Friday, 4 September 2009

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya - Season 2 - Episode 13 (aka Episode 23)

Watching new episodes of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya of late has felt almost like a never-ending litany of complaints and questioning of KyoAni's decisions, and even the end of the interminable Endless Eight story arc hasn't really been enough to dissipate these doubts. I have to give this latest episode of the current Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya arc at least some credit however for being by far the best dose of "new" Haruhi we've had in quite some time.

The subject matter of the episode is, of course, the continued filming of Haruhi's culture festival movie and the perils that it presents, but from its beginnings as more pure comic relief, with the hapless Mikuru having ever-more unpleasant situations thrust upon her, so this instalment takes a darker tone as Haruhi's demands become ever more questionable.

As if having her thrown into a lake isn't bad enough, Mikuru ends up being "drugged" with alcohol and humiliated even more by Haruhi until finally Kyon snaps and gives her an earful... several earfuls in fact, until Koizumi has to step in to prevent the entire situation descending into violence. This entire scene (and those both leading up to and following it) show us a very different side of both Kyon and Haruhi, with the former letting his normal internal monologue of smart-ass comments boil over into direct confrontation, while Haruhi shows her deeper insecurities and need to be accepted (if only in a slightly off-kilter way) by Kyon. This isn't really angle that we've seen delivered quite so explicitly by this series in animated form before, so it actually makes for a refreshing change of pace, particularly after those long, long summer weeks where we constantly lamented Kyon's inability to stand up and say anything to Haruhi during Endless Eight.

This perhaps still doesn't remove the question of whether this Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya arc requires quite so many episodes to cover (especially when there is so much more material that we could be enjoying from the original novels), but on this occasion at least (and for the first time in a while) I'm left finishing an episode of this series with a feeling of satisfaction and having seen something genuinely "new". It probably isn't enough to save many people's misgivings about this current series, but it's a start.


Yumeka said...

Nice thoughts on this episode. "The Sigh" is one of the longer stories in the novels (it covers all of volume 2) and the anime is following it pretty well. I really hope we don't have to wait too long for the next new story!

AidanAK47 said...

Yes I completely agree with Hanner on this. I feel the same. Finally after 12 episodes we are getting some real quality. The only hope is that they continue this and at least make the last episodes of the season some of the best so far.

The episodes have now covered 140 pages of the book. So only about 33 left. I think I can guarantee that the next episode will be the last episode of the sigh arc.

Now that being said I now think I understand now why they are being so faithful to the novels on this one. The writer is someone who makes certain things in the previous books which seem insignificant, significant. So to make sure that they don't miss out on anything important that could mess up the story later on they are making sure to put every detail in. So in that aspect this may have been the best choice. After all the books are still being written.

Killifish said...

I've heard a rumor that this season will stretch across 22 episodes. That way I'll get to see this 'disappearance' thing that everyone who's read the novels keeps telling me about.