I cannot deny the fact that 'The Disappearance' is the best novel in the Haruhi franchise (It is a personal favorite and is the reason why I got into reading) I was really surprised that the movie was able to faithfully follow the novel and I think it was slightly better than the novel. Who wouldn't get thrilled to the fact that we could see Yuki's smile being animated, it really has a very destructive effect (currently, I'm still recovering from it) and also to see Haruhi long haired again (Kyaaaa!! I can't contain my happiness XD).
I'll give you guys a plot summary...
On December 16th everything seems normal, the SOS Brigade even make plans to have a Christmas party. On December 18th, Kyon arrives at school and found out that Haruhi is missing and was replaced by a person who shouldn't exist anymore, Asahina doesn't recognize him, Yuki is acting odd and Koizumi is also missing.
I suggest that before you watch this movie you should have the knowledge of what happened during the previous seasons since they are related to this movie (You wouldn't able to fully enjoy it if you don't have the knowledge). Even before, when I've read the novel I was at awe on how the author could utilize the setting, the characters and the events that happened before and he combined it and made one hell of a story that you would never forget. I have to admit that the first half of the movie is actually quite slow but I think that was necessary for the build up of the story and also to set the atmosphere for the movie. The next half has a lot of twist and turns that make up for the first part and thus making things more intersting. The point of view is still Kyons' and it's fun to hear his thoughts and rants again. I'm also glad that Kyon is no longer a bystander who only reacts with the plot, in this movie he is the one who drives the plot.
The characters who are well developed in this movie are Kyon and Yuki. Kyon finally accepted that it was fun getting dragged around by Haruhi even if he often complains about it. Yuki on the other hand seems to have gotten tired of everything and thus triggered the events of the movie. Of course other characters had their share of screen time, we get to see Koizumi getting envious of Kyon, the adult Asahina looks like she unofficially confessed to Kyon and she's still afraid of Yuki, Haruhi is still Haruhi, Asakura on the other hand takes care of the shy Yuki, even Tsuruya-san made a brief but memorable appearance. They all played their parts well specially Yuki. Every time I see her shy, afraid and eventually smile I can't keep my emotions in check I kept on saying 'Kyaaaaa!!'of 'Hrrrrhnnnn' on the screen that warrant me a weird look from my brother. Oh God, almost every part of this movie is simply awesome but I say what stands out are the characters and the animation, they make me love this franchise.
The animation is simply superb, I was always left with goosebumps at every scene. The animation is very fluid, the facial expressions of the characters are very expressive and the characters feel like their alive and real. The surroundings is also very detailed from the cars, its headlights and its effect on the environment. The environment really looks alive, the trees, the buildings, the random people, it really is breathtaking. KyoAni really worked their muscles and pockets in this movie and as a fan I really appreciate it. The animation really reminds me of K-ON! but less moe and let's not forget the dynamic facial expressions in Clannad.
The character design also slightly altered and I think its way better than the design in season 2 since its less moe and looks natural for the characters. All in all the animation is one of the aspect that this movie can boast. I just hope I could watch the Blu-Ray version because I think its more glorious than the 1080p copy that I downloaded. Really, I've first watched the camrip of this and I'm still amazed by the animation and now even in 1080p it still takes by breath away. All I could say now is hands down to KyoAni.
The bgm of the series is really incredible from the 1st season up to this movie. I just love the classical music used to make scenes more exciting or melancholic. Sure some of the bgm have been recycled but its been enhanced and they still as impressive as ever. When they played the Bouken Desho Desho at the OP it was quite nostalgic since it brings back memories. The ED song on the other hand fits the mood and I think it was appropriate since it reflects Yuki's character (no wonder there since Minori Chihara's the one who sang it)
It was a very enjoyable experience since I get to see the novel animated. It was honestly a very long wait and there's even the trolling of the endless eight but I'm glad I was patient and I was rewarded by this pure awesomeness. I think it was a good move by KyoAni to make this a movie instead of another season cause honestly the disappearance is a material for a movie cause if you'll cut it into episodes, the first part would have been boring. Finally that was one hell of a ride and I hope I get to see more Haruhi in the near future (If its not too much to ask, a new Full Metal Panic anime too please) also I hope more novel from Tanigawa Nagaru.
To those who are a fan or who simply liked this series, I guarantee you you'll enjoy this. This movie is highly recommended to anyone who knows this show thus I've given it a perfect score (I rarely give perfect score).
Ahaha!! KyoAni is really teasing us. I think Yuki smiled in this last scene she just covered it with her book >_<