What They Say :
In these animated short episodes, based on the comical spin-off manga, the characters are presented in cute little versions of themselves and focus each of their unique quirks. Haruhi is even more outrageous with her twisted understanding of Valentine’s Day and Halloween, Mikuru is just as clueless as ever and Yuki is an ero-game addict.
The Review :
I watched the whole disc in Japanese, both languages set up in Standard 2.0. The audio had no issues with its quality in terms of audio, timing and effects, and any notable distortion between audio and subtitles, but with a show like Haruhi, even a spin off, was quite disappointed with the lack of 5.1. Unlike the original though this was separate from the Season 2 release and considering the price and length of the show, felt disappointed overall of the quality whilst good, good have obviously been much better – almost as if it didn’t care about the gag release.
The video was standard as well, could be set in widescreen and full screen set up – again, the release felt a bit gritty in terms of the animation, not sure how that was on the HDTV but it was almost like the release felt second hand. The animation was fine, and no problems regarding transition of subtitles so don’t worry it’s watchable and bright, just a few little niggles regarding both the visual and video quality make it a slightly disappointing release in these regards.
There was no packaging for this release.
The menu is pretty much the same as the first release, on the left side we have the Haruhi-chan menu, and on the right side we have the Nyoron Churuya-san menu with pictures of said girl above them, with Play All/Episodes below each section, whilst situated on the bottom in a circle you can select set up or extras. It’s straight forward to navigate though and no problems in selection, though the set up is a bit more confusing this way. The episode select screen can allow you to select each episode on both ‘shows’ and whilst there are no scene selections, with the episodes so short it’s more understandable.
There are couple of extras on these release – we have a couple of commercials, all involving Minoru Shirashi (Taniguchi’s seiyuu ) either in the snow with a Santa outfit, or as Oniguchi, with him wearing an oni mask in different locations.
The main extra is the ‘How About Oniguchi’ segment which is about 39 mins long and is a look of Shirashi filming the commercials, researching the oni character and at a fan session at Animate. He’s at the Yamagite branch of Animate, where he is promoting Haruhi-chan, and either promoting the CDs or playing dominos with them, it’s a nice look at how a voice actor meets the fans, and is surprised about his popularity with them. We also get him visiting the memorial museum of the creator of the Red Ogre, story writer Hirosuke Hamada, where he meets the curator and sees selection of writings from his stories/writings, with interest points throughout (like was said Hans Christian Andersen had an influence on him among others). Whilst most of the extra is about him being silly, this was quite informative.
Then there is the Oniguchi/Ao-Oni segment…which involves eating beans, splashing each other, frolicking on the grass and having a wrestling match…yeah. I’ll let you think of those images of two half naked men wrestling each other… Last bit was the filming for the commercials, showing how cold it was in Hokkaido and how they nearly cancelled the shoot but managed to get it done. Altogether with 4 segments it was 39 minutes long and a very unique but overall fun (if a bit weird) extra overall.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It’s really hard to rate Haruhi-chan as a series, as you have to take it completely separately from the Haruhi series, as the super deformed figures in a gag comedy are utter hilarity, but it’s hard to rate it as a series. It works very well as a straight forward gag series, and if you’re a Haruhi fan you’re gonna love it, but it’s hard to appeal to others because of the fact part of the humour is that you know the characters from the series, and just how different they are here is part of the reason it’s so funny.
The episodes are…well, episodic. You can watch almost all of them in any order (with the exception of when we get a new character, Mr. Kimidori…not based on the Kimidori of Haruhi Season 1…this Kimidori is a…green balloon dog who can talk and is the new best friend of Achakura) – each episode of the Haruhi-chan saga is about our beloved main cast with their new quirks or exaggerated versions of their characters. Kyon is more of a snarker here, and actually argues against Haruhi which brings in some good comedy (like when they start playing with balloons, shoot each other with darts…and then decide not to after they hit Mikuru and silently pray after her death…only she isn’t dead.)
My favourite parts always involving Yuki and Achakura(Asakura) – Yuki has changed from the mostly emotionless but exotic and near invincible alien interface to this comic (whilst still being deadpan) video game and anime fan whilst trolling Achakura. It’s made even more fun with Kimidori acting as her partner in crime, such as them trying to reenact death scenes to get Nagato to notice them…and then she walks right past to have a shower. Achakura is probably my favourite character overall as she’s like the mother of the group despite her tiny size, and Nagato just loves playing her up. It’s great fun watching the two interact.
Not to say the other cast have their moments. I’ve always been a fan of Tsuruya, and she gets to shine in a couple of fun segments, in a rivalry with Mori of all people (weirdly, the shorts actually develop the side characters a bit more in their own fun way) – I do feel ironically this makes Mikuru and Koizumi actually stand to the background (you can argue that happens in the main show as well though) but they do have their moments. However, the others do get more of the spotlight, that’s for sure.
The Churuya parts, whilst still a bit redundant, actually made me laugh a bit more this time round. This version of Achakura has a crush on Kyon…but Churuya keeps taking him away so he can buy her more smoked cheese. The gag still is repetitive, but some of the moments like in the obstacle race, and the failed trick or treat segments being quite funny. The problem is that I am unfamiliar with the strips or jokes that she originated from, so a lot of the smoked cheese humour falls flat on me, in comparison with Haruhi-chan, where I know the characters, and just find it hilarious to see Yuki as an otaku.
Therefore it’s kind of hard to recommend to people who aren’t fans of Haruhi, as a lot of the jokes come from the series (including a Disappearance gag in the last episode). It’s still pretty funny on its own right but the humour is better if you know the characters. I guess the same would be for Churuya-san if I was more familiar with the character. I also feel with the price and the average audio/visual quality, it doesn’t seem worth it as the first part was on the Season 2 release. However, I still would recommend it as a pure comedy for Haruhi fans, as there are a lot of moments that will make you laugh, and just as a series where I can switch off and enjoy, it doesn’t get much more fun than this.
You get what you expect with Haruhi-chan, a very zany comedy with your favourite characters in their usual hijinks…but without any malice and 10 times the comedy. Yuki and Achakura once again steal the show but everyone gets their fun moments. Churuya was a bit more tolerable with a few more laugh out loud moments but same with Haruhi, you’ll only enjoy it more if you know the characters and where they come from beforehand. If you’re a Haruhi fan, it is recommended, but for what it is and for the price, only get it if you are a Haruhi fan, because whilst I enjoyed it, for the money overall, it may not be worth it.
Commercials/Oniguchi Commercials – behind the scenes look at the life of Minoru Shirashi of filming, with fans, and frolics.
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: C+
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: October 31st, 2011
Running Time: 69 minutes
Review Equipment: Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.