It’s back to watching the same old show as last time in weird order. The first segment wasn’t good enough to get a comment, so I will try to do better next time. Maybe I have to trash characters for no reason and wait three years for anyone to care. As alluded to in the title, this is the middle portion of the original series run which only covers one episode of the main story and is otherwise just filler with random plot points thrown in.
The first episode of this session is the first half of the Remote Island story. The first thing I notice is just how much “quality” is in the animation in the first part of the episode. You simply don’t see this from Kyoani shows anymore, maybe the DVD release I got wasn’t cleaned up at all. It just looks like a rushed show from 2006.
To be honest I think when I watched these episodes during the original run I was pretty bored and I purged out of my mind how shit this episode looked. The dead body thing at the end of the episode was the most interesting thing that happened in the episode, at least until the 2nd half.
Then the next episode which is just before the last one chronologically at least. This gets into Haruhi building the group’s website. I can finally say this now, but the SOS-dan logo looks like shit. Not as bad as the animation in the last episode though.
Ultimately this is about Haruhi and Kyon making a website that was so badly designed it broke the world. I would say it’s the ultimate in shitposting. Kimidori Emiri appeared and the nation of Honduras was mentioned as well. Ultimately the episode came down to the battle with a bad CG cricket in an enclosed space and Mikuru generally being useless for comedy reasons.
The last thing I wanted to talk about in this episode was Kyon’s reaction to all of this. He came to the realization that his role is to make life normal for Haruhi while everyone else could do amazing things within their own roles. The gravity of his role didn’t seem apparent to him yet though.
Now to the middle of the middle segment of this series, the 2nd half on the island and oh man it still looks like garbage. I guess this is what happens to Kyoani in crunch.
I came out of this episode liking this island arc even less than I did when I first watched it nine years ago. The resolution to all of this was pretty much bullshit designed to keep Haruhi busy for a summer trip. There’s one little nugget that I got out of this though, my artistic talent may just be good enough to make it as an animator:
On to what is really the last episode chronologically out of anything that has been animated in this particular universe and thankfully just one of 3 filler episodes remaining, Someday in the Rain. Basically this episode breaks down into two separate components after the plot device for this episode is introduced. Haruhi sends Kyon off to get a space heater from a shop 2 train stations over and it cuts between him and whatever is happening in the clubroom. Yuki also serves to censor a lot of what happens in the room like this:
It’s ultimately an episode that can be considered the true slice of life. There’s no narrative to this episode and it’s really, really boring if not for the unique structure of it. There’s even a section where minutes are spent between Yuki silently reading pages of a book as people talk in another room and Kyon silently riding on the train. Minutes and minutes of this.
At the end of the episode Kyon falls asleep with the space heater going in the room and wakes up as Haruhi is standing next to him. At the time, the rest of the episode felt sort of adorable with the pseudo-romance going on between the two of them. Now, it just feels like Kyon is sort of a dick who would gladly lust after Mikuru if the fate of the entire world didn’t depend on him not doing that and Haruhi is just sort of like the kid who insists on getting her own way only with God powers. Damn my cynicism.
And now to the final episode of the post, the 4th episode of the main story. Everyone’s favorite mother character of the season Asakura Ryoko takes the main role in this episode as she foreshadows something interesting happening in the soft opening. Not like Kyon is going to be put in danger or anything, oh wait. Here’s Haruhi looking upset that putting perverted images on the internet is a bad thing:
Just as Kyon’s death looks pretty imminent, her attack is stopped by Yuki, but he yells out that it hurts still for no reason. Like he was comically anticipating something that didn’t happen, kind of like this. Yuki is definitely looking in pretty good shap during this fight:
As if that wasn’t enough to happen in a single episode they crammed in Mikuru from the future showing up as well and creating a massive time paradox. She also gives away the conclusion of the main story, but I wouldn’t have known that at the time I watched this.
So that’s a set of episodes that is utterly forgettable until the very end. I think at this point I’ve made a mistake of re-watching these episodes and then writing about them. Last time I went and said that Kyoto Animation wouldn’t have made this show again given the choice. This time, I can say that nine years ago they weren’t really an animation studio that stood out from the rest in what they were doing with their work. It just looks like most everything else at the time and most of the effort went into scenes involving Mikuru anyway.
At least if they can get better over just a few years of surviving adapting Jun Maeda’s works then there is hope for any small animation studio to become better than they are now.