As the tagline for the official release can read “Haruhi-chan and Churuya-san were actually High Definition animation after all!” Yes, the first glimpse of Haruhi in stunning HD is not the original series, but the “super-deformed” versions aired as “original net animations” during Spring 2009. All 38 episodes were collected into one box set for the HD release on 8/27/2010!
The set comes in one Blu-Ray case with a box to hold the case. Each has their own specific artwork on the front and back.
Opening the case shows the disc (which contains both cover artworks) and the insert advertisements/postcard. Removing the disc shows the final piece of exclusive artwork. Minoru Shiraishi as the red demon!
The inserted pieces to the left include one of three possible postcards. I was lucky to receive the Nyoron~Churuya-san cover art, but the others are the Haruhi-chan cover art and the Taniguchi demon art behind the disc. The advertisements included one for The Mahjong of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya PSP game that will be released on February 24th, 2011, one for the various books throughout the Haruhi/Haruhi-chan/other spinoffs universes, and one for the upcoming BD/DVD releases. Kadokawa was cutting it close on the PSP game and Disappearance announcements.
Onto the main feature! When I first started this set, like all other Japanese releases, I expected to see the familar logos from Kadokawa/Kyoto Animation/Clockworks. What I got were these:
Instantly, it’s emphasized that this is in HD for the first time. Like the Haruhi 2009 DVDs, Kadokawa included English subtitles on this set for the main feature (none for the bonus features or songs), but they have to be selected on the main menu. These are the same subtitles(with a few corrections for spelling) that were on the infamous Youtube versions. If you’re looking for this set because of the subtitles, I’m sorry to disappoint you.
The opening animation starts the whole feature (it’s one long track that is split into 40 chapters) and we see that indeed Haruhi-chan and Churuya-san were animated in HD. This set is not going to test your televisions or monitors for clarity nor for the visual aspects like some other sets (cough cough Clannad), but the improved quality does make a big difference. Thanks to TMSIDR of his blog and Anime in Blu, I can show some comparisons between the DVDs and BD set. (I do plan on getting the R2 and R1 DVDs, just when I get some spare time from other purchases)
The images on the left are from the BD version and the right is the compressed DVD format (that actually is the same ratio that the data is stored, it’s not on my or TMSIDR’s part). You can see the BD is still clearer and more colorful.
All 25 episodes of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuutsu, all 13 episodes of Nyoron~Churuya-san, and the special OP/ED for Haruhi-chan are included on the set. It runs just over 2 hours combined. Following that is about 10 minutes of special features. We have all of the DVD commercials featuring Shiraishi-san as the Red demon in various places around Japan and the two BD Box commericals with all three of the demons riding across a bridge. Besides the obligatory textless OP/ED, there’s a special OP sequence with Shiraishi and the blue demon goofing around included as well. Finally, the last special feature is the promotional video that was shown in stores to promote the first DVD last May.
The new footage (BD Box CM and special OP) is in 1080p while the older footage has been upscaled to 1080p. There is a very noticable difference not only between the special features, but with the main show as well.
The audio sounds great (I can’t test through surround sound just yet), so I have no complaints with the sound. The menu features the promotion artwork of Haruhi-chan and Churuya-san leading the groups and is very basic. I enjoyed the special features very much. It was nice to see all of the CMs in one go (how many did Shiraishi do for the final volume?!) and the special OP is hilarious. The packaging is strange to describe, but it works well due to the set being both shows. It actually relieved a lot of concerns I had about both the regular series’ BD Box artwork and the “steel case” from Amazon Japan.
Overall, this set is not for those who are wanting to see the show for the first time with great subtitles, but for those wanting to see Haruhi in HD for the first time. The visuals are astonishingly clear and just makes you want to see the real series. For the special VN opening in episode 25, the animation is incredibly well done. I can’t recommend the subtitles, but the visual aspect of it more than makes up for it. It’s a good set for importers, and a very good set for those who understand Japanese.
As always, I take more screen captures than I can put into a review (and I’m sure Toonleap is loving the massive amounts of pictures for these past two reviews) so if you’d like to see these and more in their normal 1920×1080 size (except for the 720×480 DVD ones provided by TMSIDR), you can view them in my Photobucket album.
This entry originally appeared on Cartoon Leap and has been copied faithfully (minus image locations) from the original content.