Have you ever been really, really stoked for something only to be miserably let down? That can’t even begin to describe my feelings of Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan. Ever since the Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi, I have dreamt of a spin-off focused on a romance between Yuki and Kyon and that’s what this was supposed to be.
If you are in love with the characters from Haruhi, as I am, you will be excited to see some of our favorite faces such as Mikuru, Tsuruya, Koizumi, Kyon, Haruhi – even Ryoko Asakura. Now…you’ll notice I didn’t mention Yuki Nagato. That’s because the Yuki presented in this series isn’t the Yuki we know and love. The Yuki in this series is stereotypically shy, ditzy, clumsy, and stupid! Not only is she unintelligent in her schoolwork, this Yuki isn’t a bookworm – she’s a gamer. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, but this character is nothing like the Yuki I know and love. In fact, she’s so utterly boring that I felt myself wanting to go to sleep anytime the other characters weren’t there to add comedy relief. Mikuru, who was the annoying, clumsy, object of my middle-school hatred in Haruhi was a lot more tolerable and likable in this series, however. Mikuru was made to be more compassionate and intelligent than her former bookworm counterpart.
The overall story revolves around Asakura, Kyon, and Yuki – the only members of the literature club. Yuki has feelings for Kyon and can’t seem to tell him this without Ryoko and Haruhi trying to play match maker. Even then, the only time she succeeds in telling Kyon her feelings is when she is “not herself.” Yuki nearly gets run over by a car and in her state of shock, loses her memory and personality. The personality given to us is the old Yuki that we waited for. However, the series tries to make you feel guilty by saying that this Yuki is not the “real” Yuki and makes you feel like you HAVE to want the ditzy Yuki back. And by the end of the ‘Disappearance’ arc at the end, you will want that old Yuki back. Why? Because during this arc, the only characters present are Ryoko, Kyon, and Yuki. It’s honestly depressing that this spin off, which isn’t supposed to be focused on Haruhi, is only truly enjoyable when she is present.
The only things I truly enjoyed about this series were the music and the art/animation. The art had a fresh and fun feeling to it but it was a little more on the ‘moe movement’ side of things. This art style is kind in making all of our females, especially Mikuru, look fantastic. Koizumi looks great too but something about Kyon seems waaayyy off. This art style doesn’t capture as much of his more ‘manly’ side which is more present than Koizumi’s or that of his friends. In a way, he looks far too childish. The music is enjoyable because it features the return of music from the Haruhi franchise as well as some new songs. Pleasant and reminiscent, the opening theme is sung by the voice actresses of Haruhi, Mikuru, and Yuki. Another thing to note about the sound is that FUNimation went out of their way to get back the original cast for the Broadcast Dub – which aired VERY late in the season.
If you are coming to this series for your love of Nagato Yuki, then this show is probably not one I can recommend. However, if you are here just to reminisce and take a shot every time a nod to the original show is made, then have at it buddy! I, myself, intend to finish out watching the Broadcast Dub and from then on…I will probably only watch my favorite episodes.