I know I’m slightly late on the uptake for SHnY wrapup posts, but I had to get home and access to the rest of the episodes ^_^.

I thought that to really do the series justice, I would trawl through all 14 episodes and post 14 screenshots, one from each episode that encompass the essence of the greatness of the series. And so I did. It was difficult, I can tell you…I am still undecided on some episodes with more than one particularly awesome scene, but I think these 14 pictures sum up the series pretty well.

In summary, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu is a mould-breaking series, and extremely refreshing to watch, even with the flamers on 4chan spamming “ZOMG HARUHI SUCKS LOL”. Every episode might not have been awesomely great, but as a series, it worked on a level that not many shows have reached (I’m convinced that even the great Neon Genesis Evangelion had quite a few “filler” episodes (And that’s not even counting the arse-worthy last 5 ^_^;;).

KyoAni should be proud at the huge attention to detail that they went to to make this series the way it is. If it came out on DVD this side, I would definitely buy it. Anyway. Here’s the summary, and hoping for a second season!!

Episode 1 (Episode 11.5 – Asahina Mikuru no Bouken Episode 00)

Awesome “pull” episode (to pull in potential watchers). We are unwittingly subjected to spoilers for the entire series and Itsuki’s terrible acting and lengthy nonsensical explanations O_o. MIKURU BEAM!!! just about won over the shot when Shamisen started talking and Yuki hit him on the head with her wand.

Episode 2 (Episode 1 – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya I)

Haruhi’s hair is probably one of the awesome points of this episode, especially because they purposefully go for the “copypasta different hair on the same head animation technique”. This episode is also the first one we see the “Hare Hare Yukai” dance. ED sequences will never be the same again. Thanks to SOS-dan for providing girlfriend with the dance steps O_O.

Episode 3 (Episode 2 – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya II)

Severe lack of good screenshots in this episode, although I loved this line. Also, I think, conclusive evidence that Mikuru is NOT Kyon’s sister. Mikuru abuse by the Computer Society President was also a high point, especially Haruhi’s axe kick. Awesome.

Episode 4 (Episode 7 – The Boredom of Haruhi Suzumiya)

Tsuruya shows up again, but fails to get a screenshot ^_^. I promise I will get her one by the end of the review! More spoilers get shown, and clever people will have noticed that Yuki is now minus her glasses. Yuki’s “only catching the balls that are heading directly at her” shot is only just edged out by the whole 30 second shot of Haruhi randomly dancing on third base. Priceless.

Episode 5 (Episode 3 – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya III)

EXPOSITION EPISODE! Loads of awesomeness in this episode. Haruhi gets called “God” by Itsuki, much to Kyon’s chagrin, and Yuki finds her love for libraries. But how can those compete when Mikuru says “Kinsoku Jikou desu~” and winks. No wonder Haruhi spends most of her time at SOS-Dan costume (and normal) raping Mikuru O_O.

Episode 6 (Episode 9 – Remote Island Syndrome Part 1)

Yay, the essential beach episode! Asidesfrom the OMG DEAD at the end, nothing can compete with Yuki reading while waterskiing. Yuki just gets more and more awesome each episode ^_^;;

Episode 7 (Episode 8 – Mysterious Sign)

Random filler episode with FIGHTAGE! Apart from Yuki’s Lambda driver impression and Itsuki’s Full Metal Panic! references (SECONDO RAIDO!), You just can’t beat “Scarab healed your wounds!”. I was expecting a little green number to pop out of the cave cricket after that. Priceless.

Episode 8 (Episode 10 – Remote Island Syndrome Part 2)

How many people worked this out from the beginning? I can honestly say that I was pretty suspicious when Arakawa said that they had only been working for a week, but I didn’t guess the whole thing O_o. And for the fans – Haruhi does a Phoenix Wright impression and wins all.

Episode 9 (Episode 14 – Someday in the Rain)


Controversial but awesome episode. Top of the picks were Yuki covering Mikuru’s dignity with her head and her books and Haruhi offering Kyon to share an umbrella at the end. But top of the list is when Tsuruya spins by Kyon at the lockers and delicately places a handkerchief on his head. (See, I told you she would show up sometime ^_^) Arigatousu!

Episode 10 (Episode 4 – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya IV)

Obvioucly the highlight of this episode is the Yuki fight, and everyone’s seen the screenshot of her blocking the knife while Kyon looks on in surprise. But for me, the most awesome part is when a speared Yuki pulls out one of the metal poles, and throws it down; and before it touches the ground, it transmutes into a desk. Attention to detail, my friends. Also, dare I mention adult Mikuru’s cleavage shot?

Episode 11 (Episode 13 – Day of Sagittarius)


LOL at this entire episode, especially the 8 bit MIDI soundtrack. Unfortunately, I have to do yet another screenshot of Yuki being awesome, though it was a toss up between the shot of her waving the mouse in the air or her pounding away on the keyboard like a madwoman. So in the end I went for this. Permission Y/N?

Episode 12 (Episode 12 – Live a Live)

O_O How can I even begin to select a scene from this episode. Second in line was definitely Tsuruya’s “Doesn’t this look megas good on me? Nyoro”, but beaten hands down by when Haruhi starts singing “LOST MY MUSIC”. In the first verse she winks, and 48 men in the audience have to be taken to hospital for nose related blood loss.

Episode 13 (Episode 5 – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya V)

Another Exposition episode with less screenshot opportunity, though Loli Haruhi was obviously a high point. In the end, I went with the scene when haruhi expounds the entire reason for life and the world being the way it is, and for once, Kyon is speechless as the train whistles by in the background. Artsy.

Episode 14 (Episode 6 – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya VI)

The buildup…the final episode!!! And Kyon saves the world! This line has to be the best line ever said to save the world in any televised series ever. “Ponytails turn me on” indeed ^_^;;

And that concludes the SOS – Super Overview Slideshow!

I hope you have all enjoyed it and been outraged at all the scenes that I missed out, but don’t worry, hopefully I’ll do another wrapup like this for another series and you can beat me down with flames that time as well…

Until then

Mata ne-su!

The title for this post was going to be a homage to Nagato Yuki’s awesome guitar skillz, but I couldn’t quite get the pun together O_o. Anyways, the useful part of today has been spent tapping away at the computer listening to “God knows…” and “LOST MY MUSIC” on loop in Winamp, with the occasional strains of “Koi no Mikuru Densetsu” creeping in when I got tired of them. (Thanks go to Jason for posting the links for those mp3s ^_^).

Watching the concert scene for the third successive time got me thinking back to a post I wrote notes for ages ago but then lost my notebook; on why a person like me who is into rock and metal also loves J-pop and J-rock when the genre differences are evident even to society isolated hermits. First, I should give a disclaimer: all R ‘n’ B and rap fans (and I’m not talking about “Rhythm and blues”, you people can stay), please stop reading now, for fear of severe insult.

As I said before, I am a massive rock fan. I also love punk, ska, metal (not death metal though ^_^), jazz and rhythm and blues, and even barbershop. Basically, I tend to like music that shows off musical talent, and though I acknowledge that R ‘n’ B takes some musical talent, I can’t believe that it is a major issue (I assume the major selling point of R ‘n’ B is the size, shape and consistency of the female singers’ butt). Rap as well, I’m sure takes talent, but musical talent it is not.

So why oh why would I like J-pop and J-Rock which is obviously not written by the performers for the most part (since the performers are either idols or seiyuu and probably have no music writing talent whatsoever). As an example, let me take apart one of the Haruhi Insert songs to show people why I like it so much.

Aya Hirano and as yet unknown backing band sing “God Knows…” (actually, seriously, if anyone knows the backing band or the writer of either/both of these songs please tell me. This information seems to have slipped me by)

1. Starting Riff
I have to admit I was impressed by the starting riff, simply because it was quite technically fiddly and shows off immediately that the guitarist knows what she (I’ll stick with the anime band genders for now ^_^) is doing. However, in contrast to its technical difficulty, it doesn’t overshadow the other parts, most notably the drums which are simple and effective at highlighting changes in tempo and verse/bridge transitions with changes in rhythm. Bass is technically rather disappointing, but then I always criticise this – there aren’t many good female bassists ^_^;;

2. Verse – “Kawaita kokoro de kakenukeru/Gomen ne nanimo dekinakute”
Aya Hirano’s singing fits this song. The high female vocals fit most J-rock rather well, since the songs are more upbeat and happy and don’t require growling. Conversely, however, female vocals do not suit Western rock as generally it is more minor (and dare I say “emo”), so high female voices don’t provide the bass rumble that goes well with the music. Gruff female singers who smoke more than 40 a day such as The Distillers and The Donnas are exceptions to this rule. Guitar and drums play simple rhythms with good buildup to the bridge.

3. Bridge – “Muku ni ikiru tame furimukazu/Senaka mukete satte shimau”
Nothing special here. Leads on nicely from the verse with a new drum rhythm and a good transition into the chorus with the drums. I’m not sure if they are using simple shift harmonisation (i.e. Aya is harmonising with herself shifted to a different key) or if there are really 2 singers. Either way, female vocal harmonisation makes me cry with joy. Beat is insistent and gets under your skin, making you want to tap your feet and nod your nead in a rock-music fashion. If you’re tapping your feet now there’s no hope for you now…

4. Chorus – “Watashi tsuiteku yo donna tsurai/Sekai no yami no naka de sae”
The swell building up during the verse lets loose with a flurry of drums and power chords. Fans like me start waving their fists in time with the music in front of their computers and anyone who was tapping their feet in the bridge starts fully rocking out. Most of all, Aya Hirano’s powerful vocals really shine through here. The power lacking in most female rock vocalists in J-rock shall not be spoken of in her presence. The emotion she puts into the Engrish at the end puts a tear to the hardened rocker’s eye.
(Opening Riff 2, Verse 2, Bridge 2, Chorus – Not included in TV version – i.e. I don’t know the lyrics ^_^;;)

5. Middle 8 – “Anata ga ite/Watashi ga ite hoka no hito wa”
After the second verse, Haruhi takes a break in the middle 8, which, again is pretty standard – Measured beats by the drums back emotion filled lines as a prelude to the final repeated choruses. Meanwhile, Yuki’s guitar howls in the background and Aya Hirano hits a high note harmony with such power that even Matt Bellamy would be impressed. Shivers run down the spines of the crowd. (NB – NOT an emo-distortion)

6. Tension stop (well, that’s what I call it anyway) – “Dakara…/Watashi…”
I love “tension stops”. I have no idea what they are called in the music business, but I coined the term to encompass parts in (mainly rock) songs where the usual beat is abandoned for a few bars and the pause in between notes which are not of the expected length builds tension in the crowd, which causes people that know the beat already to flail their hands in the air in time with the off beats. That would be me, of course ^_^.

7. Outro solo
Hammer on/pull off galore as Yuki’s fingers become a blur in this outro solo. Haruhi’s rhythm guitar even joins in at one point ^_^. Bass still boring though. End on a lovely discordant, but melodic chord. Blogger lets out a sigh of pleasure. End of Song.

Hmm, that was fun to write ^_^. I do like overanalysing music. Maybe I will do a similar one for “LOST MY MUSIC” sometime. (when I can be bothered)

Anyway, my point is that Japanese rock (and indeed some examples of pop) music is not unusual. In fact, I could probably name 10 songs off the top of my head in Western rock where all of those devices were used (except the female vocalist, of course!). However, the genius in which some Japanese rock and pop songs are written, I believe, is embedded in the way they embrace Western culture.

Let me give you an example. I went to Japan last year, and one of the things that made a great impact on me was bakeries. You can’t go 500 yards inside any largish Japanese town without finding at least one bakery. And these aren’t your regular run down British affair, oh no. Bread is an extremely big business in Japan (as are cake stores), but the types of bread on offer may surprise many Western bakers. For instance, Kare-pan; a deep fried doughnut type bread with curry inside, when the most adventurous thing we put inside ours is jam. Even more controversial, Meron-pan – the fusion of two different kinds of dough (cookie dough and normal sweet bread dough). Also, the existance of potato croquet and yakisoba sandwiches.

It’s as if Japanese bakers took one look at Western rules for baking, gave it the finger and just did whatever they wanted. In the UK: starchy things like potatoes in sandwiches? BLASPHEMY!

It seems that they have taken the same approach to their music as well. Since J-Rock/Pop is a relatively new phenomenon, it too suffers from the same fate of Japanese “mix ‘n’ match”, and unlike the boringly uniform UK pop music (which is now almost completely R ‘n’ B), you get exciting mixes of styles from sugary sweet pure pop songs like “Miko miko Nurse”, Pop-ska in the form of “Guri guri” (Sato Hiromi), even Pop-jazz in the case of Scramble by Horie Yui (the first School Rumble OP). Happy bouncy rock songs such as “LOST MY MUSIC” are written and suit the female vocalists that sing them, something not found in Western rock at all. Guitars, often with rather good soloage feature heavily in J-pop, to excellent effect and overall, the effect, in my opinion is rather refreshing.

Japanese rock pop will seem to cover multiple genres of music, since J-pop has no real concept of the genre boundaries and just seems to play what sounds good – For instance, compared to “God Knows…”, “LOST MY MUSIC” has a definite punkish feel to it thanks to the off beat drums, but still maintains a very “rock and roll” feel of guitars and vocals.

The thing I really love about Japanese pop-rock is simply that the songs are really upbeat and happy, something I think is really missing from the rock music coming out today, which is getting more and more emo as we speak. In short, J-rock makes me happy. And it knocks out solos that would make a Western indie band tremble at the knees. Also, untrained female voices harmonise much much better than untrained male voices, which is always a plus in my book.

If I had to make a concluding comment, I would have to say that J-pop/rock is by no means better than Western music, but it’s habit of going against conventional musical ideals and mixing styles means that once in a while it comes up with absolute jewels which are refreshing in this age of conformity (at least in the UK, anyway ^_^).

Apologies for the long ramble, just think, it would have been longer if I had analysed “LOST MY MUSIC” as well ^_^. Oh, and as a knee-jerk complaint – all you Japanese “band” girls who pretend to play instruments in your videos – don’t bother. Just do what you’re best at and look pretty with your strange synchronised dancing and maybe we’ll forgive you for not being able to play your instruments.

That is all.

(I’m beginning to wish my pictures were archived in a database for easy retrieval by character and type like danbooru -_-) Fluff post today, revising for tomorrow’s final exam. Perhaps serious-ish post tomorrow…if you’re lucky.

1 – Haruka Suzumiya and Haruhi Suzumiya (Mother and daughter)

Emo-lover Takayuki Narumi (Kimi ga Nozomu Eien) gets bored of Mitsuki throwing things at him and goes back to Haruka for one last night of passion. Unfortunately, Haruka gets knocked up, blackmails Takayuki for 100 million yen, sets up her own publishing company and becomes rich. Unfortunately, dabbling in research for new forms of nuclear fusion results in her baby being endowed with super god like powers. She names her Haruhi.

2. Tamaki Suou and Mikoto Suou (Brother and sister)

Tamaki lives it up as president of the Ouran High School host club, but little does he know that the person he sees in his twisted childhood memories is not his fiancee to be, but his long lost sister Mikoto, lovechild to his father before he got rich and married his mother. When Tamaki gets older, he meets Mikoto on a school field trip and immediately falls in love with her. Mikoto punches him in the solar plexus.

3. Kazuma Azuma and Hazuki Azuma (Same person in different universes)

Luckily, they cut out the episode of Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito where Hazuki visits the alternate universe where she is born a boy in in the back streets of Izu with an uncanny ability to make bread.

4. Teletha Testarossa and Fate Testarossa (Mother and daughter)

Having saved the world in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s, Fate marries Nanoha aboard the Asura on her 16th birthday and settles down with her on Earth. In an accident involving discovering unsavoury new uses for Bardische and Raging Heart in closed bedroom environments, Fate gets pregnant and has a baby which she named Tessa (in a fit of madness). However, during a routine job, the baby was lost through a dimensional dislocation and landed in 20th century America where she was brought up, her latent magical powers being mistaken for technological knowledge. Currently she lives blissfully unaware that she could just say the word and transform into a mahou shoujo in a omega-kawaii bunny suit.

5. Akane Higurashi and Higurashi no naku koro ni (err…)

Erm. Actually, no.

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lolikitsune’s comments on Episode 8(I think) of Full Yuri Panic (Strawberry Panic) a few days ago got me thinking about what would happen if anime were made into ero-games and there were multiple endings you could get, from worst to best. So while on the bus home today, I sketched out what would happen in my universe for Haruhi Suzumiya no Yuuutsu’s Best and Bad ends… (The ones marked with * can be swapped from good to bad end depending on your tastes in the matter in question)

BEST END

1. Haruhigasm H the Hentai OVA is announced to the joy and approval of fanboys everywhere.

2. Haruhi gets bored and decides that she is gay, which unwittingly results in the surfacing of long repressed girl/girl loving in the population and a decrease in the sales of Viagra.

*3. Kyon’s sister accidentally, tragically is horribly dismembered in an unfortunate encounter with a hedge trimmer.

*4. Itsuki is accidentally, tragically murdered in an incident involving an ice pick, a chainsaw, three nuns and Yuki’s entire book collection

5. Haruhi’s molestation of Mikuru suddenly escalates into full yuri rape, which results in Mikuru’s return to her future hot scientist self, who immediately falls in love with Haruhi. Hijinks ensue.

6. KyoAni finally realise that the episode shuffling was a BAD IDEA. In retribution, Season 2 is shown backwards a la Memento.

7. Lol-tan dies

BAD END

*1. Haruhi gets into yaoi and orders Itsuki to instruct Kyon in the many ways of man-loving. itsuki obliges. Hijinks ensue.

2. Mikuru turns out to be a 40 year old fat, balding paedophile with a well stacked loli female avatar. THERE ARE NO GIRLS ON TEH INTARTIMEWEB – N00B.

*3. Kyon’s sister is repeatedly raped by all the characters in the show including the 50 year old History teacher and the talking cat.

4. KyoAni announces that the second season will be the full 15000 episodes long and they will be keeping the shuffling. (Cue – Haruhi: “Next time on Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu Episode 9473”. Kyon: “CHIGGGAAAAUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!”)

5. Every other episode is Yuki reading chapters from the book she is currently reading from her list of 100 favourite books, while soothing Japanese music plays in the background.

6. Lol-tan dies.

Additions?

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A thought has been swimming round my head for a while now. Warning, though there are spoilers for anyone who hasn't watched past episode 5 of Haruhi Suzumiya no Yuuutsu.

Mikuru-chan is a mystery to me.

I assume all I'm going to say will be dealt with in later episodes, but if it isn't, I'll be slightly disappointed.

1. If Mikuru-chan is supposed to be a time traveller sent back in time to observe Haruhi, then obviously she would have to fit the part (i.e. Well endowed loli), but why is she such a coward?

Surely if you needed to send someone back from the future to fix the past, you'd send someone you could rely on? Not someone who faints whenever they see a dead body O_o…Or is it all an act? Is Mikuru chan really a brave fearless time-traveller who just happens to be amazing at acting like a spineless moemoe bishoujo? I for one, seriously doubt it.

2. I'm sure someone's already commented on this, but isn't this adult Mikuru? (from the OP)

This also puzzled me when Kyon asked for Mikuru's real age in episode 5. Why would going back in time change someone's age? Obviously the picture in the OP suggests that in her time she is probably about 25-30 (lipstick = adult – obviously high school girls don't wear lipstick :/). Unless, she is from a time when you can alter your genetic code to pose as any age you want, so that she would be sempai to Haruhi and be in a position to observe her – Also unlikely.

So there you go. Mikuru is an enigma. How does she keep her youthful charms so…well, youthful? Is she really that spineless?

Comments?

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