I know what you’re thinking after reading that title. What the hell is this movie and why are you claiming it as the perfect Christmas movie when Home Alone exists. Well dear reader, allow me to introduce to you one of the most intense, heartfelt, and emotional movies that you should watch this Christmas, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (2010).
This isn’t a traditional Christmas movie where Christmas is the entire plot (those are everywhere and a little boring if you ask me),
This film by Kyoto Animation utilises the overall feeling of Christmas in both narrative and environmental ways perfectly. The only real hurdle though is that it’s a sequel to the original series. So you might want to watch that before hand which could turn some people away. However, I still believe that The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is a film that encapsulates what Christmas is about at the core – spending time with people you care about.
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya acts as a sequel to the series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, picking up the story almost immediately after the final episode. It follows the main protagonists Kyon and Haruhi as Christmas time approaches, but new mysteries threaten to change their worlds forever.
Now, that doesn’t sound like a Christmas movie but you’re just gonna have to trust me on this.
As I said before, whilst I consider this film a Christmas movie, the plot doesn’t revolve around Christmas. Instead, it uses Christmas as a backdrop to tell its story and set up some of the emotional plot points. I would liken it more to Die-hard than Elf (not in tone though). This film uses Christmas to convey plot points, as well as integrate festive values to help create a one-of-a-kind experience.
If there was one thing that might stop you from giving this film a chance, it would be that to get the full experience you would have to watch the original series, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The series consists of 24 episodes which isn’t the longest series you could watch, and you could probably smash it out over 2-3 days if you really put your mind to it. However, I understand that not everyone has the time to watch a full anime series during the holiday season.
You can definitely watch the film without the series and still enjoy the story and characters. But, if you have the time, I would definitely recommend watching the series beforehand. Not only is The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya amazing, but it would help you enjoy the movie even more. Again though, you don’t have to, but I guarantee it will be worth your time.
Circling back to Christmas now.
What’s the one thing that has remained constant throughout almost every single Christmas movie that has ever been released? I’ll give you a second … times up. The answer is family. Whether that be biological family or the family you make, and that’s what The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya showcases perfectly.
Without going into spoilers, one of the major themes of the film is the impact friendships can have on a person. In fact, it’s one of the major factors in the biggest decisions that the characters make. Showcasing the importance and impact of friendship all year round, whilst telling an engrossing story is one of the reasons it has been one of my favourite films this year.
And that ending! Not only does it wrap the story up nicely, but it even links back into that Christmas spirit with people spending time together and having fun – and isn’t that what these holidays are all about?
In the end I wholeheartedly recommend you give The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya a watch this year. The story, characters, and animation will not only provide a different vibe to your Christmas movie viewing, but will also leave you with a slight case of existential dread (but that should go away by the end).
And if you still don’t believe me that this is a Christmas movie than to that I say, if Die-Hard can be considered a Christmas movie then so can The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.