Before I begin let me say that this is a review of season 2, the last 14 episodes essentially...well, I say 14...
I was told about The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya by one of my good friends, who said that he hated it with a passion. Naturally, I wanted to watch it simply to annoy him...what I found was one of the best animes I've ever watched. So obviously, after I finished the first season, I wanted to watch the second one.
I won't go into too much detail about the main story behind the whole show is, as it is all explained in season one. Basically, while this show presents itself as a highschool "moe" anime, it quickly turns that on its head by throwing in supernatural elements...it may not seem like much, but it really makes the series unique.
Haruhi SUZUMIYA is a weird girl who believes that aliens, time travellers and espers exist and she isn't interested in talking to anyone who isn't one of these things. Kyon, a classmate of hers, is dragged into all sorts of situations because of Haruhi as she makes her own club, the SOS Brigade, consisting of Haruhi, Kyon and a few other intresting characters; Yuki NAGATO, a artifical humanoid alien, Mikuru ASAHINA, a time traveller and finally Itsuki KOIZUMI, an esper.
Now all of this is explained in season one, so let's not delve too deep into the story, instead let's disscuss season two and it's episodes. "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody" is a pretty good episode...it clarfies a few things and establishes how Kyon affected the decisions that Haruhi has made during the series. The last five episodes, "The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya", are also very well done in clearing up a few things that were missed in season one, namely the filming of the movie "The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina". However, there are still eight episodes I haven't talked about yet...
The Endless Eight arc is very infamous for what it is. Simply, the Endless Eight arc is eight episodes that repeat themselves over and over again, with minimal changes. It starts off with the SOS Brigade spending their last two weeks of summer hanging out, going to the pool, catching bugs...just having a really good time. The next episode is exactly the same, expect Yuki tells the others (apart from Haruhi) that they've been repeating these past two weeks 15,498 times, although there have been minor changes in what has happened. The next episode is the same, the episode after that is the same, the episode after that is the same...you see where I'm going?
As you would expect, the Endless Eight arc goes on for eight episodes. Now, I apologise in advance for this rant I'm about to go on, but I feel it needs to be pointed out.
Now, I understand why most people hate this arc, it is essentially watching the same episode eight times, with barely anything different added. However, with the DVD release, as well as sites like Crunchyroll, it's very easy to skip episodes. This gets rid of watching the Endless Eight arc in its fullest...however, to really understand its brilliance, you have to watch all the episodes.
In the Endless Eight arc, while everyone is swinging baseball bats (apart from Mikuru, who's too scared) Kyon talks to Yuki and asks why she didn't tell them sooner and why she hasn't done anything to stop the time loops. Yuki replies with one of my favourite lines of the series; which is that it isn't her job to intervene, she just observes.
I loved that line from Yuki purely because in these episodes, instead of being in Kyon's shoes, we are now in Yuki's. Us as the viewers are watching our Brigade members go through the same two weeks over and over again, but we can't do anything about it, we simply have to wait until someone figures out how to stop it. Also worth pointing out, as each episode goes by you can clearly see Yuki getting more and more tired, which again, represents us viewers, as we are also getting tired at seeing them doing the same things over again!
I'm probably part of a very few group of people that think the Endless Eight arc is a masterpiece. As an aspiring writer myself, I can clearly see the beauty behind this arc...Sure, they may have stretched it out a bit too much, hell Aya Hirano (the voice of Haruhi) publicly apologised about it when it was being aired. Still, I love the Endless Eight arc a lot...In my eyes it represents perfectly how anime can be considered art as well!
Overall, season two of Haruhi Suzumiya continues the greatness that was season one...I can completely understand why people wouldn't like it as much, but for me, it's one of the best seasons of anime I've ever watched!