About Me

Newfoundland, Canada
I've been a big anime fan for about 10 years or so now. My five all-time favorite animes at this point are, in no particular order... Puella Magi Madoka Magica, El Hazard: The Magnificent World, Love Live!: School Idol Project, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. However, there are hundreds of anime shows that I like. The main purpose of this blog is to provide meta-commentary on anime, and the anime industry - to try to cast a critical, though appreciating, eye upon this entertainment genre that I believe has tremendous potential, but can also be easily wasted. I have always been a fan of animation in general - in the 80s, I grew up on western cartoons like He-Man, She-Ra, Transformers, and G.I. Joe. Through out the 90s, I was a hardcore comic book fan, for the most part. I'm also a big fan of Star Trek. Right now in my life, though, anime is my principal entertainment passion.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Haruhi 2008 Episode 14 (The FINALE!) Review.

Haruhi Suzumiya certainly has a skill at looking sensuous and sexy with out even trying to. Nice posture that emphasizes some of her most... appealing features, shall we say. ;)

My goal with this episode review is to make it in-depth and detailed, but... I'm in much more of a contemplative and reflective mood than in a boisterous bombastic bountiful mood so... you've probably already seen all the alliteration and hypetastic commentary that this blog entry will provide. ;)

That being said, episode 14 was a gratifying and relishable conclusion for both this particular arc, as well as for this year of new Haruhi episodes. Some, of course, speculate that we may get more new Haruhi episodes before the year is out, but... I remain considerably skeptical of that. I do think, though, that a Disappearance movie in December is a distinct possibility. Such a move on KyoAni and Kadokawa's part would make sense, certainly.

Anyway, let's wrap up this review of Haruhi's inauguration as a movie Director who will one day take Hollywood by storm!

The first thirty seconds or so picks up precisely where the last episode left off, giving me a bit of a start with seeing Yuki answering with "I do" at the very beginning of this episode. Hearing Yuki say that with out a question being posed beforehand can't help but to make me think of her getting married. I suppose that the KyonYuki shippers may emerge victorious after all, he he! ;)

Of course, Yuki was answering to Haruhi's query pertaining to knowing where to get a cat; a query made at the end of last episode. And so, with the first thirty seconds of this episode, we see a quick but smooth sequence of events in which Haruhi tracks down a veritably adorable congregation of cats all meowing melodically at the approach of the SOS Danchou.

Haruhi's voice acting here is pleasant and sweet; making it a welcomed change after the intensity of the last two episodes. It was also nice to see Haruhi accept something a bit less than what she had hoped for, by relinquishing her earlier demand for a black cat, and instead settling for a mostly white cat with some dark and light brown spots on it. Kyon gets upset at Haruhi "changing the scenario again" when he probably should be pleased that she was actually willing to make due with the best cat that she could find instead of selfishly insisting upon only the ideal.

Aaahhh... poor Kyon. If only he could see the glass as half full at least every once and while. It can't be easy for Haruhi to spend so much time with the enternal pessimist.

After being treated to a captivating screen shot of Nagato and Shamisen looking each other face to face, we have a couple short credits screen shots, as Super Driver will not be driving today.

Shortly thereafter, we're back to filming, and Haruhi commands Yuki once more to attack Mikuru-chan. Watching this shows me that if directing doesn't work out for Haruhi, being a military field commander might be the next best route for her to go. There's little doubt that US President Obama could use another Commander with her passion and zeal over in Afghanistan right now. ;)

Then we're treated to some genuinely improved acting on the part of Yuki and Mikuru. Nice to see that all the practice is starting to make better actors out of them. I can think of a few Hollywood actors that could really benefit from watching how Yuki and Mikuru improve over time.

Haruhi then exclaims that she wants the cat to talk, and say some cynical lines. If Haruhi had full awareness of all of Kyon's cynical narration, I wonder if she'd still make the same request, lol. :D

Haruhi, according to the sub work, names the cat after a three-string banjo, making me wonder if banjo-playing is something that Haruhi would be interested in. Perhaps Kyon should dress up as Robin Hood one day, and play a romantic banjo tune to her after stealing cameras and guns and dynamite from the rich and giving them to Haruhi. ;)

The three-string banjo (i.e. Shamisen) eventually ends up meeting Haruhi's request, only with the poor girl, as usual, not getting to view the results of her wish-making. Still, that doesn't seem to bother Haruhi, as she's back in tune-humming mode, this time humming a tune that I've heard played during Montreal Canadiens games before. So maybe Haruhi is a Habs fan. Now I have evern more reason to consider her to be the ideal girlfriend for my teenaged self, lol.

With Haruhi leaving the scene, Kyon decides to show us his nice guy side, and hence starts petting the cat and offering to buy him food. This leads into the cat talking to Kyon in a deep imposing voice, leaving me in jocular jolliness while a gleeful grin of shock sticks to Kyon's face. Kyon then makes this section of the episode even more amusing for me as he gets out-philosophized by the cat. While I think that the cat places a bit too much faith in coincidences, Kyon doesn't make that counter, showing how easily he continues to be shocked by the supernatural. Oh, Kyon, will you ever learn? ;)

We're then treated to the SOS Brigade, sans Haruhi, gathering once more at the infamous restuarant of E8 fame. Being such insanely regular customers (over 15 000 visists don't forget!) at that restaurant, one wonders why they don't get more in the way of special treatment form the manager. Ah well, at least we're not bombarded by the schmaltzy show tune this time, lol!

Koizumi goes on at length with his usual theorizing, and in the process actually suggests that Haruhi choose the most cliche ending of all time... it was all a dream! Now I now Koizumi's real goal here; to stop Haruhi from ever being a successful movie maker! :D

Great background music for this scene, with a nice mixture of playfulness with steadily shortening and loudening beat indicating at least some level of real potential danger here.

Next we see Kyon shopping and carrying boxes again, all for Haruhi's sake. How funny that one of the ways that Haruhi annoys Kyon is a way that most girlfriends tend to annoy their boyfriends. ;) I guess that even I have to admit that Suzumiya has her 'normal girl' side.

Kyon and Shamisen walk side by side away from the store, accentuated by a luxirously done setting including solidly detailed extras and nicely set up flower stands and shops. KyoAni certainly deserves credit for how it tends to fully flesh out and realistically fill backgrounds and settings. They're not like the laughable car commercials where the only car on the road is the one being sold in the commercial, ha ha!

Kyon's little sister makes her first non-"Kyon-kun, denwa?" appearance of the season, and it is definitely a memorable one! Such a delightful smile and cry of innocent pleasure from the cute girl. It's "neko neko neko" time, much to Shamisen's own pleasure, although how innocent that is, I'll leave up to my blog commentators to decide. ;)

However Shamisen's pleasure is cut short, as he's put out in the rain by Kyon... one wonders if Kyon is still smarting from getting outdebated by the cat, he he!

We're then treated to an amazing array of admirable background and setting scenes, including a cameo appearance by the K-On band in their ENOZ disguise at 7:06. Makes me wonder if Haruhi's love is like a stapler, and if Kyon can ever hope to avoid getting pinned down with it. ;)

At 7:10, we get an even more epic cameo appearance as Lord of the Rings' Aragorn and Gimli race through the hallways of North High looking for the crystal crescent held by the One Girl to rule them all! How appropriate that Kyon's courage tends to go invisible when that One Girl is around him.

As an aside, I'm sincerely impressed with how KyoAni handled the fantasy warriors. It's quite the departure from their more typical artwork flare, but they still do it as much justice as Aragorn and Gimli running cold steal through the hearts of the Orcish Hordes of Isengard. Truthfully, I'd love to see KyoAni try to tackle a Record of Lodoss War sequel, or something along those lines.

"For Ruin, and the World's End!"

Theoden's battle cry is quite a fitting one for the animation studio that gave us Endless Eight, *chuckle*. Theoden's battle cry does not bestill my heart like the clarion charming calls of Tsuruya-san, though!

When Tsuruya said "Come on Mikuru, give it to him", I have to admit that rather dirty images flashed through my mind. ^_^; And, in complete seriousness, I thought it might be romantic. As it was, it was merely a discount coupon. Even more shopping for Kyon. I guess this is how the Japanese gear up for Christmas, he he!

Well... as with the last time I did an episode review, it's starting to dawn on me just how long this is getting, so I'll cut to the chase by making a few key points...

1) I loved the sublime character intrigue and character relationships that came out in the three dueling dialogues - Kyon with Mikuru; Kyon with Nagato; Kyon with Koizumi. It was fascinating to see how the SOS Brigade is not the camaraderie club that Haruhi envisions it and imagines it as. It was very interesting to see the differences of opinions between Mikuru, Nagato, and Koizumi. I also found it telling how each of the characters presented himself or herself in the way that Kyon tends to like to see them presented - Mikuru was kawaii and moe to the heart melting extreme, while Nagato was the captivating technomage of cool and sharp, while Koizumi was the flamboyant forecaster of frolicking chaos if Kyon didn't continue to abide by his every suggestion. Of the three, I liked Nagato's explicit take on things the most. I simply like the idea of Mikuru, Nagato, and Koizumi being special by their own accord and merits than merely by the wondrous whimsical wishes of Haruhi. The lighting and shading of each scene was exemplary as well... aside from how the shading for the Kyon/Koizumi scene often seemed to give one or both of them Hitler mustaches... ^_^;

2) I also very much enjoyed the scene of Haruhi forcing Kyon to edit the completed filming into a highly entertaining finished product. Haruhi offering to help out was a nice touch, showing that she's already learned a bit of a lesson from her showdown with Kyon in the previous episode. Them deciding to pull an all-nighter together was a cute scene I have to admit, and Kyon's drolling-on-the-keyboard awakening was quite funny as well. One special note I'll make for this scene was how the video editing work shown on the computer screen was so realistic. It instantly made me think of my own experiences in editing videos in Windows Movie Maker, although Kyon's program of choice here appears to be a bit more advanced than that. Still, the look of the editing work in progress was perfect, and easy to relate to for anybody (like myself) who has done such video editing before. Of course, it also made me empathize with Kyon as such editing is frequently a several hours project. I would imagine that this is especially true for an outright live-action (within the Haruhi world itself of course) movie production.

3) Love Itsuki's fabulous moment at 12: 56. "Hey", indeed. :D

4) I also loved Haruhi's enthusiastic and encouraging words towards Mikuru on the rooftop after filming was completed. That was a neat scene; it made me think of Kamina trying to encourage and pump up Simon in Gurren Lagann... and it's rather fitting given Mikuru's explosive water gun blasts and eye shooting sharp pointy objects attacks that were done earlier in the episode; attacks that Kamina would almost certainly give a thumbs up too. ;) It was nice to see Haruhi truly show compassion and caring for somebody other than herself or Kyon for a change. ^_^

5) I laughed a lot over Kyon getting Haruhi to voice-over all those advisories at the end of the filming. Ha ha! Kyon should be a copyright lawyer, lol.

6) Also about the end of the filming scene... I really liked the stunned shinning eyes look on all the students faces.
It reminds me of a certain scene in Sailor Moon during which Professor Tomoe pulls off his big tour de force to begin the climax of the season. I may try to get a screen shot of this Sailor Moon scene later to show how it relates to this scene in this Haruhi episode.

7) While I wasn't fond of having the prologue for Sighs put at the very end of the arc, it was nonetheless a scene with great artwork and animation, and it was pretty funny... even if I found Haruhi's chuckling smiles towards Kyon leading into her emotional outburst a bit hard to swallow.

All told, this was an excellent ending to an awesomely done arc. I have some minor quibbles overall, but not a whole lot. In particular, the artwork and animation for this episode was lovingly luscious, and it leaves a sweet seductive sensation on my tingling twirling tongue. A great end for this year's roller coaster ride of Haruhi Suzumiya; I'm sure that Haruhi herself would want it this way. ^_^


  1. About the cat's name... The instument he is named after is traditionally covered with CAT SKIN. Hence Kyon's shock at the naming choice.

  2. Sailor Moon... probably not the reference I would've went with for the glasses...

  3. Wait, this must have flown completely over my head, the prologue for sighs was at the end? ... Ah yes, you're right. I just went back and checked the last episode of the first season. It's been too long. That flew right over my head.