The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Vol. 1 is a DVD that contains four episodes of the anime series. The episodes on this disc can be seen with an English dub, or with the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.
While Haruhi Suzumiya may be the title character of the series, the story is actually told from the point of view of her classmate, Kyon. Kyon is a typical high school boy, and doesn’t try to do anything to make himself stand out too much.
The series begins with Kyon and his classmates starting their first year of high school, and he ends up sitting in front of Haruhi in class. The boys think that Haruhi is attractive, but she has a reputation for being weird. She really wants nothing to do with people unless they’re aliens, espers, or some other form of unexplained being. Haruhi is also known for being energetic.
Haruhi ends up standing out by signing up for all of the clubs that the school offers, but ends up not joining any of them. Instead, she starts her own club called the SOS Brigade. She “recruits” Kyon to join, and her club takes over the room of a club where most of the members had graduated out of the school; the only person using the room is Yuki, the last member of this club. She lets Haruhi use the room while she reads a book. Haruhi ultimately “recruits” Yuki for the club.
One day, Haruhi drags a girl named Mikuru Asahina into the SOS Brigade room and “recruits” her as a member. Mikuru is one of the older members, but she’s a rather soft-spoken girl. The final member of the SOS Brigade is Itsuki Kouzumi; he is the only other male in the group besides Kyon.
At the end of this volume, Kyon starts learning from Yuki that Haruhi may not be entirely what she seems. However, it appears that Kyon isn’t entirely believing with Yuki is trying to tell him.
When I initially saw the first episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on YouTube, I really wasn’t too sure about it. I decided I would check out this DVD from the library in order to see more episodes in order to try to make a more informed opinion on the series. After seeing this disc, I’m starting to like the series a little more. While this set may not have moved me to go out and purchase the series for my own home video collection, I would be willing to check out more of these DVDs to see if the series is worth continuing.
As for this DVD, there are several extras included. First are a textless opening and a textless closing, which seems to be rather standard on anime DVD releases. This is followed by “Making of Haruhi #01” and “Making of Haruhi #02”; these are features that run for about 10-15 minutes in length, showing Aya Hirano and Tatsuya Ishihara working on shooting live-action footage for commercials to promote The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. There were a total of two commercials made, and this set includes two versions of both of them. Personally, I found the “Making Of” features to be a little on the boring side.
Next are four features labeled as being four different “TV Previews.” These are basically the next episode teasers included at the end of each episode that appears on this disc. There are also three episodes of “The Adventures of the ASOS Brigade,” which is a live-action promotion for the North American release of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya that utilizes the American dub actors trying to be their characters and utilizing tropes from the series. Personally, I found these to be a little obnoxious. There are also four trailers for other Bandai Entertainment properties, as well as credits.
If you like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and haven’t added the series to your home video collection, you could either purchase the single DVD releases for the series, or you could pick up one of the box sets that was released for the series.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Vol. 1 that I checked out through the King County Library System.