Haruhi Episode 13 Review
It's actually pretty good.
Why I watched it:
Much like it is a waste of semen to simply spill it on your belly, it is a waste of an anime to give up at the tail end. You must take all the effort you have put into the payoff, and swallow it.
How it works:
Kyon walks home with Haruhi, and this is the dream of many a high schooler, though I was too much of a bitch at sixteen to appreciate such a thing. They investigate the assassin's disappearance from episode 10, snooping around until they argue with a deaf old man. And then things get sad.
I suppose this is where the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya gets her name, seeing as this scene is indeed melancholy - simple visual aids with a simple piano track, Haruhi making simple observations of the insignificance of herself, her friends, her experiences. Her life. Typical philosophical bullshit, you might ask... and yet when it is presented in plain terms, in a plain presentation, you cannot help but agree that the typical person has an entire life to live ahead, and that there are hundreds of millions such typical people with their entire lives to live, and that it is easy to see that experiences that you thought were unique to you are also unique to these hundreds of millions.
If you do not watch the anime, watch this episode. If you will not watch this episode, read this transcript. This is my gift to you. Please do not refuse it.
And then Itsuki and Kyon talk about things in a taxi. About God and The World and The Rest, and who he is, and who Haruhi is. It would have been fortunate had Kyon never even bothered to talk to Haruhi, and have her be alone and her powers inert, but it was not meant to be. She can make her wishes happen, and though it is possible that Kyon is one of those wishes, it is inconclusive. Perhaps nothing in this series is conclusive canon. That would make little sense, given what has happened so far, though it would be neat.
And so the two go into closed space, a temporal rift that Haruhi makes, and Itsuki fights a giant with his pals - the representation of Haruhi's stress. The giant, slain, corrupts the rift, destroying it, and they see the world refreshed. It is only at Kyon's house that we learn the most important moral of the series: that women need to control their emotions.
Review over, get out.
What I felt:
physically scared for my life Like an episode like this is what the worst episodes of the anime should have been - exposition which teaches you about the philosophy of the characters and not the basics of what we already knew about them, for instance, the business with Mikuru in episode 10, which could have been reduced to under a minute and lose nothing of value, or the exposition dumps in episode 05 telling us things we could have inferred over the course of the series.
A show wherein you simply talk to people may seem like a waste, given that literature can do much the same and even go into the feelings of the characters better than any animation could. I will say though, that a show about talking can be made interesting if the scenery is interesting and the visuals are used to further the points better than words may and the characters act realistic and the plots use the most out of the medium of animation instead of wallowing in it, which are all points that literature fail to have. While talking is typically for the domain of books, the right directing makes talking just as interesting. A Woody Allen film doesn't - this anime does.
The directors may have felt that such talking would be too boring for the audience, not realising that anybody who has gotten to this point in the anime would be willing to put up with almost anything, and so threw in a fight with a dimensional giant. It should be said that I didn't find it a fight for the sake of fighting, but instead a practical demonstration of the risks that Itsuki was talking about should Haruhi lose control of herself and spawn a shit-ton of closed-space giants around the world.
In a book, you wouldn't need to show that type of thing. You would just write it out, have the character tell a story about it. It is obvious to say, and I bring this up because it is so obvious, that you can actually physically see a giant when you're watching an animation, and this is an example of the anime making the most out of its animation. The threat that closed space poses would not be nearly as threatening if Itsuki had simply described it in a taxi ride, but having seen it, we agree: these giants need to be stopped.
Similarily, the Haruhi exposition about her insignificance works in text, and indeed you would get the same feelings she was describing if you were to read the transcription. And yet it works well in the anime for reasons that only animation can provide. The visuals were stark, driving her points deep. The acting brought sincerity that words make a shell out of. The music is manipulative, making you feel something by virtue of music alone. Alone, they strike a cord. Together, they strike a chord. And a chord is a beautiful harmony.
Is literature worse than animation? Tell me though: what other medium provides more information density than simply having somebody like me talk about a subject? Which medium lets you become a character, and not just watch one? Video games do, though no video game thus far can provide the same depth of detail than a well-written book can. And which medium drives home the voice of the author better than the one where the authors words are laid out in plain sight, with all the ability to teach the reader in ways that others can only provide a vapid going-over of?
No medium is objective, you see. But I can say that this show uses the medium of animation well, and does things with it that others cannot, the same as others can do things that this show cannot.
What I learned:
See above, of course, and in addition, the effort put into each medium determines (with some accuracy) how good of quality it is. This is not to say that effort equals quality. Look at Duke Nukem Forever. Look at any [anime/video game/book] that relies on putting their efforts into [art direction/graphics/Ulysses-class fuckery] instead of the fundamentals of [interesting events/good gameplay/brilliant prose]. Effort equals quality only when its put into the best practices of whatever medium you're working with, and these best practices only come through experience and the willingness to fail before you get good. This is boring advice, and yet it works.
You will find that if you are directionless in life, then everything you do will be a struggle because you're afraid of failure. Forever I was afraid of becoming an artist because I didn't think I was technically proficient. It was only after I saw a piece of gelatin that I knew I was being silly. The gelatin was nothing - it was a joke setpiece in a horse comic. It was an afterthought on the artist's part that had nothing to do with the scene at all... and what struck me about this gelatin was that it was imperfect.
It had a snot-green colour and a misshapen circle for a base. It didn't have any folds, and was just a misshapen cylinder. And it was this pathetic piece of gelatin off in the corner of a panel somewhere that taught me the most important lesson in all arts - it is okay to fail. The gelatin didn't need a perfect circle or an appealing colour or a complicated geometry. It simply needed to represent gelatin. It was this desire to simply create gelatin, as opposed to the desire to create perfect gelatin, that describes the motivations of most artists today.
And you will also find yourself, that once you do get past the miasma of uncertainty and doubt and worry that "what if I fail?" that so many years of the school system has taught you to avoid, then you will find that your work will come so naturally, so effortlessly, that you will wonder why everybody else in the world isn't doing what you are doing. I write one draft for everything I do, and it is a good draft, much in the same way I create one draft for my art before iterating on it, cleaning out the errors that annoy me, and then coming to a picture that's good enough to show off yet isn't perfect by any means, no.
And once you come to this philosophy, you will find yourself a man of taste, being able to see the imperfections in many things much like you have created the imperfections in many things. And a more astonishing thing will happen, too - you will forgive the imperfections. You will understand that things don't have to be perfect, that the anatomy can be a little off, and the colours don't need to be strictly complaint. You will appreciate very much when these things do create a beautiful harmony, and you will seek them out as you continue to refine your tastes, but you will no longer dismiss perfectly acceptable pieces of art as trash simply because it doesn't fit in with your worldview of "this must be perfect, this isn't, therefore it is bad".
Some of you may consider this lowering the bar. If you do, you may have the wrong viewpoint. You are not lowering the bar - if anything, you are raising it to a higher standard. But because you have developed a new worldview on what art should be and how technically proficient it needs to be, you will find that the quality of works you will have initially dismissed will be raised simply because you have redefined (and not alter, but redefine) what quality is.
There are many people who know that video games don't need good graphics to be good... and yet you will find very few people suggesting that games should look deliberately outdated in order to focus on other things. And then when a game does come out that looks outdated, they will complain about it! These are people that do not think particularly strongly about art, and yet they pretend to, and it is the job of people like me in order to show you my viewpoints, and help you understand why I came to them, and why they benefit you, and why you should care.
Why should you care? Because the alternative is to be ignorant of the art you consume every day, and the sooner you stop being ignorant, the more worthwhile of a person you will be over the years, and the more likely you'll be to go down in history as somebody who really, really cared about what they did in life.
The alternative is Froghand.
Today's page was updated on August 31, 2016!
For all my words, I still try to make pictures.