The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan II

Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan Kyon's Little SisterThe junkyard presents two articles about the Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan episode The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan II...

The view from 5930 miles away:

“Sure is quiet in here.”

Wow. He should see our libraries if he thinks that’s quiet. I don’t think I’ve ever been in one with that many people in my life. I could walk into one with no people and not feel the need to make that observation. But for the version of Nagato that has popped up since her accident, a library is a gateway to a magical world. She adores books, and the sight of so many of them is overwhelming. The significance of the library also goes beyond that, because it was the place she first met Kyon, and the place where he first captured her heart with a simple act of kindness.

Nagato’s memories are represented by her watching her own past like a phantom, in fear of fading away when that version of herself re-emerges. So this is basically Golden Time in both story and execution, but when an idea is this good I certainly don’t mind seeing it tackled in more than one anime. There is still some doubt about whether this is Melancholy/Nagato or simply Spinoff/Nagato with amnesia, although the latter is starting to make a bit more sense. She looks back on her first encounter with Kyon as the phantom onlooker, observing memories that are not quite her own, and yet this moment seems to have happened in all realities. It shouldn’t be unfamiliar to Melancholy/Nagato, even though some details might be different.

Even so, there are a couple of moments that will please fans of the original series. Kyon’s little sister makes her first appearance in the spinoff. It’s a fleeting moment but she’s as cute as ever. And observant Haruhi fans will have noticed the first book Nagato selects to read, Hyperion, the book Nagato lent to Kyon with her message to meet up in the original Melancholy arc, and subsequently the book where he found another vital message in the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.

I don’t think there’s much significance to moments like this beyond fan-pleasing details, and the main thrust of the episode is how Nagato feels about her spinoff personality gradually resurfacing, something that is happening increasingly, as Spinoff/Nagato’s emotions bubble up to the surface.

“Is it possible that her consciousness and mine are mixed up together?”

This is an interesting approach, and somewhat different to Golden Time, in which the two versions of Banri are clearly delineated and cannot co-exist. Where this slightly lacks the impact of Golden Time is that the fate of Amnesia/Nagato affects nobody other than her. If she does disappear then Kyon and Asakura lose nothing other than this different version of her, and get back the version they both know and love. Her disappearance, if it happens, is a tragedy that afflicts nobody but her. In Golden Time the stakes are much higher, an established and deeply co-dependent relationship hanging on the fate of Banri. But I can’t condemn one anime for not being another. The only complaint I really have with all this is that it is a little slow and melancholy for my tastes. It worked better on first viewing than second, but now I’m ready for the fun to return to Nagato’s world.   RP

The view from 6,868 miles away:

I think I may have made a mistake in watching these as three episodes. If the opening is anything to go by, this would work very well as one long episode.  (Bearing in mind, of course, that three 20-minute episodes isn’t actually that long!)

This episode opens with Kyon and Yuki picking up where part one left off: they are on their way to the library.  And the opening is funny, but I was concerned that the episode might mirror Kyon’s words: “Well, predictably idiotic, anyway!”  But it wasn’t long before that worry was quelled and I was getting back into the show.  I admit a few episodes back, my enjoyment was derailed.  But this episode does a lot to surprise me.   It has humor, loss, melancholy, and even a bit of mystery.  And most amazingly of all, it appears to wrap the disappearance at the end, leaving us the final part to find out what happened.  As slow moving as parts of the 20 minute episode manages to be, it packs a lot in.  I won’t really know until part three if the disappearance arc has concluded, but I do think the main dilemma has passed.  But let me take my observations apart a bit.

The humor is presented mainly by Kyon.  His opening comment was funny but it was when they arrive at the library and Yuki takes off so fast that he fails to see her go, the artistry of an outline flashing where Yuki had been, had me belly-laughing.  As she then floated through the library like a wisp, I found myself delighted by Kyon’s confusion.  This is the lightest part of the story.  The loss and melancholy make up most of the tale.  There are deep waters here and I’m amazed that a cartoon is tackling these things.  I’m a sucker for ontological debate and there’s a certain truth to the idea that we change drastically over the course of our lives but to have a young woman question herself like this… it’s deep!!  “I’m not my usual self,” Yuki observes, but she is only 2 days into being this person, so what is she basing it on?  What is her usual self?  She must have something to base that on.

Yuki goes to get her glasses and Kyon comes along for the ride.  “He’s such a liar,” she observes, and my mind isn’t made up on this yet.  Her travels take her to the repaired glasses, but she doesn’t want to put them on.  They represent the life of her other self.  She keeps the case closed so the glasses remain hidden, as she hopes her other self will.  She fears losing who she is if that other self comes back.  And she starts to remember things about her past.  It’s here that I started seeing the Yuki Nagato from the alternate timeline.  “I don’t have enough data!” she says, and I begin thinking of the data entity.  In this universe, there is no data entity; she has no connection to it.  It leaves her lost and alone in a way the Yuki from the Melancholy universe never was.  Notice when she has those flashbacks to the past, the screen doesn’t fade.  It has an electronic fizz, like static on an old television or a misaligned VHS tape.  It’s mechanical.  I had also observed in the last episode that at times Yuki’s glasses reflect the light making her eyes invisible.  This happens again, but notice as she and Kyon start to bond and she opens up, they find a half-way point; they obscure her eyes only slightly.  They are visible, but slightly muted by the reflection on the glass.  The glasses are being used to beautiful effect.

It’s also interesting that she ponders things while seeing herself as an almost spectral girl in flowing gown; a ghost of her former self.  But something else interesting happens here: when she recalls Kyon getting her a library card, she relives it. Yet Kyon seemed to have no idea that she even had a library card.  She thanks Kyon but when she tells him she’s thanking him for a secret time, she falters: “but that time wasn’t…” and she trails off. That time wasn’t… what?  From this timeline?  From this universe?   The image was brought home for me when she suddenly sees herself reaching for a book that blends with her reaching for the stars from episodes ago but I should have realized the moment she was reading Hyperion by Dan Simmons.  This series may not be a science fiction series, but the character we’re seeing may indeed be the one who came from the parent series.  When Yuki sees herself mirrored, I realized we were seeing one of many other universe versions of the character we know.  Somehow she became displaced and maybe, if the writers really do surprise me, the Yuki in the other universe is ours from this one.  That would impress me to no end.  And it would also make me realize how much I’ve come to love this Yuki because I don’t want the alien one; I want the one who knows math is clearly boingy but tightish!  And now I need to know: will she come back?  I sure hope so!

As it stands, the writers and artists did impress me with this episode.  Yuki wonders what will become of her.  What will happen?  “Will I just disappear?”  As she says this, the camera slowly loses focus on the eyeglasses case.  The being that was held within may be coming back…   ML

Read next in the Junkyard… The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan III

About Roger Pocock

Author of windowsintohistory.wordpress.com Co-writer on junkyard.blog Editor of frontiersmenhistorian.info
This entry was posted in Anime, Entertainment, Reviews, Television and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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