Haruhi Episode 03 Review
Featuring four sections worth of exposition.
Why I watched it:
Episode 03 is the one which comes after 02. Or two, if you roll old-school.
How it works:
As opposed to the pressing issue of having five club members as displayed in the previous episode, this one comes with Haruhi stealing a computer from a bunch of pussies in the "computer research society", which is apparently a real club you can take. As to what it does, I have no idea, seeing as they build their webpages in discount Dreamweaver as opposed to coding any themselves. You would expect a room full of computer scientists to be more chill, seeing as they have a reputation for either being doctors or hippies.
So Haruhi wanted a computer, so she popped over to the club next door, and made one of the nerds grope Mikuru. I would say this is under duress, but she limply grabbed his hand and waved it over to her tits. He didn't even put up a fight - not even when he had his picture taken! Right, in this anime, Haruhi is a blackmailer, a thief, and a sexual assaulter. It's fortunate that Kyon is the main character and is as sick as Haruhi's shit as I am, because it would be hard to get behind one where we're supposed to cheer for an asshole.
So the club gets a computer, blackmails the nerds into setting up LAN (apparently the society is a thinly-veiled IT office), and Kyon builds a website. Full props to discount Dreamweaver that a rank beginner can build a website during his lunch break - though it was just a white page with the club's name on it, so don't expect me to hire him anytime soon. If this was all Haruhi wanted, why didn't she just borrow a computer? Why did she insist on stealing the newest model when a fucking Celeron would have sufficed? The technical illiteracy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Also Yuki is an alien. And Haruhi. Supposedly. I would think that going to a Japanese lady's house at 7 PM would be a serious matter, seeing as similar Western scenarios just lead to booty calls, so either Yuki is being dead serious about that, or she's just fucking with Kyon. Don't think I'm discounting this plot detail - the anime was shot dead seriously for this scene. There wasn't any music or anything, and all Kyon could do was drink tea and ask questions. It's hard to express my interest in this scene proper, though let me say that I was close to shitting myself the whole time that it was playing. Whenever you see the camera lifted above two characters heads, in a bleak white room, just taking in the entire focus of their reactions, the scenario they're in, and the city nightlights behind them providing ambiance as the sole sounds, it's fucking serious.
This anime is on some Deus Ex shit right now, and all bets are off if you were thinking this is just another comedy show. The holy shit quota has just been raised, my friends. I was ignorant. And now I see the light, because the foreshadowing of the last hour's worth of episodes is coming to a head! Either that, or the final scene of the anime is a black card with "boners" printed in twelve point Arial.
What I felt:
The overall weak performance of episode 02 is forgiven in this one, because it was clear that it had to setup the scenario before it provided anything of interest - and this episode does indeed. I find it interesting how claiming one of your characters is an alien would be a series finale thing for a shittier anime, as if it was some deathly important plot twist that the character we knew was actually something else (which is why I didn't really like Madoka). That twist only works in video games, because games have an opportunity to force you to do things, making the big twist impactful because you had no opportunity to change your choices. And if you did change your choices, the game has the opportunity to call you out on it, capitalising on the non-linearity of video games to make an experience that nothing else can provide. This is why Bioshock and Spec Ops: The Line were so highly praised, by the way. It's no secret that making the most of your medium is one of the best ways to make something great.
This anime goes full double-shotgun and blasts that plot point out, foreshadowing it like the stars are foreshadows of the light that lets us see them. Considering how there was weird shit happening in the anime from the episode 01 with that TALKING CAT, you knew we would be smoking that JC Denton when we really got into it. I didn't expect the anime to be so fucking serious about it, though. I almost expected a Lucky Star or a Nichijou where weird shit happens and you're just supposed to accept it as part of the comedy. Is this a dramatic slice-of-life? What a rare breed. I hope this is one of those genre busting series like Cowboy Bebop, because those tend to be either exceptional, or really shitty.
In my previous review, I would have fit in a joke that Haruhi was a physical god had I remembered to, but at this point it seems to be a reasonable prediction based on what I'm seeing. I'm guessing that the very first monologue of the very second episode should have been a hint that we were into some spooky shit, though I thought we were just going to hint at the supernatural without actually getting into it. Now I'll have to read so deep inbetween the lines that my eyes roll into my head and have my immune system destroy them because they lost their antiimmuno privilege, because I expect even the most nascent bit of foreshadowing to come up later, much like that Homestuck panel that referred back to a split-second joke in a page three thousand pages back as a critical plot point. Fuck you, Hussie. You're supposed to make your audience feel smart, not make yourself feel smart.
I just know some asshole is going to come along and spoil this for me and call me a dumbass because my predictions were wrong, but then aren't I just saying what a television audience would have thought when the series first aired? I should have fun - fun is mandatory. Happiness is mandatory, and I'm providing it. I am happiness! Do not go against me!
What I learned:
Sometimes it's okay to give your audiences hints that some shit is going to go down, even if you make them so obvious that you devote entire scenes to those hints. Also, Miruku is a magical girl, but we're not supposed to know that yet. I knew that because of a one-off line of dialogue with Kyon where she wonders if she'll marry her. Most people would think that's a joke. Being an astute consumer, I know there's going to be an entire episode dedicated to that line. Probably.
Genres are what come after the show is done. During production, don't think in terms of whether you want to be "rock and roll" or "dubstep", for instance. Think about what you want to create, what you want to express, and what you want your audience to feel. This last part is critical. Depending on what emotions the audience feels, and how often, they will either think your show is one of the greatest to ever exist, or they will deride it as the worst piece of shit ever made.
You're allowed to make your main characters assholes so long as you're not expected to like them. If they're not your protagonists, make a straight man your protagonist in order to be a foil to them - like Kyon is an honourable foil to the morally devoid Haruhi.
I completely forgot about the scene where Haruhi and Miruku dress up as bunny girls, because it just seemed to happen without affecting the plot much. I especially liked this scene because it reinforces that Kyon is indeed the main character, and who we're supposed to root for. The camera makes extensive use of the "male gaze" theory, focusing on the legs and breasts of Haruhi and Miruku, even in scenes which focus on a primary object. It's clear that we're seeing through the eyes of Kyon, even as he makes comment that he'd like to see more of the outfits, even if he doesn't want to go all the way and see the girls fully naked. That use of cinematography in relation to the perspective of the character is fucking incredible. It's those little details that let you know if an anime is worth watching.
This also tells me that even great scenes can be forgotten, and that you have already forgotten most of them.
It's a little sad, isn't it? Froghand.
Today's page was updated on August 21, 2016!
This review made possible by sexual harassment.