The junkyard presents two articles about the Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan episode Give Me Your Hand...
The view from 5930 miles away:
I have been trying to figure out what is missing from this series. It can’t just be the reliance on slice-of-life scenarios. After all, the parent series had an episode where Kyon went to buy a heater and Nagato read a book. Compared to that a lot more happens here. No, I really think what is lacking is Kyon’s narration. I’m missing his sarcastic commentary on everything. The world of the original series might have been a lot more bizarre than this one, with its aliens, ESPers and time travellers, but we were drawn into it by Kyon’s narration and it somehow felt more real than this, which we view from the outside. But at least we’re looking in on some fun goings-on and some interesting relationship dynamics.
This week’s episode is a slow-burner, with little to recommend all the card game stuff other than Koizumi’s insight into card games as a metaphor for life:
“If you start out with the joker, that’s bad luck. But if you still have it at the end, that’s probably because of something you’re doing.”
The whole romantic walk as a daydream sequence was clever, and fooled me on second viewing just as much as the first time round, but the episode really gets going with the walk to the observatory in the mountains. This is where all the relationship dynamics that are the heart and soul of this series come into play. Asakura and Haruhi follow Yuki and Kyon, and their reasons for doing so are counter to what we might expect. Haruhi doesn’t actually seem too bothered by the love rivalry stuff at the moment. She’s just too busy being Haruhi. Instead, it is Asakura who is really concerned:
“I feel like the closer she and Kyon get, the more time she spends with him, the further she and I drift apart.”
Once again the Haruhi of this world proves how brilliant she is at lifting people up and inspiring them, when she reassures Asakura about the strength of her relationship with Yuki, and it is also nice to see Haruhi and Asakura bonding. Their character traits are similar in many ways, but with just enough differences to make it a fascinating pairing.
After some fun in a dinosaur park (it does exist by the way – Chausuyama Dinosaur Park) with Asakura getting her butt stuck and Kyon delivering the funniest line of the episode (“it’s a girl!”), the episode changes pace for a beautiful scene between Yuki and Kyon. Yuki’s friends are all having fun in the background, while she is reaching for the stars. For fans of the original series this has added significance, because she is looking towards home, and then she looks at her hand as if it doesn’t quite belong to her. It’s a beautiful, bittersweet moment. And then at long last Yuki gets her moment of triumph, holding hands with her beloved Kyon, and the two of them get to sit together on the way home…
… and then a car hits Yuki and suddenly we’re not watching a slice-of-life any more.
This series started out with some jokers in its hand. The new version of Yuki was a hard sell to a fanbase who loved the original, and the slice-of-life approach was always slightly awkward for this line-up of characters. We just passed the halfway point of the series and we’re moving towards the endgame. Some jokers just got thrown away. RP
The view from 6,868 miles away:
After some days of reluctance, I was on hold with a company and the wait time said 16 minutes. That’s awkward. You can’t get into a game and you can’t really start a movie. But you can start a 22 minute anime. So I dragged my feet and turned on the show that recently played a rotten stunt on me. And it really goes to show that the last episode was a throw-away. Barring getting us to the place where this episode takes place, I could almost see skipping that one in future viewings.
So this episode was a far better slice of life with friends all hanging out at the spa where they are spending time. The comedy of Haruhi blasting open the door to Kyon and Koizumi’s room starts it, but everything that happens from there on felt natural, unlike last episode’s sex-fest. I loved how after rattling off all the games they could play with cards, the one unstated is the one Haruhi jumps on: “Great! So we’re playing Old Maid!” (I was a little fearful of Crazy 8’s considering this series gave us the Endless 8 and this feeling was justified by Koizumi’s “See, Kyon, card games are a microcosm of real life!”) Now, during that card game, we get a sequence where Kyon and Yuki have a moment together which felt wonderful and natural and I was very happy with the outcome… until Asakura jolts herself out of a reverie (scaring Kyon in the process) only for the audience to realize the entire sequence took place in her mind. “I can’t believe I scared myself with my own daydream!” This had me laughing heartily!!
But this is actually one of my favorite moments because it leads to a candid, honest conversation later in the dinosaur park. Asakura confesses to Haruhi that her real fear is losing Yuki if Yuki starts dating Kyon. This is a fantastic moment and even though Haruhi mocks her for it, it’s mockery that says “are you kidding, nothing could separate you two!” Haruhi gets it; amazingly she’s the one who understands the friendships. That was a huge success in the writing. Haruhi could be whimsical because she understands these guys are friends. The honesty from Asakura and the understanding from Haruhi was a resounding success in this episode.
Another scene that really struck a chord was when Haruhi comments on being interested in aliens and UFO’s. Yuki seems to freak and I initially thought this was the sort of funny quirk of the character; being afraid of aliens. But something else hit me that reminds me: this may not be a science fiction series like the parent series was, but this series exists because of the world Yuki Nagato created during that parent series. Therefore, is it a leap to assume that she freaks over Haruhi’s sentiment as a direct result of that other world? Haruhi’s very existence in this series seems like she forced herself into the world Nagato created (she arrives later; not at the start of the show). Now her original personality is manifesting too? I think that explains why Yuki freaked more than anything else; why her eyes bugged out. And in that moment, I regained a great deal of respect for the writers.
Besides those things, there were a couple smaller items that really stood out to me. The first is how excited Haruhi was upon seeing one of my all time favorite dinosaurs: the Archaeopteryx. I was delighted that she was as happy as I would be over that one. But more than that, I loved the music. I always find an image of beauty and I have one here too, but the music in this one was subtle and it took me a while to even realize it was playing, but the gentle music was outstanding. First the singing and then the classical… it was the first time I think the music trumped a visuals.
Although, that said, there was this:
I don’t know if the after-credit scene was a prelude or a sneak peek, but whatever it was, I’m back and ready to see what happens from here! ML
Read next in the Junkyard… Nagato 10: Someday in the Rain