New episodes of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya are like buses - You don't get any for years and then they all start turning up at once. So, with Kyoto Animation still intent on maintaining chronological order for all episodes, we've had to wait a little while from that first new episode (episode eight of the series in full) until the second brand new instalment titled "Endless Eight", which slots in here as episode twelve of the show as a whole.
While it may be brand, spanking and indeed new, I think it's only fair to classify this particular episode as filler - With school out for summer, there's nothing at all for the SOS Brigade's members to do to pass the time... Until Haruhi intervenes that is. With a couple of weeks of the holiday left, she assembles the group with an ambitious plan of fun (yet surprisingly normal) activities for them to partake in until the end of the summer.
So, we get to see Haruhi and company at the swimming pool (read: fan service), catching bugs, going to an Obon festival, messing around with fireworks (kids, don't shoot fireworks from your bikes!), playing baseball and so on. In essence, this is The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya as a slice of life series - It's almost as though an episode of K-ON! has somehow been injected into it. Surprisingly, this also seems to make Haruhi very happy despite its lack of weirdness, although there is an melancholy to the end of the episode, leaving us with the feeling that there are still things which Haruhi wished to do.
As filler goes this was a passable episode, but after the joys and wonders of that first new episode I found it a little difficult to get too enthused about this effort. Still, this should mark the beginning of a concerted period of new episodes, so the next few weeks should (if the rumours are correct) sate our The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya for a while well and truly.