The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is based on a manga series that is a spinoff of Nagaru Tanigawa’s Haruhi Suzumiya light novel series. The series was produced by Satelight and was directed by Jun’ichi Wada. The series aired on Japanese television from April 3-July 17, 2015. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American distribution rights for The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan.
This spinoff is based on the alternate universe that was featured in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya anime film.
In this series, Yuki is president of the Literature Club, and Asakura is her roommate. Kyon has recently joined the Literature Club, and Yuki has a crush on Kyon. In this alternate universe, Yuki is depicted as having a fascination with food. Asakura is depicted as being friends with Yuki, Asahina isn’t an official member of the Literature Club and is constantly hanging around Tsuruya, and Haruhi Suzumiya and Koizumi aren’t introduced until a few episodes into the series.
The overarching story in this series is Yuki and how she feels about Kyon. But just when it seems like a relationship could develop between these two characters, a major event happens to Yuki that changes the course of the series and ultimately causes Kyon a lot of confusion.
When I watched the first episode of the series, it relied very heavily on slapstick comedy and gags and not so much on telling an overarching story. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much of the humor included here to be terribly funny. It was at its worst when Tsuruya and Asakura declared that Yuki and Mikuru must compete in various competitions. Yuki and Mikuru are both on the shy side, so they don’t do things as Asakura and Tsuruya want them to; this leads to Asakura and Tsuruya demonstrating each competition and ultimately turning it into a competition between each other. This became predictable rather quickly, and the joke got old since there were five challenges shown. Fortunately, the series scaled back the use of the slapstick humor after the first episode.
I admit that I was a little disappointed after watching the first episode between the overuse of slapstick humor and having to get used to the different character traits the characters from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya received in this series.
Overall, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan was a bit of a rough ride for me as a viewer. Even though the overused slapstick gags were scaled back, it still took several episodes of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan to find its stride and truly interest me. My interest went up a little when Haruhi and Koizumi were first introduced to the cast, but then the series ended up falling back onto light-hearted stories that saw the cast doing random things, and these episodes didn’t have much focus on Yuki and Kyon’s story. When the The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan fell into this rut, I started losing interest in the series. To be honest, I have to say that it almost took until the three-part episode, “The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan” for me to truly enjoy watching the series.
In the end, I think viewers who will get the most enjoyment out of this series are readers of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan manga, since they will already have familiarity with the story and the depiction of the characters. Fans of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya might also enjoy it but may have to adjust to the cast members’ different characteristics in this telling. Viewers who have no familiarity with this franchise whatsoever may have a harder time getting into The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, especially with the slow start that the series has.
These were my initial thoughts after watching the simulcast in 2015. I re-watched the series a couple of years later and found that I enjoyed it more than I did the first time around. I think this was due to already knowing what to expect and being able to see more than one episode at a time. With the re-watch, I discovered that The Disappeance of Nagato Yuki-chan was a much better series than I had thought it was.