Anime DVD Review: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Second Season

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Second Season DVD box set was released by Bandai in 2010. This box set includes four DVDs and one CD. The four DVDs have 14 episodes of the series spread across them, as well as various bonus features, while the CD contains the opening and closing themes that appear in these episodes.

The 14 episodes in this set were produced for the 2009 re-airing of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in Japan. The first episode in this set is “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody,” which sees Mikuru taking Kyon back in time three years to help a younger Haruhi with a project she’s trying to do. Unfortunately, Mikuru loses her time traveling device, and they must enlist the help of the Yuki of that time period. Of the three stories that make up the 14 episodes in this set, I thought that this was basically the best one.

Next is the eight-part episode, “Endless Eight.” All of the SOS Brigade except for Haruhi realize that they have become stuck in a time loop, reliving the same two weeks of summer vacation; they theorize that Haruhi doesn’t want summer to end for some reason. Unfortunately, when they return to the beginning of the two weeks, they forget that they have already experienced these same things; however, Kyon and Koizumi sometimes experiences flashes of déjà vu.

This eight-parter is the most tedious portion of this DVD box set. Each episode is a different time in the time loop; unfortunately, there is very little difference between some of the episodes, so it almost feels like you’re watching the exact same episode more than once. For me, it didn’t help when I watched this set that I needed to watch four to five episodes a night, so seeing four different versions of the same story with only minor variations in one night made for a boring viewing experience.

The final five episodes are all five parts of “The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya.” This tells the story of how to SOS Brigade made the film that was shown at the school cultural festival; the film itself was seen in the series as “The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina Episode 00.” After plodding through “Endless Eight,” this was a nice change of pace. And since it tied in other episodes I had already seen, this made for an enjoyable viewing experience.

There were quite a few bonus features included in this set. The first disc includes the textless opening, while the second disc includes the textless ending. The first disc also includes the DVD credits. TV commercials for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya can be found on the first two discs. Promotional spots are on all four discs.

There are several “Location Scouting Videos” spread out over the four discs, with each one running around 10 to 11 minutes in length. During the videos, some of the anime crew do location scouting at a school, a temple, a shrine, a cemetery, a deli, a pond, a market, and a sports center. I usually appreciate these kind of features, because it’s near to see how closely the anime ends up resembling the location that’s being scouted. Unfortunately, these were shot in such a way that the camera is moving around more than necessary; this made for rough viewing for my husband, who has motion sickness. These are a good feature, but they would have been better if there wasn’t as much needless movement of the camera.

There are also several “Behind the Scenes of Aya Hirano’s Music Video” segments spread out across the four discs. Most of these segments run from about three to five minutes in length. During the segments, you see Aya shooting footage for the video, a photo shoot for the single cover, a rehearsal for a live performance of the song, and the day the single was released. These segments will probably hold the most interest for fans of Aya Hirano; if you’re not a fan of Aya, these may bore you.

The second disc also includes an “Endless Eight Prologue.” This is a slideshow featuring still images from the episodes where the SOS Brigade did some activities over the summer before hitting the time loop. Kyon narrates over the slideshow, to give a basic recap of what happened before the start of “Endless Eight.”

The fourth and fifth discs include episodes of “The New Adventures of the ASOS Brigade.” These were live-action pieces that feature the English dub actors. Unfortunately, these episodes are just as bad as the original “Adventures of the ASOS Brigade” that were included in the releases of the first season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

This is a box set that I can only truly recommend for fans of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya who must own all of the episodes of the series. And if you do watch this box set, be sure to watch it in small doses so you only have to sit through a couple of episodes of “Endless Eight” at a time; if you try to watch as much of it as I did in one sitting, you’ll probably either want to cry or fall asleep out of boredom.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Second Season that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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