The Singularity is here. I see the blogosphere being sucked into a spinning vortex from this point forward…and I am willingly one of the first!
Three shows were responsible for getting me back into anime in the summer of 2006: Honey and Clover, Monster,…and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. As of today, Haruhi has restarted again, and it couldn’t have reintroduced itself in a more familiar way.
It was Ray, the co-founder of this site, who introduced me to Haruhi. He was telling me about this crazy show that had a bizarre first episode, and at the time I was busy rediscovering anime and I had plenty on my plate. I didn’t start watching the show until episode 6 or 7 had already come out, but immediately, from the brilliant meta-humor of the “student film” onwards, I was enthralled by the show’s mix of sly otaku satire and science fiction philosophizing. Never mind that a host of postmodern imitators have come along since, or that meta-humor is now an overused trope in anime; it’s nice to finally see Kadokawa finally stop trolling the fans and actually releasing something for a change.
This episode is more in the spirit of the quieter, sci-fi oriented episodes of the series, such as the latter installments of the “main storyline” in season 1. Once again, Haruhi is strangely melancholy; once again, time travel paradoxes are involved and Yuki goes into full technobabble mode. Of course there’s some moe moe service for all the Mikuru fans (though I guess there was no kiss after all! Kyon, you wuss!), but it actually appears to be a plot-heavy episode of sorts, in which we find out even more about the strangeness of Yuki and that Haruhi’s life may be much more preplanned than we originally thought. We get that familiar tinge of poignancy in her Nazca-like drawings on the field, which is simply a message calling out to the world to acknowledge her, to give her significance–something we know she longs for as was revealed at the end of the main story last time around. From that perspective, her sadness at realizing that wishes take so long to reach the stars is understandable. I remember always wondering why such a terrific comedy was called the melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but eventually it became clear why that was so, and this episode continues in that tradition.
The schedule I found here appears to indicate that they intend to show the episodes in pure chronological order from the light novels; in fact, the bulk of the new episodes will be shown in the late summer and early fall. So we’re actually going to have to wait a while for an arc to show up for real; the next new ep is being shown on June 18th and will continue for a few weeks, with another arc coming in August. Will this dampen fan enthusiasm? I don’t know. In either case we won’t be getting that time switcheroo which made the original airing so special, but hopefully, the stories will hold up anyway and the spirit that captivated so many fans three years ago will continue into this new season. So far, it’s off to a good start.
Welcome back, Haruhi and company.