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The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Seasons One & Two [Blu-ray]
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Kyon is a cynical and sarcastic teenager. The first day of his first year of high school is filled with hopes of a normal school experience—hopes that are immediately dashed after meeting the beautiful and eccentric Haruhi Suzumiya. Haruhi is athletic, brilliant, and completely bored with life. At Kyon’s accidental suggestion, she decides to create her own club dedicated to finding and observing life’s oddities—like the aliens, espers, and time travelers she believes walk among normal people.
Now, Kyon and a ragtag group of recruits are Haruhi’s right-hand men in the newly formed SOS Brigade. But all is not what it seems. The quiet bookworm? Alien. The busty sophomore? Time-traveler. The handsome transfer student? ESPer. And the biggest surprise? They’re all there because Haruhi herself has the ability to reshape the world as she sees fit. Maybe Kyon should have joined the literature club…
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The video clearly had some rather aggressive denoising filter applied to it, which results in a kind of blurriness in the lines and it makes the video look much poorer than the medium is capable of. The denoising is fairly bad in flashbacks, which use simulated film grain for creative reasons, because the denoising turns the film grain into a bunch of moving "squiggles" on top of the screen. Fortunately, this is only a small percentage of the scenes, and those of us sitting farther from the TV or who don't have good eyesight won't notice, and it's not distracting if you're paying attention to the story. These squiggles, however, are the first thing you see when you start episode 1. So the video is a bit botched. It's hard to comment on the actual compression quality since any compression artifacts would be hidden under the heavy filtering.
For some unknown reason, the Blu-ray disables the "audio" and "subtitle" buttons on your remote. I cannot imagine what kind of satanic witchcraft must have compelled the encoder to disable these features on an imported video. You can change the settings through the main menu or pop-up menu only, and certain combinations are prohibited. For example, you can't enable subtitles for English audio. I guess the concepts of hearing loss and hearing disability are completely foreign to whoever made the video. You also can't disable subtitles for Japanese audio, which is bizarre.
Speaking of subtitles, the translation is usually reasonable and flows well, but there are some phrases which aren't fluent English, and some specialist terms which are translated incorrectly. To pick on episode 5, in the conversation between Koizumi and Kyon, 人間原理 is translated as "human principle", which is meaningless in English. The term should be "anthropic principle", which is a well-known term from philosophy and science fiction. Koizumi also says something translated as, "An interesting fact floats up from here." We can figure out what he's saying, but "floats up" is a literal translation of 浮上 which should have been translated idiomatically. No English speaker would speak that way. This scene is a bad example, other scenes were much better.
Audio is good, levels are fine, no excessive compression or anything.
The episodes are presented in chronological order, which is also the 2009 re-airing broadcast order. This is a good thing, I remember being fairly confused by the original 2006 broadcast order. "Someday in the Rain" is a good send-off to the series.
The subtitles are a little wonky, too, but most people don't have a great appreciation for grammatical accuracy, so it's unlikely to bother many buyers.
Seriously, though. Buy this, even if you have the original DVD sets.
One of my friends introduced me to this series online and I feel in love with the characters. I had Season 2 on DVD but I could never grab Season 1 for a reasonable price. I'm glad amazon had the series on Holiday sale for $29.99. I love the set I haven't gotten to the extras yet but I'll definitely take a look when I get there. :) I recommend this anime to anyone who enjoys aliens, time travelers and espers. :3
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A faultless product to which I have no complaint
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