Now that the Endless Eight story arc is finally over, I suppose anything is going to seem like the heights of genius in comparison to such reptition; indeed, set against the low bar barely cleared by said story arc, this opening episode of The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya could be considered almost Shakespearean.
With the Summer holidays finally over (yes, yes, I know... insert your own witty comment here) it's back to school life for the SOS Brigade, starting with a sports festival which means embarrassment for the club's members as well as a decidedly difficult to explain relay race performance from Yuki.
With that done and dusted, attentions turn towards the forthcoming culture festival, with Haruhi once again considering how the SOS Brigade can make a splash at the event. The answer is, of course, to make a movie, which segues rather nicely into the elements of this story arc which were included within the original series. Thus, this instalment acts as a prequel of sorts to that classic episode depicting the finished move, allowing us to see a little of Haruhi's thought processes (assuming they're decipherable at all, of course) and also just how she managed to end up with a digital camera and firearms for the production.
I have to confess that compared to that wonderful episode that this is building up to from the original series (which remains a personal favourite of mine for its comical traits), this is actually a slightly dull offering that fails to live up to even that first new episode back from those heady pre-Endless Eight days. It isn't all bad though, as Haruhi's enthusiasm is largely as infectious as ever and both herself and Kyon have some great lines and exchanges which never cease to amuse or entertain. Overall then, a passable attempt as things go, but we're still not back to the classic Haruhi goodness of yesteryear.