The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Vol. 4 is a DVD that contains three episodes of the series. The episodes on this disc can be seen with an English dub, or with the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.
The first episode on this disc is about the annual school culture festival. Somehow, Haruhi has managed to make an agreement to get her film screened during the festival. Haruhi also makes a surprise appearance at another event taking place at the festival.
The second episode sees the Computer Club challenging the SOS Brigade to playing against them in a strategy computer game that the Computer Club developed in order to get the computer back that Haruhi had essentially extorted out of them earlier. The game is a science fiction game, and the sequences about the game feature several references to Space Battleship Yamato. As a fan of the Yamato franchise, I really got a kick out of this episode and giggled quite a bit at the references.
The last episode on the disc sees Haruhi making a deal with a shop owner who had helped to sponsor Haruhi's movie for a heater. Kyon is sent to get the heater from the shop; while he's gone, Haruhi makes Mikuru go through a crazy photo shoot. This was technically the last episode of the series, but it definitely doesn't feel like an ending. In all honesty, with the type of series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is, I don’t think it really needs a true ending or conclusion.
Overall, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is an enjoyable enough series. While I wouldn't say it's one of my favorite anime series, I wouldn't exactly be adverse to watching it again if I'm given the chance to.
As for the actual DVD, there are several extras included. First, there is a Nekoman Gallery that runs for 26 seconds; unfortunately, there are only two drawings included in this gallery. The Nekoman drawings were made by the cast members for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Next, there are two "Making of Haruhi" documentaries included; both of these focus on Aya Hirano, the voice of Haruhi Suzumiya. The first one sees her promoting her second single, while the second one follows Hirano as she gets a tour of Kyoto Animation, the studio that produced the anime series for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. These are decent for what they are, and Hirano comes across as an energetic and sweet person.
There are two "TV Previews" included, and I believe I finally figured out why the TV previews don't match up with what was seen on the disc. When I did some research on The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, I discovered that there are three different ways that the series is seen. The first is the broadcast order (which is nonlinear and referred to as the "Kyon order"), chronological order (which is referred to as the "Haruhi order") and the DVD episode order. The "TV Previews" seem to follow the chronological order, which is different from the DVD episode order.
A "Special Ending" is included; however, I can’t really see where anything is different from the regular ending. The only difference was that the “Special Ending” is a textless version of the ending credits.
There are three "Adventures of the ASOS Brigade" episodes included, as well as an "Anime Expo 2007 Guest of Honor Intro." The "Adventures of the ASOS Brigade" episodes were just as unimpressive as the episodes that appeared on the earlier discs. The Guest of Honor Intro runs for roughly two minutes, and has narration accompanying stills from the anime series.
A "Special Teaser" is a promo for Lucky Star that incorporates elements from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya; unfortunately, I was rather unimpressed by this teaser. 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. But with Bandai discontinuing distributing products in North America, it's best to try to locate these DVDs sooner rather than later.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this DVD that I checked out through the King County Library System.
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