Haruhi Suzumiya re-viewing: The day, someday, it ends

Throughout the summer, AT-X has been re-airing the Haruhi Suzumiya anime series. Each week, they would show two episodes at a time. Back in early June, I thought it would be a fun idea to re-watch the series two episodes at a time with them. I asked Yumeka and Goggen if they would join me in this re-watching, and they kindly agreed to not only watch the episodes, but to send me their views upon re-watching the episodes too. Finally, we’ve come to the final week. Today features the last TV episodes of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. As always, each of us writes our thoughts seperately without seeing what the other two people wrote. (Yumeka-Haruhi, Goggen-Mio, ultimatemegax-Koizumi)

The Day of Sagittarius

Another fan favorite stand-alone episode, like Boredom this one works better in anime form than novel form since it mostly consists of the cast playing a game that’s entertaining to watch but not so much when you have to read a lot of exposition and rule explaining. Also, in anime format KyoAni is able to spice up the space-themed computer game by showing the characters in actual space fleets while throwing in a lot of fun references to space and mecha anime. Additionally The Day of Sagittarius features a little character development for Yuki, perhaps foreshadowing what’s going to happen with her not too long after this. I would even say this episode has a bit of development for Haruhi and Kyon’s relationship too when Itsuki comments on the trust the two of them share and even at the beginning when Haruhi seems more apt to listen to Kyon than she had previously. Other than that, this episode is good fun. Not a favorite of mine but it’s still entertaining.

Often called one of the best episodes of the show, KyoAni did an amazing job adapting this story from the original novels. The novel mentions the game in prose form, but Gatou/Takemoto strikes again with a fantastic script/direction for this episode. It was genius to put the game into CG and to image the characters as captains of their respective ships. I like how they all reflect their captains (Yuki’s crew is herself, Haruhi’s are aliens, etc). It was a nice touch. Again, Kousaki brings out the big classical music numbers to great effect here. It really felt like a space opera. It’s a good fun episode that remains enjoyable to watch, even if you have no idea about the series itself.

Here is an episode that is just plain fun. The scenes where the computer club challenges the SOS Brigade and the negotiations of terms that follow are quite entertaining. The duel itself is, of course, truly remarkable. Portraying the game visually with big outer space sci-fi battles was a great idea, and probably the best way to avoid doing an entire episode about people staring at computer screens. This episode is also somewhat interesting characterization wise, with Koizumi talking about the “unseen trust” that has developed between Kyon and Haruhi. And I imagine Nagato fans should be pleased as well, with the focus on her in the latter half of the episode. Personally, I liked the shots of her crazy pounding on the keyboard.

Someday in the Rain

The last chronological episode of the series, and the only one that’s an anime original. I know it’s a common opinion among fans that Melancholy VI works better as a finale than this low-key slice of life episode, and I understand why that episode would be placed last during the series’ initial broadcast, but at the same time – this kind of works for me as a “life goes on” type of ending. The fact that it’s such a laid-back episode without as much as a hint of a sci-fi plot already sets it apart, and with the early scene of Kyon thinking back on their adventures, it does make it feel like an ending of sorts to me. The grey rain clouds and long periods of relative silence give it an appropriate, slightly melancholic feel, and it all ends on a sweet note. I have to ask, though – what exactly might Haruhi have been up to, that made Kyon’s waking up startle her so?

This is the final chronological episode of the anime to date and also the only one that’s not part of the original novel storyline (though it was written by Tanigawa). As such, it’s one of the most filler-ish episodes; not only does nothing of importance happen, with a lot of scenes dragging on for obviously long intervals, such as Yuki sitting in the clubroom reading, it’s also the only episode that’s not completely seen through Kyon’s point of view, which is both jarring and refreshing. We do get to see how the clubroom gets a heater though, so I guess there’s some continuity worth there ;) It’s an odd episode, but if you’re a fan of KyoAni’s way of depicting mood and atmosphere in their animation, Someday in the Rain has plenty of that. My favorite parts are when Yuki keeps censoring Mikuru by putting the appropriate books on the bookshelf, and of course, the cute moments between Kyon and Haruhi at the end.

Finally, we end with one of the most under-appreciated episodes in my opinion. Sure we get to see the unnatural adventures of the SOS Brigade, but this episode shows what a normal day is like for everyone. It’s nice and soothing after 8 months of trouble. It also feels like the calm before the storm (both literally in the episode and figuratively with Disappearance around the corner). Tanigawa wrote a wonderful script (which only got changed slightly) for this episode. The biggest thing that it adds is a softer side of Haruhi. Yes we see the whole “force Mikuru to cosplay” but we also see her try and keep Kyon warm with her cardigan and share and umbrella with him. The final scene where she takes the umbrella and sticks her tongue at him is so cute. I was happy to see it referenced in Disappearance. I think this episode helps signify that this isn’t the end of the SOS Brigade’s adventures; it’s merely someday in the rain.

Final thoughts

After 28 episodes and 14 weeks, we’ve finished the TV series of Haruhi. It was fun to re-watch the series again and contrast it to what’s happening 6/3 years later for KyoAni. Though the movie will be shown this week, it will not be given a re-viewing. We can sum up thoughts for an episode in a paragraph; in order to talk about the movie, we’d each need our own post! I couldn’t think of two other people I would’ve liked to re-watched my favorite series with than Yumeka and Goggen. They’ve done a spectacular job keeping up with the posts each week and ensuring we get this out on time. I cannot thank them enough for giving up their time to watch and write comments. It’s tough to think of something to say about the show consistently. I don’t think this would’ve been as much fun without them. Thank you both so much. Enjoy your Haruhi-free weeks to come!

I’d also like to thank everyone who’s stuck with this series for the past 13 weeks. I hope it’s been as fun to read and reminiscence as it has been to re-watch. There’s not another show that I could see myself doing this for (though if Goggen asks for my thoughts on K-On! for a similar series, I’ll agree). It’s been really enjoyable to remember how I felt when I first saw this series and how I still feel about it. Thanks for reading!

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