Haruhi Episode 11 Review
Cheating at a game you made yourself.
Why I watched it:
There was only so much you can do with yourself before you decide that you are not becoming the person you want to be. And perhaps this endeavour, this gambit to find the pursuit of happiness in animated form, is part of that naive plan to cast off your shackles and be something other than yourself.
What are you on about, Froge? On GP.
How it works:
The Gang Goes to the International 2016.
You remember that computer research club that we
abused found way back in episode 03 [the one with the exposition]? They're pissed off, and decided to take revenge on Haruhi the only way they know how - through eSports. They create their own video game, set up a LAN party for The Gang, and challenges them to the game. Which they made. I'm not saying they made the game exclusively to spite Haruhi, but challenging your enemy to a video game that you made yourself is like taking a game of French Tarot to a bunch of Mexicans and expecting them to get good at it within a week.
Haruhi takes the bait, and despite nobody in the club expressing any interest in video games, they're all high schoolers so we can expect they're at least proficient in them, even if the game interface is worse than System Shocks and it looks like it would run on a Celeron. I suppose you could call it shitty Starcraft, but Starcraft was already shitty, so they stripped down everything to having ships with massive health points and scouting.
All and all I give the animators credit for creating what a bunch of high school students might make in their spare time, even if it does look like it was made with BYOND, and to put in the details as to how the game works, like the subtle turning mechanics and the fog of war. I can appreciate it from a mechanical standpoint being a simple game that is still able to be played competitively, and the showmakers putting in enough effort for a typical gamer to understand what's going on is impressive.
Anyway, The Gang ends up beating the nerds due to Yuki's mad hacking skills, and they earn four new computers they can use to mine Bitcoin or something, this being 2006 and Mikuru would have all the privilege in the world to get rich off of cryptocurrency. Then we find out that Yuki is into that type of thing, and the episode ends. A short and good-looking episode that doesn't establish much yet doesn't particularily need to.
What I felt:
I guess I'm a little biased in this episode, being able to "get it" more than most people would (Froge you cunt everybody "gets it"), and I suppose all of the humour was targeted towards me. To that I say, good! Seeing as this entire anime is a letter of admiration to otaku who's seen everything that anime has to offer and appreciates the deconstructions (basically being Lucky Star Beta), somebody like me who has only known anime from an academic viewpoint and not a personal one will have everything go over my head. Having an episode where I "get things" makes me feel special, and the audience members should always feel like the most special person in the room.
I'm okay with filler episodes so long as they're entertaining, which is why I liked episode 04 [the one with the baseball] so much, because it managed to be entertaining despite blowing the tone of the series out of the water and revealing a bunch of shit to me that I would have much better liked to discover on my own. Seeing the characters play a sport that none of them are interested in and have no chance of winning is always fun to watch, and it's probably my favourite episode of the series.
Similarly, I liked the murder mystery two-parter (episode 06 and episode 08) despite not having much going on because it was kind of cute to see all the characters go on vacation and just talk with each other, especially to hear Kyon's thoughts on the matter, being my favourite character in the series despite not being the cutest. The new environments and characters were unique enough to interest me, and how the characters reacted to it, with idyllicy (that means nothing is happening), was decent enough to keep me watching.
While seeing a bunch of characters react to a discount video game is a simple setup, so simple that gamer webcomics, let's plays, streaming, and eSports are ridiculed to the point where they become the punchlines to hundreds of thousands of jokes online, it works because of the personalities of the characters that you've gotten to know over the course of the season. If you take a green and show them this episode, they might not like it as much as if you were to show them a few episodes from the "Melancholy of" line of episodes [02, 03, 05, and 10 so far] and then show this this one. Otherwise it would just be a bunch of assholes you don't know playing a video game, and that wouldn't be very fun to watch.
I didn't mention the special effects because they're not particularly important (there's not much to say about them except "it looked cool"), but I think the director put those scenes in because they thought the audience would get bored if we didn't have some action. It got a few laughs out of me (especially Itsuki's ship being filled with henohenomohejis), though I wonder about the necessity of such spectacle in a series which has been so far down-to-earth for its reality-bending subject matter.
What I learned:
While winding down at the end of a season (or the series for me, as I've already spent weeks on this anime and I'm waiting to get in with Bojack Horseman, which has double the episodes so FUCK), you will find with yourself a great feeling of dread as to how the writers are going to pull off an ending within the next three episodes, and then realise it's a very silly thing to do as this shows a lack of faith in the creators of the work.
Despite not caring about the stoic types, as they are too often exploited by perverts for their porn, I found myself somewhat endeared to Yuki, but still mostly in an aesthetic way and not so much as to her personality, which is much like a brick and sometimes like a brick with a Walkman taped to it playing Carl Sagan lectures.
Itsuki will not hesitate to state what we already know, which is that shit will go down if Haruhi is upset and that Kyon is really close to her. I guess they have to avoid pissing off viewers who are late to the party, but when you have an episodic series like this which relies on what we already know about the characters and its setting to understand most of its jokes and stories, then it seems like a waste to let in the riffraff who didn't bother to bone up on their research and therefore make the party shittier for those who did.
Also The Gang is full of casuals and Yuki carried the team, despite only having been exposed to a computer on day 1 of vidya training. I'm guessing her data manipulation abilities only work in Universal BASIC.
Bang - Froghand.
Today's page was updated on August 29, 2016!
Still better than Dota 2 hohohoho.