Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu S2E1 “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody”

Very late on posting this, real life seems to invade every opportunity I have to blog, i.e. it just so happens that I have spent the last week of my holidays either glued to the playstation trying to finish Persona3 or just plain lazing about. Yes, I am very busy at the moment, doing nothing.

Anyhoo, the second season of Haruhi is upon us, whether we like it or not. I happen to fall heavily on the LIKE side, but strongly feel that the production company behind Haruhi, Kadokawa, has screwed all fans over by running this series in chronological order with season 1. This means that for season 2, there really is no season 2; rather just an extended and re-jigged first run.

Episode 1 (or eight in the current run) is, for all those who have read the novels, the long awaited Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody episode. Finally we get to see some proper Mikuru action and some loli Haruhi as well, a very VERY welcome sight to these anime starved eyes.

Its Tanabata in Haruhi-land, with our girl planning to do something big for the SOS-dan, much to Kyon’s chagrin. This involves getting a bamboo tree and everyone filling out two wishes they want granted in the next 16 to 25 years. It is a race to the finish to see who gets their wishes granted first, and when this initial excitement wears off (as it inevitably does), Haruhi becomes all quiet and nostalgic, eventually leaving early.

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Asahina asks Kyon to stay behind before engaging the TPDD for a one way trip to Tanabata 3 years in past. Kyon wakes up in Mikuru’s lap, no hard feelings there, with the girl suddenly reciprocating the favor and falling asleep angel like then and there.

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From this point Asahina Big (Older version of Asahina from the future, not as kawaii as normal Asahina but still kawaii) arrives and tells Kyon that it is her mission to guide him so that certain events happen, that he must meet someone at the local schools front gate. This someone turns out to be loli-Haruhi, and she quickly proceeds to boss Kyon about and blackmail him (with the still sleeping Mikuru on his back) into doing her bidding.

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“Say what you want, she’s Haruhi” Kyon mutters to himself as he limes out a message to the stars on the schools football pitch. He quickly realises that the famous message that Tanaguchi (watch episode 1, season 1) mentioned that made Haruhi famous at junior high was etched not only by himself, and as such John Smith is born. Cruel Irony and mental paradox for Kyon as it was he who set Haruhi on the path to North High and the future SOS dan.

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loli-Haruhi, not so pleased with the work, runs off as Asahina wakes up from her slumber. Asahina, already pretty freaked out, collapses when she finds her TPDD has disappeared and there is no physical way to return to the future. Kyon realising he’s been set up again, seeks out Yuki at her apartment and explains their predicament. It all gets a bit bendy here as past-Yuki synchs with future-Yuki and sets both Kyon and Asahina up on some futons in the spare room.

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No sooner has Kyon closed his eyes the light is turned back on and it seems they are all back in the future, Asahina and Kyon both being frozen in time in that room while 3 years passed by. “Emergency Mode” as Yuki described it, with their time of waking being just after the time of their initial leaving.

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Plenty of moe Yuki shots to follow for those Yuki-lovers out there (you know who you are) and episode wrap up as Kyon comes to grips with how he is majorly responsible for his current, and supposed, misery.

Thoughts:
Waking up to a new episode of Haruhi has been a long time coming, and this did not disappoint with an interesting plot that was very true to the original story. Asahina played out her role finally and to the letter, all while maintaining the cuteness I missed sooooooooooo much. I’d wake up in her lap any day. Kyon continues as narrator and the scripting is, as always, very good with plenty of light hearted moments. Plenty of Nagato Yuki scenes with added eye gliscening effects just for that added moe touch…thank-you kyo-ani…although loli-haruhi came across as bossy, that is exactly how she was/always has been.

Overall, a good season two opener lacking an OP unfortunately, but that comes with the next new episode. The ED “Tomare” grows on you, but ain’t a shadow to Hare Hare Yukai. Yup, the Melancholy is back.

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