We’re in week 12 of 14 for our Haruhi Suzumiya TV anime re-viewing! Since AT-X is re-broadcasting the TV anime, Yumeka, Goggen, and I are following along and re-watching the show two episodes at a time to coincide with their showings. This week, we conclude not only the second novel, but the new episodes that were added in the 2009 showings. As always, each of us watch the episodes separately and write our own thoughts with no knowledge of what the others wrote. (Yumeka-Haruhi, Goggen-Mio, ultimatemegax-Koizumi)
The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya IV:
And so we’ve arrived at the parts of Sigh that I can honestly say I enjoy. While it doesn’t really portray anyone in the best light, the highlight of this episode for me is without a doubt the confrontation between Haruhi and Kyon in Tsuruya’s house. It’s tense, it’s dramatic, and it is wonderfully animated. If I have one criticism, it is that the characters may be a bit too animated with the wild gesticulation, especially on Kyon’s part. It comes across as something similar to overacting, but by animated characters. Other interesting scenes include Koizumi’s theory about the nature of Haruhi’s powers, and Haruhi’s brief ponytail moment, which can be interpreted in a number of ways, I’m sure.
And now we come to the part of the entire series (including the novels) where Haruhi is at her worse and I admittedly can see why people have a problem with her. Having Mikuru tossed in a lake, drugging her, and then claiming that she’s her “toy” is, well, pretty jerk-ish. But like I said in my review of Sigh I, this arc has its place among character development for the series – it took Haruhi acting her worse to bring out such a rash response from the normally level-headed Kyon. And once she realized that her behavior almost made her lose the trust of the person she trusts most, her tyrannical treatment of Mikuru is never seen again (besides the occasional costume-wearing). The drama at Tsuruya’s house is the highlight of this episode, as is the part towards the end where Kyon and Haruhi “make-up” (it’s funny how it just took one phrase from Kyon to snap her out of her depression XD) I also always get a good laugh at the beginning of the episode where Taniguchi is accidentally thrown into the lake along with Mikuru and we seem him later on in the background begrudgingly wringing out his shirt.
This episode is the second most notable after the whole Endless Eight fiasco and for good reason. In this episode, we see Kyon and Haruhi reach their breaking points (Kyon with Haruhi’s actions and Haruhi with how poor the movie is progressing and Kyon’s lack of effort/motivation). This really solidified the image of Haruhi as a “bitch” to a lot of people. Her actions were somewhat over the top, but not as bad as what happened in the novel. Following after the anger that Endless Eight built, this arc did nothing to redeem her in the minds of everyone. Fortunately, we get to see the resolution next week. I really like the backgrounds in this episode. The change in flora from the pool to the shrine looks gorgeous. Also: both sole-novel arcs have no opening in episode IV.
The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya V:
This episode is positive if only for the (re-) appearance of Shamisen. The main theme emphasized in the middle of the episode is “The SOS Brigade members can’t fully trust each other.” Knowing what comes further in the novels really puts this notion in an interesting position. No spoilers, but… it’s quite interesting. I love how Ishidate and Akitake were able to convey the dark themes through their use of color and lighting in this episode. Once the movie is done, things brighten up for a wonderful epilogue. The prologue of the novel turning into the epilogue of the anime arc was a wonderful decision and kept readers on their toes. It also works to parallel the final scene in the 2006 broadcast/end of Melancholy. Also like the final episode of Melancholy, we lack an OP/ED.
Being the cat lover that I am, I was looking forward to seeing Shamisen make his proper debut in the anime…and he finally does in the last part of Sigh. After some fun philosophizing with a talking cat, this episode takes on a rather serious tone with Mikuru, Itsuki, and Yuki each telling Kyon their views about the others, which adds a good helping of exposition and foreshadowing. The disclaimer Kyon has Haruhi say at the end of the movie is a perfect way to wrap up the movie-making saga. Interestingly, KyoAni decided to end the Sigh with the scene that was actually the prologue for the story in the novel – the part where Kyon tells Haruhi the true identities of the brigade members and she doesn’t believe him. Considering when Sigh was released in the anime in terms of Melancholy, I think it worked fine as an epilogue here. Lastly, this episode leaves a glaring question that still hasn’t been answered in the series yet (I don’t think…): who was it that completed the editing for the movie while Kyon and Haruhi were asleep?
My least favorite of the longer stories finally ends with Sigh V, but by this point it’s more entertaining and interesting than before. We’re given new insight into the various organizations that have taken an interest in Haruhi and about how they relate to each other, with Mikuru and Koizumi both planting the seeds of doubt about the other in Kyon’s mind. These matters haven’t really been brought to the forefront before, and I was surprised when I first came to realize that the belief that “Haruhi is God” is not shared between the factions, but is in fact only one of several theories surrounding her. I also have to mention Shamisen the cat. Maybe it’s silly, but I just crack up almost every time he opens his mouth, which raises the entertainment value of this episode significantly for me.
And so we end one novel, but we’re not done yet. Next week we get to take on the actual movie we saw the filming of as well as the rest of the cultural festival! Time to travel back to 2006 again!