I had no intention of blogging this series, but episode 1 at least was just too good to pass up. Dry Pythonesque absurdity. Great animation again from Kyoto Animation. And very nice voice-acting, particularly from Gotou Yuuko.
Think Air. The movement is great. The backgrounds are lovely. There is one point where the protagonists are standing talking in an alley, and a man comes out, gets into a car, and drives away -- in the middle distance. The visual and aural accent hits the spot. The animation in the ED, particularly the classmates dancing, is brilliant.
Visual jokes abound. There is a witch (sort of) with a cat on her shoulder. But the cat is just hanging there awkwardly, slipping down every so often so she has to hitch it up.
This episode is all Mikuru, so Gotou Yuuko is center-stage. And she makes the most of it. Her drippy Hiyori voice is in full flight. She was perfect as the magical princess Rein in Fushigiboshi no Futagohime yesterday, and she is perfect as the sweet clueless Mikuru today. She's also hilarious intentionally butchering the OP.
Chihara Minori does a fine job with a soft unmodulated delivery playing Yuka playing the witch. Since she was Erika in Lemon Angel Project, which I just finished enjoying, I'm happy to see her take another step up the ladder into a prime role in a prime show.
And the three female leads do a great job with the ED.
I can't even begin to summarize this episode. Okay, I'll try. This episode is a movie directed by the irrepressible weirdo Suzumiya Haruhi (Hirano Aya), whom we barely see or hear. The movie stars her classmates Mikuru (Gotou Yuuko), Itsuki (Ono Daisuke), and Yuka (Chihara Minori). Mikuru is playing Mikuru, a girl who is an alien combat waitress whose second job is wearing skimpy clothes and standing in front of stores holding their advertising signs. Itsuki plays Itsuki, a classmate of hers who lives with his five-year-old sister. Yuka is playing Yuka, a wicked witch from the future, and classmate. The girls do battle several times. Yuka wins, but Itsuki ends up blowing her away to protect Mikuru. The end.
Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi)
series director: Yamamoto Hiroshi (episodes of Air, key animation on ROD the TV, Fate/Stay Night and Melody of Oblivion)
director: Ishihara Tatsuya (Air)
original character design: Itou Noiji (Shakugan no Shana novel and TV)
character design: Ikeda Akiko
art director: Tamura Seiki (backgrounds for Metropolis and Princess Mononoke)