Years ago I read a spoiler concerning the Episode 0 movie, which, having never read the novels, didn’t make sense to me at the time. Now the truth can finally be told–but what does it accomplish anymore?
Since this review is late, anyone who is still reading it most likely has seen the episode already, so I will go ahead and say it–yes, the Mikuru Beam is in fact a real laser coming from her eye. It could have killed someone, you know. It was probably more deadly than sharks with lasers.
The buildup to this point was slow and, especially for poor Mikuru, excruciating. With the way this Haruhi series is paced, I can understand why more and more people seem to be pissed at Haruhi herself lately: when stretched out, her antics really do begin to feel more like plain old abuse. We see too much of it, the constant humiliation, the dreaming of harebrained schemes several times per episode, the sight of Mikuru crying, and crying, and crying…the compactness of the first season’s episodes, with its mix of short arcs, the main plot, and episodics helped to prevent a sense of overkill. But at this point most viewers have been subjected to eight Kyon-kun denwas and now three episodes of almost pure Mikuru bashing. The variety and satisfying unpredictability that once marked this series has long since been flattened.
That’s why the revelation about the Mikuru beam no longer quite seems magical. For one, many people were aware of it already; and secondly, it doesn’t add anything substantial to our overall knowledge of the show’s world. We already know Haruhi can pretty much make whatever she wants real, albeit by subconscious rather than conscious wish, and this is simply another instance of it. Sure, we now see why there was a blinding flash, and why Yuki was genuinely tussling with Mikuru in that scene, but it was understood from the start that this arc would explain such occurrences. Those are just logistics.
Maybe I’m beginning to hit the 3 episode arc limit, the one that I imposed upon “Endless Eight” to make it enjoyable–I don’t think this arc should last much longer if it’s to remain interesting. Explain the other flashes and the talking Shamisen, sure, but the thing is, the show is starting to beat certain themes and concepts into the ground. Of course it already did that literally in “Endless Eight,” so all the viewers who sat through every single one are probably looking at me and thinking, “join the club!” but it does seem to reveal the larger weakness that this season has had overall compared to its predecessor. It’s just too much, and rather than discovering new dimensions of the characters we know and love, we see them treading the same ground–and treading and treading.