Why am I not reviewing the current series of Haruhi? Despite being completely bonkers over figurine design (fawning over a new Haruhi-in-a-bikini figure) the current series definitely is not living up to expectations. The current arc, ‘Endless Eight’ is, well… endless. So far there have been four, I repeat FOUR, episodes with zero plot development. Just the same episode and story over and over and over and over…
Okay, here’s the ‘gist’ of it. It is summer, and Haruhi has planned a fun filled 2 weeks for the SOS-dan, with numerous activities including going to the pool, wearing Yukatas to a festival, watching fireworks, part time work and bug catching in the local forest. Kyon, the putz that he is, ends up being the primary means of transport for Haruhi, peddling her and Yuki around town on his bicycle, while Asahina graces the back of Itsuki’s bike.
First stop is the pool with Kyon already worn out from peddling too hard although this is more because of Haruhi then Yuki (“Yuki is diminutive, her weight is featherweight”). Having a fun time at the pool during summer break is number one on Haruhi’s list of things-to-do and she is thrilled, quickly monopolizing Asahina in the water (cue swimsuit fanservice…).
Next on Haruhi’s list is the festival and the wearing of Yukatas with fanservice interwoven into the fabric. For the rest of the episode(s) the gang catch their cicadas, work their asses off inside frog mascot costumes for zero pay, have an astronomy session, play baseball, karaoke etc.
Typical summer stuff, according to Haruhi, although by August 30th, the second last day of the summer break, she is slightly unsatisfied. The final day of the break is SOS free, leaving Kyon to waste away trying to complete his homework. For what its worth, I really enjoyed this first episode of “Endless Eight”, however this is where it gets all swimmy and the “Endless” component kicks in.
The following 3 episodes are also “Endless Eight” and are exactly the same as the first. In the immediate episode after the initial Endless Eight (all this repetition is killing me), the story begins the same as before, with Kyon lugging Haruhi to the pool on his bike, and the sequence of events continues as Haruhi marks them off her list. For each event, Kyon experiences déjà-vu, but he cannot put his finger on why. Itsuki comments that he too is feeling strange. A midnight call from a hysterical Asahina after another day of hard work as a frog mascot sheds light on the matter.
Through her tears, Asahina mumbles that she no longer can contact the future. Itsuki puts two and two together with all the déjà-vu, devising the theory that the 2 weeks preceding august 31st, the 2 weeks of SOS brigade outings, are continually looping. September never arrives, rather at midnight on the 31st of August, everyone’s memory is reset and the universe shifts back 2 weeks. The culprit? Itsuki places it down to another gimmick from Haruhi-sama, even though she is apparently unaware of it.
While Kyon is initially dubious, Yuki confirms that they are currently in loop 15,499, and while there is some variation in the activities the brigade undergoes, the result is always the same. Yuki, being a humanoid data interface whose sole duty is to observe Haruhi, is unaffected by the memory reset and has played witness to the same summer vacation for 594 years. Over the course of the next events Haruhi has planned, Itsuki believes that Kyon, once again, is the key to their dilemma. Despite this Kyon has absolutely no clue on what Haruhi is potentially unsatisfied about, and before he can get his act together, the 31st of August arrives and once again Kyon is stuck doing his homework, alone.
Summer repeats for the next two episodes. Yuki pointed out there is variation in the small details (like the groups clothes, or the actual sequence of events), however for the actual episodes (x4) there is zero plot advancement; each episode ends with Kyon musing over his homework.
When referring to the novel (no. 5) which includes the original Endless Eight story, the “Eight” is in reference to August (the eighth month…). In the TV series, I reckon the Eight is in reference to how many times the episode is going to repeat before something meaningful happens. It should be noted that Kyon broke the loop in no time at all within the novel, so this episodic repetition is fabricated by either the animators or producers, and it makes for poor entertainment. Yup, I said it; even as a Haruhi fanboy I am not enjoying this series. I’ve waited since season one for a sequel, and so far it has been boring. That said, I was enjoying myself up to episode 13, but even then in hindsight that was probably because I was still coming down off the high from how good Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody was. I believe this whole arc could of been wrapped up easily in two episodes. Now we are four episodes in, waiting for a fifth that will be the same story all over again. Fail.
So until something meaningful happens, that is the reason why I am not reviewing “Endless Eight” any more. However expect random bursts of rage instead.