Kyon has found himself dragged through many adventures as of late—all because of the SOS Brigade club and its excitable leader, Haruhi Suzumiya. He has stopped believing in the supernatural long ago, but after being forced to join this club based solely on that, he has seen things that cannot be explained logically.
Joining Kyon on his various misadventures is the shy and soft-spoken Mikuru Asahina, the bookish Yuki Nagato, and the ever-cheerful Itsuki Koizumi. Whether it is summer vacation or a school festival, things involving their club and Haruhi herself always end up becoming strange.
There have been a lot of negative reviews on this site, which I can agree with to an extent. However, most of them focus entirely on the Endless Eight arc, while disregarding the rest entirely.
I can't say I disagree that the Endless Eight arc sucked; Having to sit through so many episodes of what was, for the most part, the same thing was somewhat annoying. The first time it happened, I had to check to make sure I didn't accidentally rewatch an episode. The changes are subtle enough to miss if you don't watch the episodes back to back.
However, I do like the fact that
the producers tried to do something different, which a lot of others do not. If experimentation like this never occurred, we'd likely never have had the pleasure of watching greats like Cowboy Bebop, or even the original series of Haruhi.
I also very thoroughly enjoyed the other episodes, especially the final ones that very nicely covered the events that had us watch the greatest first episode of an anime ever. And while the Endless Eight arc was long, I really, really loved the final moments of the last episode of that arc.
Art and sound was spectacular, which was always to be expected. You have to hand it to the artists who managed to draw the same episode different ways so many times. The Endless Eight arc was -not- enough to detract from the other episodes of the series, which are all incredible in their own right.
In the end, as long as you're one of those people who only see the negative aspects of something, or have a hard time pushing them out of your mind, you'll probably hate the season.
I personally enjoyed it very much as a whole, and will continue recommending series 1, and start recommending series 2 to anyone who hasn't seen them. And I suggest you not let a few bad reviews deter you from what is ultimately a very enjoyable viewing.
The entirety of the season can be summed up almost in much the same way as the first season, so i am going to focus my attention on the Endless Eight arc of this season. This arc seems to be the part most mentioned in reviews and in most cases negatively so. It is also the most prominent memory we have of the season when you mention the 2nd season.
Eight episodes of the same events, over, and over again. Everyone can agree that this was not a cheap measure to save money. since the animation, clothing, and scene of every
event were unique to each of the eight episodes. But hatred still seems to fill the hearts of the viewers about this arc.
Indeed it is long and boring over time. But like how FLCL must be completely confusing to get it's point across, so must this be the way of Endless Eight. This arc is the lead up to the movie "The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya" For those of you who've read the novels or have done your research you should already know this, but if not well now you know. This arc was intended to bore bore you. it was designed to make you angry. But what can you do? you are only the viewer of this show. you can only sit there and hope the next episode will advance the plot. sounding familiar?
if you have not guessed already the main character of this arc is not actually Kyon. Although the show is told through him It's Yuki we should be paying attention to. Ms. Nagato, the alien computer interface placed on earth as an observation tool unaffected by time loops or altered realities. she has the omnipotent power to know all and to do all, the only catch? she cannot do anything. her job is simply to observe and assist when absolutely necessary.
now in order for us to fully understand this we'll also need to understand the philosophy behind Artificial intelligence and how it works. but to keep it simple, intelligence is intelligence. Be it natural or artificial it will learn and develop things called emotions. we are not born with emotions. they are learned, just like data being collected, compiled and processed. It is inappropriate even to call it "excess" data build up. For us humans the compilation of data for emotions happens between age 8 and 18 this is when we try to establish what everything is to us. Yuki has entered as an AI into this stage of her life. and it is a confusing and frustrating time.
now you're angry having to sit through this 8 times. each time is ~25 minutes for us. Now then, lets do the math shall we?(sort of, not really) those 25 minutes each represent in that universe 14 days, an entire 2 weeks. Those two weeks have repeated, in one of the episodes the number was, 15,521 times. Yuki has sat through not only 15,521 episodes, rather she has sat through that many iterations of a 14 day cycle. Imagine how frustrated and angry she must be.
looking at it from the point of view that this is the lead up to the disappearance arc, it is an amazingly well done and high risk choice made by the director which i feel worked perfectly. Not only did he anger the fans, it was his exact intention to do so. the same effect cannot have been achieved with 3 or even 5 episodes. If this arc did not completely piss you off it would have failed to deliver the emotions of the characters in the story. Tatsuya Ishihara, i salute you for this bold move.
How terrifying is it to know that tomorrow, you won't remember today? Or that you don't actually have a tomorrow... because tomorrow is last week. And that this week is last week as much as it is next week. It's enough to make modern Western philosophy implode. Didn't T.S. Eliot have a poem or four about this?
This is one of the issues that comes up in Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (2009). Assuming you didn't just throw a remote at the TV/mouse at the monitor in frustration and said "To hell with this shit."
Retrospect is quite a thing, especially when fans are left to compare
a follow-up series to an original that was an undeniable cultural explosion. The first run of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu pretty much shook the anime scene so strongly that even today, smatterings of people can still be found at cons dancing to "Hare Hare Yukai". A pretty influential series, especially considering that it basically cemented the dry, sarcastic everyman as a staple lead for self-reflective otaku-centric anime for years afterwards and that Haruhi-ism actually is a thing.
But that aside, it seemed pretty much a guaranteed hit for Kyoto Animation, doing a sequel to a juggernaut in the midst of several critical and commercial darlings (Clannad and ~After Story~, K-ON). Franchising seems like the best thing to do, and how could you possibly go wrong with Haruhi? Oh ho ho.
What you end up getting is a series that, also in retrospect, seems a lot better than what the fan outcry was at the time it was airing. This "second season" should not be viewed as an entity onto itself. The episodes fall into place when you consider its role in the entire Haruhi chronology. It all makes perfect sense when you think of it as a whole. Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu showed off its brilliance the first time by experimenting and mastering plot. 2006 saw the first series air out of order, yet the entire narrative functioned perfectly. It challenged its viewers the first time around. This time it might seem like a trial. The Endless Eight arc as it is known is perhaps the best way to drip-torture someone without water.
It's summer, the last two weeks of vacation, and Kyon, Yuki, Mikuru and Koizumi are trapped in Haruhi's infinite time loop. Think less Groundhog Day, more deja vu. The characters have no idea what's happening to them save for Yuki (for obvious reasons). And so we, and they, are presented the same events ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
It's the same thing over and over. And over. Again and again. And again and again and again.
The episodes aren't entirely copy and paste of one another. Clothes change, maybe one time you'll see them at a store, another at the poolside. But the vacation is burned permanently into our minds and possibly their DNA at this point: pool, shopping, festival, bug-catching, part-time job. Every summer cliche in the book, really. So here is the reason for the outrage: what kind of cheap trick is this? There might be two camps about this situation. Either Kyoto Animation is laughing maniacally that they got away with this or (even beyond their control) the studio dared to show something deeper to its audience. In any case, what other franchise could do something like this? This is Nintendo-Revolution-surprise-Wii levels of throwing an audience and dedicated fanbase for a loop.
And so, if it's the latter and not some cheap cop-out, where is any depth in these pool-filled episodes of repetitious service? The aforementioned questions of time and existence and ignorance.
It's astounding to consider what a nightmare it is to have no tomorrow... and how much worse it is to not even KNOW that. Knowledge is what we crave, always. It's a terrible way to exist when one doesn't know. What about Yuki, for whom time "passes normally"? What is it like to observe eternity before you? Not bad questions or propositions, although they come at the expense of tearing your hair out.
The episodes outside Endless Eight come as relief. Some of these cover the troubled and joyless production of the supremely funny "Asahina Mikuru's Adventure" (which is easily one of the best and most creative episodes of anime ever produced). The high point of these episodes is what they propose: everyone is not what they seem. Wait, wasn't that in the first series? Yes. But here's the kicker: everyone is not what they seem... to Kyon. For instance, think for a moment that Mikuru's unbearable blubbering is act she's putting on to fool him. Really consider it. Huh.
But that leads to the most important questions people seem more inclined to ask: is this worth it? It depends.
Is it entertaining? Not in the slightest. Is it even good? Who even knows? To say it's horrendous is as right as saying that it's brilliant. It's not either one of those things yet it's not passable or average. What is this anime, then? It's Haruhi.
The second season of Haruhi has been seen as a failure by a lot of anime fans.
But frankly I don't understand it.
The art work is very good. VERY VERY GOOD guys, the animation is fluid and the characters are nicely designed. While it is not the same as the first season and there are certain things I dislike compared to it, there are also quite a few things with the artwork in season two that I think have lived up to season one's creativity, and in some ways surpassed it. I noticed a more detailed animation as far as hair
and clothes and also a more unique use of lighting. I think most would agree that season two's artwork deserves at least a 8, but personally I give it a 10.
The sound is, once again, golden. The seiyuu are giving a tremendous amount of effort into the voice acting. (While unfortunately there is no second Haruhi concert, that is because it is the one and only.) The soundtrack features scores fitting to the events in this season, which are actually a bit darker than in season one. So in my book, Haruhi still is a 10 in sound.
The characters are fantastic as always. Kyon and Haruhi in particular grow in this season as we see the worst dispute between them (The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya). We see Haruhi get desperate, Kyon lose his cool, Koizumi under stress, Asahina suck it up, and Nagato show more emotions. Haruhi retains another 10.
So now comes the problem, or is it a problem? The storyline is quite memorable from this season. Basically we watched Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody, a pretty good episode if I do say so, and then we get into two new arcs: Endless Eight and The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Well, you know which one is more important right? :)
Quite frankly, I'm shocked and disappointed in the animosity shown by the Haruhi fans towards Endless Eight. Let's look at it from the animation company's point of view shall we? "Hmm, Endless Eight. How about we plan eight episodes about the same sequence of events and form eight animation teams to design them." If you look at it that way, its actually not such a bad idea. Its not as if they actually broadcasted the same episode every week guys, and if you weren't interested in the animation used each week, then you can hardly call yourselves animation fans.
Its so irritating to know that a show that I enjoy so much is getting 1'S IN ITS REVIEWS!! Can ONE ARC really change the way you view the series?? So much that you give it a 1?!! I can't think of ANY SHOW that I've given a one to, its just not possible. If you didn't like this show, at least give it points for animation and sound which it obviously deserves. And what these people are giving a 1 for is only half of the season, hell people were giving this season a 1 before it was even finished!
Basically, I urge the community to change its outlook on Endless Eight. While we all agree that the show should have been directed in a different way and that Endless Eight should have been kept as a one, two, or three episode arc, its not as if Haruhi was ruined as a series because of it. In my case, I actually enjoyed a majority of Endless Eight because I loved the animation, but I really wished the count hadn't been so long that we didn't get to see the Disappearance. Simple as that, don't flame the series because of something so simple.
And after the Endless Eight Arc, we watched the Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya. Now I have a confession. I don't really like this arc. The reason is that I actually found the Sigh the most boring novel in the Suzumiya Haruhi series. However, I'm glad to say that I enjoyed the anime version a lot more. It was a bit more dramatic than usual as you may have noticed, but if they hadn't made it that way we'd all be complaining that it was boring. The only part of the Sigh that I found interesting was the dispute. I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't seen the series, but this moment is supposed to be as dramatic as it was in the anime. A very pivotal moment for the series as a whole. I found the story telling of the Sigh most befitting to the novel it was based on (even if I didn't really fancy that novel.)
So overall I give the story telling an 8. Minus one point for the repetitiveness of Endless Eight and minus another point because we didn't get to see the Disappearance because Endless Eight was too long. Fair, right?
I give the Enjoyment a score of 9. This is my personal enjoyment of the second season.
And finally the season gets an 8 overall. This is a fair assessment of this series, and even if it isn't it sure as hell is better than the reviews of people who give this series a 1.
Your harem or reverse harem anime isn't worth the time of day if it doesn't have a tsundere in it. But what is a tsundere, where did the term originate, and why are they everywhere? Read on to find out!