This summer, AT-X, a cable station in Japan that broadcasts primarily anime programming, has been re-airing the Haruhi Suzumiya TV series. Along with them, Yumeka, Goggen, and I have been re-watching the series 2 episodes a week with them. This week, we continue the Endless Eight arc. (Yumeka: Haruhi, Goggen: Mio, ultimatemegax:Koizumi) Any parallel thoughts are coincidence; we each watch and write our thoughts separately.
Endless Eight (VI):
The most notable portion of this episode for me is Haruhi’s bikini. Out of all 8 swimsuits, this has to be my favorite one she wears. Animation-wise, this continues the high quality from last week’s episode with no real visual gimmicks. Instead of staying with the Japanese audio, I decided to listen to the English dub produced by Bang Zoom Entertainment. Crispin Freeman is most known in the dub for portraying a wonderful Kyon, and it’s no different in this episode. I love the horribly sarcastic “Tell me next time (you contact Miss Asahina).” Outside of wrong emphasis on syllables, the dub is pretty decent. Again, Kousaki uses wonderful pieces of BGM to accompany this episode. I also love Kyon giving up at the end of the episode. “Meh, another me will do my homework.”
This is my least favorite Endless Eight up to this point. I’ve enjoyed the others in spite of their repetitive nature, or possibly partly because of it in some strange way, but this one just feels so dull to me. Previous installments always had some variation or gimmick that kept me interested, or I just enjoyed the atmosphere they created. I didn’t really get any of that from this episode. It was more of a straight repeat of what we’ve seen five times already, with nothing new brought to the table. I am one of those crazies who like the Endless Eight arc overall, even more than some of the other 2009 episodes in fact, but right here it gets a little tedious even for me.
Nothing much stood out to me with this episode of Endless Eight compared to the others. It was just really straightforward with everything. A couple of things I noticed were that Mikuru didn’t cry nearly as hysterically as she had previously, Kyon makes another mecha reference, and the scenes toward the end of the group rushing through the various summer activities was cute…but really nothing else to say about this time-loop.
Endless Eight (VII):
This one has some variations on Kyon’s lines that made me chuckle. His angry mumbling in response to Mikuru’s phone call, his “Call me too. Then don’t come!”, and his briefly considering Koizumi’s “I love you!” idea. The sudden cut and repeat of Kyon’s déjà vu at the pool took me aback the first time I watched it, making me wonder if the video was skipping or something. Of course, this technique is repeated in the café scene at the end in a more obviously deliberate way so my confusion didn’t last long. I think I’m about ready to be done with Endless Eight now. This is the seventh one, and it started off with showing a large number “8”. Hey, I wonder if that means anything?
The déjà vu is particularly heightened in this episode – the scene of Kyon picking up his phone, the scene of him noticing Yuki being bored at the pool, and the scene of Haruhi leaving the cafe at the end, are all played twice. In addition, Kyon has a bunch of other déjà vu moments, hinting that they’re getting very close to the end of the endless summer! The “Endless” sign that Kyon and Itsuki stand in front of while the girls are buying yukata was a nice little emphasis too. I also liked Kyon growling into his pillow when he got the phone call at night (I’m sure Sugita had fun with that XD)
Again with the dub. Michelle Ruff does a good portrayal of Yuki and I think Wendee Lee does well as Haruhi. Stephanie Sheh is tolerable as Mikuru, but I much prefer Daisuke Ono to Jonny Young Bosch as Koizumi. This episode focused on color washouts. The episode looks dim compared to the bright episodes before it. Kousaki also had a lot of fun with the OST as he mixes the bright pieces from the first loop with the sinister pieces near the middle of the episode. I liked the transition from daylight to twilight near the end with the final cafe meeting in that twilight. With only the Brigade members there, you sense how alone they are.
And so we come to the close of another Endless Eight week. Next time, will we be able to break out of the loop early? Stay tuned! (Also thanks to TMSIDR for the majority of the avatar sources for this week)