The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya S2 01 – Bamboo Leaf RhapsodyJune 21, 2009
(Yeah, okay, I’m way late but who cares)
Whether be it time traveling, loli maids, giant crickets, or saving the world from drooling blue giants, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya‘s got it all for you right here. And now, (after years and years of Haruhi-less suffering) the long-awaited first episode of the second season is finally out. The episode opens with Kyon’s commentary, complaining about anything and everything that crosses his mind. His complain-o-rama streak is cut short by a series of pokes from Haruhi behind him. It turns out that the day is July 7th, or Tanabata, a Japanese holiday that Haruhi is particularly enthusiastic about, much to Kyon’s dismay.
Upon arriving in the SOS Brigade clubroom, our friend Kyon is greeted by the ever-lovable, kinda-loli-but-not-really maid-uniform-clad Mikuru Asahina, who brings him a cup of hot tea (wasn’t he just complaining about the heat a few seconds ago?). Haruhi comes in shortly after, holding an allegedly stolen potted bamboo plant, several bits of paper, and five markers. Hold on, folks, it’s time for Science Class with Professor Suzumiya.
After a short lecture on pseudo-physics, the SOS Brigade comes to the ground-breaking conclusion that it would take 25 or 16 years for any two wishes, wished during Tanabata, to be granted. The Brigade chief then orders everyone to write a couple of wishes to be granted sixteen to twenty-five years from now. The contents of the wishes reflect upon the personalities of each individual character; Kyon’s wishes being depressinging practical and ambition-less; Haruhi’s contrast sharply with this, being dastardly catastrophic in nature; Mikuru’s wishes are cute and simple; Yuki’s are too deep for human comprehension; and Itsuki’s wishes are benevolent and good-willed.
Soon after everyone stuck their wish tags on Haruhi’s abducted bamboo plant, Mikuru discreetly passes a note, written on a wish tag, to Kyon, asking him to stay behind after everyone else leaves the room. Shortly after, Yuki hands him a similar note, but the contents of said note are not shown. Mikuru’s objective is revealed to be to kidnap send Kyon three years into the past for reasons undefined. Kyon’s logical reasoning and sense of danger prove to be no match for Mikuru’s moe-powers, and he reluctantly agrees to go with her.
Kyon falls unconscious, and finds himself lying on Asahina-san’s lap when he wakes up. After freaking out a bit, Mikuru falls asleep on Kyon’s shoulder, leaving him very confused (and somewhat aroused).
Crawling out of the bushes, Asahina-san (large) appears to explain the situation to Kyon. Although her explanation doesn’t really clarify the situation for either the viewer nor Kyon, she instructs him to “assist the person in front of the school”. Being sent on some kind of subquest from an RPG, (with promises of a very tempting reward) Kyon sets out on his epic journey, while carrying a sleeping Asahina-san (small) on his back.
The “person in front of the school” Asahina-san (large) was talking about turns out to be Haruhi from three years ago, who boldly declares herself to be trespassing into the school, East Middle School, or Haruhi’s school prior to her graduation from junior high. With her same-as-ever overpoweringly bossy personality, she threatens Kyon into “giving her a hand” (no, there is no amputating of limbs involved). Kyon remarks that “Haruhi has never showed signs of remembering Asahina-san or me three years later”. This statement is wrong; Haruhi clearly showed signs of recognition of Kyon during the first episode, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya I, (Second episode in the anachronical order) where she asks him: “Have we met before? A long time ago…” Of course, it’s possible that Kyon had merely forgotten this little detail.
Loli-Haruhi orders Kyon to draw lines on the field according to her instructions, forming a hieroglyph of sorts. And as it turns out, this event would later be known to the students of East Middle School as Haruhi Suzumiya Particularity Number One, as recorded by Taniguchi.
Kyon finishes drawing the hieroglyph, and just as he’s catching his breath, he is bombarded by questions from Haruhi, regarding his opinion on the existence of aliens, time travelers, ESPers and other-worlders. (Spoiler: Technically, Kyon becomes an “other-worlder” of sorts during the events of Disappearance, but not really, since it was just a modified version of the Universe.) Haruhi asks for his name, and Kyon uses the alias “John Smith” to avoid giving any unnecessary imformation. After the less-than-exciting conversation between the two, Haruhi takes off without the slightest sign of gratitude.
Kyon proceeds to wake Mikuru up, who panics about being unable to find some device called TPDD, or Time Plane Destroyed Device, as named later in the story.
(Spoiler: Why is she looking for it on her body? Shouldn’t it be in her head?)
The TPDD is revealed to be the time machine Mikuru used to transport the two of them to the current time plane. Now that she has lost it, they are seemingly stuck in this time plane, unable to return to the present. Mikuru breaks down into a hopeless mess of tears, while Kyon remains abnormally calm. Gazing at the giant hieroglyph he drew, he suddenly remembers the note Yuki handed him a while ago. He declares that there “must be a way”, and heads for the Nagato residence.
Yuki quickly develops a clear understanding of the current situation. She takes the note given to Kyon by her future self, and scans it with her finger. She then proceeds to synchronize with herself from the future.
Kyon is confused by her wearing of the North High uniform, despite not being enrolled yet. She explains that she is currently in ‘standby mode’, and will remain in such for three whole years. The conversation returns to the topic at hand; regarding time travel and how they are to return to their original time plane. Yuki describes the method of time-travel used by Mikuru Asahina’s group to be “primitive” and “unreliable”, and that there exists a far more efficient means time-travelling. (Actually, aren’t we all time travelling? Towards the future, at a set, seemingly low speed.)
Yuki leads the two lost time-travelers into a room, lays out a couple of futons, and tells them to sleep there. This naturally causes Kyon and Mikuru to have slightly dirty thoughts, the two being adolescent teenagers. As Yuki turns off the lights and shuts the door, Kyon catches a glimpse of her using her special Nagatomagic, an incantation. Thinking it to be nothing, he shrugs it off and prepares to head towards dreamland. As soon as he closes his eyelids, however, Yuki returns to the room, turning the lights back on: The time-travel process is complete.
Mikuru confirms their return to their original time plane with her handy self-adjusting watch. Yuki explains that she had ‘frozen’ time in the room they were in, and dislocated it from the flow of time, only to unfreeze it just now. It is then brought into light that Kyon and Mikuru had been sleeping here, in this very room, for three years. Kyon wonders aloud if there is anything that the humaniod interface can’t do, and if she is, in fact, omnipotent. Yuki replies that this was a special case, an “Emergency Mode”. She then sees the two off at the front door, and hands Kyon the hieroglyph-inscribed note: “I am here.”, the symbols turned out to be a message from Haruhi to whichever aliens happened to be passing by, as translated by Yuki. Kyon asks her if there are actual alien races using this language. However, she responds with silence, refusing to say any more.
After the two leave Yuki’s apartment, they sit around on a bench, and talk for a bit. Mikuru then reveals the fact that she knows just about nothing about the reasons she is ordered to act, and the consequences that will follow. She is frustrated by her own uselessness, and how she is at the very bottom of her Time Travelers’ Committee.
Returning to the clubroom after his three-year absence, Kyon questions the nature of the various paradoxes his little trip to the past has created: Haruhi only came to North High School because of the actions and the particularities of the man known as “John Smith”. However, “John Smith” only exists because of Haruhi’s enrolling at North High. This forms a contradictory logic loop that proves the continuity between the past and the future, which contradicts with what Mikuru told him before. Yuki explains that a theory cannot point out flaws within itself without a contradicting theory, and because no such theory exists, the paradox cannot be proven. This explanation doesn’t really help Kyon at all, leaving him more confused than before. Yuki gives him a “One day you will understand.” reply, and returns to her corner to read her book. Itsuki gives Kyon an example of this occurence in the loosely disguised form of him cheating at chess; he moves his checkmated king illegitimately from the board into his shirt pocket. Kyon replies with a “wtf r u doin” face.
And now, the ending theme. While it doesn’t compare to the legendary awesomeness of Hare Hare Yukai, Tomare! is still a better-than-average ending song. Those who have heard the more recent SOS Brigade Girls’ songs, (the game soundtracks) will note similarities in the lyrics and the melody. Other than that, the animation is pretty and well-done. (But somewhat unsuited to a series of this atmosphere?) All in all, a nice episode. What was with its sudden and unannounced appearance, though? Kadokawa has no respect for their fans.