The junkyard presents two articles about the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya episode Someday in the Rain.
The view from 5930 miles away:
“December is almost upon us.”
This might be the last episode on the Blu-ray set, but in many respects this is not the final episode of Haruhi. In fact, if you approach it with the mindset of watching the last episode of something you’re setting yourself up for a disappointment. There’s no big dramatic conclusion here. And as there’s no point whatsoever in actively trying not to enjoy something then let’s instead take a look at the context of this episode and what it really offers us.
On first broadcast, with the bonkers mixed up episode order, this was the ninth episode of the first season. It is the only episode that is not based on a light novel story (from which the manga are adapted) but it is written by the original author of the books. It perhaps illustrates the wisdom of many anime series that refuse to deviate from the source material, because there is no getting away from how dull some of this is.
“Maybe it’s a bit too quiet.”
At times it reminds me of when Big Brother first started over here. I stopped watching it decades ago, but when it first started it was a phenomenon, and there was a 24 hour stream on one of the minor channels. Watching that was often akin to watching paint dry, waiting for something to happen. Sometimes you would tune in and everyone would be asleep. Sometimes, like Yuki, it would be a shot of a person reading a book. On the odd occasions where there was some juicy gossip or interesting shenanigans it would often get censored. And yet it was oddly addictive.
There’s definitely a flavour of that with this episode, with censorship (Yuki seeming to notice the fourth wall and block our view of Haruhi joyously taking Mikuru’s clothes off) and long periods of time where nothing happens (Yuki reading her book in the club room). During those club room scenes we can hear something going on in a neighbouring club room, presumably the drama club. Some fans attribute the random chatter to the radio in the room, which is possible but it seems out of character for Yuki to be listening to that. It’s a bit of a trap for the viewer, because it’s so quiet that you want to turn up the TV loud, and then the scene changes and the music and dialogue crash in at full blast.
So this is slice-of-life turned up to eleven, and disconcertingly it’s not even told entirely from Kyon’s viewpoint, something that has virtually never happened before. Kyon has been the viewpoint character for almost every scene of every episode (a moment in Melancholy episode 6 is the only exception that I can think of), so large chunks of an episode with him absent feels very odd. And yet this does appear to be a popular episode with fans, so it must do something right.
Well, for a start the moments when things are happening it is a fun episode, and it also functions well as a lead-in to the film (and not just because of the Kouyouen Academy students on the train). It shows a more normal day for Kyon, and builds the atmosphere of the arrival of winter. The end of the episode, while not providing a dramatic denouement that some viewers might be reasonably expecting, does at least give us a definitive picture of the relationship between Haruhi and Kyon. She bosses him around like crazy, and yet obviously cares deeply for him, and him alone. She stays in school when everyone else has long since gone home, watching him sleep and putting a cardigan over him to keep him warm. It’s a tender moment that has been absent from the series. She then shares an umbrella with him, that old favourite of romantic anime stories, but of course being Haruhi it’s a stolen umbrella! Finally this ultimate tsundere character shows her dere dere side, playfully running off with the umbrella and pulling a face at the man in her life. They may not be the most traditional, romantic, anime couple, but nothing can tear these two apart. Right?… RP
The view from 6,868 miles away:
What the hell was that?!?!?!
Did my son and I just sit through two episodes to see the series end and we had that???
Look slice of life is all well and good, but it’s completely in the advertising. The show started with Aliens, time travelers and espers. That last episode was… nothing. I take some small notes when I watch the episodes and here’s what I wrote: the series took place over 6 months. Lost for ideas. It’s only you. (The first and second are self-explanatory! This last, I’ve already lost track of!)
True story: I went to a place called Playa Bowls. They have a bowl there that I like. It’s called The Nutella. It’s an Acai berry base, with granola, bananas, strawberry, coconut flakes and Nutella all over it. Boy howdy is it good. So much so, that a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I had one 3 days in a row. The second of those two days, the day in question for the story, my wife and I order them to-go. I get home, remove the lid, sink my spoon in and … wait. Where’s the Nutella??? What the hell?!?! It’s the best part – the absolute BEST PART! It’s even called THE NUTELLA!!! How do you leave that out? You don’t go buy a car only to leave the car behind, coming home with tires and a trunk only, right?
What? What’s this have to do with Haruhi? The show was marketed to me as “The Nutella”; a science fiction anime with aliens, time travelers, and espers. So when we get to a finale that actually focuses on Yuki sitting in a room reading with the radio playing for so long, and not just once but twice, man… I am irked. I tried to listen carefully to the radio to see if it was saying anything important but I’d be lying if I said I heard anything.
Don’t get me wrong, the scenes of Haruhi stripping Mikuru as Yuki decides to look for a book was funny, because of the way it was done. Yuki’s nonchalance is understated and actually quite funny. But the whole story seems to be building to a walk home in the rain where Kyon and Haruhi bond. And we get the scene of Haruhi kindly putting a cardigan on Kyon but he seems more caught up with the fact that Mikuru’s is also there. I felt the ending was a grossly missed opportunity. I wanted so much more out of the final episode.
I recently finished Game of Thrones. I felt the last episode was an ending, not a finale. The key difference was it ended but didn’t tie things up with a nice bow on top and say, “here’s a finished masterpiece”. It said, “here, we have other things to do so we ended it… enjoy.” This didn’t do either. This story was “and then Haruki stripped her friend, and then her other friend looked for a book. Then her other friend woke up. And then they took a walk.” …. That’s it? “Oh, yeah, that’s it!” What about the time travel? The alien? Surely the esper was going to do something? What about the relationship between Kyon and Haruhi? Or Miss Asahina? Yuki???
I mean I was expecting
Read next in the Junkyard… The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya