Haruhi Episode 06 Review
A beach with no tiddies.
Why I watched it:
I guess the golden question is, not why am I filling a hole with this anime, but instead why we even have holes to fill. Man is the only animal which needs to justify its own existence.
How it works:
This isn't the obligatory beach episode, but it comes close enough.
The gang finds themselves on route to an island far outside of civilisation, as per Haruhi's whims. She hopes that something mysterious will happen, so it does. During those two time periods it's just the club members dicking around for a while, without much of interest happening.
They're on a boat, playing card games. They're on an island, playing on the beach. They're in the island manor, playing tabletop games. This occurs in this order, and despite the massive opportunity to develop our characters, learn how they interact with one another, and even just have some time for small talk during the vacation, it instead uses the time to establish what we already know - Haruhi can fuck shit up if she wants to.
What I said about the baseball episode, episode 04, being filler isn't really fair in comparison to this one, because the baseball episode had a purpose in knocking our "holy shit" quotient up a notch. It foreshadowed the future events of the anime, and though it did it with all the grace of a baseball bat applied to a young woman's skull, it still did. This episode, or at least the first half of the plot of it, doesn't establish itself as having a purpose.
There's a murder at the end, but the buildup is so bloody obvious from within the first minute that there's going to be one that it isn't surprising at all. It could have opened up the episode with the very final scene and then taken the second episode of this two-parter (which I presume will solve the murder) and jam it into this one. Then we'd have a whole episode to let our characters really let loose without having to foreshadow all the business about being a murder, though it's less foreshadowing than it is applying a black hole to the narrative.
I realised after Mr. Enter's Bojack Horseman review that a television series that wants to break boundaries will do so in some of the most unexpected ways, so I suppose I should have a little more faith in this series that it's going to not waste my time. After all, all the issues I've been complaining about are niggles compared to the overall exceptionally interesting and well-structured concept. I guess if you were really fucking blind to media and aren't on my level, you'd find the series a lot more unique. But then that's like saying you enjoy eating celery because you don't have any tastebuds.
What I felt:
Like I said, this episode doesn't have a reason to exist, unless part two tells us that the series was all just a dream, or something. It takes the time to put our characters into classic situations which can help us learn about them (beach time fun for the playful side, card games for how they act during competition), yet doesn't seem interest in developing them beyond what we already know. For instance, we know that Haruhi is brash, Kyon is infatuated with Mikuru, Itsuki is trying to feed Haruhi's demands, and so on.
I think I barely laughed during the episode - if there was anything more than a sensible chuckle, I would have remembered it. I like the butler and the master of the manor, but I know I'm not going to see them again so it's hard for me to relate to them as anything more than side characters on the journey to a stock plot. I realise that Itsuki set it up specifically to be a stock plot (I'm guessing he's the type of guy to not care if somebody dies), but the show barely provides any commentary on the stockness besides the fact that it's stock. Not even Kyon has anything to say about that - and we're supposed to be him!
I felt barely amused. Like I was just bumming around waiting for something to happen, and when something did happen, I expected it. It didn't feel satisfying; it's just like playing Call of Duty. You know the bloke with the better guns is going to win, so all you're doing in the match is trying to entertain you before the inevitable scoreboard popup. Anyway, I only played Call of Duty with my brother, so I guess my knowledge is far less than somebody who has dedicated their life to it, the wild bugger.
I spent twenty-two minutes of my life on this episode, and I expect those minutes to be entertaining. It wasn't. You lose. Good day, sir.
What I learned:
It's helpful to establish whether or not something is necessary before you actually go out and make it. It needs to have a purpose, even if it's a banal one like entertainment. For instance, it's not a good idea to make another animated sitcom about an idiot dad and his family who's too good for him, unless you either want to use that concept to talk about deeply human concepts (like God the Devil and Bob) or to make fun of the format by taking the piss at every opportunity (like American Dad!). If you're going to take a stock concept, it helps to actually do something with it.
The Guantanamo Bay approach still applies: there's no certainty that a piece of work that starts out good will stay that way, and it's statistically more likely that they will instead turn out to get much, much worse as it goes on. It's far easier to assume that the disappointing first part of a story will continue to be disappointing than it is to assume that it will get better, as only BoJack Horseman (which will be my next full series review; you don't hear somebody say it changed their life without at least backing them up on that offer) and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon can claim that things get significantly better the more time you put into it. There may be more examples, though I would need some strong incentive to continue watching a shitty first episode of a two-parter or a shitty first hour of a game in order to keep playing.
Every episode will be the first one that somebody watches. This is the reason we need to make sure everything we do is as good of quality as the last thing we did, to put it in thing-speak. Seth Godin puts it simply: I have a fast-forward button, and if I don't like what you're offering, I will use it, and you will be out of my life forever.
I'm okay with Mikuru shaking her tits, seeing as that's her thing. I'm also okay with all the other female characters shaking their tits too, even though there's only one with enough of either tits or sex appeal in order to actually do so. The anime has already established that we're seeing the world (more or less) through Kyon's eyes, so if Kyon is a pervert (and indeed, is a completely normal human according to episode 05 [the one with the exposition], slam cutting to Mikuru in underwear immediately after Ikuru says this), then so be it. I'm not a pervert, and the animators aren't perverts, so if they want to throw in some fanservice then we're going to sit here not being perverts while the other perverts perv it up staring at Mikurus tits.
They might be sixteen, but it's reasonable for most young adults to be interested in any girl who has reached puberty, until they get old enough to be interested in more mature girls. As The Grand Budapest Hotel puts it: "when you're young, it's all filet steak, but as the years go by, you have to move on to the cheap cuts." I wouldn't blame anybody for being physically interested in a young woman whether they're sixteen or eighteen; biology doesn't care, and indeed most men prefer younger woman (source: talk to a man). If they're of the same beauty then age is but a number arbitrarily restricting physical attractiveness for the sake of following a law made by sexists.
Statuatory rape laws only came into effect in the 19th century (tiddy warning) as a means to control and demean women - for hundreds of years, you couldn't be punished for having consensual sex with a girl who reached puberty. You can consider these laws an act of moralfaggotry - in fact, the terms "stat rape", "child rape", and "corruption of a minor" are loaded terms used to make the act of a seventeen-year-old and an eighteen-year-old having loving sex seem far more severe than it actually is. It's not by any sense of the word, and yet the public continues to use these terms in order to justify what is a logically and scientifically oppressive law. But moralfags never did care about facts, did they?
Indeed, age of consent laws have always been oppressive, to both youngsters and their fuckers. If a woman is seventeen years of age, a day before her eighteenth birthday, then why can a twenty-three year old be arrested, go to jail, and end up on a sex offender registry for the rest of their life because he didn't wait a day? I also find it strange how the state can decide whether or not somebody is mentally ready to have sex, as if they belong in the bedroom, the same way that states can decide that gay people can't fuck because of similar moralfaggotry. It infantises youngbloods who want to get laid, and the result of which is that they simply have sex in secret, many of them being ignorant of the consequences and ending up contracting STIs and getting pregnant and what have you.
Realistically though, I wouldn't get in a relationship with somebody until they're at least twenty-five and you're at least as smart as a twenty-five year old brain. Teenagers and young adults tend to have much less maturity, and one of the few good arguments for those laws is that they aren't mentally mature enough to decide to get in a sexual relationship, even though they shit the bed by capping it to an age where half of the population is still in high school and worried about things far, far greater things than who to fuck. For instance, anime.
I'm just sitting here at Froghand.
Today's page was updated on August 24, 2016!
Please don't fuck a child.