The junkyard presents two articles about the Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan episode Fireworks...
The view from 5930 miles away:
“Hey Kyon, your phone’s ringing!”
…or for the sub viewers, the absolutely infamous:
This was a moment to induce panic attacks amongst a generation of anime fans suffering PTSD brought on by the Endless Eight: Kyon’s little sister speaking those words again. Haruhi phones Kyon, and she’s got a checklist again.
“We have to get through this entire list before the end of summer.”
We already had some E8 activities last week, but this finale episode really wallows in the nostalgia of the parent series. Some activities only get a mention (pool, bon festival, part time job, stargazing, goby fishing), and then we get the batting practice, bowling, fireworks show and goldfish scooping. And yet never for a second does this seem repetitive or annoying. I gave some explanation as to why that is last week, but let’s focus on Nagato for a moment. In the original E8 she was the only one of the group in a living hell, remembering every iteration, an unimaginable purgatory of a repetitive existence. The reversal here is rather lovely. She is oblivious to the struggles Kyon is going through, and enjoys the happiest summer of her life, culminating in the perfect romantic moment when Kyon whisks her off to confess his feelings. She might not hear every word he says, but it is clear that they are on a path to something now.
“I finally said what I needed to say and I feel a lot better.”
Kyon of course feels the need to respond to the alternate Nagato’s confession, and finds a way to do so, allowing his budding romance with his Nagato to develop at its own pace, finally free from all the Disappearance-induced angst. He can be himself around her once more. And we are allowed a moment to reflect one last time on the loser in this love triangle. We are reminded that Kyon and Haruhi were perhaps made for each other:
“No way! My mind works in the same way as hers!”
…and in the end Haruhi is the only one not watching the fireworks. This has been the one aspect of the series I have really struggled with. Haruhi’s suffering at losing Kyon has been palpable, and it’s still hard to accept any romantic outcome for these characters other than Kyon x Haruhi.
As a finale, though, this hits all the right notes, quite literally at times. When Itsumo no Fuukei started playing at the end it sent shivers down my spine. There was the fascinatingly meta-textual idea that the Haruhi from this universe wrote the events of the original series, and then that post-credits sequence…
“I got all of my homework done a while ago. What about you Kyon?”
It’s not quite the end of the story. There was one OVA episode, which represents the last ever anime episode from the Haruhi franchise to date. We’ll take a look at that next week. RP
The view from 6,868 miles away:
We’ve got effectively 22 minutes to tell the story of how Kyon finally tells Yuki that he likes her. I feel like a dude in the waiting room anxious for the news that the baby has been born! Come on… don’t make me wait. As Kyon says at the start of the episode, “let it be over soon!” Oh, no, this is one of those doctors who like to make the people in the waiting room wait. With a sense of twisted humor, the doctor effectively comes out and says “nope, not born yet” just to screw with our heads. In the Yuki universe, it’s actually more vile than that – Haruhi calls as if we’re about to start off The Endless Eight again, that series of unending repeats that the creators of the show tormented us with in the previous series. So naturally, panic sets in. But when Haruhi mirrors Kyon’s earlier thoughts about this being the “fifth station of Mt Fuji”, I had to laugh and it broke the tension nicely. The mention of Sisyphus didn’t hurt because I can absolutely relate to that, especially these days!
The episode focuses on Kyon’s turmoil about telling Yuki how he feels. It’s sweet but good god, let it end! I sound like I’m complaining – I’m not. It’s a good episode and it’s funny, but this is one of those slow burns that really drain us. Through this unending wait, there are some fun and clever scenes. While really funny that the moment Yuki tries to catch a fish, her net breaks, it’s also a neat little allegory about “the one that got away”. It doesn’t escape Kyon’s notice either. It’s also lovely that Haruhi was playing along trying to give Kyon and Yuki a chance and once the two walk off, Haruhi lets her pair of fish go, as if the masquerade could end. Asakura has her moments of wisdom too, letting Kyon know that the two Nagato’s, while different, were still the same person. She also points out that from Yuki’s point of view, he’s been acting distant and Kyon realizes that she doesn’t even have the luxury of the full story.
And so with a lot of patience, we get there. Kyon tells her how he feels. “Given time, I think I would have fallen in love with you too.”
Say what, now? What was that? Was that … no, it had to be a problem with the dub. Surely that’s not what we’ve been waiting for, is it? No, no, no, no, no! Impossible. It’s like, “yeah, I’m not really into you but hey, one day I might be. Maybe.” That was absolutely not what I’d been waiting for! I feel gypped! At least it ends with some genuinely funny moment. Kyon offers to buy Yuki food and remarks that Haruhi would have made him do it anyway. The moment Haruhi sees him, she yells at him and says he has to buy them all food. His simple, over-the-shoulder “see” was brilliant.
As the story wraps up, Kyon discusses what it would be like if Haruhi wrote a novel and how it would include espers, time travelers, aliens, and people from parallel universes and suddenly I wonder: was this the spinoff universe, or was this meant to be the real one and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is the “book”? Perhaps, the literary club does write a story one day, and it becomes that series. Well, it wouldn’t be the first paradox I’ve encountered that started with the ending.
Yuki wraps the story as she started it, “This is the story of a somewhat shy, bookish girl!” I love symmetry. And as the group sit together discussing that summer is almost over, the question is posed to Kyon about whether or not he completed his summer homework; a terrifying reminder of The Endless Eight one more time. The final image of the series and his little gut-punch sound, had me laughing for the next ten minutes. A solid ending to a … wait a moment! There’s one episode to go? What the deuce?!!?
I suddenly feel as shocked as this guy… ML
Read next in the Junkyard… Nagato Yuki-Chan OVA