grit my teeth, and bite my tongue through all the episodes of this entertaining mess, but the appearance of Haruhi saved the day for me.

One last thing that I want to voice a gripe about is the title of the show. Seems to me that when you have a show called the "disappearance" of someone, then shouldn't that someone... er, I don't know... DISAPPEAR?

All in all I'm going to say that I'll passively recommend this. But only if you're a major fan of the franchise. If you aren't, then go find jam elsewhere.

For now, based solely on the two episodes that have aired, I'm giving this a C+.


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