EDIT: Sorry Kagato, I didn’t notice your thread buried down there. Still, I’m really glad I didn’t watch the camrip, the quality on the BD version was definitely worth it.
I do realize I usually do not so much review as simply launch into a rant about how things suck, so here’s chance of pace:
Woah. That was perfect.
It’s kind of hard to point out any specific details because the movie is insanely faithful to the novel, a lot of the dialogue is copied verbatim and the sequence and manner of the events is kept intact. It’s not particularly imaginative, but fuck that, it does what hundreds of other book-to-film works normally fail to do: Successfully adapt the entirety of the book both in feeling and form.
Just to compare, while I was watching Unlimited Blade Works, aside from the genuinely big shitty parts, I kept noticing heaploads of tiny mistakes that were, on their own, not that much important, but were extremely easy to notice and betrayed the fact that the production team didn’t even pay attention to the lore of the novel. I bring this up because Disappearance does the exact opposite, it is filled with tiny, blink-and-you-miss-it details showing just how much attention they paid not only to the novel but the whole series. For instance, Tanigawa once releaseda seating chart describing every student in Kyon’s class. This was tightly followed in the anime itself, which clearly shows each student’s particular designs and even had them interact in the background accordingly (For instance, rewatch the chapter where Ryoko is said to transfer out, and you’ll see Yamane there freaking out). In the few scenes that take place in Kyon’s class, this happens as well, and there’s even a short instance of the kid called Kakinouchi looking in Seno’s direction and blushing (The chart says he likes her).
I’m making a big deal out of this just to illustrate how much care was paid even with the most irrelevant details. None of these kids even got described in the novel beyond Sakanaka, yet KyoAni went to the length of keeping the background characters’ meagre characterizations straight from the side-material. There’s a lot of stuff like this, like the pose Yuki takes while watching the snow, which you’d recognize if you read Editor in Chief, and overall it serves to show off a lot of care for the material. After crap adaptations like Zero no Tsukaima, Tsukihime, Shakugan no Shana and so on, this kind of care is something that I really have to appreciate.
There is one noticeable divergence from the novel that I have to point out because, for once, it actually improves on the source material: The expansion of Kyon’s introspective as he contemplates his decision is VERY well done and much more dramatic than in the original. Kyon rarely ever talks straightforwardly about anything, so seeing him force himself to fess up like that made the moment much more powerful. It’s easily my favourite moment in the whole thing. Kudos go to Tomokazu Suguta, Kyon’s voice actor, who could not be a better fit for the role and does a great job during that scene.
Overall, it’s a really, really good movie and it was worth the wait. The animation is beautiful, the music is fitting and the pacing and direction are spotless. The only sad part is that, with this over, we’re back in limbo waiting for Tanigawa to release the damn tenth book.